So there was a fairly significant trade over the weekend, and two other trades of somewhat less repute. I did not discuss any of the three key players in last week's trade market column. But I did mention the Diamondbacks and Cubs as likely sellers, so there is a very minor victory.
This week, we return to our normal tour of the league's depth charts.
Without any further ado...
Starter: Marwin Gonzalez
Next: Enrique Hernandez
In the minors (and now hurt): Jonathan Villar
Marwin Gonzalez had been sapping Jonathan Villar's playing time against right-handed starting pitching for much of June, and his annexation became complete when the Astros optioned Villar to Triple-A Oklahoma City at the end of the month. Gonzalez has been nothing special (he has a 109 OPS+ through 128 plate appearances), but Villar had been exceptionally bad. Villar stole 14 bases at a 78 percent clip, but he could hardly get on base and struck out at a 28 percent clip. He pieced together a solid first week back at OKC, but he did not play Sunday after he exited Saturday's game with a rolled ankle. Enrique Hernandez should replace Gonzalez against left-handed starting pitching, but he is not due for much playing time outside of that.
White Sox DH
Starter: Adam Dunn
Next: Paul Konerko, Jose Abreu
Designated hitter situations generally do not garner much attention in In Some Depth, either because the spot is a dumping ground for an extraneous player in a platoon or the team has a dedicated guy who plays there every day. The White Sox employed the latter method with Adam Dunn for much of the current season, but they have pulled the plug on him against left-handed starting pitchers. Dunn has not served as the team's DH against a lefty since April 20, ceding those games to Paul Konerko or Jose Abreu (with Konerko at first). The limited exposure to lefties has boosted Dunn's numbers, but it means his fantasy owners need to be vigilant about the week's opposing pitchers. Dunn is also in a contract year, and he could be targeted by a contender in need of a left-handed power bat off the bench. If he does depart, it will be interesting to see if the Sox allow Konerko to DH every day, or if they cycle between him and guys like Dayan Viciedo.
Starter: Christian Bethancourt
Next: Gerald Laird
On the DL: Evan Gattis
Christian Bethancourt has leapfrogged Gerald Laird since taking the DL'd Evan Gattis' roster spot a week ago. Bethancourt had a good first week in the big leagues, but he is a receiver first, a thrower second, and a batter third. He has a lifetime .300 OBP in the minors, and his 12 home runs in 2013 were out of line with his production to that point (and his production to this point of 2014). Gattis is due back some time after the All-Star break, but the Braves have yet to formulate any sort of firm timeline. They might also take it easy on him to avoid further aggravation. He is their best hitter by OPS+ (his 145 barely edges Freddie Freeman's 144), so they could use him in the lineup, be it behind the plate, at third, or in the outfield. Ryan Doumit is still on the roster, but he has not been behind the plate since April 10.
Starter: Anthony Rendon
Next: Danny Espinosa, Kevin Frandsen
A full outfield in Washington has pushed Ryan Zimmerman back to third base and Anthony Rendon back to second. Espinosa is still on the bench and was supposed to start against left-handed starting pitchers, but he sat against two lefties last week. Espinosa hit .211/.278/.341 with 88 strikeouts and a below-average glove in his 61 games as the team's starter, so it is likely not that difficult to keep him on the bench. Rendon's bat does not appear to be affected much by the return to his home position, as he slashed .292/.346/.500 in his first 24 at-bats back.