Yesterday we talked about all the big league players going over in the pre-waiver deadline deals, and how they rate. Today, let’s talk about those left behind – who benefits, and where will it matter to you? We’ll also talk about a few players that gained in value after being traded within their league.
I’m going to structure this by listing the “selling” teams in each league, unless there’s a unique circumstance dictating otherwise. (Note: This is running longer than expected, so I’m going to do this division-by division.)
Blue Jays – Roberto Osuna’s trade to the Astros opens the closer’s job, again. Ryan Tepera is the best bet to pick up the majority of the save chances for now, especially with Tyler Cliparrd pitching as the “opener” Thursday night for a bullpen game against the Mariners. The Jays also dealt Seung-Hwan Oh, Aaron Loup and John Axford. One big downside to speculating on the Jays’ closer situation is their schedule – they have their current series with Seattle, two series apiece with the Red Sox and Yankees, plus series against the Indians and Astros still remaining.
The wild card here obviously is Ken Giles – it wouldn’t be shocking if they could fix what’s ailing him and insert him back into the role pretty quickly. They just called him up from Triple-A on Thursday, though it’s interesting to note that he pitched poorly in his last Triple-A game, allowing four runs in an inning on July 27. Mike Wilner, who calls the Jays’ games on the radio, referred to him as “new closer Ken Giles” when tweeting about his call-up. A further report from Shi Davidi confirmed that John Gibbons plans to eventually use Giles as his closer, but only after pitching him in a low-leverage situation first.
Ryan Borucki has already been in the rotation for two starts in the last two weeks, but J.A. Happ’s trade should cement a rotation spot for him, even when Aaron Sanchez returns from the DL. The one non-performance risk for him is whether the Jays opt to limit his innings and shut him down in September. Borucki should be expected to have some luck balancing work against him. He hasn’t allowed a homer yet in 35 big league innings, and while his 1.66 GB/FB ratio helps, it’s not so extreme to explain that run of fortune.
I’m not quite sure where the newly acquired Brandon Drury fits in – even with Lourdes Gurriel on the DL. He’s trying to scrape away playing time from Yangervis Solarte, Aledmys Diaz and Devon Travis, and that’s before (if) Josh Donaldson ever returns from the DL. Oh yeah, and the Jays’ best prospect (you may have heard of him), Vlad Guerrero Jr., is a third baseman.
Orioles – Sometimes a team is so bad that chasing their saves is a fruitless endeavor. The O’s may have sunk to that level – they were pretty close to being there already, and then they jettisoned Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop. Still, Mychal Givens is the default best candidate remaining to pick up saves after they also traded Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Darren O’Day. Givens isn’t all that great though, at least this year, having walked 26 batters in 53 innings.
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Renato Nunez has been splitting time with Danny Valencia and Jace Peterson at third base since the Machado trade. The 24-year old former A’s and Rangers minor leaguer isn’t much of a defender, and hasn’t really been able to stick either at third base or left field. He has some power against lefties, which has opened up some doors for him to play. Until the Orioles are ready to give Ryan Mountcastle a look – and that might not happen until next year if they opt to manipulate his service time and/or preserve their ability to keep him outside of the 40-man roster.
The trade of Kevin Gausman doesn’t really help any promising young starting pitchers. The O’s are still rolling out Andrew Cashner to take a beating every fifth day, after all.
Rays – The Rays designated Adeiny Hechavarria for assignment, freeing up the starting job for Willy Adames, who had essentially already taken it anyways. Adames is finally up for good, after being the most important part of the 2014 David Price trade. As illustrated by his 9:44 BB:K ratio, he’s still not a finished product at age 24, which may indicate that his ceiling isn’t what we once thought it was. He certainly isn’t running all that often, and doesn’t hit for as much power as we’d like to counteract the lack of stolen bases.
Jake Faria and Yonny Chirinos will pick up a lot of innings for the Rays after they traded away Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Archer, though with the Rays that technically might not come in the form of a starting role, but instead the “bulk innings reliever” that follows their opener. Such will be the case for Chirinos on Friday, when he will follow Ryan Stanek. Also, the Rays have committed to developing Tyler Glasnow as a traditional starter, and not as a long reliever that fills in after the “opener.”
Replacing Wilson Ramos behind the plate will be Michael Perez, who came over to the Rays in the Matt Andriese trade, and Jesus Sucre. Perez is the unknown quantity, but he’s generally considered a defense-first catcher. Judging by the playing time so far, it appears that the Rays view Sucre as the backup.
With the ascension of Adames, it’s not just Hechavarria that loses out in playing time for the Rays. Earlier this season both Joey Wendle and Daniel Robertson were playing nearly every day, but now there’s only one spot for the two of them at second base. Merely from a platoon basis, Wendle should play more often than Robertson.
The Red Sox couldn’t use Jalen Beeks in a trial by fire basis, but the Rays certainly can. They were encouraged by his recent outing against the Angels, and he’s another pitcher that ultimately could be used as a traditional starter in the near future.
Finally, the Rays sent Austin Meadows down to Triple-A Durham after the Archer trade. They want him to “get comfortable playing every day” before calling him back up. I’m not sure I get that – wouldn’t just playing him every day do that? At any rate, that makes him a cheaper buy this weekend in your FAAB bids in AL-only leagues, and it buys a little more time for the Rays to use Mallex Smith and Carlos Gomez. The latter could be gone in the same vein as Hechavarria soon, unless a contending team wants to add him for depth in a waiver-deal.
Playing Time Losers:
For every player added on a contending team, someone has to lose out on playing time to accommodate the new acquisition.
Red Sox – Brock Holt was playing nearly every day once Rafael Devers went on the DL, and that’s obviously going to change now that the Red Sox have added Ian Kinsler. Once Devers returns, he might not step back into a full-time gig at third base, and instead could end up sharing time with Eduardo Nunez, who is getting most of the third base time now.
Brian Johnson caught a quick reprieve after the Red Sox put Chris Sale on the DL, but with the addition of Nate Eovaldi, he’s ultimately ticketed for long relief.
Yankees – Sonny Gray has already been demoted from the rotation. He’s somehow the lone starting pitcher out there that could possibly be worse than Lance Lynn. I didn’t think Lynn was going to be worth owning even after the trade to a better team (albeit with a worse park), but here we are.
Greg Bird has been much better over the last 30 days (.277/.357/.511) than over the course of the full season, but the Yankees still felt compelled to add Luke Voit as a potential platoon partner. I’m curious to see if that comes to fruition, or if Voit is just a depth guy.