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Silver League Update: Dealing at the Deadline

I know what you're thinking: The fantasy trade deadline isn't until the end of August! (in most leagues, anyway). What kind of deadline could ... oh, right. The real deadline. The one where the players on your teams suddenly seem to be wearing different colors on TV, with different words and pictures on the front of their jerseys.

All right, so most of us aren't so caught up in our fantasy teams that we aren't watching the real games and the real standings, too, but I know I cared a lot more when I saw that Anibal Sanchez was traded than when I saw that Zack Greinke was. And I'm actually an Angels fan. And a Brewers fan. The thing is, of course, that Sanchez is the one on my fantasy team.

Perhaps thanks to the new rules about how many teams will make the playoffs this seems like it's been an especially active deadline, with some fantasy (and yes, real life) cornerstones changing uniforms and (more importantly) leagues, home parks, supporting lineups and defenses, and most frequent opponents. We'll take a look at some of the most important moves and what they'll mean in fantasy. We'll start with the Sanchez trade, because that's the one I care about most. Also, it happened early and "Anibal" starts with A.

Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit

My first reaction to this trade was, "Great, he's going to a good team!" Then I remembered that that same good team has some pretty terrible infield defense and gets to play against DHs instead of pitchers, so this one is a bit of good news/bad news for owners. Marlins Park hasn't been a bad place to hit, with a park factor of 1.112 this year and is tied for ninth when sorted by runs added. Comerica Park hasn't been the pitcher's haven this year that it has in years past, but, with a 1.034 rating it's still a slight improvement. The offense represents more good news, as the Tigers are 11th in baseball in runs scored, with 454. That's good enough to make them an average scoring AL team. The Marlins? They're 29th with just 366. Pretty bad even for the NL. Unless Sanchez's luck gets weird, expect him to win a few more ballgames. Unfortunately, you can expect his ERA and WHIP to take a hit with the league switch. At least Infante will help the defense a little?

Ichiro to the Yankees

It kills me not to get to see Ichiro in a Mariners uniform one last time, but, really, were we seeing the real Ichiro this year anyway? With Brett Gardner out for the season, expect Ichiro to remain a starter in one corner or the other for now, but don't be shocked if he slumps doesn't improve and the Yankees make another deal that relegates him to a fourth outfielder role. The good news is that this trade probably can't make things any worse and the park switch should help at least a little. I'm not normally one for believing in the power of ephemeral things like "chemistry" or "atmosphere" impacting someone's play, but exchanging the forgiving-to-the-point-of-indifferent Seattle for the madhouse of Yankee baseball could inject a little something into Ichiro's play.

"Magic" Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates

I've been waiting a long time to use that nickname in print, and even longer to say that getting traded to Pittsburgh could be a good thing, but here we are. The Buccos need more help on offense, but with 405 runs scored they're barely below the NL average and miles ahead of Houston's 386. Of course, it's not a guarantee that Rodriguez will win more games.... Maybe even better is the change of parks, as he swaps Houston's nearly neutral 0.914 park factor for PNC Park's infinitesimal 0.642. He might as well have been traded to Seattle or San Diego, but with an almost average offense. High five, Wandy owners.

Hanley Ramirez to the Dodgers; Nathan Eovaldi to the Marlins

If the park switch is a good one for Sanchez, it isn't so good for Ramirez. True to its repuatation, Dodger Stadium is 22nd in park factor, with a rating of 0.854. There's a silver lining for his owners, though: while Los Angeles does suppress homers at an .0875 rate, Marlins Park was actually worse, with an 0.801 score. Hitting behind Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier should help him in the RBI department, though a middle of the order lineup slot might hurt his steals. Hitting in front of James Loney won't exactly help his runs scored, either.

The good news for Eovaldi, who goes to a worse park, with a worse team, is that at least he'll get to play. Everybody wins. He's talented enough to keep an eye on, but he's probably more like a sleeper for next year.

Cole Hamels stays with the Phillies

For many owners (including me, just not in the Silver) this was a disappointment, like the Phillies themselves this year. We got excited over the idea of Hamels getting some run support, but it wasn't meant to be and it wasn't a big shock. Would Philadelphia really spend all that money on Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee only to let Cole Hamels go? I didn't think so either. As it is, you can expect more of the same excellence from Hamels. At least he didn't get traded to the AL....

Zack Greinke to the Angels; Jean Segura to the Brewers

Ranger fans aren't thrilled, but Greinke owners should be. Though he's going to the DH league and its tougher standard of competition, Greinke is a pitcher who's already shown that he can thrive in that environment. Better yet, he's leaving a moribund Brewer club for the thick of the pennant race in Anaheim. Despite the market size, the traditionally low expectations of Angel fans should keep just the right amount of pressure on Greinke (and no more--teams like the Yankees and Red Sox wouldn't touch him). Expect the Angels to send him a few more wins than the Brew Crew would have, and (maybe) expect Angel Stadium to save some of the runs that DHs and stiffer competition score, with its 0.843 park factor. Much better than Miller Park's 4th ranking 1.296. Though the Halos will play ten more games agains the powerhouse Rangers, they more than make up for it with twelve more against the Mariners, and ten against the A's.

Most of the players that have moved so far have seen increases in their value, which isn't exactly standard. With more time to go at the time of writing, we could still see closers traded out of their roles or a middle-grade hitter traded to Pittsburgh, so by the time you read this you (and I) will already be stressed out.


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