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Silver League Update: Phils Phly West (Others Move Too)

Writing last week, with two days to go before the deadline, I wondered if I'd need to do a followup article. Maybe we caught an early flurry of activity and everyone was done making moves? Nope. We left off with Cole Hamels staying in Philadelphia, but now his rotation-mate Cliff Lee is on the waiver wire (no, not in your league, don't get too excited) and three of his teammates have moved out west.

The Silver League is looking like a two-horse race, with the E-Z Sliders and Spirit of St. Louis neck and neck, and almost 20 games ahead of the third-place team. No, that team isn't me either. I know you're all disappointed, but I'm actually excited to be sitting around eighth. I'm not sure if any of the recent moves will decide our league, but there's a good chance they'll have an impact on yours.

Jonathan Broxton to the Reds

Last week I was prepping myself for a move like this and, sure enough, it happened. Chances are you already read about it in last week's edition of Dan Mennella's Closers. Broxton won't be closing and his replacement should be the guy I drafted who didn't get the job out of spring traning, Greg Holland. No offense to the Spirit of St. Louis or other Holland owners, but I kinda hope he blows it. He probably won't, though. Talented pitcher and such. At least Sean Marshall, my other closer from the beginning of the year, had already lost his job, or I'd really have an issue with Mr. Broxton....

Ryan Dempster to the Rangers

Normally, I'd be excited when a pitcher goes from a last place team to a first place team, but not in this case. Even if his first start had gone well, I wouldn't have been excited. If you're looking for nothing but wins, okay, you might just get some because his run support should be going up. His runs allowed going up, however, is even more of a sure thing. Dempster was on some shaky ground before the trade, but his new park and new opponents won't make things too easy on him. If you've got him, I wonder how many road starts against the A's and Mariners he'll pull? The unbalanced schedule is about the only good news for Rangers pitchers. Expect declines in strikeouts, ERA, and WHIP, but don't get hasty and drop him...yet. 

Related bad news: Roy Oswalt gets to learn about relief pitching now. I'd cut bait if you haven't yet.

Gaby Sanchez and Travis Snider to the Pirates

Sanchez is free! Free to bat against lefties, at least, if his usage patterns hold. Don't rush to pick him up unless Garret Jones hits a slump and can't hold down the heavy side of the platoon. Actually, the big impact here is on Jones, who loses his chance to go oh-fer against southpaws. Bad news for his counting stats, but probably better for his average. Of course, Jones is a pretty fringy player anyway.

Snider is the more interesting case, with a new does of upside and risk for picking him up. He's going to a significantly less forgiving home park: Rogers Centre adds a few runs with a 1.048 park factor, while PNC Park depresses them with a hellish 0.666 factor--it brings homers down at an even lower 0.598 rate. Snider also gets a new chance in fresh scenery. He's batted against left- and right-handed starters since the trade and could get a starter's playing time if he hits the ball well. Snider's only owned in 6% of leagues, but he's worth taking a chance on.

Casey McGehee to the Yankees

It looks like McGehee will be seeing a drop in playing time as well; so far he's the short side of a platoon to replace Alex Rodriguez. So much for his being useful. It's too bad, because he was sort of showing a little pop, and you never quite know when Pedro Alvarez is going to do an impression of my little league career and hit .100 for the month. 

Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino to the Dodgers

The Dodgers were the only team as busy as the Phillies over the last few days, but for the exact opposite reason. This trade is one that might have added the most value to the player moved out of this week's bunch. The Dodgers aren't the best hitting team in baseball, having actually scored fewer runs than the Phils and with a lower OPS. You have to remember, though, that they've spent significant time without their top hitters, and added Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino to that lineup. I think things will get better. Even if they don't, Blanton can enjoy Dodger Stadium's 0.856 park factor, and the opportunity to pitch in San Francisco and San Diego. Blanton is only owned in 21% of leagues and sports a mediocre 4.59 ERA. He's got a much better 1.19 WHIP, though, and I'd be willing to bet that his numbers improve.

Victorino probably won't like the new ballpark as much as Blanton, as he should see a dip in his home run production. Not that it was awesome anyway. Fantasy owners might just enjoy his spot in the lineup, though, as he's led off three games in a row since joining the Boys in Blue. Expect to see him run a little more and--with Matt Kemp just two batters away--score a few more runs. Whether this trade helps or hurts Victorino probably depends on which categories you need.

Hunter Pence to the Giants

Giants fans can't complain about this, because I know which Phillie outfielder I'd want on my team and it's definitely Pence. Fantasy owners, however, are free to complain away at the spectre of their number two or three OF suddenly in a park that cuts homers by almost two thirds. AT&T Field sports a Major League lowest park factor of 0.624 with a 0.439 rating for homers. To put that in perspective, it makes Safeco Field look like a decent place to hit the ball out of the park. The only silver lining I see is that he gets to hit behind Buster Posey and his .391 OBP. If you can, I'd try to talk up how excited Pence should be to be on a winning team and in a pennant race and hope that your leaguemates haven't see how much San Francisco's park has crushed power this year. Or you could hope that the August and September weather heat up the Bay and change all that.

Well, it's been a fun trading deadline, but this year (as with most, it seems) more players are getting traded out of good situations than into them. I'm not saying that I'd do something like trade Ryan Dempster to get Joe Blanton, but their values definitely went in opposite directions. For me, the guys to buy (out of this bunch) are Blanton, Snider, and Victorino, if you can get a good deal. I'd sell on Dempster as soon as he has a good start, and sell hard on Pence. I might even try to sell on Phillies aces, since basically everyone else on their team has been traded away.

Good luck, and don't let the August wear on you--this month is our pennant race.


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