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Stock Watch: Guys Named Davis (And a Surprising Quantity of Mets)

Real-life baseball is ramping up for its most exciting months. All-Star rosters come out today, and when the Game ends the trade deadline's clock will start officially counting down. Chances are, your fantasy league's deadline comes sometime after that, but we know the time to deal is upon us. Since trades in reality can have a big effect on fantasy value, we'll be dealing a lot of the same players in our fake game as in the real one. The effect is perhaps most pronounced on pitchers, with the importance of their teammates and parks. 

Trade For

Ricky Nolasco is a great pitcher to trade for, as he couldn't be leaving a worse offensive situation than Miami. Any team that might trade for him should give him a lot more help getting leads and then keeping them. Of course, a trade to Colorado might negate a lot of that value, but he's still well worth the risk. 

Yovani Gallardo has been as big a disappointment as any this year. While I can't say what the cause of his struggles has been, a change of scenery almost certainly wouldn't hurt. Arizona is the top trade destination mentioned, so his park effects might not get any better, but pitching for a contender ought to help with the wins. Who knows, maybe the adrenaline will spark some improvement for him....

Matt Garza won't be toiling for the Cubbies much longer, that's almost for sure. It's good news for Garza owners, too, since the teams that might be interested are likely to be heavy hitters. Expect AL East teams to show interest, since he's had success in that division before. Let that temper any expectations of improved stats in any category but wins.

Kyle Gibson is not on the trading block in MLB, but after a disastrous second start, he might be in your fantasy league. Actually, he might be back to the waiver wire, in which case he's worth picking up. With his value depressed (who doesn't get roughed up by the Yankees every once in a while, anyway?), he's a great "throw in" in a bigger trade.

Mark Reynolds hasn't hit a lick since his torrid start, but he's still got a lot more power potential than anyone you're likely to find on the waiver wire (with one exception, see below). Obviously, target him at a low price, but he's the kind of gamble you should make if you could benefit from a power increase.

If the Price Is Right

Some players might be in the Trade For category for some...and the Trade Away for others. I suppose that's the best way to get a deal done. Our own Andrew Gephardt detailed some of the factors that go into a good trade on Monday, and the circumstances of your team make all the difference in the world. Here are a couple players worth dealing for with the right price and situation...or dealing away in others.

Eric Hosmer has been setting the world on fire for the last month or so, and it has been suggested that he's finally breaking out. It has also been suggested that some of his homers haven't been off the world's best pitchers. So is Hosmer a buy or a sell candidate, a star who's inexpensive for the last time in his career, or someone to toss after month of playing over his talent level? Honestly, I don't know, but that wouldn't stop me from taking a risk on him one way or another.

If you've got an excess of power or 1B production, then I'd say try to sell high. If you can get a quality return from someone who feels more confident that Hosmer has turned the corner, go for it. On the flip side, if your team is need of power, try getting him from an owner that expects regression. In either case, don't go overboard. If the other owners in your league are similarly ambivalent about Hosmer--or happen to be valuing him the same as you are, don't go too many extra dollars to make a deal.

Elvis Andrus is in much the opposite situation as Hosmer, but you can approach it in a similar way. Texas has moved him down to eighth in the batting order, with manager Ron Washington citing Andrus' place in the leadoff spot as the reason for his troubles. I can't say if that's the case (though I'm usually skeptical about such assertions, I have little or no inside information about Andrus' psyche, certainly less than Washington). Whatever the reason, Andrus is a player with a history of useful (if overrated) fantasy production coming off a horrid last month.

If you're in need of MI or SS help, or really need steals, Andrus is probably a good trade candidate. He's not a true-talent .100's hitter, so his production has no reason not to improve. Unfortunately, Andrus cost many owners high draft picks and comes with a lot of brand-name value. You won't be able to avoid paying a premium for that brand, but he's been so bad lately that he could still come at a reasonable price. Of course, it's that very brand that makes Andrus a trade-away candidate. With everyone in your league expecting some sort of positive regression, Andrus ought to bring back a useful piece. If you're otherwise set at short, deal Andrus.

Trade Away

I've suggested dealing Matt Harvey before, but the reasons are different this time. No, it does not look like Harvey will be regressing from his ace form anytime soon, but that won't stop the Mets from finding some way to limit his innings and pitch counts from here on out. MLB Injury News speculates on the Mets' many options to limit Harvey's injury risk, though New York hasn't given any definitive indication of their plans. As a fantasy owner, I actually don't care what their plans are: Harvey's value will almost certainly go down with any plan they implement. Fewer innings might not be a big deal in roto leagues with innings caps, but you should deal him in any league with a playoff format. The Mets will have nothing to play for in September, but Harvey is a huge part of their future.

It's not the fault of Hanley Ramirez or Jason Kipnis that they're on this list. It's just that any player hitting like they are should be dangled in trades. Maybe nobody in your league will bite and overpay, but maybe someone will. Both are high-quality infielders. Neither one is Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout. Or Willie Mays, for that matter.

Pick Up

Martin Perez has been on my fantasy teams before, and it hasn't gone well. His last two starts certainly suggest that he's figured out the Major Leagues an while that may not be true, it's well worth a waiver claim. Nab him while you still can. If you still can. Also, he's scheduled for two starts next week, if you care about that sort of thing.

Randall Delgado has been a prospect for awhile, but striking out nine Mets and walking none is enough to put him on the map. With the Diamondbacks pursuing a division title, they'll use him as long as he's good, which is the only case you'll have kept him anyway. He's well worth a try.

Carlos Villanueva was on a lot of successful fantasy rosters last September, but hasn't had the same success this year. Or much of any success, really. Still, he's slotting into Scott Feldman's place in the rotation, and with Matt Garza likely to go too, he ought to stay in as long as he's remotely successful. His strikeout potential is worth checking out.

Eric Young is stealing bases and hitting the ball for the Mets. (A lot of Mets in this one. I don't know why.) He's even gotten some playing time at 2B. In deep leagues and for those who need speed, he's worth a try. He'll be worth a try almost everywhere if he does get that 2B eligibility.

Ike Davis came back to the bigs yesterday, and the mere chance that he found his power stroke again on his trip to AAA makes him worth a waiver claim. I do suggest keeping him on the bench until he shows that he can hit Major League pitching again, but homers aren't easy to find on the waiver wire.

Rajai Davis (I told you there'd be guys named Davis) was one of the most prodigious base stealers in the Majors for the last several years, but relegation to a bench spot might have made him available in leagues this year. If he's still out there in your league, he's an obvious source of speed now that he'll be playing every day again.

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