We all learned at a young age that a hot stove usually means danger.
Fans of the Seattle Mariners could tell you that … their nearly nonexistent prayers for a miraculous postseason berth were burned, mutilated and charred beyond recognition Friday evening with word that Cliff Lee was dealt to division rival Texas.
Sure, the Mariners got a sweet young powerhitter in the deal with massive upside in Justin Smoak, but they also received the last nail in their proverbial 2010 season coffin.
Fantasy owners should look at the carnage with eyes of a turkey buzzard, however. Cliff Lee and Justin Smoak will see alterations in their fantasy value, but I’m most excited about another player affected majorly by this deal:
Cliff Lee: He’s going from a pitcher-friendly environment to a park know for the long ball. Will Lee struggle with the change in venues? Perhaps at times. However, considering how he’s been pitching lately, he’d find a way to be successful pitching on a Colorado-area Little League diamond. At least he’ll see a solid boost in run support.
Justin Smoak: Young power hitter who has plenty of adjustments to make will be going from Arlington’s hitter-friendly confines to a much more stingy Seattle venue. Add in the fact that he’ll have less protection around him in the lineup, and it is safe to consider a reduction in Smoak’s fantasy production the rest of the way.
Chris Davis: Remember him? The guy who was projected by some for 30 to 40 homers this year after some success in 2009? The same guy who was demoted this spring to the minors and has been stuck behind Smoak ever since? No more. Davis was quickly promoted after the trade and will be manning first base for the rest of the season. It’s likely that he’s sitting somewhere on your waiver wire right now. As of this writing, he’s available in 80 percent of ESPN leagues. Expect that number to change rapidly. In 263 Triple-A at-bats since his early-season demotion, Davis is hitting .354/.403/.555 with 10 homers and 56 RBI. Go snag him. I’ll wait for you.
Scott Feldman: Not that anyone was starting him in fantasy circles already, but the Texas pitcher is likely to be bumped from the rotation with the addition of Lee and the eventual return of Rich Harden.
Russell Branyan/Casey Kotchman: It is highly unlikely that the Mariners will send Smoak to Triple-A ball while they sort out their offensive situation. It is hard to see the Mariners bumping Branyan out of the lineup and Kotchman has played well lately. Is another trade on the horizon? How will this situation play out? Hard to say at the moment, but worth keeping an eye on.
Seattle will also be getting minor leaguers RHP Blake Beavan, LHP Josh Lueke and 2B Matt Lawson, while the Rangers will also receive RHP Mark Lowe and cash. None of the secondary players in this deal will likely provide much in the way of fantasy value this season.
What are your opinions of the trade and how its ripple effects will alter fantasy values? We’d love to hear in the comments below.