Ever watch a row of dominoes fall, one after the other. It all starts with an ever-slight nudge on the first domino, and suddenly the chain reaction begins. Domino knocks down domino until there are no more dominoes left standing.
With the recent Dan Haren trade to the Angels, expect the dominoes to fall one-by-one up until the nearing trade deadline. As usual, there will be some interesting players on the move. There will likely be a lot of big-name guys who don’t get traded despite numerous hot-stove reports. Who will move and what does it mean for fantasy production? Let’s discuss:
1. Prince Fielder, MIL. Perhaps the biggest name on the list, Fielder’s slow start to 2010 has dropped his stock and perhaps his ultimate chances for a deal. Brewers fans don’t want to see Fielder go, and the organization knows that they’d need to net some serious talent to justify losing one of their premier power hitters. They’re unlikely to get that at this point. Rumors have Fielder going potentially to a number of teams, most notedly the Chicago White Sox. The Brewers have a pretty nice young lineup already, and it is hard to think Fielder will gain or lose much fantasy value no matter where he goes.
2. Adam Dunn, WAS. Contract issues have put Dunn’s name on the list, and considering how solid Dunn has played this season, there is little doubt he could help a contending team right away. Surrounded by mediocre talent, Dunn continues to whack homers and has even this season improved his typically abysmal batting average. On a team with more protection, logically, Dunn should see even more opportunity to produce. Some suggest the Yankees have shown interest in Dunn, and Dunn’s value would skyrocket surrounded by the talent already in pinstripes, but it seems more likely that the White Sox would look at Dunn as a cheaper alternative to Prince Fielder.
3. Lance Berkman, HOU. Another slugger on a bad team, Berkman’s skillset has declined and his no-trade clause and impending free agency seem to indicate that he’ll balk at any potential trade scenarion that doesn’t place him on a bona fide contending team. No squad, even the Yankees, would look to shell out tons of money for a declining Berkman for what could be half a season. It isn’t likely Berkman gets dealt, although a change in venue and stronger supporting cast would help his fantasy value.
4. Adam LaRoche, ARI. The Diamondbacks brass has mentioned that moving Dan Haren isn’t the last piece of their mid-season trade efforts, and LaRoche could be the next name to fall. He’s typically a late-season bloomer, doesn’t come with too steep of a price tag and could produce well for seasons to come. It is much more likely that LaRoche gets dealt than others on this list, and again, a change in venue will most likely help his value as long as he gains more lineup support in the process. The Angels have been mentioned as a destination, along with numerous other spots.
5. Chad Qualls, ARI. Like LaRoche, Qualls’ chances of being dealt seem higher than others because the Diamondbacks are looking to 2011 and beyond. Qualls has struggled this season, but could provide some nice middle relief assistance to a contender, with potential to fill in at closer if the team gets in a pinch. Expect Qualls to be moved, just expect more holds than saves wherever he winds up.
6. Jose Bautista, TOR. A banner season for Bautista may land him on another team. The third baseman could be an outfielder for any potential suitors and his power numbers have superceded anyone’s wildest imaginations for him. According to sources at Yahoo sports, the Giants, White Sox, Tigers and Braves have asked about Bautista’s services. Considering the Blue Jays will have to shell out $6 or $7 million to him next season before free agency, it is likely he’ll move elsewhere.
7. Rickie Weeks, MIL. Just like in fantasy baseball, major league teams are always looking to sell high on players. Can’t get much higher for Weeks than right now, after he’s avoided injury and posted great numbers and reached potential for the first time in forever. Weeks will be a free agent after next year, and at the pace he’s going statistically, his price tag will likely soar moving forward. Still, it just doesn’t feel like Weeks will be going anywhere. Are the Brewers ready to wave the white flag on their 2010 season just yet?
8. Roy Oswalt, HOU. Said to be willing to waive his no-trade clause, Oswalt is the best pitcher remaining on the alleged trade market. Recent mention of wanting any new team to absorb his $16 million option for 2012 may muddy the waters somewhat, but it is still likely that a contender makes a move for Oswalt. Depending on the ballpark, and whether he lands in the AL or NL, will go a long way to determining his fantasy value change.
9. Ted Lilly, CHC. A cheaper option than Oswalt, and one also likely to be moved this summer is Lilly. Allegedly, 10 teams have asked about his availability. The Mets, Tigers, Twins and Dodgers appear to be the front runners, but again, Lilly’s value would suit best if he remains in the NL and not in a high-powered division like the NL-East.
10. Kerry Wood, CLE. A recent trip to the DL was very untimely for Wood, who had been a major name on the hot stove trade market. Chris Perez is the future of Cleveland save opportunities, and the Indians would love to free themselves of Wood’s contract. They are allegedly trying to rush him back from the DL and saying he’ll be the unquestioned closer when he does return … but I wonder how much of this is to create a better picture of Wood while the trade market is still open. Any move, like with Qualls, will likely see Wood produce more holds than saves, so watch closely.
Who else is on the trade deadline? What do you think will happen? How will fantasy values be affected? We’d love to hear your comments in the section below.