Trades are as much a part of real baseball as they are in fantasy baseball. Where the situation can get a little strange is when real life trades have an impact in fantasy baseball.
Carlos Beltran has been traded twice in pre-trade deadline deals during his career. Both times his numbers actually improved after the trade. David Cone went 9-2 after being dealt to the Yankees in 1995 and lead the Yankee pitching staff to the post season. Doyle Alexander was dealt from the Braves to the Tigers for John Smoltz in a 1987 deadline deal. The Braves might have gotten the better of that deal in the long run, but Alexander only went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA after being dealt.
These deadline deals matter and they can impact fantasy baseball as much as real life baseball.
Matt Garza is mere seconds away from moving to Texas in a pre-deadline deadline deal. Garza appears to be healthy for now and he’s been successful since returning from his lat and arm issues. His current 21.2% K% is in-line with his 20.0% career average and his current 6.8% BB% is actually below his 8.0% career mark. His velocity is slightly lower than average, but heâ€™s only had 11 starts after an extended layoff and he didnâ€™t really have much of an off-season or Spring Training.
Garza will also be moving from the best hittersâ€™ park in baseball to a neutral advantage ballpark according to ESPN.comâ€™s Park Factors page. Heâ€™ll be pitching for a team with an actual offense and one of the better defensive infields in baseball playing behind him. His playing for a big contract and he should be on a team with aspirations of a deep playoff run. This should make Garza owners very, very happy. He could see a bump in almost every category during the important stretch run of the 2013 baseball season.
The Cubs are expected to get a haul of prospects for Garza. Two of which are pitchers and one of which is big league ready. Neil Ramirez (seriously? He sounds like a fake player from a late 90â€™s baseball sim. Jose Thompson wasnâ€™t available?) will at least get a cup of coffee this year, if heâ€™s dealt to the Cubs. Ramirez has posted a 2.93 K:BB ratio in 95 1/3 innings of work at Double-A. Heâ€™s struck out 117 and allowed 40 walks with eight homers. The Cubs will need someone to pitch in September and Ramirez should get a look.
The other big name prospect rumored to be in the deal is corner infield Mike Olt. Olt would likely step right into the gaping hole the Cubs have had at third base for the past 40 years. Mike Olt seemed ready to fight for at bats in a crowded Rangers infield, but an eye issue derailed what appeared to be a path to the big leagues. Itâ€™s believed (not confirmed) that Olt suffered a concussion while playing in the Dominican Republic over the winter and the vision problems were related. It sounds like heâ€™s over the vision issues and it appears that his career is back on track. Olt could be a useful add in single year leagues if the Cubs commit to see what he can do at the big league level.
The trade market for the last Houston Astro making any money is starting to heat up and it looks like starting pitcher Bud Norris could wind up on a contender before the deadline. Norrisâ€™ 2013 season has been odd. His velocity has recovered after a dip in 2012, but his strikeout numbers are the worst of his career. The best part of owning Norris used to be his 8.00-ish K/9. It was the only part of his game worth having on a fantasy roster. His K/9 has fallen to a meagher 6.24.
His issues can likely be traced to his swinging strike percentage. Norrisâ€™ swinging strike numbers have fallen below 10.0% for the first time in his career. A quick glance at Josh Kayâ€™s favorite, BrooksBaseball.net, indicates that the issue appears to be Norrisâ€™ slider. His slider hasnâ€™t been nearly as effective as in yearsâ€™ past. In 2012, Norris gave up only a .186 batting average when using his slider. His ISO allowed when using the slider was only .113. This year? A .249 average with a .130 ISO. His whiff/swing percentage has fallen from 37.96% in 2012 to 32.13% in 2013. It sounds like an incremental difference, but itâ€™s had a dramatic impact on Norrisâ€™ strikeout numbers.
Norris would be a better fit on most NL contenders rather than staying in the American league. His slider issues might not be as pronounced in a league without the DH and with pitchers allowed to hit.