Welcome back to another edition of Sportsfullcircle’s Fantasy in Five! I’m going to try my best to return this column as a weekly thing instead of once in a blue moon. My apologies if I haven’t been consistent, as I’ve had a busy summer.
Last week, I debuted the column for fantasy football, as I gave five rookies who could make an immediate impact on your squad. Since the trade deadline for baseball is upon us, and there have been some shocking trades, I’m going to analyze five players who have been or assumed to be traded and if they’ll get better or worse because of it.
1. Hanley Ramirez- We all knew the Miami Marlins were purchasing a championship squad this past offseason. They literally walked into the Winter Meetings with a blank check and signed players such as Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle to lucrative deals.
The team hasn’t lived up to the expectations and have started trading away key parts of their team. Once again, the Marlins are having a fire sale, just under a new city name and logo. One of those players they traded away was Hanley Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers (our very own Bryan Lipiner breaks down the trade here).
The 28-year-old hasn’t been himself the past few seasons. Ramirez blames injuries, while I blame his attitude. He reportedly wasn’t happy with playing third base with the recent signing of Reyes. Ramirez also has had scuffles with each of his managers before Ozzie Guillen.
I think this trade will help Hanley Ramirez play like he was circa 2011. Sometimes, a new place and new fan base could help a player like it did for Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers a few years ago. He wasn’t happy in Miami for the past few years, and making him happy might make you, the owner, much happier the rest of the season.
2. Ichiro Suzuki- Now a show of hands, who saw this trade happening? Just like I thought; nobody.
Coming into the majors at 28, Ichiro has always been known to be a great defensive outfielder, hit for average, and steal tons of bases. Last year was his first to not average over .300 in a season, but still managed to steal 40 bases.
Now entering the twilight stages of his career, Suzuki is currently only hitting .261 with 16 stolen bases. Knowing the Seattle Mariners are rebuilding, he recommended a trade to help the team for the future. And who comes knocking? The New York Yankees.
This is a perfect fit and comes with massive upside. Since Brett Gardner is out for the season, Suzuki will play left field in his absence alongside Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. He’s also an older version of Gardner, so the Yankees are not losing much on the base paths as well. Don’t forget about him being a left-handed hitter and that right field porch at Yankee Stadium.
While Ichiro’s 38-years-old and showing signs of slowing down, the Yankees are the team that have the best chance to rejuvenate his youth, knowing the team’s history. I’m not sure if he’ll be signed after this season, but since he’s also entering his contract year, expect some good numbers.
3. Zack Greinke: We’re only three years removed from when the 28-year-old won a Cy Young Award with the Kansas City Royals. Now, Greinke is going to be traded once again, mainly because of contract negotiations falling through.
Greinke’s an interesting situation. The current Brewer is a dominant pitcher at home (minus his last two starts), but has struggles on the road. He’s also an erratic pitcher, showing signs of pure dominance while also displaying poor location. He has never shown signs of consistency.
Knowing that he’s going to be traded before the deadline, his attitude might change for the better. Who knows, maybe his last start in Milwaukee will be his best to tryout for other teams. I’m expecting Greinke to pitch a little bit more consistent the rest of the way, but he’ll have his usual hiccups.
4. Ryan Dempster- Dempster demanded a trade earlier this season to pitch for a contender, knowing the Chicago Cubs are currently in the National League basement. He also knows his window is closing, being 35-years-old. The Atlanta Braves and Cubs agreed to a principle deal that would send him to Atlanta.
Thanks to the 10-5 veto rights he earned (pretty much a no-trade clause he’s earned by sticking with the team’s organization), the Braves “moved on” from attempting to acquire Dempster. He’s been telling the Chicago Cubs that it’s Dodgers or bust to this point. Los Angeles is currently working on a deal as we speak.
To be honest though, although Dempster has been dominant so far this season, he’s bound to hit a rough patch. But if he does go to the Dodgers, his production can be stable as it is since the National League West has some of the worst offensive teams in baseball that I’ve ever seen.
Overall, I expect Dempster to be a little worse than he his showing at this point. Trade him now and get your value before it’s too late.
5. Josh Johnson- Going back to the fire sale that is the Miami Marlins, we reach the ace of their pitching staff. ESPN’s Jayson Stark has reported that there’s a 95 percent chance he stays, but if he were to be traded, the Marlins want a “Teixeira-type” deal for him (three or more star prospects).
Knowing how that turned out for the Texas Rangers, acquiring Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, most teams wouldn’t budge immediately. Those prospects are what the Atlanta Braves gave up in this trade for Mark Teixeira, only to see him walk and enter free agency. Most teams don’t want a rental giving up four potential solid players.
I expect Johnson to continue his mediocre play throughout the season. The Marlins aren’t going anywhere sadly, so that’s clouding over him. If he does get moved (which I doubt) to a contender, he’ll come back to form. As of now, don’t expect an increase in pitching dominance.