Fantasy Baseball Free Agent Tracker: Josh Donaldson and Gary Sanchez change scenery; Nelson Cruz in the NL

Haven’t we done it once before?

Yes, there was an offseason before the MLB lockout — and a frenetic season to boot — but it ended suddenly in early December with a lot of work to do.

So here it is: Part 2 of the Offseason Tracker, where you’ll learn the Fantasy Baseball implications of all the remaining moves. And if you want to catch up on the same from that first free agent binge, you can check out the original Offseason Tracker.

It’s a curious move for the Nationals, who appeared to be on a sellout last season, and a curious move for Cruz, who is signing with a non-contender for just $15 million guaranteed. Maybe he really likes the idea of ​​playing with Juan Soto. Between these two and Josh Bell, the heart of the order seems pretty solid, but there’s not much to do with them. Still, it’s a fair win to get Cruz out of Tampa, where he had just an ISO of 0.122 in his two months with the Rays compared to 0.283 on the road.

Tropicana Field can be a terrible place to hit, as we recently learned with Willy Adames, and Cruz’s exit speed readings suggest the 41-year-old didn’t lose anything last season. Now that he’s signed, his ADP will likely drop from the 150 range, but he’s still a bargain due to his age and DH-only status.

It turns out Minnesota was just a stopover for Kiner-Falefa, who the Twins acquired for Mitch Garver a day earlier. Considering he was flipped for another receiver in this deal, you can’t help but wonder if the Twins are actually prefer Sanchez to Garver, which would be… weird. Granted, Sanchez was once considered a rising star at catcher, having twice delivered more than 30 home runs in a season, but he had fallen out of favor with the Yankees due to offensive inconsistencies and defensive lapses. A change of scenery might help, but it feels like a long shot.

Donaldson is the biggest name here, and although he’s past his prime at 36 and almost certain to spend time on the IL for one reason or another, he still hits the ball. incredibly hard. His average speed out was the fourth highest in baseball last year, behind Vladimir Guerrero as well as new teammates Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, and the data suggests he deserved better numbers than he actually has. books. Because the power is mostly on his side, the move to Yankee Stadium doesn’t change much for him, but he’s in better training now. His Fantasy stock may rise a bit simply because he’ll be in more headlines, but he’s still more of a fallback option at third base due to availability issues.

The player whose value could be impacted the most by this deal is prospect Jose Miranda, who has struggled to find a position in the minors but offers potential for impact at home plate. While the Twins acquired Urshela in that deal, they also traded the entire left side of their infield. If Urshela stays at shortstop, Miranda could break in to third base, or if Urshela moves to third base, Miranda could claim second with Jorge Polanco sliding to the short. Ultimately, it will depend on what the 23-year-old shows off this spring.

Gray will be joining his fourth team in six seasons, and you have to think that part of the reason he’s moved around so much is that no one knows what to expect from year to year. It’s had seasons where it looked like a real competitor to Cy Young (2014, 2015, 2019) and seasons where it got closer to a streaming option, like last year. Getting out of Great American Ball Park can only be good for a pitcher, but Gray’s takeouts are mostly through ground balls or strikeouts, giving him a less sensitive profile instead. While he had a 4.89 ERA at home last year compared to 3.44 on the road, the gaps were closer to even in his first two years with the Reds.

In other words, this move doesn’t change its appeal to Fantasy as much as you might think. He’ll help catch up on strikeouts in the mid-to-late rounds and still has the potential to upset, but you shouldn’t think of him as a deciding starting pitcher. More than anything, what this deal signals to Fantasy Baseballers is that Reds prospects Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene could both join the starting rotation sooner rather than later.

Daniel Bard’s inspiring return to a closer role last year proved to be a misfortune, and in the end the Rockies were forced to rely on Carlos Estevez and his career 4.85 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. Surely, Colome is better than that. He was in and out of the Twins role last year, but finished strong and enjoyed a steady run as the closest in the previous five years. His success has always come despite a low strikeout rate, much like Mark Melancon.

Of course, it’s fair to wonder how that skill set will play out at Coors Field, where contact is particularly dangerous, but there’s no viable alternative for the Rockies right now. Colome won’t be one of the most coveted relievers come draft day, but he should probably be drafted ahead of Dylan Floro and Joe Barlow.

Bassitt joins a rotation led by Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer and comes out of what could be a miserable situation in Oakland with the Athletics looking to sell parts. For that reason alone, this trade is good news for its Fantasy value. Leaving Oakland could present other challenges, however. His success in recent years is mainly based on the removal of hard contacts and in particular home runs. RingCentral Coliseum is well suited for that skill set, and fittingly, Bassitt has a career 2.58 ERA there compared to 4.34 everywhere else. Citi Field isn’t the opposite of the pitcher/batter spectrum, but it’s closer to neutral. An ERA in the middle of the three is more likely than a repeat of last year’s, but with a relatively low WHIP. I bet he’ll still be worth a mid-term pick.

Garver’s .875 OPS last year was third best among catchers (minimum 200 at bat). His .995 in OPS in 2019 (to go with 31 home runs) led the position. Sure, he was terrible in 2020, when everything was weird because of the pandemic, but he barely played because of a strained intercostal. By now it should be clear that he is one of the best hitters the position has to offer. Playing time worries are the only reason he’s barely been drafted into the top 10.

This move to Rangers won’t prevent him from getting injured, of course, but it will put him under the jurisdiction of a new manager – one who hopefully won’t force him into a 50/50 split with his replacement ( in this case, Jose Trevino rather than Ryan Jeffers). I’ve been high on Garver all along, believing there’s little downside to firing a backhand at a receiver position, but now I’m inclined to push him past Tyler Stephenson.

As for Kiner-Falefa, he is in line to take over as the Twins’ main shortstop, although he was already set to play every day with the Rangers, who now have a hole to fill in the third. goal. Kiner-Falefa’s lack of pop keeps it from being a hot commodity in Fantasy, but it’s base-stealing enough to factor into deeper rotisserie leagues.

A three-year contract is a bit of a surprise for a pitcher who has compiled a 5.39 ERA so far in his career, but Kikuchi has shown everyone just how good he can be with a 3 ERA, 18 and a 1.03 WHIP in his first 15 starts last year. He was allowed one strikeout per inning during that span, which is disappointing by today’s standards, but his swinging strike rate was nothing short of elite. He may have been a victim of the Foreign Substances Ban, with his turnover rates dropping as soon as it came into force, but it’s too early to shut the door on him, especially with the kind of race support he’ll be getting. now. That signing, however, removes former prospect Nate Pearson from the rotation conversation.

Kershaw will stay in the Dodger blue, as the good Lord intended, but the fact that he gets a one-year deal suggests few clubs are confident in the future Hall of Famer’s ability to deliver numbers. have. Either that or he accepted a hometown discount. That is this or he wants to leave the door open for retirement next year. Come to think of it, we may not be able to do anything about the terms of this deal, but we can say this: his elbow wasn’t fine at the end of last season. He barely pitched in the second half and there was talk of Tommy John surgery.

It should be pointed out that it was as effective as usual before the elbow problem. His HIs 2.87 xFIP was his best in four years and his swing-strike rate was actually a career high. He says he’s healthy now, just a little behind in his preparation, and given his track record, you want to give him the benefit of the doubt. But the risk of his 2022 season never really taking off seems pretty high. That’s why he tends to get drafted after young upstarts like Alek Manoah, Dylan Cease, Trevor Rogers and Shane McClanahan.

The terms of the deal are exactly what you’d hope to see for a player who finished the 2022 season with significant question marks, lagging speed and an ailing shoulder. Rodon did not get a one-year proof contract, but a two-year guarantee at a high average annual value ($22 million). It even includes the right to withdraw after the first year. Rodon was one of the biggest escapes at starting pitcher before his battle with shoulder fatigue, and if he had had the innings to qualify, he would have ranked up there with Corbin Burnes in ERA (2, 37) and K/9 (12.6). Even when he was working out of injury last September, Rodon still managed a 2.35 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 9.8 K/9s over five starts.

Obviously, the Giants are optimistic, which gives us reason to be too, largely because, uh, he’s now going to pitch for the Giants. Oracle Park is a huge venue and Rodon is a fly ball pitcher, so while he exceeded expectations in terms of home run avoidance last year, the regression is now much less of a concern. Plus, the Giants have banked on nearly all of their veteran pitching signings in recent years — from Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani to Alex Wood and Drew Smyly — and Rodon doesn’t need as much help as he does. them.

I rank him around 30th at starting pitch, just behind other questionable cases like Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, and I’ll draft him there with renewed confidence.

Simmons’ Fantasy title is likely unrecoverable at this point, but he remains the game’s premier defensive shortstop. The Cubs have already made the curious decision to sign Marcus Stroman, a ground ball specialist if there ever was one. and he will be followed in the rotation by similar contact throwing types Kyle Hendricks and Wade Miley. If you’re planning on investing in any of them in Fantasy – more likely Stroman and Hendricks than Miley – this signature is music to your ears.

Sure, that probably leaves one of Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal (more likely Hoerner) without a full-time role, but neither offers the kind of power to be a big draw in Fantasy. Both could help with batting average while also making a modest contribution to stolen bases.

Christy J. Olson