Rotisserie By The Numbers: Trading Deadline Fantasy Winners and Losers

Craig RondinoneCorrespondent IAugust 1, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 16:  Cliff Lee #31 of the Cleveland Indians pitches against the New York Yankees during opening day at the new Yankee Stadium on April 16, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. This is the first regular season MLB game being played at the new venue which replaced the old Yankee Stadium as the Yankees home field.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Even the struggling economy could not slow

down the buyer’s market at baseball’s July 31 trading deadline.

You know the fantasy baseball rule: switching teams usually means a player’s fantasy value ticks upward. But will that rule hold true for all of the players traded at the deadline? Here are the players and my predictions:


Cliff Lee, Phillies

You think Lee and his fantasy owners will appreciate Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and the rest of the best offense in the National League providing run support for him?

Let’s just say Lee’s record wouldn’t be 7-9 right now if he and his 3.14 ERA had been in Philadelphia all season.

Before you complain about Lee pitching at Philly’s Citizens Bank Park, remember that the bandbox has not hurt the fantasy values of J.A. Happ, Joe Blanton and most other Phils pitchers. And the NL has not seen Lee on a regular basis, so that will be a benefit as well. Winner!

Note: So far, so good. Lee pitched a complete-game victory in his first start with the Phillies. Looks like Cole Hamels could end up being Philadelphia’s second-best southpaw.


Victor Martinez, Red Sox

V-Mart and the Green Monster should become fast friends in the coming days. Martinez will be batting at a great hitter’s park and be surrounded by a lineup full of ready-made RBI opportunities.

While it is unclear how Martinez’s playing time will be rationed (some time at catcher, some time at first, some at designated hitter) what is clear is that unless he handles pressure as poorly as Jason Varitek handles knuckleballs, Martinez should put up monster numbers down the stretch, thanks in part to his new Monster of a friend. Winner!


Jake Peavy, White Sox

Peavy turned down getting traded to Chicago before the season when he was healthy, but now he doesn’t mind going there during the season when he is hurt? Hmm, he sounds like the type of guy who takes 20 minutes to decide what to order at the drive-thru at Burger King.

Peavy’s fantasy value is not going to be much until his ankle heals and he is back on the mound, so he is really a risk at this point.

No one knows how he will pitch during a pennant race, how he will fare against tougher lineups, if he can stay healthy and if he even really wants to be in the American League.

Peavy being away from Petco Park, a pitcher’s paradise, will also harm his ERA and WHIP. And one Ozzie Guillen tirade could turn Peavy into a frazzled mess like Jose Contreras. His win total will improve, but his fantasy value will not. Loser!


Scott Rolen, Reds

Not exactly sure why Cincinnati traded for Rolen when their roster is built around youth and the future. Oh, I know. It was because Edwin Encarnacion is arguably the worst everyday player in baseball.

Rolen has to be commended for staying injury-free so far (cross your fingers and say nightly prayers for this to continue for two more months). But even though Rolen has had his best season since 2006 (that’s not saying much), he no longer has the power or speed that made him a fantasy mainstay earlier in his career.

Rolen should still be familiar with many NL pitchers, and there are worse things than hitting half the time at the Great American Ballpark.

But I see an injury coming in my crystal ball.– possibly Rolen getting concussed after a Micah Owings meatball gets lined off his forehead. If he stays on the field, he should be a winner. If he goes on the DL, he will be a loser.


Jarrod Washburn, Tigers

Washburn goes from one pitcher’s park to another, so the fly balls he induces should still stop short of the warning track, at least during his home starts.

Since the offense scoring for him and defense playing behind him is probably better now than it was in Seattle, this should be good for Washburn. Winner!


Orlando Cabrera, Twins

Cabrera has played like Father Time has started slowing him down with body blows and jabs, so getting thrust into a playoff race might add a little life to his aging legs.

A lot will depend on where Cabrera bats in Minnesota’s lineup. If he hits near the top of the order it would be key, since having Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau behind him would lead to a lot more runs. Winner!


Adam LaRoche, Braves

Uh, didn’t I just talk about how well this guy was doing in Boston in my last column? LaRoche is back with the Braves for a second go-round, which should be good for his fantasy worth because he will be playing every day and hitting in the middle of a pretty solid lineup.

He is notorious for being a torrid hitter after the All-Star break, so look for nice numbers. Winner!


Jerry Hairston Jr., Yankees:

This versatile infielder/outfielder was able to play semi-regularly on an injury-prone Cincinnati team that always had lineup holes to fill. His playing time will likely be lowered a bit in New York, as the Yanks prefer playing their regulars.

Hairston should play three days a week and steal a couple bases for speed-needy fantasy owners, but staying in Cincy would have been better for his stats. Loser!