Collette Calls: Next Man Up

Collette Calls: Next Man Up

This article is part of our Collette Calls series.

The Hot Stove League is underway, albeit rather quietly. The only deal of note so far has been Daniel Vogelbach donning the slimming pinstripes of the Mets as he joins the contenders while leaving Pittsburgh. The trade freed up time for Josh VanMeter and Cal Mitchell while moving Yoshi Tsutsugo to first base. None of that has any real fantasy relevance except in the deepest of leagues, but there are many players on the trading block as we creep closer and closer to the trade deadline whose departure could free up precious playing time down the stretch as we all continue to do whatever we can to keep our fantasy squads in contention.

We will likely see the most action from the following teams which have zero chance at a wildcard spot.

Angels

Likely to be dealt: Noah Syndergaard, Kurt Suzuki, Matt Duffy (all in final years of contract)

The Angels run a six-man rotation, so removing Syndergaard from it could lead them to go with a five-man rotation, or they could insert Jaime Barria or whomever they would acquire in return for Syndergaard into the rotation. Suzuki offers veteran experience to a playoff contender but also comes at the risk of being a poor thrower behind the plate. The beneficiary of a Suzuki deal would be Matt Thaiss, who is on the 40-man roster and catching in Salt Lake City. He's hitting .256/.359/.452 in Triple-A this season. Duffy is currently on the injured list with back

The Hot Stove League is underway, albeit rather quietly. The only deal of note so far has been Daniel Vogelbach donning the slimming pinstripes of the Mets as he joins the contenders while leaving Pittsburgh. The trade freed up time for Josh VanMeter and Cal Mitchell while moving Yoshi Tsutsugo to first base. None of that has any real fantasy relevance except in the deepest of leagues, but there are many players on the trading block as we creep closer and closer to the trade deadline whose departure could free up precious playing time down the stretch as we all continue to do whatever we can to keep our fantasy squads in contention.

We will likely see the most action from the following teams which have zero chance at a wildcard spot.

Angels

Likely to be dealt: Noah Syndergaard, Kurt Suzuki, Matt Duffy (all in final years of contract)

The Angels run a six-man rotation, so removing Syndergaard from it could lead them to go with a five-man rotation, or they could insert Jaime Barria or whomever they would acquire in return for Syndergaard into the rotation. Suzuki offers veteran experience to a playoff contender but also comes at the risk of being a poor thrower behind the plate. The beneficiary of a Suzuki deal would be Matt Thaiss, who is on the 40-man roster and catching in Salt Lake City. He's hitting .256/.359/.452 in Triple-A this season. Duffy is currently on the injured list with back spasms, but his infield flexibility and pinch hitting profile should be very movable once he's healthy, so he shouldn't cut into the playing time currently being shared by a cast of filler players.

Athletics

Likely to be dealt: Frankie Montas, Chad Pinder, Lou Trivino

Montas is arguably the biggest name on the market. His contract is not up until after next season, but the A's lose quite a bit of leverage if they wait until the offseason or during the 2023 season to trade him. Several contenders are in need of his services, and with his recent scare of shoulder troubles, the time is now. Zach Logue would the expected beneficiary of the rotation spot, but he hasn't pitched effectively in his previous eight appearances. Pinder is in the final year of his deal and should be flipped for something to a contender needing some right-handed pop off the bench with the ability to play multiple spots on the field. Trivino's contact is not up for two more seasons, but with reliever volatility and the high demand for effective relievers in the postseason, it would not surprise me to see Trivino and his new slider be sent away for a nice return. 

Cubs

Likely to be dealt: Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, David Robertson, Chris Martin, (maybe) Mychal Givens (maybe) 

Contreras is in the final year of his deal with Chicago, and his services would be an instant upgrade for contenders such as the Astros, Cardinals or Mets. The move to Minute Maid Park would be a fantasy boon for the pull-hitting Contreras, while the other locations would be a bit of a downgrade from Wrigley Field. Yan Gomes, who homered twice on Sunday, would stand to be the immediate beneficiary of the role in Chicago and an interesting add down the stretch with increased playing time. Happ has another year of control with the Cubs, but his arbitration hearing could push that final year over $10 million, so the Cubs could at least listen. If Happ were dealt, Rafael Ortega would stand to receive more playing time. Robertson, Martin, and Givens are all experienced arms, something contenders are always looking to add down the stretch. Robertson and Martin are in the final years of their deals while Givens has a mutual option. If all three arms depart, save chances could once again become a committee, with Rowan Wick and Scott Effross at the front of the line. 

Diamondbacks

Likely to be dealt: David Peralta, Ian Kennedy

Yawn? Peralta could have some value depending on the appropriate landing spot, but he isn't a full-time player for an upper-division club. Kennedy has three wins and four saves on the season in limited time, so his experience in the closer role could come in handy for a roster needing some depth in the pen. The club appears to be stuck with Melancon and his contract, so the majority of whatever saves are available would go his way.

Nationals

Likely to be dealt: Nelson Cruz, Josh Bell, Cesar Hernandez, Steve Cishek

Cruz and the Nationals have a mutual option should the aged slugger want to give it another go. Last year, the Rays paid a premium to get him and he failed to deliver. Mike Rizzo will not get the same type of return for Cruz this year, as Cruz is finally showing signs of his age after many years of failed predictions of such an event. Bell would be a welcomed addition to just about any lineup, including Houston, as the Astros' combination of first basemen have been worth -0.7 fWAR this season and have hit a collective .214/.265/.357. Hernandez was dealt last year at the deadline from Cleveland to the White Sox and performed rather poorly after the trade. He can man multiple positions on the infield, so his versatility would be valued, but his playing time would almost certainly take a hit. We are also still waiting on his first homer of the season just one year after he set a career high with 21 homers. Cishek is a free agent after the season and will be moved to someone for depth. Josh Palacios could find his way into playing time as the lineup settles, as he's hitting .306/.386/.448 with 17 steals in Triple-A and is on the 40-man roster. I refuse to believe a team out there is willing to pay the in-season ransom to acquire Juan Soto.

Pirates

Likely to be dealt: no one of note

I don't see the club trading David Bednar unless they're blown away with an offer. He's one year away from his first arbitration year and has taken a nice step forward. Perhaps Chris Stratton could be dealt in the annual Pirates and Yankees trade as they need someone to replace Michael King's spot in the bullpen, but I don't see the club making any other move at this time.

Reds

Likely to be dealt: Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Tommy Pham, Brandon Drury

Let's be clear: the Reds do not have to deal either pitcher. Both pitchers are under control through next season, but the club loses trade leverage if they don't deal the pitchers here at the deadline. Waiting until the winter allows other clubs to decide whether to spend money or give up prospects to acquire help, while they only have one of those options right now. Every contending rotation could use help, so this is a prime chance for the Reds to make right with the fans and build for the future. They should also be able to get some decent returns for Drury and his flexibility as well as Pham's on-base ability from a veteran club looking for those profiles. The hitters are all but gone in the next couple of weeks, which should free up playing time for TJ Friedl and Jose Barrero

Royals

Likely to be dealt: Andrew Benintendi

Whit Merrifield isn't in the final year of his deal and is very affordable next year, so there's no guarantee the fan favorite will be dealt in the coming weeks. Benintendi is a free agent after the season and has mostly dominated the playing time in left field. Once the club trades him, it should open up more regular starts for Kyle Isbel and Edward Olivares in the outfield, and perhaps even more than that if the club moves Michael Taylor as well. Taylor is under team control next year at $4.5 million.

Tigers

Likely to be dealt: Tucker Barnhart, Michael Fulmer

This club has been much worse than expected, so it's difficult imagining them being able to trade away anything other than a catcher and reliever in their final year. Barnhart's departure would open up more time for Eric Haase behind the plate or a promotion of Ali Sanchez to assume backup duties. There isn't a single relief pitcher on the 40 man roster who already isn't on the major league roster, but it isn't like the non-closer role on this squad is anything worth pursuing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Collette
Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, Baseball Prospectus and now here at RotoWire. You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Sleeper and the Bust podcast every Sunday. A ten-time FSWA finalist, Jason won the FSWA's Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year award in 2013 and the Baseball Series of the Year award in 2018 for Collette Calls.
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