Todd's Takes: Trade Reactions, Part One

Todd's Takes: Trade Reactions, Part One

This article is part of our Todd's Takes series.

 The Best Laid Plans...

Last weekend, I was figuring out what I wanted to write this week and decided on a couple of Todd's Takes centered around my spin on the deadline swaps.  However, I overlooked my filling in for friend and colleague Tristan Cockcroft at ESPN this week, specifically handling daily updates to The Forecaster, along with preparing next week's version. 

Unfortunately, I was unable to offer my trade takes in a timely manner. However, Jeff Erickson crushed it with Tuesday's podcast with Fred Zinkie as well as his American League reactions and Clay Link's staff had everything updated on site in lightning-like fashion.

What I decided to do instead is weave my own reactions into today's Box Score Blitz section as well as another posting over the weekend. Before reviewing Thursday's action, here are a couple of general thoughts about the recent frenzy.

Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later

Admittedly, those playing in AL or NL only leagues are dwindling, but I had someone ask me if the craziness of the last two deadlines should have single-league managers revert to the old -school approach by hoarding FAAB for the deadline. Lately, the trend has been not to, instead spending early and often.

Personally, I'm still going to be liberal with my early budget. I'd rather keep my roster as strong as possible than take my chances at the deadline.

Fudge Factor

If you followed my work, you know I'm a big park factor wonk. One of

 The Best Laid Plans...

Last weekend, I was figuring out what I wanted to write this week and decided on a couple of Todd's Takes centered around my spin on the deadline swaps.  However, I overlooked my filling in for friend and colleague Tristan Cockcroft at ESPN this week, specifically handling daily updates to The Forecaster, along with preparing next week's version. 

Unfortunately, I was unable to offer my trade takes in a timely manner. However, Jeff Erickson crushed it with Tuesday's podcast with Fred Zinkie as well as his American League reactions and Clay Link's staff had everything updated on site in lightning-like fashion.

What I decided to do instead is weave my own reactions into today's Box Score Blitz section as well as another posting over the weekend. Before reviewing Thursday's action, here are a couple of general thoughts about the recent frenzy.

Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later

Admittedly, those playing in AL or NL only leagues are dwindling, but I had someone ask me if the craziness of the last two deadlines should have single-league managers revert to the old -school approach by hoarding FAAB for the deadline. Lately, the trend has been not to, instead spending early and often.

Personally, I'm still going to be liberal with my early budget. I'd rather keep my roster as strong as possible than take my chances at the deadline.

Fudge Factor

If you followed my work, you know I'm a big park factor wonk. One of the things many do after the trade deadline is determine how the new venue will affect the traded player. Here are my quick takes on some of the major movers.

Frankie Montas: Downgrade, but not as much as many perceive going from Oakland to the Bronx.

Luis Castillo: Nice upgrade from The Great American Ballpark to T-Mobile Park.

Jordan Montgomery and Jose Quintana: Both lateral moves, which may be surprising for opposite reasons.

Noah Syndergaard: Another lateral switch.

Juan Soto and Josh Bell: Park downgrade but big team context upgrade.

Tyler Mahle: Could be the most significant as Mahle's bugaboo is homers and Target Field crushes power.

Box Score Blitz

  • PIT 5, MIL 4 (F/10): The Pirates designated Yoshi Tsutsugo, which makes sense, but Josh VanMeter is the primary beneficiary (at least for now), which doesn't make sense. Even so, Pittsburgh scratched out a couple tallies against Brandon Woodruff before winning on a wild pitch in the 10th. Devin Williams preserved the tie in the ninth before Milwaukee went up by a run in the 10th. Taylor Rogers threw an inning on Wednesday, so Matt Bush was tasked with the save. The former Rangers reliever surrendered a game-tying double to Bryan Reynolds. Ben Gamel was issued an intentional walk before Ke'Bryan Hayes flied to right, sending Reynolds to third. Oneil Cruz was given the four-finger treatment, setting it up for Reynolds to wrap things up by scoring on a wild pitch. Granted, Bush was acquired to get key outs, but Rogers had only worked the one inning since July 27, so it's odd he didn't get into the game. The Brewers scoring only three runs in regulation against a weak Pirates staff speaks towards their inability (or reluctance) to fortify their offense.
  • STL 4, CHC 3: Nolan Gorman and Paul Goldschmidt may have gone deep, but Lars Nootbaar was the hero with a game-tying sac fly and a game-winning walkoff single in the ninth. Granted, Harrison Bader is hurt, but Nootbaar's recent play may have greased the skids for shipping Bader to the Bronx for Jordan Montgomery. Since July 10, Nootbaar is slashing .356/.436/.622 while playing solid defense in right field. Speaking of Montgomery, the move to the Cardinals is essentially lateral in terms of park and competition. Yankee Stadium actually suppresses runs, as does Busch Stadium. Busch is curiously boosting homers this season, but it's unclear if it's due to the humidor or (more likely) variance. Willson Contreras celebrated staying with the Cubs by swatting his 15th homer. The pitcher he victimized, Miles Mikolas, failed again to catch a batter off guard with a quick pitch. The same thing happened earlier in the season. The hitter took his time stepping in and while he was setting up, Mikolas threw a quick pitch. Both times, the umpire waved it off, saying the hitter wasn't ready. Each time, Mikolas barked he had not asked for a time out. Expect similar shenanigans when MLB institutes the pitch clock.
  • LAD 5, SF 3: There was also a bit of a dust-up in San Francisco. Giants reliever Jarlin Garcia fanned Cody Bellinger and James Outman to end the top of the sixth with the Dodgers up 4-2. Garcia mimicked the Dodgers celebratory gesture, directing it at Outman. The normally unflappable Mookie Betts was in the on-deck circle and took offense. Garcia and Betts approached each other but were quickly ushered off the field. The home plate umpire ejected Garcia for taunting, which seems like a double standard since Betts performed the gesture after taking Garcia deep the last time the rivals met. Gabe Kapler was then ejected after arguing with Phil Cuzzi. Some of it was blowing off steam, as the Giants were about to lose their eighth straight against the rivals to the south, but it was also in frustration over how the umpires handled the situation. As for the game, the major news is Clayton Kershaw was unable to pitch the fifth inning after his back locked up as he was warming up. Kershaw has been dealing with back issues for the past several seasons, so the Dodgers will try to make sure he's healthy for the playoffs. Of course, we'll provide updates as they develop. Working in back-to-back games, Craig Kimbrel collected his 20th save. He hasn't been dominant, but converting his last six chances has quelled talk of losing the job.
  • OAK 8, LAA 7: As you can imagine, the "seven homers and the Angels still lost" jokes were all over Twitter. I don't know, I think it serves them right. Killing seven rallies is no joking matter. Shohei Ohtani hit a pair, with Kurt Suzuki, Taylor Ward, Jared Walsh, Jo Adell, and Mickey Moniak also leaving the yard. How Ward finishes the season is worth tracking, as he was a Joe Maddon favorite. Since coming off the IL on June 14, Ward is slashing just .222/.302/.321. He's continued to play regularly, and with Brandon Marsh sent to Philly, Ward's playing time should remain secure. That said, a .623 OPS does not bode well for his future. Ramon Laureano and Seth Brown led the Athletics' offense, helping Paul Blackburn collect his seventh win. Laureano missed the first month of the season while on suspension, so his slow start isn't surprising. However, he's hitting the ball much harder lately and could be primed for a solid final two months. A.J. Puk notched his third save, but for the second time it was of the vulture variety. Zach Jackson was handed the ball in the ninth with a two-run lead but needed Puk to rescue him. Jackson appears to be Oakland's closer with Lou Trivino in pinstripes, but it may not be long before Puk takes over.
  • COL 7, SD 3: Joe Musgrove fanned six with only one walk, but he surrendered eight hits including a homer in 4.1 innings, resulting in a 6-0 Rockies lead through five frames. Kyle Freeland was cruising until around sixth inning before the Rockies bullpen stepped in and kept San Diego at bay. Jose Iglesias' 3-for-5 day upped his numbers to .313/.355/.415. This is not a plea to pick him up everywhere, but with Kris Bryant out (again), Iglesias has been hitting second and could be an injury replacement, and Colorado is home for six games next week.
  • PHI 5, WSH 4 (F/5): The Phillies did some house cleaning, designating Didi Gregorius and Odubel Herrera for assignment. Herrera was no longer needed with the acquisition of Brandon Marsh, while Jean Segura's return from the IL and Bryson Stott's solid play rendered Gregorius expendable. Even with Marsh playing center, how good would Jackie Bradley Jr. look as a bench piece for Philadelphia? That said, he could also be an intriguing stopgap while a certain team waits for Harrison Bader to heal. Wouldn't that send Red Sox nation into a tizzy. Back to this rain-shortened affair, Noah Syndergaard picked up the win in his first effort with the Phillies, but it wasn't pretty. Syndergaard is still transitioning after Tommy John surgery, especially in terms of working with less velocity. Lately, he's eschewing his four-seamer for more curves. This makes sense since he doesn't have the same mph on the riding fastball, so it hasn't been as effective. The slider isn't nearly as devastating, but more curves could be part of the evolution of him becoming a pitcher and not a thrower. Alec Bohm continued punishing the ball with his eighth homer. Bryce Harper was in the booth and lauded Bohm for improving defense as the season has progressed. The numbers say otherwise, so while the comment should not be dismissed as teammate-speak, monitoring Bohm merits some time over the next two months.
  • NYM 6, ATL 4: Okay, time to pick up the pace. The Mets cranked four homers off Kyle Wright, with newcomers Tyler Naquin and Daniel Vogelbach accounting for three of the dingers as Naquin hit a pair. Vogelbach will play everyday against right-handers, while Naquin appears to be the fourth outfielder. That said, Mark Canha isn't crushing it, so Naquin could move into a strong side of a platoon role. Edwin Diaz notched a two-inning save. He was well-rested after not having pitched since July 29.
  • HOU 6, CLE 0: Justin Verlander continues to defy odds and do things no one else has ever done. To those saying you knew he'd be this good — NO, you didn't. This is a historical season. It's still unclear how Houston will deploy Martin Maldonado and Christian Vazquez, though Vazquez should be the guy down the stretch and into the playoffs. At least initially, Trey Mancini will bat seventh, but there's a chance of moving up if he produces. If I only had a nickel for every time Mancini says, "That would have been an out in Baltimore," for every Crawford Box homer hit the rest of the season.
  • TB 6, DET 2: Springs is the latest Rays starter to emerge as a force as he hurled six innings with only two unearned runs allowed. He fanned six while issuing only one free pass. Brandon Lowe's 3-for-5 effort raised his numbers to .339/.383/.571 since coming of the IL on July 16. Look for Jose Siri to get a lot of playing time. Siri strikes out too much, but he could run a bit.
  • TOR 9, MIN 3: Both Alek Manoah and Sonny Gray had trouble finding the strike zone, as Manoah issued four free passes in six innings while Gray handed out five bases on balls in five frames. Both guys fanned six while being frugal with hits. The Jays' bullpen was the difference as their offense scored three runs off three different Twins relievers, even after Minnesota fortified their bullpen at the deadline. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. scalded three balls over 105 mph, the last of which left the bat at 115 mph and would have gone through the left field wall had it not gone over it.
  • STL 7, CHC 2: Jose Quintana's Cardinals debut went swimmingly as he fanned seven over six frames, walking two while allowing just one run. He's the NL version of Martin Perez, sporting pedestrian peripherals but getting by via a significantly reduced home run rate. Quintana should benefit from an improved defense, and even if he doesn't maintain a low 3's ERA, the landing point should still be below 4.00. Lars Nootbaar was hitless, but his strong play was part of the reason St. Louis parted with Harrison Bader. Nootbaar is playing almost every day and merits mixed-league consideration.
  • TEX 3, CHW 2: Cole Ragans' ascension to the majors included recovering twice from Tommy John surgery. He posted a 2.81 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with Double-A Frisco, fanning 65 in 51.1 innings, before advancing to Triple-A Round Rock, where he recorded a 3.32 ERA and 1.07 WHIP while striking out 48 in 43.1 stanzas. The 24-year-old southpaw made his debut on Thursday, walking four with three hits allowed in five frames, but he limited the White Sox to just one unearned run. Brock Burke came in to vulture his sixth win. Burke has quietly shoved for Texas, amassing 62 strikeouts with only 13 walks and three homers allowed in 55.2 innings. Jonathan Hernandez has emerged as the Rangers' closer, locking down his second save this week. 
  • KC 7, BOS 3: Salvador Perez broke open a close game with a controversial home run in the seventh. Initially, the third base umpire ruled the ball was in play, but the home plate umpire overruled and called it a homer. Replay found the play inconclusive so the play stood. Practically peaking, the call was inconsequential, but it was still an odd play. The ball struck a green-painted area beneath the foul pole. It was clearly fair, but it was never clarified whether the area was part of the poll or in play. Again, it didn't matter, as both runners would have scored and Perez would have been awarded a triple since the ball bounced well away from the side wall, but it was enough to set Alex Cora off. He was frustrated that the home plate umpire changed the call, even though it fell under the purview of the third base umpire. Kris Bubic continued to pitch well as he continues to warrant consideration as a streamer. Expect the Royals to run liberally on Kevin Plawecki over the rest of the weekend, with Michael Massey someone to watch.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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