Hanley Ramirez will be switching coasts as he has been dealt to the Dodgers. What type of player is the club from L.A. getting? Wandy Rodriguez escaped Houston and now has a chance at making the playoffs... with the Pirates (who knew?). Cole Hamels realized that the grass isn't always greener on the other side as he signed a massive deal to remain in Philadelphia. Ryan Desmpter's trade status is still in major limbo with the Braves looking like they might be out of the mix. Finally, some news on what is going on with the guys on the diamond including a slugger being released, another saying his rehab is going well, and a speedster whose value on the way up after one of the greatest hitters in baseball history broke his hand.
*Note: Howard Bender also shared his thoughts on the Hanley and Wandy deals HERE.
Hanley A Dodger
Dodgers Receive: Hanley Ramirez
Marlins receive: RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP Scott McGough
The Dodgers are going for broke, a year after claiming they were broke.
Still rumored to be in the mix to add Ryan Dempster (more on that below) and/or Hunter Pence or Shane Victorino from the Phillies, the Dodgers made the huge move of taking on the mercurial Hanley Ramirez in a deal with the Marlins. A headache who at times hasn't hustled, hasn't been a good teammate, can't follow directions (he recently punched a fan in the dugout and then got an infection after he decided not to follow doctors advice by taking medication to stave off the infection), and one who complained bitterly when the team improved itself over the winter by adding Jose Reyes (HanRam was ticked off at being asked to move from shortstop to third), the Marlins could look past all of that crapola when he was producing. However, since the start of last season Ramirez has been a shell of his former self, and when the production wasn't there the Marlins decided to say adios to the troubled former elite fantasy option. Let's take a look at the data.
From 2007-2010 the 28 year old left sider, it appears he will initially play shortstop for the Dodgers with Dee Gordon on the sidelines (this could be a huge coup for Ramirez if he can play 20 games at shortstop thereby giving him 2B/SS eligibility in 2013), was arguably the top fantasy player in the game. Here is his four year average: .319-27-83-111-36, as a shortstop. Look at those numbers again. Elite doesn't even begin to describe how impressive he was for those for years. However, since the start of last season he hasn't remotely approached that level of effectiveness. The numbers are still solid, but they are far from fantasy stardom: .245-24-92-104-34 in 185 games. Those numbers look impressive, but look at the games played column – that's a month over a full season of games. Let's cut down his work since the start of last season and compare it to his '07-'10 levels per 150 games (his yearly average in that four year span).
2007-10: .319-27-83-111-36 with a .394 OBP and .532 SLG over 150 games
2011-12: .245-20-75-84-28 with a a .326 OBP and .405 SLG (pace per 150 games)
Yikes is right.
The batting average is down nearly .075 points.
The home run total is cut by a quarter.
The RBI total is similar.
He's taken a massive step down in the runs scored column.
The steals are down.
All of that is bad. But then it get's ugly.
HanRam's SLG since the start of last year is only .011 points better than his OBP from 2007-10.
HanRam's OBP since the start of last year is only .007 points better than his AVG from 2007-10.
This is not good.
The move will likely help Hanley's spirits, but given the dip in his on field performance (I didn't even mention things like his K-rate this year being his worst since 2006), it remains to be seen if he has a chance to return to stardom on the left coast.
Wandy Rodriguez a Pirate
Pirates Receive: Wandy Rodriguez and cash (about $12 million)
Astros receive: OF Robbie Grossman, LHP Rudy Owens, LHP Colton Cain
"I feel like I could cry," Rodriguez told MLB.com. "It's a hard situation.”
Set to make $13 million next year and $13 million in 2014 (the option should vest now that he has been dealt), the Astros thought it would be wise to save some cash and get some prospects by dealing Wandy. As for the Astros haul, none of the players are going to make an impact this season. Both Cain and Owens are in the teen's in terms of the Pirates prospect list according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, whereas Grossman was the club's #7 prospect. Grossman has show power (seven homers) and speed (nine steals, though he's been caught 10 times) this year, but he's only at Double-A, so he may not even make a significant impact in 2013 (he was named the Pirates Minor League Player of the Year last season, thanks to scoring 124 runs and posting 104 walks in 134 games). Baseball minds question whether or not the Astros really did much to improve their club or if they just saved a few bucks.
As for the Wandy, does this move help him out at all in terms of his fantasy value? The difference figures to be negligible. The Pirates are obviously a better squad so perhaps Wandy's win potential rises, but wins/loses are always a crap shoot as we all know. As for how the two ballparks play, here are some Park Factor data for 2012.
PIT: 28th in Runs, 27th in HRs
HOU: 20th in Runs, 12 in HRs
Obviously Rodriguez is headed to a park that should certainly offer him a boost as Pittsburgh is clearly a place where the ball just doesn't fly into the seats as well as it does in Houston. However, Wandy has never been a homer magnet anyway as his 1.01 HR/9 mark for his career is pretty average stuff. Also, given his 51 percent ground ball rate this season, the best of his career, maybe the move isn't going to impact him that much.
What is a concern with Wandy is the change he has apparently made in his pitching style. After posting a K/9 rate of at least 7.78 each of the past five years that number has tanked all the way down to 6.13 per nine this season. That's going to significantly impact his fantasy value even if in the real world there hasn't been much change (I say that because Wandy has also cut his walk rate down to a career best level so that his 2.78 K/BB ratio is actually a three year high. He's also upped his career 1.31 GB/FB ratio to a career best 1.70 this season). He's basically pulling a Johnny Cueto, i.e. eschewing strikeouts in order to induce more grounders. Obviously that can be a very effective change, though one that may diminish the fantasy value of the hurler.
Finally, Wandy is in a funk right now. Over his last 10 starts he has a 5.40 ERA and 1.41 WHIP so it's not like he's helping anyone right now. Hopefully the move to a contender and to a park that favors the pitcher will be the tonic he needs to turn around his recent slide.
Cole Hamels a Rich Man: 6 years, $144 Million
Hamels will now be paid $24 million a year, the same that Cliff Lee makes, and the total of value of the contract at $144 million is the second largest contract ever given to a pitcher (CC Sabathia received seven years and $161 million). However, history is not kind to big money deals given to pitchers.
6 years/$136 million – Johan Santana
7/126 – Barry Zito
8/121 – Mike Hampton
5/120 – Cliff Lee
7/105 – Kevin Brown
That's not exactly a list of guys who have lived up to expectations, is it?
Hamels is just 28 years old and is coming off four seasons of at least 193 innings pitched showing durability. Hamels is also a big K guys with at least 194 punchouts in three of the past four seasons (career 8.49 per nine). His career mark of 3.76 K/BB ratio is also elite so it's not surprising that since the start of the 2010 season that he owns a 3.00 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over 84 games. Hamels should remain what he has been, possibly for the duration of the contract, and that is a near elite option at the starting pitcher position.
Ryan Dempster Looking for a Home
The Braves traded Randall Delgado to get Dempster. As a 10/5 player, 10 years in the bigs and five with the same club, Dempster has the right to turn down the deal. While he hasn't officially turned it down, it appears that he isn't very likely to accept the deal as he wants to pitch for the Dodgers. The result of that feeling has been the following. (1) The Cubs are now in negotiations with the Dodgers. (2) The Braves appear to have soured on Dempster to the point that GM Frank Wren said that working out a deal is “highly unlikely.” (3) Though the Cubs are still working on a deal for Dempster, it's possible that they could simply hold on to him and just take the draft pick compensation they would be owed at the end of the year.
Tick tock, tick tock with the trade deadline approaching.
Hideki Matsui has been designated for assignment after hitting .147 with two homers in 95 at-bats for the Rays. His career could be over.
A.J. Pierzynski is missing a second game with an oblique issue Wednesday. The club hopes he will be able to return to action by the end of the week. Though he has 16 homers on the year, just two off his career best of 18 back in 2005, he's been homer-less in 12 games and this injury doesn't figure to help him reach the seats with greater frequency.
Ervin Santana was supposed to get five innings in his next start. Well, that next start isn't going to be a while. The Angels have decided to skip the spot of Santana this week (he was set to start Friday). He should be back on the hill next week against the Rangers.
Mike Stanton (knee surgery on July 8th) expressed a belief that he could return to action in two weeks. If that is the case he'll be close to the low end of the initial 4-6 week time frame that was put out there. It's likely he's being a bit too optimistic.
Ichiro Suzuki, who hit 8th in his first game with the Yankees, will hit leadoff with the news that A-Rod is out 6-8 weeks with a broken hand. Hard to call the break to Rodriguez a good thing of course, but if you are an Ichiro owner this is great news.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday, 5-8 PM EDT. You can read more of Ray's work at BaseballGuys.com and follow him all day long at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.
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