As much as we would like things to stay the same in our lives and for our favorite sports teams, they don’t often do that. Every year players get traded or sign free agent deals elsewhere and it’s seemingly picking up in pace with just how often rosters will turnover. While that is the case in every sport, one can argue that changes in teams in baseball have the biggest effect on what players do on the field the following year because of changes in lineup, stadiums, leagues, and just new surroundings overall. With that in mind, let’s look at the players that have changed teams this offseason and how that may affect their play on the field in 2020.
*This article will be updated to reflect the latest MLB signings that involve players switching teams in a fantasy relevant fashion.
** Don’t miss out on the MLB Free Agent Tracker for in-depth coverage on free agent signings as well.
Yasmani Grandal (Brewers to White Sox) – The last two years have been big ones for Grandal. In 2018, Grandal had career-highs in GP, AB, PA, triples, homers, runs, RBI, walks, and OBP. Then in 2019, he topped all of those numbers and added career-highs in steals, walk rate, and batting average, and a career-best in K-rate as well. The White Sox have already indicated they could use him at catcher, DH, and first base while giving them a switch-hitting power bat in the heart of their order. It’s certainly a drop down in terms of a hitter’s park from Milwaukee, and across the division as well. Minnesota, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Detroit are all less hitter-friendly than most of the NL Central was. Grandal shouldn’t really see a big drop in performance though since those career years still had BABIP, ISO, and HR/FB rates that fit with his career numbers, and his GB-rate has actually dropped the last two years.
Travis d'Arnaud (Rays to Braves) – Mets fans already had to watch d’Arnaud re-discover his offensive upside last year as a member of the Rays after waiving him earlier in the year, now they’ll have to deal with d’Arnaud in their division as a backstop for the Braves. He did trail off quite a bit in August and September as he hit just .242 in those two months with three homers, 25 RBI, and 16 RBI which equaled the amount he had in July with 25 RBI and 18 runs while hitting 100 points higher. Catcher has never been a dependable offensive bat, which is why he was waived in the first place, but if the Braves can capitalize on his two-month hot stretch, he’ll be just fine as a backup to Tyler Flowers in Atlanta.
Omar Narváez (Mariners to Brewers) – Narvaez was a revelation last year as the Mariners starting catcher with a career-high in the counting stats, games played, and batting average. Considering he played for Seattle, it’s not a shock to see him get moved in an offseason deal knowing how many moves Jerry DiPoto loves to make each year. Narvaez is replacing the guy at the top of this section in Milwaukee but based on the year he had in Seattle, more of the same should be once again possible since the NL Central has quite a few hitter-friendly parks including Milwaukee’s home field. As a left-handed pull hitter, he’ll be taking the same approach Grandal did in 2019.
Alex Avila (Diamondbacks to Twins) – Avila is a 33-year-old catcher who hit a combined sub-.200 in 143 games combined over the last two years in Arizona. The Twins are planning on him being a backup in 2020 and based on the numbers he’s posted the last few years, there’s no reason to trust that Avila will make much of a fantasy impact in 2020 even if he takes over the starting role in the event of an injury.
Austin Romine (Yankees to Tigers) – For the first time in Romine’s professional career, he won’t be a member of the Yankees organization as he switches to the rebuilding Tigers for 2020. The catcher spot has been a bit of a revolving door for Detroit for the last few years and they’re hoping that bringing in Romine will settle it down for a bit and help Grayson Greiner to continue to develop as Romine is coming off a very solid year hitting .281 in 73 games with eight homers, 35 RBI, and 29 runs. Comerica Park is not nearly the hitter’s park that Yankee Stadium is nor is the Tigers lineup anywhere close to the Yankees, which will hurt Romine overall. He’s still a valuable catcher in two-catcher leagues though.
Jason Castro (Twins to Angels) – After a three-year stint in Minnesota, Castro is headed back to the AL West, though in L.A. this time. He makes the second former Astros’ catcher in the Angels battery with Max Stassi now serving as his likely backup. Castro started off well in Minnesota but then had two lost seasons for the Twins that totaled just 98 games and 14 total homers and hitting just over .220 in that span. Los Angeles is hoping they’re getting the Castro that’s at least capable of hitting over .240 with 12-15 home run upside, but that still won’t make him a viable fantasy backstop.
Sandy León (Red Sox to Indians) – Flash back to 2016, Leon’s first year in Boston, he had a very good season with career-highs in average, OBP, SLG, home runs, RBI, and runs. Since then though, it’s been a steady fall off each year as the slash line fell as did the power and counting stats despite increasing games and at bats in both 2017 and 2018. Leon now becomes the defensive backup option to Roberto Pérez and thus has very little offensive upside or value in fantasy leagues.
Kevin Plawecki (Indians to Red Sox) – Cleveland and Boston swapped back-up catchers this offseason as Plawecki was claimed off of waivers by Boston. The 60 games he played for the Indians last year were the fewest of his career, including his very first in the minor leagues when he registered 61 behind the dish. There wasn’t much happening at the plate with a bat in his hand last year either in averages or counting stats. He will be the backup in Boston as well, and thus doesn’t have any value in fantasy leagues, even those with two catchers in the starting lineups.
Stephen Vogt (Giants to Diamondbacks) – Vogt has been a journeyman backstop the last several season and now the travels take him to the deserts of Arizona. He’ll be the backup to Carson Kelly for the Diamondbacks but the switch from the worst hitter’s park in the league in San Francisco last year to one of the better hitter’s parks in Arizona will help his offense when he does get on the field at either catcher or fill-in first baseman so his 2020 season should be better than last year.
Jesús Aguilar (Rays to Marlins) – In 2019 we were too busy waiting for a repeat of the 2018 second half that he had, that never came, to realize exactly what he did for both teams last year. The Brewers sent him to the Rays at the trade deadline after he wore out his welcome in Milwaukee. Now, he’s once again joined a National League team with this one being the Marlins. The rebuilding squad in Miami needed a bit of an upgrade at first base and some pop in the lineup. That’s what Aguilar can bring to Marlins Park if everything clicks once again like it did in 2018, at least in the second half, except for the part where Marlins Park has been the worst hitter’s park in the majors the last few years. They are moving the fences in this year however, which may help a bit.
Justin Smoak (Blue Jays to Brewers) – Unsure if Ryan Braun can play first base on a relatively frequent basis, they went out and added Smoak to man first base this year. Smoak had a relatively productive run in Toronto though the last three years got progressively worse in slash line and counting stats including games played. Smoak is still 33 years old and the switch-hitter offers the kind of versatility at the plate that Milwaukee likes, not to mention he actually gains a boost from moving from Toronto to Milwaukee in terms of park factors and lineup. If Smoak can be healthy, unlike last year, his numbers should make a rebound toward 2017 and 2018 in counting stats and ratios.
C.J. Cron (Twins to Tigers) – Cron has been a pretty underrated first base/DH option the last couple of years for Tampa Bay and Minnesota. He’s had 30 and 25 home runs respectively in that span and has hit .253 each season with at least .780 OPS marks. Now he moves on to Detroit on a one-year deal to be their first base option and a fill-in until the upcoming talent in the farm system is ready to join the major league squad. There is a downgrade in the park factors for Comerica Park compared to both Tampa Bay and Minnesota, just ask Nick Castellanos about how hard it is to hit homers in Detroit, which may minimize the power numbers, not to mention the lineup will hurt his counting stats as well.
Eric Thames (Brewers to Nationals) – Thames is taking over the Matt Adams role from the past couple of years, though Thames is capable of being a full-time starter at first. He’s coming off a solid year in Milwaukee when he slashed .247/.346/.505 with 25 homers and a .354 wOBA in 149 games. As of this writing, in the beginning of January, Thames is slated to be the starting first baseman for the Nationals and offer protection in the lineup for Juan Soto which means he should get quite a few pitches to hit in key spots hitting fourth. There are some other options that can play first base in Howie Kendrick and Asdrúbal Cabrera and that doesn’t include if they re-sign Ryan Zimmerman , like they are expected to do. Thames takes a bit of a hit going from Milwaukee to Washington in Park Factors, but it’s still a pretty good hitter’s park and keep in mind he’s playing with one of his best friends in Howie Kendrick as well, which could help his adjustment to the new team and city.
Jonathan Villar (Orioles to Marlins) – His first, and now only, year in Baltimore was quite the successful one with 24 homers and 40 steals in 162 games and a rebuilt slash line up to where it was four years ago. The Orioles are clearly rebuilding as they put him on waivers in a surprising move this offseason but the Marlins scooped him up as they need a new, cheaper infielder option after letting another one on this list go, and Villar will fit that bill. He won’t play second base for Miami as they have Isan Díaz in place at the Keystone but they intend to have Villar play third and possibly some outfield as well. The pop might fall back to where it was the past few years before Baltimore as Miami is a worse hitter’s park than Camden Yards but the speed will play well in the Marlins lineup and the NL-style game. There’s also the chance the positional change could affect his offensive output as well.
César Hernández (Phillies to Indians) – The last two years in Philly were very good for Hernandez as he played all but two games total and put up a combined 29 homers, 168 runs, 131 RBI, and 28 steals while his batting average and SLG both got better by at least 40 points between 2018 and 2019. However, with the contracts set up for them, Philly decided to let Hernandez go and Cleveland scooped him up pretty quickly. He’ll replace the aging and ailing Jason Kipnis at the Keystone for the Indians and the offense he brings with him should be helpful in revitalizing the offense for the Indians, which was quite lackluster last year.
Jonathan Schoop (Twins to Tigers) – The rebuilding Tigers actually went out and got a few free agents this year, and Schoop was one of them. He had a bit of a rebound season in 2019 after he completely bombed in 2018 while playing for the Orioles and Brewers. The year with the Twins got his power stroke back a bit with more homers and a better ISO mark in fewer at-bats than in 2018 but those improvements will be put to the test with the move to Detroit. Yes, they’re moving in the fences at Comerica Park a bit, but that won’t help the lineup in general and that’s the biggest problem for Schoop and putting up counting stats. Combined with a bad offense, playing in one of the worst hitter’s park, is sure to make his numbers revert back somewhat once more in 2020.
Eric Sogard (Rays to Brewers) – Sogard enjoyed a career year last year as he split time between Toronto and Tampa Bay. He had career marks in AVG, SLG, OBP (for a season with 100-plus games played), home runs, runs, and RBI. Just how big of a year was it for homers? He has 24 career MLB home runs, 13 of them came last year. Not only does Sogard have a new team this year but he’s also slated to play a position that he’s only played 38 games at in his MLB career; third base. The park should help his offense stay decent but switching positions along with teams might make his season get off to a slow start in 2020.
Luis Urías (Padres to Brewers) – Once a very promising prospect for the Padres who had hopes of him being the other part of the middle infield along with Fernando Tatis Jr. , he was dealt away in a trade this offseason and will now take residence at the keystone for the Brewers. In 83 total games for the Padres between 2018 and 2019, Urias slashed .221/.318/.331 with six home runs, 32 runs, 29 RBI, and one steal which is all a far cry from what he did in the upper minors where he had a .300-plus AVG and .398 OBP, 30 homers, 222 runs, 133 RBI, and 16 steals in 311 games between Double-A and Triple-A. The Brewers are hoping that the upper-minors numbers show up rather than what he did in San Diego as they slot him in as a shortstop in competition with Orlando Arcia .
Jurickson Profar (Athletics to Padres) – After having an odd season in Oakland where he hit for 20 homers but only managed a .218 batting average and BABIP with a .301 OBP, he was dealt to San Diego in the offseason. San Diego will use him to fill the second base spot that was a turnstile for them last year. The counting stats for him have stayed about the same between 2018-19, but if he hopes to raise the slash line again, the pull rate will need to be lower from the near 50-percent mark it was last year compared to the 39-percent mark it was in 2018. The ballpark change won’t help as Petco isn’t nearly as hitter-friendly as the RingCentral Coliseum has been the last several years.
Starlin Castro (Marlins to Nationals) – The Nationals continue to fill-in their infield this offseason and they are taking a shot on a still not-yet-30-year-old Castro. He’s mainly thought about as a second basement, given that’s where he’s played the majority of his career, he did play some third in Miami in 2019. While the first half of the season was not great for Castro, and many folks wrote him off at that point, the second half of the year was a different story. In the final 74 games of the year, Castro hit .302/.334/.558/.892 with 16 home runs, 52 RBI, 44 runs, and a steal with 22 doubles and triples combined. Washington is hoping to use a group of infielders as a way to make up for losing Anthony Rendon at third and if Castro can keep up the second-half numbers while moving to a better hitter’s park in a division he’s familiar with, that could help quite a bit.
Wilmer Flores (Diamondbacks to Giants) – Flores was one of the hotter pre-draft names heading into last year as he was assumed to have a starting role locked up in the desert at either first base or perhaps shortstop for the Diamondbacks. That didn’t necessarily work out according to plan as he only played 89 games in 2019 and while he did hit for a .317 average, the nine homers and less than 40 runs or RBI didn’t help your fantasy stat lines for sure. This offseason though, he inked a multi-year deal with the Giants to add depth to the infield as he can be a valuable utility guy for a team that’s dealt with a lot of injuries and underperforming in the infield the last few seasons. The drawback here is the lack of regular playing time as well as, most importantly, the park he’s going to is one of the worst hitter’s parks in the league in San Francisco. He won’t be much of a fantasy factor this year and the hype certainly isn’t anywhere as big as it was last year for him, nor should it be.
Luis Rengifo (Angels to Dodgers) – Rengifo was an under-the-radar prospect that came up for the Angels last year and played 108 games at second base for them in their mix-and-match infield. Now the nearly 23-year-old middle infielder is on his way across town to the Dodgers after being swapped for Joc Pederson . The 108-game stint in L.A. wasn’t all that impressive as he posted a .238 AVG with seven home runs and two steals, though he did have a .300 BABIP and a .321 OBP and was willing to take walks at a nearly double-digit clip. The issue for Rengifo is that he’s going to a loaded roster with the Dodgers and so aside from not being a lot of playing time available, he may in fact start out at Triple-A and get a bit more seasoning and be an injury call-up waiting in the wings. He can be avoided on draft day at this point.
Anthony Rendon (Nationals to Angels) – After spending his entire professional career in the Nationals’ system, including the last seven seasons at the major league level, Rendon moved on to the left coast in the offseason. Each of the last three seasons his stat lines got better in almost every way, culminating with his near-MVP winning season in 2019 that set career-bests in AVG, OBP, SLG, home runs, runs, RBI, K-rate, ISO, BABIP, wOBA, wRC+, SwStr-rate, and hard-hit rate. That along with great defense at the hot corner made the Angels offer up $245 million over seven years to bolster their offense and defense that were desperately needed. Typically we talk about regression for players playing in their first season of a big contract, and switching leagues, and coming off a career-year. However, given Rendon’s approach and the fact that he’s now hitting behind Mike Trout and in front of Justin Upton and Shohei Ohtani and in a very hitter-friendly park in L.A., he might be able to put up fantastic numbers again in 2020.
Josh Donaldson (Braves to Twins) – One of the more consistent power hitters over the last several seasons. Donaldson took a one-year deal with the Braves in 2019 to prove he was healthy again and up to his usual stuff in the batter’s box and it paid off. After a 37-homer campaign, Donaldson is moving on to Minnesota on a four-year deal with an option for a fifth year. The Twins are coming off a year in which they set an all-time home run record in a season and made the playoffs for the first time in several years which likely intrigued Donaldson with the prospect of winning for a few more years. He will be their full-time third baseman as Miguel Sanó will move to first base which improves their infield defense as Donaldson is a high-level defender at the hot corner. He’s hit homers and driven in runs wherever he’s gone and in the last six seasons with at least 113 games played, he’s tallied 29 or more home runs five times and registered 89 or more runs five times and better than 94 RBI five times as well and that shouldn’t change this year.
Mike Moustakas (Brewers to Reds) – Has there been a more under-the-radar multi-positional bat than Moustakas in the last few seasons? He hit at least 28 home runs a year for the last three years and averaged just below a .260 AVG all while playing both second and third for the Brewers. Now he moves on to the Reds on a four-year deal signed this offseason and if any park can match the hitter-friendliness of Miller Park it’s Great American Ballpark. With Eugenio Suárez locked in at the hot corner, Moustakas will play second base for the Reds and expect his counting stats to improve over his 2018 and 2019 numbers in 2020.
Maikel Franco (Phillies to Royals) – The Royals used Hunter Dozier at third base much of 2019 but now they are taking a shot on Franco being an everyday third baseman again after mixed performances in Philadelphia the last few seasons. Franco signed a one-year deal to head to the heartland and with the big outfield in Kansas City there is a chance that we could see his slash line make a return to where it was in 2018 and the pop could return a bit too. He is certainly not a sure bet, hence the cheap deal he was signed for but if you are looking for a flier late in the draft, Franco could be an intriguing bat with a below 15-percent K-rate, ability to spread the ball around to all fields, and an uptick in walk-rate as well.
Travis Shaw (Brewers to Blue Jays) – After two-straight 30-plus home run seasons and two 86-or-more RBI seasons, he absolutely fell off a cliff last year. In 86 games for the Brewers, he slashed an abysmal .157/.281/.270 with seven homers, 22 runs, 16 RBI, and no steals while striking out a whopping 33-percent of the time. While down at Triple-A San Antonio, he hit .286/.437/.586 with 12 homers, 44 RBI, 27 runs, and three steals. It’s not a shock that the Brewers decided to move on from him, as he’s not the best defender at third either and with Keston Huira and Mike Moustakas in the infield, there wasn’t much room for Shaw. Toronto needs a new big bat at the corner infield, this time at first base, with Justin Smoak moving on. Shaw fits that bill. Toronto is a pretty friendly ballpark for hitters, as is most of the AL East, but there’s quite a climb back up for Shaw to get to respectability like he had in 2018.
Todd Frazier (Mets to Rangers) – After missing out on Josh Donaldson and Anthony Rendon to anchor the hot corner as they move to their new stadium this year, they signed the veteran free-agent to a one-year, $5-million deal. He had a resurgent 2019 as he raised his batting average back up to .251, the highest mark he’s posted since 2015 in Cincinnati, while also topping 20 home runs once again. The question with Frazier has always been, just how much swing-and-miss will you have to put up with to get the home runs he’s capable of producing. While the ball does tend to fly out of Texas in the summer months, Frazier’s batted ball profile from last year with a 10-plus percent Swinging Strike rate, 33.4-percent Hard Hit rate, and nearly 50-percent pull rate all indicate that he was going for average over power and that should help fantasy owners a bit this year as Frazier is a solid late-round option at a deep third base position.
Didi Gregorius (Yankees to Phillies) – One of the more surprising moves of the offseason was to see the Yankees not even offer a qualifying offer to Gregorius at season’s end, but considering what he signed for in Philly, it was a risk worth taking for the Yankees to not be on the hook for $17.2 million for the shortstop. Philadelphia wasn’t necessarily in the market for a shortstop with Jean Segura at the spot last year, but Segura will move over to second and this move helps their infield defense and offense with Gregorius on board. There is some concern about an offensive drop-off from Gregorius now that he’s not in Yankee Stadium anymore. However, he was a better hitter outside of Yankee Stadium last year than at home and with him being a pull-hitter from the left side of the dish, the short porch in right field at Citizens Bank Park is reminiscent of his former home park.
José Peraza (Reds to Red Sox) – Peraza was one of the hottest middle infield targets heading into draft season last year, then had an inexplicably bad season in 2019 with a slash line of .239/.285/.346 with six homers, 37 runs, 33 RBI, and seven steals. In 2018, the slash line was 40-80 points higher with more than twice as many counting stats in each category. The only noticeable differences were a two-percent uptick in swinging strike rate, three-percent in K-rate, and a two-percent drop in contact rate, but his hard-hit rate and BB-rate both improved in fewer games played. Boston needed a cheap second baseman, which is where Peraza will play for the Red Sox, and if he gets back to the 2018 version of himself when he posted 14 home runs and 23 steals with a .288 AVG, it’ll have paid off well for Boston.
José Iglesias (Reds to Orioles) – Baltimore is still in the middle of a complete rebuild, as they will be for a few more years, and Iglesias is the type of cheap, defensive-minded, plug-and-play shortstop that fits the placeholder role they want him to play. Last year they used a turnstile approach at shortstop but this year expect Iglesias to be the full-time starter and he may even be able to come close to his offensive output that he had last year in Cincinnati considering how good of a hitter’s park Camden Yards is, not to mention the rest of the division’s parks.
Tommy Pham (Rays to Padres) – Over the last three seasons, Pham has been one of the most consistent outfield bats out there with at least 21 homers each of those years and 25 steals in two of them, including last year. Between 2018 and 2019 he combined for a .274/.368/.457 slash line with 42 homers, 40 steals, 179 runs, and 131 RBI. Now he moves back to the NL in a move to San Diego as their starting left fielder but that doesn’t mean his offensive totals should drop that much. He’ll likely be sandwiched in the lineup by Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado with Eric Hosmer and Trent Grisham also in the lineup. While his home park might not be the most friendly to hitters, the NL West in general is pretty hitter-friendly with Dodger Stadium, Coors Field, and Chase Field.
Hunter Renfroe (Padres to Rays) – One of the pieces going back to Tampa in the Tommy Pham trade was Renfroe. It looked to be a good move for Renfroe getting out of the crowded outfield situation in San Diego and heading to a team with a DH spot available, but that upside was short lived after further moves by the Rays. Renfroe has a ton of power in his game, in fact that’s what he’s known for, but there is also a ton of swing-and-miss in there as well as he posted a 31.2-percent K-rate in 140 games last year which dropped the average to a lowly .216 mark. Moving to the AL East likely helps the offensive profile, in terms of power and currently he has the right field spot all to himself, but if the average doesn’t bump up, that could change in a hurry.
Trent Grisham (Brewers to Padres) – We’re back to talking about the Padres but they did add another bat worthy of talking about in Grisham. He came up with the Brewers last year after an impressive Triple-A campaign and continued to show a power stroke that got everyone’s attention in the minors. The move to San Diego doesn’t really help him in terms of offense or playing time as it’s a big drop off in park factor for him and he’ll have to compete with Tommy Pham , Franchy Cordero , Manuel Margot , and Wil Myers for outfield playing time and perhaps Ty France a bit as well. There is promise in the young man’s stroke but there’s a chance he doesn’t hit his offensive upside in San Diego simply because of the park he plays in.
Nomar Mazara (Rangers to White Sox) – Mazara was acquired in a trade for the White Sox who have been busy changing their lineup for the 2020 season on the South side of Chicago. The outfielder is pretty well settled into what he is at the major league level at this point after four-straight years of similar stats. He produces right around 20 homers a year with an average in the .260 range and runs and RBI in the 60 range as well. It’ll be a new look outfield and lineup for the White Sox this year, but Mazara shouldn’t really be changing anyone’s mind about who he is based solely off the switch from Texas to Chicago. In fact, he loses a bit of a boost he had with Texas in terms of park factors.
Kole Calhoun (Angels to Diamondbacks) – Calhoun was a bit of an under-the-radar type player for the Angels the last several years as he’s been a good defensive right fielder and a reliable offensive piece. The average and slash line in general has fluctuated a bit over the last few years ranging from .208 to .271 in full seasons with OBP ranging nearly as much between .283 and .350. The power is good though as he’ beens between 20-30 homers regularly and hitting in key spots in the lineup have seen his runs and RBI stay above 70 in each of the last six seasons, except for two marks of 57 and 58 in RBI. Moving to Arizona should be a fairly lateral move for him in terms of park but it is a downgrade from a lineup perspective for sure.
Avisaíl García (Rays to Brewers) – Is there a hitter that has yo-yo’d as much as Garcia in the last four years, at least in terms of batting average? He’s gone from .245 to .330 to .236 to .282 last year all while seeing his counting stats go up in home runs each year and his runs and RBI staying around the same despite the up-and-down nature of the batting average. Garcia signed a two-year, $20 million deal with the Brewers this offseason to be their new left fielder as they shift several players around for 2020. Milwaukee has been one of the best hitter’s environments the last few years so there is a shot that Garcia could repeat his 2019 slash line and counting stats but he’ll need to keep the Swinging Strike rate, hard hit rate, and K-rate where they were in Tampa to make that a reality.
Corey Dickerson (Phillies to Marlins) – Dickerson has been a bit of a journeyman in his career to this point and now he’ll add one more stop as he goes to Miami with a two-year deal this offseason. He’s been a very good defender and a source of a high batting average each of the last three seasons but the power has been streaky and it won’t be helped by going to potentially the worst hitter’s park in the league, though they are moving the fences in several feet this year. He’s always been a guy that is a late-round value at the position and that continues to remain the same in 2020 though it’s hard to see a 25-plus homer season coming from him again with the new ballpark.
Jake Marisnick (Astros to Mets) – Marisnick was traded to the Mets who have been seeking a defensive-minded center fielder for a while now and that’s what Marisnick is. He’s never been an offensive threat to be taken seriously with averages typically under .250 and generally ten or fewer homers a year. The outfield is a bit of a mess in New York, just as it was in Houston, and so playing time might be about the same for Marisnick meaning he has very little, if any, fantasy value for 2020.
Delino DeShields Jr. (Rangers to Indians) – He was part of the trade between the Rangers and Indians involving Corey Kluber , and for the Indians he figures to be a fourth outfielder type at the beginning of the year. In the five years he was with Texas at the major league level, DeShields topped 100 games played four times and in each of those, he stole 20 or more bags despite subpar batting averages. The speed only adds to what’s already on the Indians roster between José Ramírez , Francisco Lindor , and Oscar Mercado so he doesn’t have a defined role right now other than spelling the other outfielders for a day off.
Starling Marte (Pirates to Diamondbacks) – In a trade that no one really saw coming, Marte becomes the second player of that last name to be playing in the desert. Arizona needed a full-time centerfielder as they used a few different players in that spot a year ago, and they found one in Marte who will also double as their likely leadoff hitter heading into the year. When healthy, he’s only topped 150 games once in his career and 140 twice, he’s a force with a bat and on the basepaths posting back-to-back 20-25-plus seasons and stealing at least 21 bags every year since 2013. There is little question as to what he can do on a field when he’s on one, and now that he’s going to the desert, he gets a better lineup and a better park to hit in. Marte’s draft stock should go up a tick with this trade as the counting stats will likely be higher now.
Nick Castellanos (Cubs to Reds) – Castellanos finished the year on an absolute tear once he got to Chicago and was, for a while, in the middle of a playoff race. You’d think that a guy who’s proven how good a hitter he is for the last few seasons, posting 23 or more homers each of the last three years and a .285 or higher average in three of the last four, wouldn’t have to have waited so long to be signed, but there are questions about his defense that linger and that might have played a role. Regardless, the Reds continued to bolster their new-look lineup and outfield with a four-year inking of Castellanos and that should get everyone excited about what that bat can do in that park not to mention that the lineup around him might be just as good as what the Cubs had around him for the second half. He was in this division to two months last year, which might mitigate a bit of the standard slow start from guys who switch teams in the offseason.
Mookie Betts (Red Sox to Dodgers) – The deal everyone was waiting for all offseason for happened between the Red Sox and Dodgers and it was a doozie. Betts, currently on a one-year arbitration deal of $27 million, had been balking at contract extensions from the Red Sox for three years and just this offseason declined a 10-year, $300-million offer and countered with a 12-year, $420-plus-million offer. After the two sides clearly weren’t agreeing, Boston sent the superstar packing with the Dodgers more than happy to receive his services. We all know what Betts is capable of when healthy and focused as he’s easily a top-five player in the league and now going to the lineup he’ll be the leadoff man for, expect the runs scored and even the RBI totals to jump up now too. Dodger Stadium has been a better hitter’s environment than Fenway Park for the last few years and so that adds to his value bump too, if there’s such a thing from a top-10 pick in most drafts to begin with. He’ll slot in as the everyday Right Fielder and with so much money on the line for him, expect him to be at the top of his game all year.
Alex Verdugo (Dodgers to Red Sox) – The main return piece, in what turned out to be a three-team deal, Verdugo will be taking the spot left vacant by Betts in right field at Fenway and potentially in the leadoff spot at the top of the order. There is a lot of hype surrounding Verdugo this offseason, even before the trade, but unless something drastic changes with his game, a big leap forward shouldn’t be expected. While he is going to a park with a shorter porch in right field for left-handed hitters to feast on, as well as a hitter-friendly division, the swing path and hard contact rates just aren’t there for him to be much more than what he’s been to this point. Expect a solid average from him, and a slight boost in power but so far in 158 games in the majors he’s got 14 home runs and four steals, mainly due to his 7.2-degree average launch angle and 50-plus percent ground ball. Granted it’s a small sample, however, in the minors, he never showed major power or speed either so if you’re looking to take a shot on a guy switching leagues, there are worse guys than Verdugo to take a shot on, but just don’t try and expect the hype just yet.
Manuel Margot (Padres to Rays) – In another trade between the Rays and Padres this offseason, Margot joins his former and now new again teammate Hunter Renfroe . Margot was a top prospect a couple of years ago for the Padres as he possessed a great combo of power and speed and defense in the minors but the only thing that has really shown through in the majors is the defense as he’s one of the top defensive center fielders in baseball. In terms of offensive upside for him getting out of San Diego, it’s still a very crowded outfield situation in Tampa and with his lack of offensive numbers to this point in the majors, he’ll likely need to show well in spring training to get more at-bats early in the season. What this does do however, is give Tampa perhaps the best defensive outfield in the majors between he and Renfroe and Kevin Kiermaier meaning opposing hitters might have a tough time getting hits against them with anything hit into the outfield, depending on how Tampa decides to employ their lineups.
José Martínez (Cardinals to Rays) – Martinez has been a guy that’s known for his bat the last few years but didn’t really have a defensive home in St. Louis as his defense just isn’t good. Now in Tampa Bay though, following a trade for the young pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore, Martinez should better fit in at DH or 1B for the Rays. He hits for a nice average and draws a fair amount of walks while possessing 15-20 home run pop in his bat. That being said there is a crowd at DH and 1B for Tampa, and outfield too for that matter, especially after signing Japanese slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo this offseason as well as Nate Lowe , Hunter Renfroe , and Joey Wendle , who may see a decrease in at-bats than what might have been expected with this move to the AL for Martinez.
Edwin Encarnación (Yankees to White Sox) – In a continued arms race with the Twins in their division for the most bats on one team, the White Sox added Encarnacion to beef up their DH spot. Dating back to 2012, Encarnacion has hit no less than 32 homers in a season no matter where he’s played, his average however has dropped from .280 to .244 in that same time. Chicago needed to remake their offense and that’s what they did this offseason with Encarnacion adding yet another very potent weapon in the middle of it adding depth throughout. While this addition is good news for everyone in the lineup, including Encarnacion who still gets to hit in a pretty fair hitter’s park, it’s bad news for Zack Collins and James McCann who will have their roles reduced with this signing.
Gerrit Cole (Astros to Yankees) – Do we really have to go in-depth about Cole here? He’s been arguably the best pitcher in the league the past two seasons and is coming off a mammoth year in his walk season that was 2019. The contract speaks for itself as well as it broke records for pitchers, AAV, amount, and length. There are some that are concerned that the move to New York could affect him negatively as the bright lights of Broadway and the money are a lot to live up to. However, Cole has been a Yankees fan since he was a kid and nearly wound up as a Yankee after high school before honoring the commitment to UCLA rather than turn pro. While there is an argument to be made that the entire division of the AL East is tougher to pitch in than the whole of the AL West, Cole is the still the top pitcher in the league and should have success wherever he takes the mound.
Corey Kluber (Indians to Rangers) – The trade rumors surrounding Kluber had been going since the start of last year and they came to fruition this offseason as the Rangers were able to put together a package to get him. Last year was certainly a far cry from what we’re used to seeing from the righty who is usually an ace-caliber pitcher, but injuries played a big role in his down season in which he was on the mound for just 35.2 innings. Texas is hoping they are getting the pitcher that topped 203 innings five-straight years from 2014-18 while posting sub-3.00 ERA’s three times. In terms of if we’ll see a drop-off or not in his first year in Texas, the summer months in Arlington can be rough on pitchers and the division is far tougher offensively than the AL Central has been between the Angels, Astros, A’s, and Mariners to a degree. So will he match his 2017 or 2018 seasons in 2020? Don’t bank on it, but an ERA in the low-threes with just over a strikeout per inning should be expected if he’s healthy.
Zack Wheeler (Mets to Phillies) – Wheeler was considered to be perhaps the best free-agent pitcher on the market after Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg and the Phillies locked him up on a five-year, $118 million deal to be the potential ace, if not number two, pitcher on the staff. Wheeler is already familiar with the division, lineups, and parks where he’ll spend most of his time pitching in which helps his adjustment period for sure. However, he’ll be away from the shadows of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard and even Marcus Stroman in the second half of last year, which may put more pressure on him. Philadelphia is also coming off a disappointing year in 2019 after gearing up to compete and so there will be pressure on Wheeler to help them make a playoff push in 2020. He should pitch well enough to be a high-end SP3 on your fantasy rosters this year.
Hyun-Jin Ryu (Dodgers to Blue Jays) – Ryu was in the running for the NL Cy Young last year after a stellar season with the Dodgers that saw him pitch to a 2.32 ERA (3.10 FIP and 3.32 xFIP) in 182.2 innings over 29 starts while striking out 22.5-percent of hitters and walking just 3.3-percent. However, the strikeouts and lack of innings had him coming up short in the voting. That’s kind of been a theme for Ryu in his career with 740.1 innings in 126 career appearances (125 starts) which is less than six innings per showing. Toronto inked him to a four-year, $80 million deal to bolster their rebuilding rotation that is awaiting some prospects to flesh it out, but it’s hard to see Ryu producing traditional ace-type numbers in any fashion in Toronto with his history and the division. Not to mention adding a hitter to the lineups he’ll face nearly every start of the year.
Madison Bumgarner (Giants to Diamondbacks) – For the first time in his remarkable career, MadBum was a free agent and instead of re-signing with the team that’s he’s always known, he moved down the highway to another team in his division and signed with Arizona on a very reasonable deal, if everything pans out. He had a resurgent 2019 campaign in San Francisco after talk of decreasing strikeout numbers and velocity had taken hold due to a couple of fluke injuries in prior years. While the ERA was the highest of his major league career, he did get the K/9 rate back up to nearly 9.00 and he cracked the 200-inning mark after two years of missing it. Arizona is reshaping their rotation after trading away Zack Greinke last year at the deadline and then trading for Zac Gallen and Mike Leake . Bumgarner will assume his spot atop the Diamondbacks rotation, but without the protection of one of the best pitcher’s parks in the league to hold down his ratios a bit, the ERA may rise a bit more while the K-rates stay about where they were last year.
Dallas Keuchel (Braves to White Sox) – Keuchel sat out the beginning of last year before signing with the Braves on a one-year deal and it did help bolster their rotation to a degree over 19 starts with a 3.75 ERA (4.72 FIP). That was enough to intrigue the White Sox into signing him to a longer, three-year deal this offseason. Chicago is looking to make a run this year, hence all of the moves we’ve already talked about earlier in this piece. Keuchel should help lengthen the rotation behind a breakout campaign by Lucas Giolito and he should provide a veteran presence to help Dylan Cease mature in the majors. Overall, the AL Central isn’t a highly threatening one in terms of opposing lineups outside of the Twins, but the softer velocity and his tendency to give up long balls might not help his cause in 2020.
Cole Hamels (Cubs to Braves) – One soft tossing lefty leaves the Braves’ rotation, and wouldn’t you know it, another softer tossing lefty replaces them in the starting five. Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million deal to join Atlanta this offseason after the Cubs made no attempt to bring him back, mainly due to their own payroll constraints. Hamels had an injury-shortened 2019 campaign and when he was on the mound it was a tale of two different pitchers. At home he was great with a 2.78 ERA (3.88 FIP), 25-percent K-rate, 1.20 WHIP, and .228 BAA in 77.2 innings. On the road though, he posted a 5.06 ERA (4.34 FIP), 21.3-percent K-rate, 1.63 WHIP, and a .295 BAA in 64 innings. If Hamels is fully healthy to start the year, he should put up similar numbers to last year in Chicago which makes him a decent SP4 candidate on fantasy teams.
Julio Teheran (Braves to Angels) – The Angels have been looking to add starting pitching this offseason and Teheran was an early piece they signed. He is coming off seven-straight seasons of at least 174 innings and posting a career ERA of 3.67 for the Braves. The last two years have seen him increase his strikeout rates as well but so have the walk rates. Teheran’s pitch mix tends to lead to a bit more fly balls than you’d like to see headed to Anaheim but with that being said, he’s kept his HR/FB rate relatively in check over the same time frame. He’s slated to be the ace for the Angels rotation this year which could make him a bit of a bargain for a top-end starter in draft season.
Jordan Lyles (Brewers to Rangers) – The righty is coming off the best full season of his career in 2019 as he split it between Pittsburgh and Milwaukee and made his most starts in a season at 28. The 4.15 ERA over the 141 innings is also the best season-long mark for him and the jump in K-rate for him is explained with a higher fastball and curveball percentage and cutting the changeup usage in half. Lyles will be a back-end starter for the Rangers but it’s a nice under-the-radar signing for them and their desperate need for rotation help. He will likely stay under-the-radar for fantasy drafts as well given his one year of success and the Rangers division and park.
Tanner Roark (Athletics to Blue Jays) – Roark has been a man on the move in the last couple of years heading from DC, to Cincinnati, to Oakland, and now to Toronto on a free agent deal. He’s been pretty consistent over that span though with between 165 and 180 innings pitched in his last three years with ERA marks ranging from 4.35 last year to 4.67 three years ago all while making 30 or 31 starts per year. Toronto is in a transitional period for their rotation and Roark, along with Ryu who we talked about earlier, should serve as some nice mid-rotation depth for the Blue Jays for the next couple seasons. This will be the toughest division he’s ever pitched in so his numbers will likely take a jump up from where they have been the last few seasons.
Martín Pérez (Twins to Red Sox) – Perez took a one-year deal in Minnesota last offseason but the season didn’t exactly go well with a 5.12 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 4.69 xFIP, while giving up 1.25 HR/9 and striking out less than 7.5 batters per nine. Now he gets to move on to Boston to try for a better season. The problem for Perez though is that the AL East is far tougher than the AL Central was last year and that doesn’t bode well for his ratios or counting stats. If you want to take a flier on Perez as an SP6 candidate, there are worse guys you could take but don’t expect an ERA mark better than his career mark of 4.72.
Rich Hill (Dodgers to Twins) – Mr. Blisters, oh sorry that’s his real name, has signed with the Twins in an effort to add depth to their rotation as they intend to make another postseason run this year. Hill has been in the majors for parts of every season from 2005-2019 yet has just 937.1 innings pitched in that time including only one over 136. That being said, he has been effective when he’s been on the mound the last three-to-four years though with ERA’s spanning a 2.12 mark in 2016, up to a 3.66 in 2018. He’s done it all behind the strength of his curveball and a deceptive fastball that plays off that, and of course changing arm angles. If he can stay healthy, the division he’s in should help his numbers stay pretty strong in the ratios with a decent K-rate, which makes him a SP4-5 caliber arm heading into 2020 baseball drafts.
Dylan Bundy (Orioles to Angels) – After four not-very-good years in Baltimore, the Angels made a move to get Bundy and add depth to their rotation for 2020. Some of the peripherals with Bundy are solid with a career 4.28 SIERA, 23-percent K-rate, 8.82 K/9, and making 28 or more starts three straight years. However, the ERA, WHIP, and especially homers allowed aren’t good and heading to the park and division he is, there might not be much improvement in them either. While his Fastball and Slider were thrown less last year in favor of his Curveball and especially the Changeup, it proved to be a good call and part of the reason why his ERA dropped from 5.45 in 2018 to 4.79 in 2019. The home runs will continue to be an issue for him as he’s given up 114 in his four-year major-league career including 70 the last two years, and Angels Stadium has been very home run friendly the last few years.
Rick Porcello (Red Sox to Mets) – New York needed a backend starter to round out the rotation and decided to take a shot on Porcello on a one-year deal. Eight of his 11 years in the majors have seen him posting a mid-four ERA or higher with his worst year coming last year at a 5.52 mark (4.76 FIP, 5.14 xFIP also career-worsts). He is a reclamation project at this point and the home run total he gave up last year isn’t great either with the only solace being that he’s not in the AL East anymore. With some of the other moves the Mets made this offseason, Porcello may need a hot start to stay in the rotation long-term for them.
Michael Wacha (Cardinals to Mets) – Speaking of other moves the Mets made, Wacha was signed to an incentive-laden contract before they signed Porcello. Wacha will compete for the fifth starter spot but could also wind up in the bullpen as well as his stuff tends to play up in short stints on the mound. Injuries and shaky performances are what he became known for in St. Louis so the change of scenery should help Wacha’s mentality but in terms of fantasy value it might be limited considering how crowded the competition is for the last few spots in the Mets’ rotation.
Alex Wood (Reds to Dodgers) – This one is more like an old face back to an old place with a year in between. Wood was part of the package that went to Cincinnati last year in the trade to cut salary from the Dodgers payroll. The Reds got a whole whopping 35.2 innings out of the southpaw in the deal before he became a free agent and was scooped back up by the Dodgers on a one-year, $4-million deal. If he is healthy again, he’s worth the shot for the Dodgers as a backend of the rotation arm given his last two full seasons in L.A. of 152.1 innings and 151.2 respectively and mid-three FIPs. If you’re looking for a flier of a starting pitcher later in drafts, there are worse options than Wood to be sure.
Gio González (Brewers to White Sox) – Gonzalez has been floating around a bit the last few seasons and even though it was an injury-shortened season for him last year, he was still effective when he was on the mound for the Brewers. The White Sox were on a frenzy this offseason with adding pieces to their offense but they also added depth to the rotation with this signing and as a backend starter on the south side, the southpaw should be a solid option for the Pale Hose. While his FIP has been 3.76 or higher in the last four years, twice that mark has been lower than his ERA and his K-rate has remained around 22-percent in that span as well without big jumps in the walk-rate. This season will be the first time back in the American League since 2011 for him, but the opposing offenses in the division aren’t terribly threatening outside of Minnesota.
Kenta Maeda (Dodgers to Twins) – After the first several seasons stateside being played in L.A., Maeda was moved as a part of the three-team deal involving the Twins, Red Sox, and Dodgers with Maeda heading to Minneapolis. The Twins needed another proven starter as they try and advance further than they did a year ago in the playoffs and they got that with Maeda now in the fold. He had a career-high for innings last year at 153.2 and pitched to a 4.04 ERA in that span but a 3.95 FIP. He also struck out nearly 10 hitters per nine in his 37 appearances, 26 being starts. He’s not a top of the rotation guy to be sure but he can be a very useful mid-rotation arm and one that is potentially gaining an advantage by the switch to the AL Central from the NL West in the offenses he’ll face and the parks he’ll get to pitch in. He should also see his innings rise and be more of a starter long term after this move considering he doesn’t have to deal with Dave Roberts as his manager anymore.
David Price (Red Sox to Dodgers) – The second big piece in the Betts blockbuster was Price who’s also headed to L.A. Price, when healthy last year, was a very good pitcher pitching to a 3.24 ERA, 2.85 FIP and 10.26 K/9 (28-percent K-rate) in the first 83.1 innings of the season before the final 24 in which the ERA was over seven and the FIP was 6.30. He’s still working his way back from injury and may not hit the ground running out of the gate in spring training but if he’s healthy he should bolster the Dodgers’ pitching staff, which they needed help with. There are some serious risks involved in Price this year considering his recent and current injury history but switching to the NL from the AL East should help him out as well as being backed up by the best offense in the NL from a year ago. Be careful what you’re expecting from Price and if you take him, you’ll need to take another pitcher quickly after to work as a handcuff of sorts for him when he gets injured.
Will Smith (Giants to Braves) – Smith has been a dominate reliever the past couple of seasons in San Francisco and now he is likely to take his closer role to Atlanta in 2020. Atlanta made the move to get Shane Greene last year, but that didn’t work out well as he struggled in the closer role. Smith is a high-strikeout pitcher. However, he did see his HR/FB rate soar to 20.4-percent last year after being at 6.5-percent in 2018. He should be a major target for saves this year in fantasy drafts coming off a 34-save year for the lowly Giants.
Blake Treinen (Athletics to Dodgers) – Treinen was slowed down by injury last year but that didn’t stop the Dodgers from signing him this offseason to be a setup guy for them. He’ll pitch in front of Kenley Jansen , a spot the Dodgers have needed help with the last few years. The lack of saves will hurt his fantasy value but for those in holds leagues, his strikeouts, ratios, and holds potential still make him a valuable commodity.
Drew Pomeranz (Brewers to Padres) – Pomeranz was great in relief for the Brewers down the stretch last year and the Padres added him via a four-year deal this offseason. He could be a swingman for the Padres but in all likelihood will be a reliever in the middle innings for a team looking to compete sooner rather than later. His arsenal plays up in shorter stints and he has nice strikeout potential out of the pen, but not much more than that as he won’t be in the closer role in San Diego.
Dellin Betances (Yankees to Mets) – Switching teams in the Big Apple is what Betances did this offseason after injuries ended his 2019 campaign early. The Mets were looking to bolster their pen this offseason and if Betances is healthy for them in 2020, this will do just that. He is a big-time strikeout guy out of the pen who should slot into a setup role in Queens giving him the occasional save opportunity, while racking up the strikeouts for those who want a guy to help their ratios out of the pen.
Will Harris (Astros to Nationals) – Harris has been a very good reliever the last few years, except for one moment in Game 7 of the World Series against his new teammates. He was the one that gave up the Howie Kendrick homer off the foul pole, but that doesn’t change what he’s capable of bringing to a major league bullpen. The Nationals had one of the worst bullpens in the league last year but with Harris coming on board for 2020, in addition to re-signing a couple key pieces they got at the deadline last year, the bullpen is now one of the strengths for Washington and Harris should get all the holds he can handle for them.
Brandon Kintzler (Cubs to Marlins) – Kintzler is taking his talents to South Beach (to steal a Lebron phrase) and he’s inked a deal to presumably be the closer for the Marlins. Don’t laugh. I know the Marlins are still going to be rough to watch, but here’s the thing…you want closers on teams like this. It’s not to say that the closers for the 100-win teams aren’t worth it, but think about it this way…when the Marlins win games, they won’t be blowouts (in all likelihood) which means a save chance for Kintzler as opposed to when the Astros or Yankees or Dodgers win games, they’re typically blowing teams out due to their high-power offenses. Closers on mediocre offense tend to get as many if not slightly more save chances than those on great offensive teams. Kintzler isn’t as crisp as he used to be, but he’s still a quality reliever and if you’re needing a closing option on an overlooked team and it’s late in the draft, Kintzler is certainly an interesting name to look for.
Brusdar Graterol (Twins to Dodgers) – After what seemed like a week in waiting to figure out his fate after being involved in the original Betts-Price-Verdugo trade, he’s not heading to Boston but instead to Los Angeles. For him and those wanting to see that 102-mph sinker in the major leagues faster, this is a better move as he’ll make an immediate impact in the Dodgers bullpen from the get go. He’s been dominant in the minors over 214 total innings pitched with a 2.48 ERA, 2.97 FIP, and 3.16 xFIP while striking out 26.8-percent K-rate and a 1.07 WHIP and .210 BAA. The one dominant pitch he has is a remarkable one as it clocks in as the aforementioned 102 mph sinker that is a double-plus pitch and then he backs that up with a plus-slider and an average changeup. The Fastball/Sinker and Slider combo is lethal in the bullpen and should be a great setup man in front of Kenley Jansen and paired with Blake Treinen .
Emilio Pagán (Rays to Padres) – Heading back to San Diego in exchange for Manuel Margot is Pagan as a piece to bolster the bullpen for the Padres. The Padres were anchored in the pen by Kirby Yates last year who was quite dominant with 41 saves and great ratios. Pagan was very good in his own right for the 96-win Rays team in the backend of the pen despite Tampa rotating guys into the ninth-inning role throughout the year. Now heading to San Diego he gets out of the daunting AL East and goes to a better pitcher’s park and will likely be a big factor in holds with a few saves coming his way as well on Yates’ off days. The value does take a hit for him for fantasy purposes but it does boost Nick Anderson ’s stock as well.