Billy Beane Wheelin’ and Dealin’! Oh and the Astros too.

by Jamie Sayer on December 6, 2013

Dexter Fowler (Source: USAToday)


Sayer analyzes several deals that were made this week and their impacts on the fantasy value of the key players involved.



Fantasy Impact: The Oakland Athletics have traded OF Seth Smith to the San Diago Padres for RHP Luke Gregerson.


The Athletics get: A very good bullpen arm that can be relied upon in tough late-inning situations. Last year, Gregerson posted very good numbers with the Padres, throwing a 2.71 ERA over 66 1/3 innings. He also had a very good BB:K ratio, striking out 64 while only walking 18. He, along with newly acquired Jim Johnson, makes the A’s bullpen seem like one of the best in the game and should bring stability.


The Padres get: A decent power bat that will make the Padres a better team against right-handed pitching. Being able to play left or right field and have good numbers against right-handers made Smith attractive enough to part with a good bullpen arm.


Over the past three years Smith has a .274/.354/.468 slash line with 32 homeruns against right-handed pitching. How about left-handed pitching? A lowly .206/.270/.436. Smith did post better numbers against southpaws this year however, with a .235/.287/.333 slash line. Not great numbers, but could be platooned with one of San Diego’s many outfielders.


Fantasy players helped by this deal:

Luke Gregerson – He seems like he could be slotted into the setup man spot, so this could potentially spell out a lot of holds for Gregerson (if your league counts holds, good bet Gregerson will crack 20). He also saved 13 games over the past two years, so if Johnson shows that he’s still enigmatic when it comes to closing out a game, Greg’s (new nickname OFFICIALLY) may get the call.


Fantasy players hurt by this deal:

Seth Smith – Smith will mostly be used against right-handed pitching and COULD find his way into the lineup most days. However, Petco Park is a very pitcher-friendly stadium, and Smith may feel the downsides of it. Smith was also split time between DH/LF last season, as he posted less than favorable numbers defensively. It’s also never good when you have to compete with four other decent players (Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Cameron Maybin, and Alexi Amarista) so if Smith hits a cold streak, he may not play.

Carlos Quentin/Will Venable – With the addition of Smith it allows Bud Black to mix up the lineup when he sees fit. Quentin will get more rest with Smith being available and Venable may have to deal with Smith getting some of his playing time.


Fantasy Impact: The Oakland Athletics have traded OF Michael Choice and INF Christ Bostick to the Texas Rangers in exchanged for OF Craig Gentry and RHP Josh Lindblom.


The Athletics get: A good defender with tons of speed. Gentry spent most of 2013 being the 4th outfielder with the Rangers and put up decent numbers with a .280/.373/.386 slash line (worth a 3.6 WAR according to Baseball Reference). While Gentry doesn’t hit entirely well, he does make up for it with his defense and speed. In 106 games, he had 24 stolen bases and put up a good dWAR of 1.4 last year. Gentry will be able to play all three OF positions and will provide Bob Melvin with a lot of options.


They also get a bullpen pitcher who didn’t pitch well at all last year, but had success in the past. Ever since the Shane Victorino deal between the Phillies and Dodgers, Josh Lindblom hasn’t been quite the same, putting up a 5.10 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 54 2/3 innings since leaving the Dodgers. In 77 1/3 innings prior to that deal he did put up a 2.91 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP, so maybe that’s what Beane saw. Moving back to the west coast may just be what Lindblom needs, and may help the A’s with their now-stocked bullpen.


The Rangers get: A raw, but potentially very powerful bat. Michael Choice was Oakland's 1st round pick in 2010 and is only 24, so he still has room to grow. In AAA he hit 14 HR with a slash line of .302/.390/.445 and seems to be coming along quite nicely. His strikeout rate (18.2%) and walk rate (8.2%) could both use some work, but he seems like a very good prospect for the Rangers.


They also get a young infield prospect that put up decent numbers in the Midwest League at the age of 20. Chris Bostick is very young and will take some time to grow, but at this stage seems like he could become a good player with the bat. 14 HR and 25 doubles with a .452 slugging percentage indicates he could have some power, but again this was just the Midwest League. Time will tell for both these young players, but it looks good from the Rangers side.


Fantasy players helped by this deal:

Chris Gentry – Beane indicated that Gentry may get more playing time this year, even as the 4th outfielder, so that should be good for him. Expect more stolen bases if he gets more at-bats.


Michael Choice – This could be a dangerous thing to say, but I like Choice coming into the 2014 season. At the moment he could slot in at LF with the absence of Cruz and IF he has a good Spring Training could stick with the team. If he can show power, oh boy, he will be good.


Josh Lindblom – If Lindblom can make the ‘pen out of Spring Training in 2014 he should see an improvement on his game. With the likelihood that someone in the A’s bullpen gets traded (COUGH Anderson to the Jays COUGH) he should compete for a spot. He has to get better than a 5.10 ERA, right?


Fantasy players hurt by this deal:

Chris Bostick – Yes the man is only 20, but look at who is ahead of him up-the-middle prospect wise. Jurickson Profar, Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas are all probably going to be ahead of him, and it seems his road to the MLB may be a tough one.


Coco Crisp – Gentry now provides a good backup option to Crisp and may allow him to have more time off. Don’t expect a huge decline, but it gives Melvin more options.


Fantasy Impact: The Houston Astros have traded RHP Jordan Lyles and OF Brandon Barnes to the Colorado Rockies for OF Dexter Fowler.


The Astros get: A switch-hitting center fielder, a five-tool player that has the ability to become a star but has yet to reach his potential.

Fowler is joining a very young Astros team that has three straight 100-loss seasons and is looking to start getting more competitive by spending more money. With Fowler set to make roughly $7 million in 2014, this is a good start.


Fowler last year hit .263/.369/.407 with 12 HR and 19 stolen bases, which isn’t great but isn’t terrible. Just as recently as 2012 he did hit .300/.389/.474 with 13 HR and 12 stolen bases, so he has that upside. Fowler can hit decent from both sides, which is a big plus, and has posted an above average OBP from both sides since 2010. He’s also not afraid to take a walk, averaging a 12% walk rate over his career. Fowler still has a chance to become an elite center fielder, having only just entered his prime years, and should continue to get better if he stays healthy.


The Rockies get: A young right-handed pitcher who seems to have been rushed to the majors in Lyles. They also get an outfielder who is well known for his great catches in center, but isn’t expected to be an everyday player in Barnes.


Lyles may have just been rushed to the minors at the age of 20 and has had a rough couple of years since, posting an ERA over 5.00 since his debut. He also has an ugly career WHIP of 1.45 and just a 6.2K/9, so switching to Coors Field will probably not do him any good.


Barnes could be a 4th outfielder for the Rockies. His OBP was a measly .289 and his K:BB ratio was an abysmal 127:21, so he should not be starting in the lineup. He is a decent defender however, so he could be used in late game situations.


Fantasy players helped by this deal:

Dexter Fowler – This should help, even if he’s playing on a pretty bad Astros team. He can start fresh in Houston and should prove he was worth acquiring. Expect an increase in homers, steals and hopefully AVG. His RBIs may suffer however.


Charlie Blackmon/Corey Dickerson – With the possibility that Carlos Gonzalez will be sliding into center field to take Fowlers spot, Blackmon and Dickerson should battle it out for the left field position.


Fantasy players hurt by this deal:

Jordan Lyles – While he may have not a great fantasy projection going into 2014 with the Astros, moving to Colorado won’t help. Coors Park is a hard place to pitch in, and should continue to be for Lyles.


Brandon Barnes – While he was with the Astros he got a lot of playing time because of the lack of depth around him. Expect him not to get as much time with the Rockies, even if they don’t sign or trade for another player.


George Springer – While it seems like Springer is the future center fielder for the Astros, this move will allow them to be cautious with Springer and fully develop him. Expect a call-up eventually, but maybe not until later in the year.


I believe the Astros win this deal even if Fowler doesn’t have a bounce-back season and plays like last year. Lyles may prove to be a good asset, but he probably won’t next year. As for the two Oakland trades, I think they’ll be hit-or-miss. I get that Gentry should help them next year, but Choice was a big price to pay. However, Gregerson was a great move by Billy Beane, and shows why he deserves the Executive of the Year award.


By Jamie Sayer


The latest fantasy takes on player movements:

Ellsbury Signs With the Yankees, Dubbed A "Trader"

Trading Tigers: Fantasy Impact of the Doug Fister Deal

Freese Frame: Breaking down the Cardinals/Angels Swap 


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