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A Fantasy Spin on the Hot Stove

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening –whichever is applicable to you. It was a procedural week on the Hot Stove as players made their decisions regarding qualifying offers and teams adjusted their 40-man rosters in preparation for the Rule 5 draft scheduled for December 8th.  

In all, 10 players were given qualifying offers, eight of which declined (Dexter Fowler, Jose Bautista, Mark Trumbo, Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, Edwin Encarnacion, Yoenis Cespedes, and Ian Desmond) while Neil Walker and Jeremy Hellickson willingly accepted theirs.

While Qualifying Offers themselves have no fantasy relevance, they do tend to have some built-in value to them. Given the forfeiture of draft picks associated with the them, non-contending teams are much less inclined to sign such players. Teams willing to sign these players are likely contenders and have a supporting cast that would make said location attractive for fantasy owners.  

As for the 40-Man Roster decision, MLB Trade Rumors has a complete listing of transactions. While all prospect call-ups are not dependent on 40-Man roster status, it does go a long way in deciding who may be closer to getting the call. When it comes to perspective impact prospects I can’t urge you enough to seek out Fantasy Assembly’s own, Paul Hartman and Andy Germani with any questions you may have regarding potential impacts from new 40-Man additions.

With that being said here are some other notable transaction and/or potentially relevant fantasy news from the past week.


As previously mentioned, Jeremy Hellickson accepted his qualifying offer and will return t0 Philadelphia. Nothing to get excited over, but he could have value in leagues with 14+ teams and as a spot starter. Hellickson features decent K potential and has good control. If everything aligned perfectly he could improve on his 12 wins from last season.


Neil Walker’s return to the Mets puts a numbers crunch on the starting lineup. David Wright’s health is always a risk, but if healthy that leaves Walker, Wright, Cabrera and Reyes for three spots. Ultimately it would figure to be Reyes as the odd man out, in addition to a personal favorite of mine, Wilmer Flores, who in my opinion could have the most upside from the group.


Cardinals sign LHP Brett Cecil. Outside of Holds leagues Cecil would figure to have little value in fantasy should things go as expected. Should Seung Hwan Oh falter and Rosenthal continues to implode, the contract itself could place him in the closer role. Obviously his career struggles vs RHH (career .339 wOBA) provide hesitation, but that mark was .245 as recently as 2015.


Blue Jays state Kendrys Morales will see time at first base this season. While 1B eligibility would increase Morales’s value to your fantasy team, it shouldn’t alter your draft day perception of him in any way.


Johan Santana to pitch Winter Ball in Venezuela. Obligatory mention of Johan’s status as he’s been on the comeback trail for four years now.

Houston Astros sign Charlie Morton to a two-year, 14 million dollar deal. Big head scratcher for me as Morton would figure to be penciled into the 5th spot of the rotation. Morton’s skill set bodes well for that particular role. He’ll have good days mixed with bad, but if healthy he’ll eat up the 150+ innings they desire. Morton’s signing should extinguish the Michael Fiers breakout talks. On the downside I’ve like Brad Peacock for a while, but I suppose the Astros have grown tired  of the minor league control having failed to translate. Increased base-runners with a fly ball profile in that ballpark doesn’t bode well. My biggest concern with this signing, however, is the potential health of Lance McCullers. While all indications point to him being ready for 2016, this signing along with the timing may suggest otherwise.


Astros send minor league pitchers Albert Abreu and Jorge Guzman to Yankees for catcher Brian McCann. The Yankees get two toolsy arms for a catcher they don’t particularly want. Abreu and Guzman can both be ignored at the moment unless you’re in a really deep dynasty league. While McCann may miss the short porch at Yankee Stadium (43 of 69 HR with Yankees hit at home) the increase in plate appearances should more than makeup for it. McCann was a threat to lose playing time this season, but now he should be in a DH/C platoon with Evan Gattis, maybe even play some first base. McCann will still be a batting average risk, but 25 HR is still in play with nice counting stats for his position.


Astros sign Josh Reddick. Reddick’s a nice add, but I fear free agency may add too much to the price tag. He’ll still hit for a good average and Houston will certainly be the best hitters park he’s ever called home. At the end of the day he still struggles vs LHP with a career .640 OPS and the improvements have yet to materialize (.366 last season). These struggles will relegate him to another platoon role, this time with Jake Marsinak. Reddick can once again be ignored in leauges with 12 or fewer teams. The move really puts an end to any hopes of Nori Aoki or Tony Kemp having value for 2017. That is, unless, A.J. Reed struggles mightily prompting Reddick to move to 1B in a platoon with Tyler White.


Astros place Jon Singleton on outright waivers. Recall when the players union was upset about Singleton’s 5 year 10 Million deal before playing his first career game? Singleton is just a reminder of how that prospect label doesn’t always work itself out. Should Singleton clear waivers he’ll likely return to AAA Fresno, where he hit 20 HR while batting .202 (yes .202 – in the PCL). It will be interesting to see if someone will take a risk on him, but the two million per year deal may come back to bite him as team are much less willing to take a chance at that cost.


Trevor Plouffe was released by the Twins. A 40-man roster casualty, Plouffe will add another option to the limited third base market. His departure likely means Miguel Sano will kick the ball around at the hot corner all season. Why I’m typically not concerned about this, I do wonder if defensive issues potentially affect his plate results? For Plouffe, his value likely increases somewhat as he will likely return to a full-time role somewhere and hit his 15 HR while batting .260.


Tampa Bay Rays send Richie Shaffer and Yaylor Motter to Mariners for LHP Dylan Thompson, 1B Dalton Kelly, and RHP Andrew Kittredge. Kittredge has posted some nice K totals, but at 26 he has very little fantasy appeal. Dalton Kelly feels more like minor league depth than a potential impact player. Thompson, on the other hand, could have intrigue if for no other reason than he’s a toolsy pitching prospect and the Rays were interested.

Motter provides a utility role that can be ignored from a fantasy perspective. Shaffer is a player who intrigued me last season. At 25 Shaffer is no longer in the prospect conversation, but his power could potentially play. Teams just don’t often move a skilled potential rotation arm for two Bench players. With that in mind, look for Shaffer to be in consideration for the RH side of a platoon with either Dan Vogelbach at first base or Seth Smith in the outfield.


Rangers sign Andrew Cashner. Funny game baseball can be. Over the course of 4 months, Andrew Cashner was acquired for minor leaguers and signed a contract for 10 Million dollars for one year of service. It’s quite amazing what a 5.25 ERA will give you in today’s market. For those who were still holding out hope for a career resurgence, the move to Arlington and the AL would appear to eliminate such hope. His ground ball approach works in his favor, but that walk rate combined with an expected K % decline will negate the damage control of the grounders.


Oswaldo Arcia DFA by the Padres. The retention rate of fantasy owners is quite amazing. Chase Headley made his name relevant in 2012. Despite the nothingness that has happened since, his perceived value is that of a flyer of sorts. Arcia managed to hit 20 HR in 103 games in 2014. Last season Arcia managed 8 HR and a .203 AVG in 69 Games with 4 teams. It’s not often that fantasy players are behind MLB teams in regards to roster evaluations. It is clear to 4 teams that Arcia just doesn’t have it, and I would agree entirely. When the inevitable news of Oswaldo Arcia signing with another team hits the transaction pages, please do yourself a favor and let those 20 home runs go.


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Josh Coleman
Father of four SP1 children. Replacement level husband to a top tier wife. I love my family, value my friendships, and spend as much time as possible (too much according to the aforementioned Mrs. Coleman) dedicated to the pursuit, of another Fantasy Championship. I'm the oddball at the bar who prefers Fantasy Baseball to Fantasy Football.

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