Hold/Fold: Trade Deadline

“Finally I figured out
But it took a long, long time
But now there’s a turnabout
Maybe ’cause I’m trying
There’s been times, I’m so confused
All my roads, They lead to you
I just can’t turn and walk away
It’s hard to say what it is I see in you
Wonder if I’ll always be with you
But words can’t say, And I can’t do
Enough to prove,
It’s all for you” ~ Sister Hazel “All For You”
The vagaries of deep leagues and conferences are threatening to trip up 2 of my 4 teams this year. If we went by overall standings, I’m 11th of 12 playoff spots in a 20 team league, and I’m 7th in a 30 team league – but 6th out of 6 spots in my conference. I’ve been streaming, bidding, adding and cutting players like crazy, and abusing minor league eligibility enough to drive both commissioners nuts. You do what you have to do. You add flawed players that you’d never contemplate earlier in the year, but innings and at-bats matter (you might say it’s hard to say what it is I see in them). In any format but roto, you can essentially punt ERA, WHIP, batting average and OPS. Just grab as many at-bats and innings as you can and hope to run up huge totals in runs, home runs, rbi, steals, wins (or quality starts), saves, strikeouts, etc.
Your trade deadline has either passed or is this week. I’m sticking with the Hold/Fold format, with the caveat that Fold is now straight cut advice. You might not be able to get anything for them, but you are better off without them.

Hold ‘Em

Tim Locastro

Locastro has his warts. Low OPS, almost no power, and he doesn’t play every day. That said, he does play, and if you look at the Statcast leaderboard, he is literally the fastest player in baseball. 9 steals without being caught, 15 HBP. He’s a fast on-base machine when he plays, and that is great for steals and runs. You probably don’t want to run him out there as a set and forget piece, but he certainly has his uses.

Mike Tauchman

He may lose playing time if the Yankees ever get healthy. But that is a big if, and over the last 30 days, he’s hitting .418 with 4 home runs, 2 steals and an OPS over 1.000. Even if they get healthy, he may be stealing a job for himself. Those numbers were before his 2 home run night Monday, so your window here is shrinking fast.

Ryan McMahon

Quietly, very quietly, former star-prospect-turned-not-a-prospect-turned-prospect-turned-quad-A-guy is shaking all of those labels. He’s hitting .308 with a .932 OPS since early July, with 5 home runs and a steal thrown in for good measure. As the run-on sentence would suggest, he’s always had talent. That talent is finally getting enough playing time to show.

Brad Keller and Ivan Nova

Both have very quietly put together great runs over the last month. Both have an ERA under 3.00 during that time. Neither strikes out a ton of guys, but they are both generating enough soft contact with enough control to get away with it. Keller’s been better, but both have some upside the rest of the way.

Fold ‘Em

Justin Upton

He’s been hurt all year, and even though he returned, he still LOOKS hurt. Not only that, but his slump is actually getting worse. A .164 average and .552 OPS over the last 30 days with only 2 home runs is bad. He was hitting .258 on July 23rd. He’s hitting .210 after 3 at-bats on Monday. Batting average still matters when it is going sharply in reverse. I think he’s hurt, and if the Angels fall further out of the next week or two, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him shut it down. I don’t think there’s anything here for the rest of the year.

Orlando Arcia

Well, it’s year 4 of the Arcia experiment, and he still can’t hit. If you are still running him out there every day, I would be astonished if you can’t find a better option on the wire in all but the deepest of leagues. .664 OPS on the year, .478 over the last month. Even if you can’t do better, cutting him might boost your average and OPS by default without harming you over much in other categories. I know I preach at-bats, but black holes don’t help anyone.

Masahiro Tanaka

Listen, I know he was an All-Star, but it is all going wrong right now. I don’t know how he fixes this mess. 38 hits in his last 24.2 innings with an ERA north of 9. That’s more than a couple of bad starts. It is a full-blown slump edging toward panic territory. His splitter has abandoned him, and he’s serving up meatballs to every hitter. If you don’t want to cut him, fine. Trade him if you still can, but at least put him on your bench. Don’t think it’s just the 12 run implosion driving his numbers up. In the 3 starts sandwiching that one, he gave up 5 runs twice and 2 runs in an 82 pitch, 4 inning dud. Over the last 4 starts he has 15k, 9bb and 34 hits. That’s also known as 43 baserunners in 18.2 innings, or in layman’s terms, a disaster.

 

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Seth Bias

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I'm Seth. I love baseball, especially the Braves, and rock n' roll on vinyl. Books, sandals and tacos too, though I find most of my money for those things going to vinyl these days. Once turned Prince Fielder into Justin Verlander and Paul Goldschmidt in a dynasty league. Also ashamed to say I once cut Jose Ramirez. I don't hate your favorite team unless your favorite team is the Nationals or Phillies. May or may not have cried when David Justice hit that home run in game 6 of the 95 World Series - though if you actually ask me, I'll claim I did not.

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