Here it is, the first trade of the 2012-2013 off-season. My goal is to try to post something like this for all trades of even mild significance (and same with free agent signings) as they happen. Now, this first deal may sound uninteresting, but there’s a lot of fantasy value shuffling going on for those in deep mixed and single-league formats. As you’ll notice a pattern of going forward, I’m going to break the players involved out into three groups: value up, value down and unchanged. Those categories are going to be on a general going-forward basis and is not solely focused on 2013. Seems pretty straight-forward, right? Right. So without any further ado, here’s the full trade:
Arizona receives Heath Bell, Cliff Pennington
Oakland receives Chris Young
Miami receives Yordy Cabrera
Meet your new Diamondbacks starting SS. Pennington has stolen 29 bases over the past two seasons after stealing 29 in 2010 alone, but his arrow is pointing back up again. The 15 SB he had in 2012 came along with a .278 OBP — meaning he had fewer opportunities than usual to steal. A reversal in his BABIP fortune (and a switch to the NL) should get him back up to a .320 OBP, and when combined with the change in park factors, should make him a sleeper for 10 HR and 20 SB in 2013.
The little engine that could, Eaton was unheralded initially as a minor leaguer, but kept hitting and hitting until he made people notice. This resulted in a September call-up in 2012, where he hit for a .793 OPS in 103 PA. With Chris Young out of town, the CF job should be his to lose as the Diamondbacks are still likely to trade one of their current OF (Upton, Kubel, Parra). Worst comes to worst, even if a trade doesn’t happen, Eaton still has a roster spot that he may not have before and a more long-term path to value.
Josh Donaldson/Scott Sizemore
Lost in the news of the trade today came a report that the A’s will now shift Scott Sizemore back to 2B. It makes sense, as the last eight weeks of the season saw the emergence of Josh Donaldson at 3B — he hit .290/.356/.489 with 8 HR and 26 RBI since he was recalled from Triple-A on August 14th. With Pennington out of the question, both Sizemore and Donaldson are now looking at full-time work — which makes both potential bargains in AL-only leagues.
It’s a long off-season, but Cishek is now the default closer in Miami without a whole lot of competition. I still don’t think he’s a great fit for the role long-term because of his struggles against lefties (.539 OPS against v RHB, .721 OPS against v LHB), but saves are saves.
The fact that the A’s were so willing to deal Cabrera away for another outfielder, when 3B is a question mark long-term for the organization (at least until Addison Russell shows up), should tell you everything you need to know about him. He’s got raw power, but it’s unlikely to ever play at the major league level. Also, he’s 22 years old and could not put up a .300 OBP in either the Midwest League in 2011 or the Cal League in 2012. His value only remains unchanged because I don’t think it amounts to much either way.
I actually think that Young has been very underrated in his career, mostly due to the low batting averages and playing in the desert. But unfortunately, this move won’t help his fantasy value going forward. It should be a good thing to get out of the crowded OF situation he was a part of in Arizona, but he’s moving into one just as crowded in Oakland. Though to be fair, Billy Beane probably isn’t done here. Regardless of that, Young’s power will not play as well in O.Co and that’s a big part of his value.
He’s not any worse of a pitcher because of this trade, but assuming Heath Bell doesn’t look completely lost out there, it may be Bell who takes over in case of a J.J. Putz injury. Hernandez is the guy who can throw multiple innings, and would not be surprised if Kirk Gibson thought he was more valuable continuing to pitch in true high leverage.
This is kind of a shame, as I thought Bell could be a reasonable bounce back candidate in Miami. But now, he’s just a poor handcuff at best. On top of that, Chase Field will do him no favors. He’s safe to let go in most leagues that do not count holds.