TDG Roundtable: Trade Deadline Edition
Every week on Fridays, our writers here at The Dynasty Guru will be bringing you some quick hit musings about a particular topic so you, the reader, can get a blast of info from a bunch of different writers with some passionate opinions. Today at 4PM EST is the Trading Deadline and our writers react to recent deals and such.
Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs (at least for now)
For those in OBP leagues, carry on, nothing to see here… but for those who’s league count batting average maybe this could be of interest. If Baez were to be traded (he’s still a Cub as of this writing) I’d look for an already emotional and energetic player to get his second wind of the season. Already slashing .245/.289/.483 on the year with 22 home runs and 13 steals, Baez has had a bit of a resurgence after the nightmare that was 2020 for him. He complained of not being able to watch video of his in-game at-bats as a reason for his slide, but let’s face it hitting .203 with a 31.9% strikeout rate during the shortened season seemed to have more to the story. Afterall, his strikeout rate in 2021 is still significantly higher at 36.4% and he’s benefiting from a .324 BABIP. I’m hoping that leaving Wrigley lights another fire under him, but also maybe a change in manager will help as well.
When Baez was still a prospect back in 2014, he was known to have elite bat speed, big time power, ability to steal double digit bags, and huge swing and miss concerns. But in 2015, new Cub manager Joe Maddon said he wouldn’t be able to give Baez full time at bats, unless he got his strikeout rate out of control. It should be pointed out, in 2014, Maddon’s final year managing the Rays, Tampa’s offense produced the third fewest strikeouts in baseball. And it seemed like Javy Baez said ‘You want me to make more contact? No problem!’. Well it took him all of the 2015 season to work on his approach, but once Baez took over a starter’s role in 2016, he managed 4 straight seasons with a strikeout rate under 30%, actually averaging 26.6% strikeout rate over that time. As an added bonus, Baez put up batting averages as high as .290, and averaged a .280… average, over that same time period. This from a guy who once struck out 225 times in a season as recently as 2014.
And then (there’s always an ‘and then’ right?) Joe Maddon was not extended a new contract after 2019, and he moved on to manage the Angels, being replaced by Cub fan favorite David Ross. We’ve seen a much different Javy Baez since (as already mentioned) but his ‘expected’ stats are regressing too, as is his walk rate. Despite the inflated strikeout rates, Baez is putting up a very solid fantasy season, even if he is a bit overshadowed by the elite shortstops out there. I’m really interested to see what he can do under a different manager, he still has elite skills, and if put on the field with the right mindset, I think he can improve on what he’s already doing.
Joey Gallo, OF, Texas Rangers
Joey Gallo needs to be a New York Yankee. (Spoiler Alert: Joey Gallo is a New York Yankee!)
I know it’s one of the more obvious moves this year, but it really just writes itself. Joey Gallo hammering home runs over the short porch in Yankee Stadium almost sounds too good to be true. Not that Joey Gallo needs any help in the home run department, as he averages the second longest home run distance since 2015 according to Statcast, but the friendly dimensions in the Bronx certainly cannot hurt. Gallo will add a much needed lefty bat to a righty-heavy lineup. He joins the other Statcast leaderboard standouts of Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez bringing even more talent to “Exit Velo City.” Gallo certainly strikes out a lot, but so do his new teammates so he fits in there as well. He also leads the league in walks and despite a lackluster batting average of .223, he has an OBP of .379 which is 18th best in the majors. Along with adding a boost to the Yankees offense, he also fills a need in the outfield as he can play centerfield and take away the temptation of moving Judge out of right field.
In addition to simply being a no-brainer fit, the move out of Texas in itself may be good for Gallo. He will now be in a lineup full of other star players where he can just be “one of the guys” instead of “the guy.” He will still need to be an important part of the lineup, but he is no longer the focal point of the offense. With stronger hitters in front of him he will have more opportunities to drive in runs other than himself with the long ball. Additionally, his ability to get on base with capable hitters behind him will lead to more runs scored as well. Hopefully his new team allows for him to settle in, relax, and just let the counting stats pile up.
Trea Turner, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers
I am shocked that the Dodgers traded for both Scherzer and Trea Turner. The Dodgers arguably have three of the top 15 players in baseball. Turner and Betts are without a doubt in the top 10. Bellinger is the one in question.
With Mookie Betts and Trea Turner in LA, you have two table setters for your offense that can do it all on the field. Who leads off and who bats second? When Betts gets back from his injury of course. Does it really matter? Both of them will get on base a ton, score a million runs, steal a lot of bases, and set the tone for a lot of second half wins for the Dodgers.
I know what you are probably thinking. If I were Turner then I would rather hit in front of Soto than anyone else in the league. I hear you. I would want that as well. You can argue with that if you want and put Acuna or Tatis there, but I know I am right.
Here is the argument from the other side of the pillow, though. Is Turner not having Soto hitting behind him going to negatively impact Turner’s production? I don’t think so. Soto is the best player in baseball but the Dodgers are the best offense in baseball now because of this trade. So whether Turner hits first or second or third it doesn’t matter, he is going to make a lot of owners that currently have him very happy with what he does in the second half of the season.
This is a game of numbers and the Dodgers offense is just set up to put numbers that will make you sick when you look in the stats department. One man can do a lot, especially Soto, but if Turner hits first and then Betts hit second and Muncy bats third and the other Turner hits fourth and Smith or Bellinger bats fifth then I like the numbers game that Trea Turner is going to be an absolute monster.