How does the Cubs, A's deal impact Fantasy leagues?
The Cubs and Athletics made a deal that should shake up the Fantasy landscape Friday night. Who stands to gain/lose the most?
It's rare to see two teams make potentially franchise-changing deals this early in the season. That's exactly what the Cubs and Athletics did Friday night. Chicago parted with pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel in order to obtain shortstop Addison Russell, among others, from Oakland. The deal shakes up the Fantasy fortunes of Samardzija and Hammel in the short-term, and could play a big role in Dynasty and Keeper leagues moving forward.
With that said, let's take a look at how each player's Fantasy value was impacted with the deal.
Samardzija and Hammel - As Marty Gitlin said earlier today, both players now become must-starts on a strong Oakland squad. While it's tough to chase count on (or chase) wins in Fantasy, going from Chicago to Oakland is a significant change for both guys. The Cubs rank near the bottom of the league in offensive wOBA, while the A's are sixth-best, according to FanGraphs.com.
In most cases, there would be some concern about both guys going to the more hitter-friendly American League, but the benefits of pitching in Oakland outweigh the league change. The O.co Coliseum is known for suppressing offense, so this should help both players as they adjust to the AL.
Overall: Both players probably see significant boosts in value. It's tough to depend on pitcher wins, but there's no denying Oakland is a more favorable place to be than the North Side. The park should cover up any expected issues with the two players switching leagues.
The back end of the Athletics rotation - The move puts some of the Oakland starters on shaky ground. Drew Pomeranz was looking like a breakout star prior to the injury, but will now face a crowded rotation when he returns. Tommy Milone has been solid this season, but he's been an iffy starter in the past. Moving him to the pen, or to the minors, seems likely here.
Jesse Chavez figures to slot into the fifth spot in the rotation, but Oakland may be cautious with him moving forward. Chavez has already tossed 103 innings this year. His previous career-high in the category is 129 2/3 back in 2012. The team could get creative with his innings, which could allow Pomeranz to slot back in once he's ready. On top of that, Scott Kazmir hasn't been the most healthy guy during his career, so it's possible Milone could factor in eventually too.
Overall: Milone and Brad Mills should lose time now, and it looks like Pomeranz is out of a spot. Keep an eye on what the team plans to do with Chavez, however, as it could lead to one of those guys getting another crack at the rotation.
The Cubs haul - This is mostly for Keeper or Dynasty leagues. The Cubs added one of the best shortstop prospects in the game in Addison Russell. The team has an embarrassment of riches at the position in the minors, leading some to wonder how they all fit in the team's future plans. There's no good answer for that other than their play will dictate their future roles. Having multiple shortstops is far from a bad thing, and there's a sense the team could move one of Javier Baez, Starlin Castro or Russell to other spots in order to get them all in the lineup.
If that's the case, both third baseman Kris Bryant and second baseman Arismendy Alcantara could be impacted. Bryant could be moved to a corner outfield spot, and would probably have enough bat to stick there.
The team could also start making trades, which would solve the issue. Basically, if you own any of these players in Keeper and Dynasty leagues, don't panic. Don't worry about Baez moving off short until it happens. These players still have to develop, and the Cubs aren't done with the rebuilding process just yet. A lot can happen between now and whenever these guys are ready.
Overall: Don't panic about guys changing positions just yet. These are all still strong players to own in these formats.
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