Fantasy Baseball

2016 Fantasy Baseball Trade Deadline Review: Pitching


trade deadline review

Credit: Jon Dawson

It may not have been a star-studded starting pitching frenzy like last year. However, we still saw some quality arms dealt as well as a few elite bullpen guys. Lots of contenders bolstered their pitching, but the moves made by these teams were generally hurtful to fantasy teams.

How can you, the fantasy owner, combat these moves by reading into the trades more closely? I have got you covered on the pitching front. Fellow F6P writer David Phillips will give you the rundown on the offensive side here.

Trade Deadline Review – Pitching


Drew Pomeranz, from San Diego Padres to Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox set the asking price on a solid #2/#3 starter early on in the trade market. They sent potential stud pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza back to San Diego. Most analysts in the industry would tell you that the word ‘potential’ should be changed to ‘inevitable’.

I still think the Red Sox did well to get Pomeranz, especially considering they get him for multiple years. Pomeranz hasn’t adjusted just yet to his new team as he has had a couple of rough starts since joining Boston. However, I believe in his season to date and more wins should be coming his way if he just pitches like he did in the first half of the season.

For the Padres, they are throwing in the towel on 2016. I can’t even suggest any minor league starters they could call up to take Pomeranz’s spot. As much love as Espinoza is getting, there’s absolutely zero chance he sniffs the majors in 2016. They were already thin in the immediate pitching department and they seem content with rolling the Christian Friedrich’s of the world every fifth day. Nothing to see here.

Rich Hill, from Oakland Athletics to Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers receive a starter who performs like an ace when healthy in Hill. The issue has been health, but as of now, a blister shouldn’t keep Hill out much longer. The move from AL to NL is the obvious benefit here, but otherwise I can’t imagine him doing better than he did in Oakland. The Dodgers rotation is going to be salty if they can make the postseason.

Oakland doesn’t have anyone that stands out as a viable fill-in for the starting rotation. Jesse Hahn might get some run, but he has been very disappointing this season. Frankie Montas, who they received in this trade, is still a year off most likely. If anything, this tells me that they might start taking it easy with some of their starters. I’m thinking Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea could be shut down in the near future.

Matt Moore, from Tampa Bay Rays to San Francisco Giants

The Giants will attempt to revive another team’s project by adding Moore to the rotation. He is on absolute fire over his nine starts, pitching to the tune of a 2.39 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and 11.5 K-BB%. So maybe the Giants don’t really need to revive him – just let him do his thing!

Good move to stabilize the back end of the rotation that are littered by the walking zombies Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. Again, moving to the NL can only help and that park is a lovely place for pitchers.

Finally, a team that has an interesting replacement for the pitcher they shipped off! I’m thinking Erasmo Ramirez should get an extended look in the starting rotation. Last year as a starter, Ramirez had a 3.51 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 12.8 K-BB% over 151.1 IP as a starter. If he could channel his 2015 starter self, that can be a very important and sneaky add in the home stretch of your fantasy seasons. Shoot, even Matt Andriese could be an option to move up from the bullpen.

Francisco Liriano, from Pittsburgh Pirates to Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are banking on Liriano to return to pre-2016 form and provide a spark in their starting rotation. I’m not expecting that same turnaround barring some news that Liriano was throwing the season for Pittsburgh (that would be a story!).

The more important news is the move of Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen to make room in the rotation. It was an inevitable move for the Jays as they’ve been wanting to limit his innings since Day 1. Nevertheless, it still hurts a fantasy squad to lose an All-Star starting pitcher.

Perhaps the pitcher they traded away can help the Sanchez owner find some quality innings! Drew Hutchison comes back from Toronto in the deal. If called upon, Hutchison would be a great back end of the rotation arm. I still haven’t seen anything that definitively says Hutchison is in the immediate starting rotation plans, but he should be if the Pirates want to contend (they traded away Niese too). He could be another sneaky waiver wire pickup for those hurting in strikeouts and wins.

Honorable Mentions

Andrew Cashner to Miami Marlins

Cashner has been pretty solid lately, but I still am not sold. If him getting a change of scenery and more potential wins interests you, go for it. Strikeouts down, walks up, home runs up, and ERA down? Something smells funny about that.

  • Lucas Harrell to Texas Rangers

  • The Braves turned a May pickup into a nice prospect a couple of weeks ago. Harrell is a good real-life innings eater for the back end of the Rangers starting rotation. He shouldn’t be considered in most fantasy leagues though outside of streaming. Braves have no one to replace him, don’t worry!

Wade Miley to Baltimore Orioles

It might have made sense from a real-life standpoint for the Orioles, as their starters have been horrendous against LHB this season. In the fantasy world though, we all know that Miley cannot be trusted. On the Seattle side, this move allows them to keep Wade LeBlanc and James Paxton in the rotation (both better than Miley anyway) even when Taijuan Walker returns.

Ivan Nova to Pittsburgh Pirates

Pirates get an innings eater to replace the briefly mentioned Jon Niese. Not really interested in Nova, but the Pirates always make interesting moves for starting pitchers that tend to work out. I will eat my words if Nova ends up doing well, but I just don’t see it happening.

Adam Warren to New York Yankees

Warren was one of the players brought back in the Chapman deal and gets a do-over in pinstripes. Last year as a starter for the Yankees, Warren was solid, posting a 3.66 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and a 9.4 K-BB%. He’s not quite in the Ramirez-Hutchison tier of sneaky waiver wire adds, but his performances are definitely worth monitoring.


Aroldis Chapman, from New York Yankees to Chicago Cubs

I will keep this relatively short – Chapman is the best reliever in baseball. He instantly makes each Cubs game an eight-inning game for opposing offenses. He steps into the closer role at the expense of Rondon, who should still be a very solid holds/ratios guy if you are into that kinda stuff.

Andrew Miller, from New York Yankees to Cleveland Indians

I will also keep this short – Miller is in the discussion for second best reliever in the game and instantly makes each Indians game an eight-inning game for opposing offenses.

Sounds familiar up until the point where the Indians already sorta had that guy! Cody Allen is very highly regarded by those who have had his closing services this season. Unfortunately, it looks like he has voluntarily given up that role for the team although manager Terry Francona says they will split the reps still. There is a good chance this is a committee that is solely based on matchups. Perfect in reality, headaches in fantasy!

For the Yankees, this vaults Dellin Betances into the closer role and he immediately becomes a top tier closer. If he is somehow available in your league, blow your FAAB on him… All of it. The Yankees also made a move to acquire Clippard from the Diamondbacks to setup Betances.

Mark Melancon, from Pittsburgh Pirates to Washington Nationals

Oh boy, this is a train wreck waiting to happen. I wonder how happy Papelbon is to lose his closer role to the newly acquired Melancon. Somewhere in Seattle (yep, that’s right, Seattle), Drew Storen is laughing uncontrollably and maniacally as Papelbon has to go through what he did in Washington last year!

The Pirates received reliever Felipe Rivero in the deal, who I actually am fond of from a ‘stuff’ standpoint. But, the closer role for now goes to Tony Watson, who has pitched okay by his standards. If he can find the strikeouts again, he could be a solid top 15 closer for the rest of the season given the Pirates continue to contend. The Pirates also traded for Antonio Bastardo (part of the Niese deal to Mets).

Jeremy Jeffress, from Milwaukee Brewers to Texas Rangers

This was a hugely important move for the Rangers to make in their hopes of a deep playoff run. Jeffress has been amazing this season and should make Rangers fans much happier than what they have been throwing out there in high leverage situations. While I believe that Jeffress is a better reliever than current Texas closer Sam Dyson, I don’t believe he will overtake him for the role. The Rangers don’t want to fix what isn’t broken and the 9th inning is not broken. The other relief innings are. Let Jeffress assist in fixing that.

Will Smith, from Milwaukee Brewers to San Francisco Giants

The Giants add a much-needed lefty reliever to their bullpen. He should see plenty of high leverage innings and be a good source for holds. He shouldn’t ever be in the mix for saves. The Giants have their home-grown guys like Casilla and Romo who will handle those duties.

From Milwaukee’s point of view, there are a couple of candidates for saves. Tyler Thornburg would be my choice as the righty has been lights out this season and producing elite strikeout numbers. There is no reason to believe that he wouldn’t be the guy actually. Corey Knebel could work his way up into some save chances as the season progresses, but Thornburg is the guy to go after here on waiver wires.

About Tyler Thompson

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