August 12, 2008

Adam Dunn to DBacks for Prospects

bigadamdunn.jpgPhoto by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

There have been quite a few trades after the trade deadline, none being more important than this deal that sends Adam Dunn to Arizona. The Diamondbacks have been struggling to get runners on base and score runs, and Dunn should provide the ability to walk and get on base along with leading the NL in home runs. Chase Field favors hitters more than any ball park in MLB, but the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati is a renowned hitter's park as well, so his value should not be effected in that sense.

It is unclear exactly what the Diamondbacks plan on doing with their lineup. Conor Jackson will likely stay at 1st, while Adam Dunn plays right field in Justin Upton's absence. Positions will likely be shuffled though to ensure Chad Tracy and Mark Reynolds still play, but also to have Augie Ojeda in as a defensive presence at second. Either way, don't expect this playing time issues to reach Dunn - he will play and play well.

As for Cincinnati, they are at least not losing Adam Dunn for nothing. They get a former top pitching prospect in Dallas Buck, who's star has faded a bit in recent years, and two more prospects to be named later. In the meantime the Reds will lose a lot of power, but will be playing Corey Patterson and Jeff Keppinger all the time and maybe trying out Chris Dickerson in the minors. Of course none of these players will be as fantasy-worthy as Dunn.

July 8, 2008

Rich Harden to DL Cubs

harden.jpgJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs have countered the Milwaukee Brewers trade with one of their own. While not the proven veteran that CC Sabathia is, few can match Rich Harden's stuff as a pitcher. That said, few players have ever been as injury prone as Harden has over his career.

This trade came to fruition out of no where. That is not to say the A's just started trying to trade Harden; GM Billy Beane just felt he would not get enough in a trade to give up a talent like Harden. He had become too injury prone and certainly was not expected to be as reliable as he has been this year. Now that Harden started this year with a 5-1 record, 92 strikeouts in 77 innings, and a sub 2.50 ERA, Beane and the A's probably felt like they should trade him while they still can. Sure enough, there were reports on his July 1st start that Harden's velocity dropped, and he labored through 5 innings against Chicago on the 6th in his first loss. Not necessarily meaning a DL stint is on the horizon but warning signs are showing.

No doubt the Cubs are taking a risk here, but they did not give up a top-end prospect in the trade. Sean Gallagher is a decent middle of the rotation pitcher who could possibly be a #2 guy, and Matt Murton / Patterson are solid OF's. Murton in particular has been an OBP monster but has had a tough time breaking into the Cubs lineup for years.

Imagine Billy Beane's thought process with Rich Harden. In 2004-2005, Harden looked like a breakthrough talent with a low ERA and high strikeout rates. Then in 2006 and 2007, he pitches 70 innings total. All of a sudden in 2008 when the A's expect nothing out of Harden, he starts off the year hot (albeit with a DL stint) and thus has trade value around the league again. If you own Harden in a fantasy league, you might want to use the momentum of this trade to make a trade of your own while Harden's value is up.

The Cubs look to be one of the top contenders in the NL, if not the top contender. Chances are, Rich Harden is going to pitch well when he pitches healthy. This trade will largely be decided by whether or not Harden is there for the Cubs in the stretch run and through the playoffs.