2014

2013 MLB Winter Meetings: “Winter Is Coming” The Biggest Winners (Part 1)

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This will be the first in a series of 2013 MLB Winter Meetings and evaluating Fantasy impact of the moves that are made.

Come back throughout the Fantasy Baseball offseason, as we’ll be tracking the trades, signings and roster cuts, and sharing how we think it affects the upcoming draft season.

Feel free to drop some comments below with your own Fantasy thoughts on some of these moves.

Letting the Dust Settle

What a crazy few days of 2013 MLB Winter Meetings so far! It has been one of the busiest offseasons with some major moves, and signings happening over the past three weeks. Many moves happened before the meetings began on Monday.

I will be monitoring, and recapping some of these moves and their potential fantasy impact for the 2014 season.  There are still plenty of big names, and stories to follow at the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings, and if you’ve followed in the past, there are always some more big splashes to be made.

The 2013 MLB Winter Meeting Winners … So Far

Taken on July 27, 2007. Photo by Barbara Moore

Taken on July 27, 2007. Photo by Barbara Moore

Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers

Both of these teams sent waves through MLB on November 21, as a trade occurred that didn’t even allow the rumor mill to really start up.

Prince Fielder was traded to Texas for Ian Kinsler. With a little cash incentive going to Texas to help with the contract difference, this deal works out well for both squads now and in the future.

Detroit now has a legitimate second baseman, and a leadoff or top=of-the-order hitter. They also can move Miguel Cabrera back to first base, opening up third  base for highly touted prospect Nick Castellanos.  

Castellanos played some outfield at the end of last season, but third was his natural position. Clearly the Tigers want him in their lineup. They also have some room to play with for another potential big move.

Detroit adding Rajai Davis (50 steal/80 run potential) gives them some more legitimate speed, and a starter or platoon player with Detroit favorite, Andy Dirks.

They also signed aging veteran reliever Joe Nathan (who could still notch 40 saves) to solidify the back-end of their bullpen — a weakness for Detroit all season last year. These moves really strengthen Detroit’s chances once again in 2014.

Texas was one of the few teams with too many talented infielders. The arrival of Jurickson Profar (.250 avg, 10+ HR, and 20+ SB potential) last season may not have amazed too many Fantasy owners, but he didn’t do anything to get moved back to Triple-A, and is cemented in Texas going forward.

Toss in Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, and Adrian Beltre and there really wasn’t room for Profar. Now there is, and they have a great, consistent power bat in Fielder, to shore up their lineup. Fielder should be able to repeat his 2012 season in power numbers and RBI in Texas, and keep his current ADP as a late first round, early second round pick this season.

New York Yankees

The Yankees are doing what they do best this year: sign free agents. Big names, big production, and PLENTY of risk seems to be a new standard for the Yankees. In the past three weeks, they’ve signed ageless wonder Carlos Beltran, injury plagued, but talented, Jacoby Ellsbury, catching veteran Brian McCann and they re-signed Hiroki Kuroda for another season. Because of the age and risk, these guys could all be some very good early to mid-round picks in 2014 Fantasy drafts.

None of these moves will assure victory, or the division for the Yankees, but if pieces fall in to place, as they hope, they will have another all too familiar formidable lineup. Old? Yes. Dangerous? Time will tell.

Oakland Athletics

Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version)

Keith Allison on Flickr (Original version)

Here is a team that acquired five guys already. They will bolster their playoff squad, and barely made a blip on the Hot Stove radar. The moves may seem minor compared to other free-agent signings of Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, or Shin Soo-Choo/Nelson Cruz (wherever they may land), but they are significant.

First, they signed Scott Kazmir, who had a solid bounce back season in 2013 and should be a reliable No. 3 or 4 starter. Then, they traded for closer Jim Johnson, Craig Gentry, and Luke Gregerson.

Johnson is coming off a disappointing season, but his peripherals were largely the same. His luck factor may have waned in 2013, leading to blown saves, but all in all he was the same pitcher as in 2012.

Gregerson adds security and depth to their bullpen, and Gentry is a speedy, and solid outfielder they can platoon, or start.

They also traded away Brett Anderson. They aren’t done, but don’t be surprised if they leave the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings with a whisper after these early moves.

Washington Nationals

Taken on August 14,2011 by Keith Allison on Flickr

Taken on August 14,2011 by Keith Allison on Flickr

This team wants to avoid a repeat of last season. How can they do that? Well, by trading for another starting pitcher and getting a resurgent outfielder with 40 steal speed and 20 home-run power for the bench.

Adding Doug Fister to this already loaded rotation may make them the best in baseball. Fister could be a number 2 starter on most teams, but will be the 4th in the Nationals rotation.  He’s a career 3.50 ERA, Whip around 1.25 and 130+ strikeout guy. Easily a top 20 Fantasy starter in 2014.

The other move was for depth, or perhaps for another trade down the road. Nate McLouth surged back to life with memories of 2008 last season, and if need be he can play any outfield position. He can pinch hit or run, and will get plenty of starts this season. His fantasy numbers will likely decline due to opportunities, but could rise just as easily with an injury, or trade.

That’s it for the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings … for now!

I will be back soon with part 2 of the 2013 MLB Winter Meetings, and in case you missed it, be sure to read my 7 Stories to Watch This Offseason, especially as the stories are unfolding before our eyes.

Be sure to send any questions, comments my way about the 2013 MLB Winter meetings, or anything Fantasy related @fantsychillpony. Thanks for reading!

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