The MLB trade deadline came and went at 6 p.m. ET Tuesday, and several teams were quite active in the "wheeling and dealing" department. Several potential playoff teams did their best to fill any gaps on their rosters, while many noncontenders instead decided to go all-in on the future, selling off parts for a gaggle of future prospects.
Our fantasy experts were following all the moves as they happened. Check out the fantasy fallout from all of the deadline deals below.
Tuesday's deals of note
Although the Astros weren't willing to pay the hefty free agent price tag for Verlander -- $86 million between this and next season plus a $35 million 2025 option that vests with 140 innings pitched next year -- during the winter, they're apparently OK with it now. (It certainly helps that the Mets will pay for a portion of it.)
The 40-year-old returns to an Astros' rotation that desperately needs his experience and ability, especially after the group's collective ERA went from 3.35 in the season's first two months to 4.03 in June and 4.60 in July. Moves to bolster depth, especially in fatigue-driven scenarios like this, can often have a positive, cascading effect, so Verlander's move could be as much of a positive for him as for the other Astros pitchers.
Verlander's 0.88 career WHIP at Houston's Minute Maid Park is his best at any venue in which he has made at least eight starts, and his 2.46 ERA is second best, which makes sense if you consider the fit of his skill set to the stadium's dimensions. He's a hard-throwing pitcher who generates a good share of popups and is tough to turn around from the right side, while Minute Maid Park plays generally pitcher-friendly, other than for right-handed pull hitters.
Add in that Verlander seemed to be reaching his seasonal peak with his ERA sitting at 1.49 over his past seven turns, and there's every reason to believe he'll be a top-10 fantasy starter from this point forward -- and one with a little less start-over-start volatility than his now former rotation mate Max Scherzer.
The Mets' haul in this trade is a promising one, headlined by Gilbert, Houston's 2022 first-rounder. He's widely regarded as a top-100 overall prospect. His numbers for Double-A Corpus Christi aren't eye-popping (.241/.342/.371 with six homers and six steals in 60 games), but he has above-average tools in every regard but power, which makes him appealing to dynasty points league managers. Gilbert could be ready by mid-to-late next season. -- Cockcroft
Orioles get SP Jack Flaherty from the Cardinals in exchange for a prospect
Here's an instance of the name exceeding true value, as Flaherty, for all his promise tied largely to his 2019 breakthrough year, hasn't been a top-50 fantasy starter in any format in any of his four seasons since (this one included). His average fastball velocity has declined in each of those four years, and his walk rate exceeded 10% in both of the past two. (Although in his defense, he has pitched better of late, delivering a decent 3.45 ERA over his past 12 starts.)
The Orioles had to get some starting pitching in order to fancy themselves as genuine contenders for a deep October run, and for the price, taking a chance on the risk/reward Flaherty makes sense. Just understand that he's very much that, a risk/reward pitcher leaning more toward "risk" of late, and he'll now be pitching in the American League East, which has a hefty share of potent offenses and more hitter-friendly environments than the National League Central does. Be mindful of his matchups going forward. -- Cockcroft
Padres get RP Scott Barlow from Royals
The last-place Royals certainly didn't need a 30-year-old pending free agent of a closer, especially not one with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP, so on he goes to San Diego, where the chance for saves is gone. Fantasy managers can safely move on -- Barlow is 33% rostered -- because LHP Josh Hader closes for the Padres. Barlow pitched well the past two seasons for the Royals and perhaps he finds a closing role in 2024, but don't bet on it.
The Royals don't have much to save -- their 16 saves are last in the league -- but resurgent RHP Carlos Hernandez saved Sunday's win, so those in deep leagues should look his way. Hernandez permitted only two earned runs in July. His days of starting are presumably finished because, as a reliever, his average fastball is way up to 99 mph, and he's dominating left-handed hitters to the tune of a .165 BAA. There is some upside here for fantasy. -- Karabell
Phillies get RHP Michael Lorenzen from Tigers for a prospect
Hey, Lorenzen was an All-Star this season, you know! OK, so that means little because every team must be represented, but Lorenzen is worthy of his 3.58 ERA, as it comes with a 1.10 WHIP and a 3.87 FIP. Plus, he recently had a stretch in which he did not permit a run in three consecutive starts. In fact, Lorenzen has permitted one run or fewer in 10 of his 18 starts. He's just outside the top 50 starting pitchers on the Player Rater, but don't hold his 5-7 record against him. It's the Tigers.
Lorenzen is no longer a hitting candidate, but he does possess extensive relief experience, so while the Phillies likely utilize him in their rotation and push surprisingly effective LHP Cristopher Sanchez out (even though Sanchez boasts a 2.66 ERA in nine starts), they do have options. Lorenzen is not a big strikeout hurler, and this could be an issue in front of one of the worst defenses in the sport, but he should definitely be rostered in more fantasy leagues. -- Karabell
This one fits a couple of descriptions, the first being a change of scenery for the major leaguers involved. Next, it's a swap of "excess pieces" following prior trades by the teams involved. Bell is in the midst of a terrible year for the Guardians, and it's difficult to make the case for a rebound with his moving to Miami, one of the most pitcher-friendly environments in baseball.
His departure could, however, accelerate the timetable for prospect Kyle Manzardo -- acquired from the Rays in the Aaron Civale deal -- to get called to the majors. The call for that should only amplify if the Guardians remain in the wild-card race into September and need to add some offensive punch.
Segura, also in the midst of a poor campaign, was rendered no more than a bench player following Jake Burger's acquisition from the White Sox, although he's likely to remain a reserve with his new team, with Jose Ramirez handling the hot corner if he's not pressed into duty at second.
It would take some surprise change-of-scenery rebound stuff for either Bell or Segura to once again become mixed-league relevant, but keep tabs on their progress for their new teams. You never know. -- Cockcroft
The Padres added depth in the form of matchups-oriented players in Hill (6-1 with a 3.88 ERA in his 10 starts against sub-.500 teams this season) and Choi, who has an .810 career OPS against right-handers and should never be used against lefties. The move puts both players in an even more pitching-oriented home environment than Pittsburgh's PNC Park and fantasy managers can expect to have to do the same level of "matchups homework" in order to extract value from either.
Wolf, a Double-A lefty who made a recent spot-start for the Padres, could get a rotation look with his new team. He has a decent slider and, given the chance, might be as matchup-relevant in Pittsburgh as Hill should prove to be in San Diego. -- Cockcroft
Marlins get 3B Jake Burger from White Sox for pitching prospect Jake Eder
Only 12 players entered Tuesday with 25 or more home runs, and every one of them is rostered in at least 67% of ESPN standard leagues. Burger is the exception. He is rostered in only 7.6%. Burger is hardly a star, and he is not doing anything else to aid a fantasy team (for roto or points formats), but the Marlins lack power -- and Burger can provide it.
Nearly half of Burger's RBI total has come on his own blasts, and more than half of his runs scored have, too. He has more homers than singles (22) and walks (also 22), draining his batting average to .214. His OBP is only .279. Burger is also third in the majors in home runs in home games with 17, and hitting in Miami's ballpark is not going to be nearly as much fun.
Burger, who is almost certain to play now that Jean Segura has been traded away in his own deadline deal, has shown no power or anything else at the plate, but his value -- such as it was -- drops quite a bit with this trade. -- Karabell
Blue Jays get SS Paul DeJong from Cardinals for a minor league pitcher
DeJong is hitting just .233, by far his best mark since 2020, and he does boast modest power, but fantasy managers shouldn't be interested unless it is an AL-only format.
The trade could be telling us, however, that excellent SS Bo Bichette might have to miss some time because of a knee injury, although initial reports this afternoon seemed to indicate that we're not dealing with "the worst-case scenario" here.
This trade also might signify the imminent promotion to St. Louis for speedy, hard-throwing SS Masyn Winn -- and that is a big deal. Winn is hitting .284 with 16 home runs and 16 steals at Triple-A, with five home runs over the past 10 days. Defensively, he has been ready for a while.
Winn profiles as a base-stealing leadoff hitter and fantasy managers in all leagues should be intrigued, if and when he gets the call. -- Karabell
Previously completed trades
Just a day after Scherzer admitted he was "disappointed" in the New York Mets' decision to trade David Robertson, signaling the team's seller status at the deadline, the right-hander was himself traded to the Texas Rangers. In Arlington, Scherzer takes over as the team's ace, interestingly enough, by replacing the very ace he did as the Mets' Opening Day starter this season, Jacob deGrom, the now-Rangers pitcher who is out for the season following Tommy John surgery.
It's huge news both on the field and in fantasy baseball. For our purposes in the fantasy world, those in AL-only leagues with a stash of FAB (free agent budget) now have a prize to go after, but also because Scherzer could be rejuvenated by a trade to a contender, as he was in 2021. For those who don't recall, Scherzer was 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 0.82 WHIP in 11 starts following his deadline trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers in that season, That's not to say that such a finish will be repeated -- he's now 39 years old, has shown a downturn in average fastball velocity and has his highest ERA in a season since 2011 -- but the Rangers do provide good lineup support and call a similarly pitching-oriented environment their home.
Scherzer should be a top-10-capable fantasy starter again now that he's a Texas Ranger, albeit a somewhat riskier-than-average one due to his age and occasional injuries down the stretch in recent years.
Acuna is an intriguing prospect, though his arrival will soon present the Mets with a question between him and Francisco Lindor as the team's long-term shortstop. Acuna could shift to second or third base, but wherever he plays he should be a good rotisserie option thanks to his speed and contact ability, evidenced by his .315/.377/.453 rates and 42 stolen bases for Double-A Frisco this season. -- Cockcroft
The free-falling Arizona Diamondbacks coaxed three or more saves out of four different hurlers, only one of whom (Kevin Ginkel) currently has an ERA on the good side of 4.00. Sewald is a clear upgrade, as he has surpassed 20 saves for the second consecutive season, and his three-year ERA as a Mariner ends up at 2.88, with a 0.92 WHIP. He's an unconventional closer, a fly-baller relying on his slider nearly as much as his average fastball, but a closer nevertheless, 21st among relievers on the Player Rater. Those who had been relying on Ginkel, Scott McGough or other Arizona relievers in fantasy can move on.
The Mariners will presumably turn to harder throwing Andres Munoz for their ninth-inning work, and he is finally a must-add in fantasy. Many thought he should have closed over Sewald all along. It will be interesting to see how and if the Mariners incorporate their new hitters.
Canzone emerged at Triple-A this season to hit .354 with power and plate discipline, and AL-only managers should look his way if Seattle gives him a chance, which they should, since the club lacks left-handed power and everyone is striking out too much. Canzone is 25 and perhaps a platoon option for now. The veteran Rojas is having a terrible season, but he stole 23 bases last season and could handle second base duties. Bliss produced big Double-A stats this season (.358, 12 HR, 30 SB) but has found Triple-A to be tougher. He likely needs more seasoning. -- Karabell
Any time hitters get traded to or from the Rockies, it sends shockwaves throughout the fantasy baseball world, and the departure from Colorado of Cron and Grichuk are no different. In rejoining the team that originally drafted team -- the Angels selected Grichuk in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft and Cron in the first round in 2011 -- both players will suffer a noticeable drop in fantasy value.
Cron batted 10 points higher (53 points greater OPS) in his three years for the Rockies than in his seven seasons that preceded it. Grichuk batted 30 points higher (four points greater OPS) in his two years with Colorado compared to eight seasons before that. Coors Field is renowned for its hitting advantages, but what's often overlooked by fantasy managers is the way in which its spacious outfield territory inflates batting average.
Neither Cron nor Grichuk was a big walker in either this or last year, and while Cron's solid year-over-year Barrel rates make him a more attractive HR source, neither hitter brings the consistently elite overall contact-quality metrics that would fuel the extra-base hit production points-league managers crave.
Cron should play regularly at first base, while hitting in an attractive lineup spot behind Shohei Ohtani and eventually Mike Trout, while Grichuk will take over an everyday role from Taylor Ward (who was lost for the season after suffering facial fractures), slotting in a spot or two lower in the order. Despite the lineup boost, though, Cron should end up dropping one or two 1B ranking spots, while Grichuk slides down about 10 OF places.
Back in Colorado, since it is always a relevant discussion when new lineup spots open up there, these departures could create everyday opportunities for Elehuris Montero and Michael Toglia, both of whom have struggled mightily to this point in their big-league careers. Neither warrants a pickup in an ESPN standard league just yet, but both have streaming appeal in 15-team (or more) mixed and NL-only formats when the Rockies play at Coors. -- Cockcroft
Rays get SP Aaron Civale from the Guardians for 1B prospect Kyle Manzardo
Civale, 28, entered this season with a career 4.08 ERA (4.16 FIP) over 63 big league starts, so while the Guardians (and fantasy managers) thought they knew who he was, he mow moves on to the Rays with a 2.34 ERA in his 13 starts this season. The problem is he doesn't deserve it. His FIP is 3.55, in part because he doesn't miss nearly enough bats. His K/9 is a career-low 6.8, which is saying something.
Still, Civale is the No. 11 SP on the ESPN 30-day Player Rater, and the most-added player in ESPN standard leagues. Figure that the Rays just need passable innings, and Civale can offer those -- but even with the move to a contender, fantasy managers should be careful. Expect an ERA in the high-3.00 neighborhood with one of the lowest strikeout rates around from this point forward and not the current mark.
Meanwhile, Manzardo is an elite 1B prospect. He's a second-round pick in 2021 from Washington State who hits baseballs hard and far who brings solid plate discipline as well. A left-handed hitter, fantasy managers in dynasty leagues should love the trade for him. The Guardians seem less likely to platoon Manzardo and he should be their 1B/regular DH as soon as next season.
Don't stare too closely at Manzardo's Triple-A numbers, with a BABIP-induced .238 batting average. Manzardo is currently on the IL due to a sore shoulder, but think ahead to 2024, where top-10 1B production potential lurks. -- Karabell
Blue Jays get RP Jordan Hicks from the Cardinals for a pair of prospects
Toronto closer Jordan Romano, the No. 6 fantasy point-scoring reliever at the time of this transaction, was placed on the 15-day IL on Saturday night, finally succumbing to the back issues that first appeared during a review of a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. "homer turned foul ball" in his All-Star Game appearance. In his place, another Jordan will presumably take over as the team's primary ninth-inning option, albeit one who comes with much more game-over-game variance.
Hicks, who routinely throws 100 mph-plus with his fastball, has been plenty productive since stepping in to close for the Cardinals following Ryan Helsey's forearm injury and Giovanny Gallegos' subsequent early-June struggles, going 8-of-9 converting his save chances with a 2.03 ERA over his last 13 appearances. That's placed Hicks at No. 21 in RP fantasy points and he should be similarly productive as the short-term closer -- or perhaps longer, since it's unclear exactly how severe Romano's injury is -- in Toronto.
If you roster Hicks, merely keep in mind that his command isn't as sharp as Romano's, and he'll assuredly return to setup duty if and when and Romano returns, meaning holds instead of saves production from that point forward. -- Cockcroft
A day after strengthening their rotation with the Scherzer deal, the Rangers bolstered their starting depth by adding a solid 3-4 in Montgomery. He'll help fill the void caused by Nathan Eovaldi's landing on the 15-day IL due to a forearm strain, so the primary Rangers rotation question now is whether Dane Dunning or Martin Perez will be bumped or if the team goes to a six-man rotation. My suggestion is that Perez, who has a 6.69 ERA over his last eight starts, should go.
Montgomery, the No. 36 starting pitcher in fantasy points and No. 44 on the ESPN Player Rater, loses a touch of fantasy value only in that, even with the more balanced schedule, he'd be better served pitching in the NL Central as opposed to the AL West, but the Rangers do have six more games against the dreadful Athletics and there's a pretty soft next few weeks of matchups on his new team's schedule.
He got off to a sizzling start with the Cardinals following a similar deadline deal last year and this upcoming stretch of matchups makes him a worthy pickup in the 24% of leagues in which he's available, as he could start similarly hot in Texas. -- Cockcroft
By landing Giolito, the Angels effectively declared their stance on trading Shohei Ohtani -- he'll stick around -- while making Giolito himself the prize of the 2023 SP trade market. He came at a considerable cost -- Edgar Quero is one of the more promising offensively oriented catching prospects and he and SP Ky Bush represent two of the Angels' top prospects -- but Giolito could thrive with the Angels, who have a better bullpen and a more potent lineup than the White Sox.
Giolito was the No. 26 starting pitcher in terms of fantasy points at the time of the deal, and he should improve by a notch or three on his new team, considering the deal won't alter his raw skills while granting him a stronger supporting cast. -- Cockcroft
After making do with three different shortstops over the past month -- including Mookie Betts, who before this year hadn't played the position since 2013 in the Arizona Fall League -- the Dodgers might have acquired themselves a more formidable starting option. Rosario is in the midst of a miserable year, his fantasy points per game sit 0.15 beneath his 2021-22 combined rate and his minus-15 Defensive Runs Saved at shortstop is worst in the majors. Still, he mashes lefties (.303/.345/.477), has greater potential than Miguel Rojas and allows the team to return Chris Taylor to his prior utility role.
Rosario should play regularly, and moving from the Guardians (4.20 runs per game average, 26th in baseball) to the Dodgers (5.64, second) can only help his runs scored and RBI potential. It's a boon, especially to those in daily/ESPN standard leagues who can slot him in for every game the team plays against a left-handed starter.
Syndergaard, unfortunately, has lost 5 mph on his four-seam fastball this season compared to pre-2020 Tommy John surgery, making him an entirely volatile fantasy option. He'll serve as depth on a Guardians team rich in starting pitching and, at best, could help in ideal matchups if he's called upon to start. -- Cockcroft
Marlins get RP David Robertson from Mets for two minor leaguers
With closer A.J. Puk struggling to the tune of a 9.82 ERA, two losses and two blown saves in five opportunities in July, the Marlins upgraded the position with one of the game's more experienced finishers. Robertson, sixth on the active list for career saves (171), has his most fantasy PPG since 2017 and moving to one of the game's most pitching-friendly environments can only help the No. 13 scorer among true relief pitchers. He's more likely to be the singular closer in Miami than he was in New York, where he occasionally shared chances with Adam Ottavino.
Robertson's primary rest-of-season concern in fantasy is that in recent seasons -- remember, he's now 38 -- he has struggled to maintain peak stamina into September, struggling in the month in both 2018 and 2022. It's something to tuck away, or if you're rich in saves on your team, any excitement generated by his trade might make him a wise sell-high, but the move overall should be a plus for him, as he should be close to a top-15 fantasy closer in his new digs.
Back in New York, Ottavino, who has 11 holds and six saves, both of those second on the team, and limited closer experience from his Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox days, will almost assuredly take over as the Mets' full-time closer. That assumes, of course, he's not traded himself, in which case Drew Smith and/or Brooks Raley could get a look in the role. Ottavino's flaw, is that his repertoire simply isn't great against left-handed hitters, so expect shakier fantasy numbers from him as a full-time closer but still stats that might make him a top-20 positional option. -- Cockcroft
Lynn has struggled mightily this season, his 6.47 ERA a career worst and his 28 home runs allowed not only leading all of baseball but representing a personal worst before we've even reached the two-thirds point of the season. The change of scenery could do a world of good for him, especially considering the substantial improvement in his supporting cast. The Dodgers have the game's second-best offense (5.64 runs per game) and a bullpen that has a second-best 2.25 ERA since the All-Star break, while the White Sox's offense is seventh worst (4.19) and their bullpen is sixth worst for the season (4.63).
Lynn has flashed brilliance at times -- he tossed seven shutout innings of one-hit, 11-strikeout baseball as recently as July 6, and struck out 16 Seattle Mariners on June 18 -- so perhaps the Dodgers see something they can straighten out, just as the Texas Rangers did when they signed him to a three-year contract during the 2018-19 offseason.
Putting aside the Noah Syndergaard exception this season, the Dodgers have been pretty good at coaxing rebounds from starting pitchers in recent years (see: Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney). Lynn remains available in one-third of ESPN leagues and he's worth a pickup in the hopes the Dodgers find something in him. -- Cockcroft
Brewers get 1B Carlos Santana from Pirates for a minor leaguer
The Brewers have gotten the second-worst production from their first basemen this season. Enter Santana, an underrated points-league performer who ranked 16th at his position in that regard despite playing in a poor environment for offense. Now 37 years old and barely a factor in rotisserie formats that use batting average over on-base percentage, Santana should benefit from the move from Pittsburgh's pitching-oriented home to one of the game's most homer-friendly environments in American Family Field.
Santana should take over as Milwaukee's regular first baseman while batting in the upper half of the lineup, keeping him points-league-relevant in leagues with larger lineups than our standard, though it's possible the team will utilize him in a straight platoon with Owen Miller. Monitor Santana's initial role, since that will determine his possible path to a top-15 positional fantasy point total. -- Cockcroft
Graveman's departure leaves the team's ninth-inning picture entirely up for grabs, since he had the White Sox's past two saves at the time of the trade, while Liam Hendriks nurses an elbow injury. Gregory Santos, who has a pair of saves (including one on Friday following the trade) and a 2.61 ERA in 10 July appearances, is the most appealing for fantasy managers in larger leagues scratching and clawing for saves production. Aaron Bummer and Keynan Middleton could be involved in the closing mix, however. As for Graveman, his new team in Houston has several stronger closer (and eighth-inning) options, including Ryan Pressly, Bryan Abreu and Hector Neris, so this detracts from his fantasy appeal in terms of prospective saves and holds. -- Cockcroft