With the non-waiver trade deadline just one week away, fantasy owners should be preparing themselves for the potential upheaval caused by the abundant player movement we are likely to see. While trades have been known to pop up from nowhere, usually, through the vast media coverage of buyers and sellers, we can see where most of the action is going to come from and which players are most likely to find themselves with a change of address. The catchers, for example, are known to be a rather uninspiring group for both trade possibilities and fantasy ramifications at this time. Still, there just might be a few names who could be on the move that would change things up for fantasy rosters and cause a bit of an impact.
Most Likely to Be Dealt
Carlos Ruiz, PHI — While a hot streak could push the Phillies even closer into the race, either division or wild card, they have long been expected to be sellers in the trade market. Ruiz is a veteran backstop who is a free agent at the end of the season, so getting something for him would be better than the obvious alternative. There are a few contending teams that could use a veteran guy like Ruiz, most notably the Yankees and the Reds, both of whom have home ballparks with similar dimensions to Citizen’s Bank Park, so a move shouldn’t be a factor if he’s dealt to either one. Ruiz’ hit chart shows that he sprays the ball around, but if you look at his career power numbers, nearly all of his home runs are pull shots. Yankee Stadium is a little deeper out in left field, but Great American is about the same.
But talking about power numbers for a guy who has yet to go yard this year seems a little silly. Unless his move is to a serious pitcher’s park, where he lands seems to be the least of the concerns. What we should worry about with Ruiz is his health and whether or not his ground-ball and fly ball rates will regress enough to allow him to hit for
more any power. His 50.8-percent ground ball rate is pretty far out of whack compared to his career numbers, that with more at-bats (let’s not forget he missed the first two months), regression seems likely. While his swing rate is down, he’s making so much contact outside the zone, he’s just not getting good wood on the ball. He’s simply mashing everything into the dirt. If he starts taking more of those pitches, he’ll increase his walk rate and start forcing pitchers to throw him more strikes. More pitches in the zone should help him start to adjust those rates which will hopefully turn into more line drive base-hits and home runs.
If he can fix what’s currently going on and stay healthy for the final two-plus months of the season, then Ruiz could be a nice target for you regardless of where he ends up. Unfortunately though, I’d say the chances of that are probably only slightly better than 50/50. He’s a risk to take on but if you’re real weak at the position, it’s probably worth that risk.
Ryan Doumit, MIN — The good thing about Doumit is that his potential destinations are not just limited to teams in need of catcher help. He’s really more of a corner outfield/DH type of guy who can help ease a team’s catching concerns by being somewhat serviceable behind the plate. Both the Yankees (if they don’t land Alfonso Soriano) and the Reds could use him; possibly even Texas if they don’t land Alex Rios and wanted to play him in left, putting the Jurickson Profar experiment on the shelf for the playoff run. Even Pittsburgh could fall into the mix. A move to any of those ballparks, except maybe Pittsburgh, would likely benefit the switch-hitting Doumit and we would probably see an uptick in his ISO, possibly closer to his .186 mark of last year. Without much concern for where he ultimately lands, he looks like he could be a decent add for the final two months of the year.
Dioner Navarro, CHC — A strong finish while with the Reds last year made some people stand up and take notice and while he came out of the gate this year on the sluggish side, he’s hit pretty well through June and July. The Cubs are going nowhere this year and it’s not like Navarro fits into any long-term plan they have, so any team looking for some depth behind the plate should take a look. A strong walk rate and high OBP are working in his favor and if he landed in a hitter-friendly environment, he could flash some power similar to his first half.
John Buck, NYM — Best. April. Ever. Since May 1st? Not so much. Any move would likely put him in a back-up situation so that just diminishes what little value he already has….er….had.
Jeff Mathis, MIA — You could put him in Coors Field with the wind perpetually blowing out and give him 25 at-bats a week and I still wouldn’t recommend him for fantasy purposes. The Marlins will likely move him but does it even matter?
Like I said…a rather uninspiring group.
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