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The Big Dodgers Trade: Early Opinions

The trade, as it stands now, is Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers for Jerry Sands, James Loney, Ivan DeJesus, Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa. We’ll have plenty of in-depth analysis over the coming days, but fantasy is often about speed, so let’s try to break down the “blink” style fantasy implications.

Adrian Gonzalez is worth plenty of posts, and I’ve tried plenty of times to figure him out. Rather than bore you with a post that detailed a futile attempt to find what was wrong, I passed. If you can’t find a reason for a power absence, it usually means you just have to wait. And then he had a .170 isolated slugging percentage in July. And a .289 ISO so far in August. So it seemed the power was coming back.

Maybe you disagree, maybe you agree — either way, you can take what you thought of Gonzalez in Boston… and add. The home run park factor for lefties in Chavez Ravine is 103 compared to the 92 in Boston. He’ll have to play to in San Francisco (89 LH HR PF) three times, but in his 17 games at home, he will now have a slight power advantage, and that will serve him well in the short and long term. He wasn’t due to be in New York (116 LH HR PF) It may be mitigated some by some of the pitching staffs in his division, and some of the parks, but he’s thrived there before, lives in San Diego still, and might see this as a home coming. Add it all up and give him a tick in the positive column.

Carl Crawford won’t be relevant the rest of the way, but he is a lefty, so give him a slight tick up in keeper leagues maybe. It kind of depends on how often the Dodgers will let him run (probably more) and how many runs the team will help him score (probably fewer). And of course his health, which has to be the same in both places.

Allen Webster needs a prospector to evaluate him, but from a fantasy standpoint, his road to fantasy stardom (and Rubby De La Rosa’s) is now a little tougher. The American League East still boasts some great offenses, and oh yeah, the Designated Hitter. Ivan DeJesus might take the Nick Punto role because he’s played all around the diamond, but without adding any power, he won’t be a great play and probably isn’t going to be the shortstop going forward. Nick Punto might get some time at third base in Los Angeles, or at shortstop, pushing Hanley to third, but his bat won’t be of great use to you in fantasy either.

James Loney… yeah it’ll take a deep league to play him still. He hasn’t put up a league-average ISO since 2008 and even his .171 away ISO would only be acceptable as a stop-gap for a better player, and since he’s a lefty going to a park that would take away lefty home run power, a ‘resurgence’ would largely be batting-average and green-monster-double fueled. Not likely to win you a fantasy league. If Jerry Sands can ever show something closer to his nigh-20% strikeout rates in Triple-A in the major leagues, along with his walk and power rates, he’ll quickly step by Loney and into the cat-bird seat for starts at first base. The role change might happen right away, and even if we remain skeptical about his ability to make contact in the major leagues, we have to admit that being on a suddenly rebuilding team now gives him more chances to produce. That makes Sands one of the most interesting short- and long-term plays in this deal.

Josh Beckett deserves plenty of posts, just like Gonzalez, and we’re not going to figure out what ails him here. But the change in the quality of opponent, and the lack of a DH, immediately makes him an interesting pickup in most leagues.