Fantasy Baseball free agent tracker: Chris Bassitt leaves the comforts of Oakland; Mitch Garver’s outlook is improving
Haven’t we done it once before?
Yes, there was an offseason — pretty frenetic, too — before the MLB lockout. But it suddenly ended in early December with a lot of work to do.
So here it is: Part 2 of the Offseason Tracker, where you’ll learn the Fantasy Baseball implications of all the remaining moves. And if you want to catch up on the same from that first free agent binge, you can check out the original Offseason Tracker.
Daniel Bard’s inspiring return to a closer role last year proved to be a misfortune, and in the end the Rockies were forced to rely on Carlos Estevez and his career 4.85 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. Surely, Colome is better than that. He was in and out of the Twins role last year, but finished strong and enjoyed a steady run as the closest in the previous five years. His success has always come despite a low strikeout rate, much like Mark Melancon.
Of course, it’s fair to wonder how that skill set will play out at Coors Field, where contact is particularly dangerous, but there’s no viable alternative for the Rockies right now. Colome won’t be one of the most coveted relievers come draft day, but he should probably be drafted ahead of Dylan Floro and Joe Burrow.
Bassitt joins a rotation led by Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer and comes out of what could be a miserable situation in Oakland with the Athletics looking to sell parts. For that reason alone, this trade is good news for its Fantasy value. Leaving Oakland could present other challenges, however. His success in recent years is mainly based on the removal of hard contacts and in particular home runs. RingCentral Coliseum is well suited for that skill set, and fittingly, Bassitt has a career 2.58 ERA there compared to 4.34 everywhere else. Citi Field isn’t the opposite of the pitcher/batter spectrum, but it’s closer to neutral. An ERA in the middle of the three is more likely than a repeat of last year’s, but with a relatively low WHIP. I bet he’ll still be worth a mid-term pick.
Garver’s .875 OPS last year was third-best among catchers (minimum 200 at-bats). His .995 in OPS in 2019 (to go with 31 homers) led the position. Sure, he was terrible in 2020, when everything was weird because of the pandemic, but he barely played because of a strained intercostal. By now it should be clear that he is one of the best hitters the position has to offer. Playing time issues are the only reason he is barely drafted into the top 10.
This move to Rangers won’t prevent him from getting injured, of course, but it will put him under the jurisdiction of a new manager – one who hopefully won’t force him into a 50/50 split with his replacement ( in this case, Jose Trevino rather than Ryan Jeffers). I’ve been high on Garver all along, believing there’s little downside to firing a backhand at a receiver position, but now I’m inclined to push him past Tyler Stephenson.
As for Kiner-Falefa, he is in line to take over as the Twins’ main shortstop, although he was already set to play every day with the Rangers, who now have a hole to fill in the third. goal. Kiner-Falefa’s lack of pop keeps it from being a hot commodity in Fantasy, but it’s base-stealing enough to factor into deeper rotisserie leagues.
A three-year contract is a bit of a surprise for a pitcher who has compiled a 5.39 ERA so far in his career, but Kikuchi has shown everyone just how good he can be with a 3 ERA, 18 and a 1.03 WHIP in his first 15 starts last year. He was allowed one strikeout per inning during that span, which is disappointing by today’s standards, but his swinging strike rate was nothing short of elite. He may have been a victim of the Foreign Substances Ban, with his turnover rates dropping as soon as it came into force, but it’s too early to shut the door on him, especially with the kind of race support he’ll be getting. now. That signing, however, removes former prospect Nate Pearson from the rotation conversation.
Kershaw will stay in the Dodger blue, as the good Lord intended, but the fact that he gets a one-year deal suggests few clubs are confident in the future Hall of Famer’s ability to deliver numbers. have. Either that or he accepted a hometown discount. That is this or he wants to leave the door open for retirement next year. Come to think of it, we may not be able to do anything about the terms of this deal, but we can say this: his elbow wasn’t fine at the end of last season. He barely pitched in the second half and there was talk of Tommy John surgery.
It should be pointed out that it was as effective as usual before the elbow problem. HIs 2.87 xFIP was his best in four years and his swing-strike rate was actually a career high. He says he’s healthy now, just a little behind in his preparation, and given his track record, you want to give him the benefit of the doubt. But the risk of his 2022 season never really taking off seems pretty high. That’s why he tends to get drafted after young upstarts like Alek Manoah, Dylan Cease, Trevor Rogers and Shane McClanahan.
The terms of the deal are exactly what you’d hope to see for a player who finished the 2022 season with significant question marks, lagging speed and an ailing shoulder. Rodon did not get a one-year proof contract, but a two-year guarantee at a high average annual value ($22 million). It even includes the right to withdraw after the first year. Rodon was one of the biggest escapes at starting pitcher before his battle with shoulder fatigue, and if he had had the innings to qualify, he would have ranked up there with Corbin Burnes in ERA (2, 37) and K/9 (12.6). Even while struggling with his injury last September, Rodon still managed a 2.35 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 9.8 K/9s over five starts.
Obviously, the Giants are optimistic, which gives us reason to be too, largely because, uh, he’s now going to pitch for the Giants. Oracle Park is a huge venue and Rodon is a fly-ball pitcher, so while he exceeded expectations in terms of home run avoidance last year, the regression is now much less of a concern. Plus, the Giants have banked on nearly all of their veteran pitching signings in recent years — from Kevin Gausman and Anthony DeSclafani to Alex Wood and Drew Smyly — and Rodon doesn’t need as much help as he does. them.
I rank him just around 30th at starting pitcher, just behind other questionable cases like Yu Darvish and Blake Snell, and I’ll draft him there with renewed confidence.
Simmons’ fantasy stock is likely unrecoverable at this point, but he remains the game’s premier defensive shortstop. The Cubs have already made the curious decision to sign Marcus Stroman, a ground ball specialist if there ever was one. and he will be followed in the rotation by similar contact throwing types Kyle Hendricks and Wade Miley. If you’re planning on investing in any of these in Fantasy – more likely Stroman and Hendricks than Miley – this signature is music to your ears.
Sure, that probably leaves one of Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal (more likely Hoerner) without a full-time role, but neither offers the kind of power to be a big draw in Fantasy. Both could help with batting average while also making a modest contribution to stolen bases.