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Thursday, December 13, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WINTER SIGNINGS: FLURRY OF ACTIVITY WEDNESDAY

While the biggest names remained on the market, there were still a bunch of signings Wednesday at the Winter Meetings which will impact respective fantasy baseball values:

Charlie Morton:  Morton heads to the Tampa Bay Rays for two years and $30 million and will look to pick up where he left off as a monster first half performer in 2018 for the Houston Astros.  By now we all know how Morton unleashed additional velocity midway through his career which greatly upped his K/9 rate and he was cruising with a sub-3.00 ERA last season before injuries derailed things.  Morton has never been the picture of health and his home run problems will likely be exacerbated a bit in the AL East.  That will push Morton down from SP 2 territory to more of an SP 3. 

Lance Lynn:  3 years and $30 million was the freight the Texas Rangers handed Lance Lynn which is surprising considering he was brutal for almost all of 2018.  With a K/9 rate that has cratered after Tommy John surgery a few years back, Lynn logged a 4.77 ERA and 1.53 WHIP but he is still only 31 which lends hope he can come back a bit.  Be that as it may, going to the offensive haven in Texas is a potential recipe for disaster and so Lynn is really just AL-only fodder for now.

Jeurys Familia:  The New York Mets bring back long-time closer Jeurys Familia but this time to work in setup in front of newly-acquired monster closer Edwin Diaz.  The cost was three years and $30 million which is a lot for setup but the Mets are not paying Diaz much will offsets things.  In the end though, Familia only has moderate value in holds leagues.

Justin Bour:  One of our favorites for a number of years, first baseman Justin Bour inked a one-year deal worth $2 million with the Los Angeles Angels. Unfortunately, Bour had a rough 2018 and now will likely share first base/DH duties with Albert Pujols and Shohei Ohtani.  Not much value here outside of AL-only leagues.

J.A. Happ:  While you never like to get in bed with pitchers who operate in the AL East, J.A. Happ has proven he can succeed here as he was excellent during his time with the Toronto Blue Jays and then with the New York Yankees last season.  The Yanks brought Happ back on at hree-year deal at $17 million per and so he will remain in the top SP 4 range off a 2018 where his K/9 was at his highest level ever. 


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL BREAKING WINTER MEETINGS NEWS: YANKS BRING BACK J.A. HAPP ON THREE-YEAR DEAL

By Michael Wong

Las Vegas, NV--Lots of drama here this morning with free agent starter J.A. Happ who has come to agreement to return to the New York Yankees on a three-year deal.  The drama centered on the fact Happ got the Philadelphia Phillies to go three years on a prospective deal last night and the Philly media contingent said they deal was pretty much done.  Not so fast as Happ's representation took the offer to Yanks GM Brian Cashman this morning to see if the team would match.  While it may not have been a straight match all the way down the line in terms of dollars, the Yanks went from two to three years on their original proposal which was enough to land Happ.  Happ only has to pass a physical for it to get done.  Good stuff here as the Yankee reporters were circled in a cluster this morning waiting for updates as this was going on.  With Happ now in the fold, look for Cashman to quickly move to trade Sonny Gray and also possibly step up his pursuit of Manny Machado. 


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL AT THE WINTER MEETINGS: INCREASED CHATTER THE YANKS WILL GET MACHADO

By Michael Wong

Las Vegas, NV--With the majority of personnel departing Thursday, these Winter Meetings so far have fallen well short of expectations in terms of big deals being signed or trades consummated.  With that said, there are some embers burning that could turn into a transaction inferno before too long.  Specifically speaking, the general consensus here is that it is only a matter of time before the New York Yankees reel in Manny Machado.  GM Brian Cashman has already met TWICE with Machado's agents since arriving here and there has been mutual interest for awhile here.  Where there is smoke, there is fire and the fact that word publicly got out that the Yanks are willing to move 2018 rookie sensation third baseman Miguel Andujar means a framework could already be in place here.  Finally, there has not been any other team other than the Phillies and the White Sox who have been overly aggressive on Machado like the Yankee have.  Stay tuned.

-Speaking of the Yankees, they remain very interested in top setup men Adam Ottavino and Andrew Miller and last night met with Ottavino's agent.  Ottavino has stated publicly his affinity for New York and the Mets are also engaged here as well.

-In terms of the J.T. Realmuto talks, the three-team deal with the Mets, Marlins, and Yankees never really went anywhere and those talks morphed into Miami asking the Mets straight up for Amed Rosario for the All-Star backstop.  The Mets don't want to move Rosario since it would be just moving pieces around and in fact, they began peddling back to Martin Maldonado last night as now the Phillies are becoming more of a prime factor in the Realmuto talks.

-There were instantly raised eyebrows regarding the three years and $50 million the Phillies handed aging outfielder Andrew McCutchen.  While McCutchen is still productive, he is a level down from his past MVP days with the Pirates and is not the kind of move that Phillies fans were expecting going into the winter. 

-The Cincinnati Reds have been quite active here as they look to engage the Dodgers in talks for outfielder Yasiel Puig and the Yanks for pitcher Sonny Gray.  They also are open for bringing back Matt Harvey on a short-term deal. 




Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL WINTER MEETINGS SIGNINGS: ANDREW McCUTCHEN NETS A THREE-YEAR DEAL WITH THE PHILLIES

As he gets set to likely join his fourth team in the span of two years after coming to agreement on a free agent deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, former MVP outfielder Andrew McCutchen is having a tough time holding his offensive numbers at the age of 32.  In a 2018 season split between the San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees, McCutchen batted a career-worst .255 with a paltry 20 home runs and 65 RBI in a massive 682 at-bats.  Yes, a bunch of those plate appearances was in the spacious San Francisco ballpark but McCutchen's numbers started sliding a few seasons which is a trend that seems to be picking up speed.  Speaking of speed, McCutchen's 14 stolen bases last season was his most since 2014 which is at least encouraging for his overall value but we saw the effects of age through another personal-worst 21.3 K/9.  With McCutchen posting a neutral .304 BABIP last season and still drawing walks in the process (13.9 BB/9), we are getting a true reading of the type of player he has become of late.  While McCutchen can still help you hold down an everyday starting spot this season as he remains in a prime hitter’s park, it centers mostly in the OF 3 range.

2019 PROJECTION:  .262 20 HR 75 RBI 79 RBI 11 SB  

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL QB RANKINGS

With the 2018 fantasy football playoffs now into the semifinal rounds, let's see where the QB's stand as we get ready to put the finishing touches on the proceedings. 

1.  Patrick Mahomes:  Meet the new no-doubt top QB for present and 2019 fantasy football.  Not even close for second.
2.  Drew Brees:  Tremendous season until Brees has hit the skids in December for the second year in a row.  Still showing troubling road issues as well. 
3.  Andrew Luck:  It goes to show you that when healthy, Luck is still as good as there is.  His days of running however may be finished given that he has just 101 on the ground for the season as of this writing. 
4.  Aaron Rodgers:  Not the year Rodgers' owners were anticipating but a new offense tailored to his strengths should ensure a nice rebound in 2019. 
5.  Jared Goff:  Give me Sean McVay's QB anytime. 
6.  Cam Newton:  Newton was having an MVP season until his shoulder went bad.  Still the premier run/pass QB in all of fantasy football.
7.  Philip Rivers:  A lifetime underrated achievement award belongs here.
8.  Matt Ryan:  Ryan is back in the fantasy football good graces with his second monster year in three seasons.
9.  Ben Roethlisberger:  The numbers are phenomenal but we put Big Ben here given the uncertainty of his coming back for 2019.
10. Russell Wilson:  There are some razor-thin margins here given that Wilson has thrown it at a rate below everyone listed above him but high TD total and continued rushing contributions make him worth being placed higher.
11. Carson Wentz:  Take full advantage of any Carson Wentz discount next season. 
12. Tom Brady:  It goes to show you how deep QB is now that we have Brady this far down.  The overall numbers are down this season and Brady may lose Gronk for 2019 due to retirement as he heads into his age-42 campaign.  A smidge less confidence than we previously have had here. 
13. Mitchell Trubisky:  Yes the interceptions have spiked lately but other than Cam Newton there is not a better run/pass QB in the game.  Also gets bonus points for being in a Matt Nagy offense.
14. DeShaun Watson:  We always have to worry about injuries but Watson has generally been very good this season coming off the ACL tear.
15. Kirk Cousins:  Given the offensive weapons at his disposal, there is no reason Cousins should have the mediocre numbers he is carrying along all season. 
16. Matthew Stafford:  Rough season for sure here but Stafford has generally been a very good buy throughout his career.  Don't count out a nice rebound.

THE REST
17. Jimmy Garoppolo
18. Baker Mayfield
19. Josh Allen
20. Marcus Mariota
21. Jameis Winston
22. Lamar Jackson
23. Dak Prescott
24. Josh Rosen
25. Eli Manning
26. Josh Rosen
27. Andy Dalton
28. Derek Carr
29. Blake Bortles
30. Case Keenum


2019 FANTASY BASEBALL AT THE WINTER MEETINGS: THREE-TEAM DEAL FOR J.T.REALMUTO/THOR JUST TALK FOR NOW

By Michael Wong

Las Vegas, NV.--It generated a ton of headlines late Monday night but no deal is close regarding the New York Mets/Miami Marlins/New York Yankees trade entering on Noah Syndergaard and J.T. Realmuto.  Besides the obvious challenge of the Mets doing a deal with the Yanks, the Marlins are not very keen on doing another deal with Brian Cashman considering how much grief they got over the Giancarlo Stanton swap.  In addition, the Mets only will deal Thor in a trade where they are overwhelmed and getting just Relamuto doesn't qualify according to team sources.  In terms of where this deal is from Miami's end, they are willing to take Brandon Nimmo for Realmuto if it is a deal involving just the two squads but then they also want shortstop Amed Rosario which Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen won't do.  So as of now, there is nothing concrete here other than some rumors that could serve as posturing.

-The catcher market is heating up here as Wilson Ramos and Yasmany Grandal are meeting with various teams and the Boston Red Sox are floating around Sandy Leon and Christian Vasquez in trades.  Also, the Toronto Blue Jays will basically give Russell Martin away if they can.

-Yanks GM Brian Cashman reiterated he is not interested in meeting with outfielder Bryce Harper which removes a big possible destination for Scott Boras' client.  There is much more chatter here regarding Manny Machado who Cashman will meet with Tuesday.

-The Tampa Bay Rays are in ongoing talks to bring in Nelson Cruz to be their everyday DH and there is interest from both sides.  They also are interested in chatting with Adam Ottavino to possible serve as their closer since he will likely come much cheaper than Craig Kimbrel, Zach Britton, and David Robertson. 

-J.A. Happ is in talks with the Phillies, Braves, and Yankees at this point but the Noah Syndergaard talks are at least quieting his dialogue with the latter right now.

-The Dodgers continue to mull whether to dive fully in on Machado but they also are exchanging some ideas with the Detroit Tigers for Nick Castellanos.