Twelve players. Three teams. One BIG decrease in fantasy value.
That’s what happened in Wednesday’s trade between the Mets, Indians and Mariners. The main players in this deal are J.J. Putz and Franklin Gutierrez.
Putz, who goes from Seattle to New York, is the biggest loser in this deal from a fantasy baseball perspective. Yes, he goes to a much better team, but his role will change significantly. He will act as a set-up man for newly-acquired Francisco Rodriguez, instead of being a closer like he was in Seattle.
Putz saved 36 games for the M’s in 2006 and 40 more in 2007. He was simply lights out in 2007, with a 1.38 ERA and 0.70 WHIP. In an injury-marred 2008, Putz went 6-5 with 15 saves in 46.1 innings. He struck out 56 and had an ERA of 3.88 and WHIP of 1.60.
Now that he will only get the occasional save, Putz is of little value. There is certainly a chance that K-Rod was overused this past year and that he will suffer an arm injury. In that case, Putz will take over as closer for the Mets. Though this may be a remote possibility, Putz is a great late-round fantasy draft choice. Sit him on the bench in case he gets closing opportunities in the Big Apple.
Seattle gets Indians outfielder Franklin Gutierrez in the deal. Gutierrez had to split time in Cleveland this year, getting only 399 at bats. He hit eight homers, drove in 41 runs, crossed the plate 54 times and stole nine bases for the Tribe in ’08. He hit .248.
At 25 years old, Gutierrez still has a lot of promise. He showed some of his capability in 2007 when he hit .266 with 13 home runs (one every 20.8 at bats). Gutierrez is a good fifth outfielder for fantasy because he can do a lot of things, but none of them spectacularly. If he breaks out, he will be a huge bargain for a late-round draft pick.
The other familiar players in the trade include outfielders Jeremy Reed and Endy Chavez, neither of whom have much fantasy value. The Indians get second base prospect Luis Valbuena from Seattle in the deal.
Valbuena hit .303 in 128 games between Double-A West Tennessee and Triple-A Tacoma. He doesn’t have a whole lot of power, hitting only 11 home runs in 2008, but he is a decent base stealer. He had 18 thefts in the minors this past season. Still, he is someone to keep on the radar but is not worth drafting at this point.