Eric Mack
Thursday July 28th, 2011

The Carlos Beltran deal will make the headlines in the baseball world, but the three-team deal between the Cardinals, White Sox and Blue Jays will make for the biggest changes for fantasy owners.

It affects multiple teams, multiple positions and multiple leagues. It is game-changer, even if none of the players dealt really are.

We break down the major deals before Sunday's trade deadline:

The Cardinals get: RHP Edwin Jackson, RHP Octavio Dotel, RHP Marc Rzepczynski, outfielder Corey Patterson and three players to be named or cash

The Cards gave up on a talented 24-year-old outfielder, but it is the price you pay to acquire pitching. Jackson (7-7, 3.92) is a streaky starter who can be a winner for fantasy owners with the Cardinals. He is a solid add in NL-only leagues. The move not only upgrades the rotation directly, but indirectly, too. The Cards' bullpen will be much stronger, even if Dotel isn't an answer to close, as Fernando Salas (2.57, 19 saves) has been better than the veteran. Patterson and Rzepczynski are merely accessory items.

The Blue Jays get: OF Colby Ramus, 3B Mark Teahen, LHP Trever Miller, RHP P.J. Walters and RHP Brian Tallet

Rasmus immediately becomes the prize of AL-only waivers. He might fetch the highest FAAB of anyone dealt this week. He has speed and pop, and outfielders with so much potential are rarely traded before they reach their physical peak. He just didn't earn the respect of Tony La Russa or Albert Pujols in St. Louis. Heck, even Rasmus' fantasy owners don't really respect him; he just hasn't become the .300-25-100-100-25 player he should be. In a new town, though, he could be that next year. Teahen could be a candidate to get at-bats at third base, and he has value in deeper AL-only formats for that reason. The pitchers are merely relief options.

The White Sox get: RHP Zach Stewart and RHP Jason Frasor

The White Sox get a potential rotation candidate for 2012 in Stewart and bullpen depth in Frasor. Stewart has been unable to match his '10 numbers in Double-A, but he hasn't been bad either (5-5, 4.20). He has a power arm that will translate well to the back of the bullpen if the White Sox decide he cannot cut it as a starter. Stewart, 24, could get a look with the White Sox come September.

Who else is affected: Kyle McClellan's days as a fantasy sleeper are over. He moves back to being the Cardinals setup man and that role leaves him without much fantasy value. You can cut him outside of NL-only Rotisserie leagues. Jon Jay doesn't have the ceiling Rasmus has, but he has better numbers. He is going to be viable in mixed leagues when he is going well. Heath Bell remains a target for the Cardinals and he figures to slide ahead of Salas, Dotel and McClellan in what could be an impressively made-over bullpen before the deadline. That should make all of the Cardinals starters better down the stretch.

The Giants get: OF Carlos Beltran

Beltran doesn't switch leagues, but he does switch coasts. Going to a contender might be good for his career, but it doesn't change much for fantasy owners. If you want to project out the rest of his season, you have to figure his numbers will decline slightly in that lineup. He won't be driving in the machine that is Jose Reyes or have the potential protection of David Wright. Regardless, Beltran remains a must-start outfielder who is top 20 among all hitters and top 10 at his position.

The Mets get: RHP Zach Wheeler

Wheeler, 21, is a strong long-term pitching prospect with a good arm and plenty of room for growth. He won't be a candidate for a call-up until the middle of next season, but he is great return for a Mets team that was going to lose Beltran to free agency without draft-pick compensation. Wheeler, the 2009 sixth overall pick hasn't been pitching well of late in high Class A, but his numbers remain respectable for such a raw prospect pitching in the hitter-friendly California League: 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts. He has the front-line stuff the new White Sox pitching prospect Stewart is a little short on.

Who else is affected: The Mets need a right fielder now and are likely to give Lucas Duda more at-bats there in the short term. Duda has pop and value for NL-only leagues. Longtime prospect bust Fernando Martinez (.254, seven homers in Triple-A) is back to his accustomed role of spending time on the minor-league DL. Long term, Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.298) has a shot at becoming a solution, but he is on the Triple-A DL, too.

The Giants, meanwhile, are going to release Pat Burrell and send prospect Brandon Belt back to the minor leagues. Neither player will be missed much by fantasy owners.

Lost in the shuffles is perhaps the biggest fantasy news of the day: Rickie Weeks (ankle) looks like he is headed to the DL with a significant injury. X-rays were negative, but there might be some ligament damage, which would be a huge blow to his fantasy owners. Journeyman utility player Craig Counsell will get the at-bats in the near term.

If Weeks is ruled out for the season -- or even a month or longer -- the Brewers do have the option of moving Casey McGehee (.230, five homers) to second and calling up one or both of their Triple-A third basemen: Mat Gamel or Taylor Green. Both are tearing up the Pacific Coast League in Nashville.

Gamel, who just turned 26, is long overdue for a full-time look in the majors, although his glove is suspect on the hot corner. He is hitting .326 with 20 homers in Triple-A, despite going just 3-for-26 (.115) in his brief time with Milwaukee this season.

Taylor is the long-term solution at third, and his offensive numbers are almost as good as Gamel's. Taylor is hitting .325 with 15 homers, a .405 on-base percentage (43 walks to 55 strikeouts) and a .552 slugging percentage. He has 27 doubles, too.

Consider taking a flier here if you need a third baseman in NL-only formats.

Eric Mack will rounds up the fantasy baseball movers and shakers before the trade deadline on SI.com. If you cannot get enough here, you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before asking him for fantasy advice on Twitter @EricMackFantasy.

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