With fantasy trade deadlines on the near horizon, time is running out to significantly alter a fantasy roster's DNA. Owners shouldn't hold out hope that a random midseason waiver wire pickup will change your team's course. Boldly propose your trades now, or suffer the lonely weeks until the NFL kicks off.
On to the trade tips:
• SP Ricky Nolasco, Los Angeles Dodgers: Now that the right-hander has been liberated from the mess in Miami, Nolasco might finally live up to the promise long expected of him, even if it's only for the final third of the season. Dodger Stadium is one of the most pitching-friendly parks in the majors, and Nolasco may get a jolt from pitching for a team in the pennant race, which is good news for a hurler posting his best season in five years.
• 1B/OF Chris Carter, Houston Astros: It's hard to fully endorse someone hitting .229, but it becomes a little easier when you realize he has 18 homers and 47 RBI. Power is power, even if it comes in a roughly-wrapped package. The poor batting average may even help to reduce the price, which is likely to rise should he be traded to a contending team at the deadline.
• OF Justin Upton, Atlanta Braves: This hurts, as Upton helped this intrepid owner start fast this season. However, Upton's .298 batting average in April slid to .211 in May and .226 in June, and he's hit only four homers since the end of April; this signifies that it's time to find out what he's worth on the trade market. This isn't a sell-no-matter-the-price situation, but if moving Upton can plug up a few holes elsewhere on a roster, make the deal. There's too much muddy water under the bridge to have faith he'll return to his early-season form after he returns from the DL.
• OF Michael Bourn, Cleveland Indians: Bourn has been hampered by some injuries, preventing him from doing what he does best for fantasy owners -- steal bases. Through 68 games prior to the All-Star break, Bourn had 13 steals. Alcides Escobar has 12 steals with an extra 13 RBI. Heck, Eric Young Jr. has 16 bags in seven fewer at-bats. The point is that Bourn's production can be found elsewhere, perhaps as part of a package for Bourn, whose reputation should still carry trade value, especially with the Indians poised to play in meaningful games in the second half.
• Anyone associated with the Biogenesis clinic: Michael Weiner, executive director of the players association, told reporters this week that any suspensions handed down by Major League Baseball related to the alleged use of PEDs prescribed by the clinic was likely to see an appeals process that stretches into next year. So hold on to your Nelson Cruzes, Ryan Brauns, Everth Cabreras, Jhonny Peraltas and Bartolo Colons. Yes, and A-Rod, too. MLB will rattle its sword and the media will continue to report on expected punishment, but this is nothing these players haven't heard before. Many of them have played through the speculation before to post solid seasons. Fantasy isn't reality. No one has to approve of what they may have done; owners just need them on the field, and it looks like they'll be there for the remainder of this season.