News:Holliday headed to St. Louis
Views: At this point, the move can only help Matt Holliday was good but far from great in Oakland (.286, 11 HRs, 54 RBIs, 52 runs, 12 SBs). No disrespect to the underappreciated Scott Hairston, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say Holliday will be better off batting behind Albert Pujols. This could kickstart him back into the fantasy elite. Top prospect Brett Wallace heads to Oakland, seemingly confirming that he can't handle third base at the big-league level. He's a potentially great bat, but destined for first base of DHing duties. The move to the pitcher-friendly (and horrendously named) Oakland-Alameda County Stadium makes him slightly less appealing in fantasy leagues.
Verdict: He's not really a buy-low candidate, but if you can swing a deal for him without giving up an elite player, now's the time to do it. Meanwhile, any poor souls who still have Rick Ankiel in their active lineup should have contingency plans (and should ponder whether fantasy baseball is really for them).
News:Break up the LaRoche brothers
Views:Adam LaRoche pretty much becomes Mike Lowell insurance. If Lowell goes down, LaRoche holds more appeal than he did in Pittsburgh where he had no protection in the lineup. The move assures regular playing time for Garrett Jones as long as he stays hot. Though, despite his Ruthian .831 slugging percentage through 71 at-bats, the 28-year-old minor league vet is a below average fantasy option on his best days. It also opens up time for faux-top prospect Steve Pearce. He fooled many a clueless fantasy owner when he tore up the minors as a 24-year-old in 2007, but he didn't hit in 2008 and has been slightly above average an Indianapolis as a 26-year-old this season.
Verdict: LaRoche can consider dropping him as long as Lowell is healthy. Meanwhile, if you want Jones, get him now and get ready to drop him when he cools off in a couple weeks. Pearce is worth a flier in deep NL-only leagues, but he's unlikely to do much.
News:Inning limit catching up to Joba
Views: This isn't really news, but more of a reminder to Joba Chamberlain owners that he's the undisputed most overrated player in fantasy baseball. He's third in the AL in pitches per inning, the biggest reason why he has only eight wins and 161 innings pitched in 30 career starts. It's not that he's worthless, or that he won't be an elite starter one day, but he can't work deep enough into games to get wins or really deliver a great strikeout total (he's currently tied for 51st in the majors).
Verdict: If you have Joba, there's a 99 percent you drafted him far too early and should have been shopping him all season. Unless you're in a keeper league, now is as good a time as any to move him.
News:Cards land Lugo
Views: If Julio Lugo is ever going to be relevant in fantasy leagues again, this is his chance. He'll only have to beat out the light-hitting Brendan Ryan for at-bats. While injury-prone (and certainly not worth the $36 million Theo handed him), Lugo was far from awful over the past two seasons, posting on-base percentages of .355 and .352. The spurts of power he showed earlier in his career are no longer there, but the fact that he'll be facing inferior pitching in the National League is a definite plus. Lugo can contribute in fantasy leagues if he (a) shows he has something left in his legs or (b) moves to the top of their lineup. I'm not so sure about the former, especially with the knee and groin issues he's been suffering with. But Lugo would be a better fit in the 2-hole (in front of Albert Pujols) than Colby Rasmus and his .312 on-base percentage. Under that scenario, Lugo would rarely get the green light to run but would see many, many hittable pitches and score a lot of runs. But more likely he'll start off in the bottom third of the lineup.
Verdict: Deep NL-only leaguers should take a flier on Lugo, but he can sit on the waiver wire in other leagues for now.