News:Dodgers deal for O's closer Sherrill
Views: It's not exactly a shock that George Sherrill was dealt, as he spent last year's deadline on the block. Jim Johnson will get first crack at filling the closer's role in Baltimore. He's a middling bullpen arm who will induce groundballs, and he's been reasonably successful in the eighth inning role. If Johnson falters, Danys Baez and Chris Ray (if he comes back healthy) are next in line. As for Sherrill, he's now a set-up man in L.A. Jonathan Broxton has returned to his dominant form despite some concerns over a toe injury at the All-Star break, but any nervous nellies in NL-only leagues who want Broxton insurance should have Sherrill rather than Ramon Troncoso.
Verdict: Anyone searching for saves can go get Johnson. If he's already gone and you're still desperate, Baez makes sense in deeper leagues. Sherrill can be dropped in all but the deepest of leagues (unless you want the Broxton insurance).
News:Tigers get Washburn
Views: It's a good move for Jarrod Washburn, who's having quite the smoke-and-mirrors season. He goes from one specious ballpark to another and will have a superior offense supporting him. While his 2.64 ERA doesn't jive with his peripherals (most notably an unsustainable .246 opponent batting average on balls in play), he's gotten the fourth-worst run support in the AL this year (3.65). Five wins with an ERA in the 4.00s from here on in seems reasonable. Meanwhile, the Mariners get Luke French, a bottom-of-the-rotation lefty who could land a rotation spot and Mauricio Robles, the more intriguing talent. The hard-throwing lefty is three years away from the bigs, but has a chance to be a No. 2 or 3 starter if his command keeps improving. The move to Seattle doesn't affect his stock.
Verdict: Washburn owners should be pleased, but considering his weak peripherals, this wouldn't be a bad time to sell high (especially considering he's been a sell-high candidate all season). French doesn't belong on AL-only rosters, while keeper leaguers should continue to monitor Robles.
News:Wilson, Snell to Seattle, Cedeno, Clement to Pittsburgh
Views: There's really next to no fantasy impact here, though there's some intrigue with Ian Snell. He was great in 2007 before falling flat on his face the past two seasons. But since a mid-season demotion to Triple-A, he's been lights out, posting a 0.96 ERA and striking out 47 in 37.1 over six starts. He could land in the Mariners rotation in another week or so. Jack Wilson is the same bottom-of-the-barrel fantasy option he always was. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh's new Ramon Vazquez/Ronny Cedeno tandem at short isn't worth the 133 keystrokes it took to write this sentence. Jeff Clement is one of the bigger-name prospects out there, but I personally have never been a believer. His .655 OPS in 66 games last season, and disappointing .871 OPS at Triple-A Tacoma as a 25-year-old this year (his fourth stint in the PCL, mind you) would seem to back up his status as a quadruple-A talent, and one that's unlikely to stick at catcher.
Verdict: AL-only leaguers can take a flier on Snell, but you're taking your ERA and WHIP life into your own hands, and Wilson isn't the worst guy in the world to fill out an AL-only roster. NL-only keeper leaguers might as well take a flier on Clement. He's sure to entice some sucker as off-season trade bait.
News:Cubs pick up Pittsburgh's G-Force
Views: That's right, both John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny head to Wrigley. Grabow is obviously not worth anything as a middle reliever (and possibly a LOOGY for the Cubs). Gorzelanny's fall from grace has been swift over the past two seasons, but a change of scenery could do him good. He's been solid (though not exactly dominant) at Triple-A Indianapolis since an early-season demotion. An appearance in the Cubs rotation is out of the question unless a rash of injuries strikes. Kevin Hart is the only player coming back to Pittsburgh who will have an impact this season, and he should step right into the rotation. Don't be fooled by the strong ERA. Considering his 13-to-18 K-to-BB ratio over 27.2 innings with the Cubs this year, he's more likely to be seen riding a unicorn to and from PNC Park than maintain anything close to his 2.60 ERA. And the Pirates' Triple-A-caliber lineup isn't about to shower him with run support. As for the other players involved, Jose Ascanio's potential tops out at middle reliever, and Josh Harrison is a somewhat speedy but marginal prospect who has utility man upside.
Verdict: Fantasy-wise, there's nothing of value changing teams here. Just don't be the nimrod who goes out and gets Hart. He's likely to do more damage than good.
News:Webb has a setback
Views: This is getting ridiculous. You can appreciate Brandon Webb's desire to get back in September and pitch his way to a lucrative new contract, but surgery has seemed inevitable since he went down in April. Now that he's put it off this long, 2010 spring training could be out of reach. For a pitcher, there's no injury worse than a shoulder injury.
Verdict: Anyone hanging on to Webb for 2009 can, as Sammy Hagar once said, dream another dream, this dream is over. He's going to be a huge question mark going into 2010.