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December 22, 2014

Transaction Analysis

Martin in Miami, Nate to New York

by R.J. Anderson and Mike Gianella

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IN THIS ISSUE

American League
National League

NEW YORK YANKEES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired 1B/OF-L Garrett Jones and RHPs Nathan Eovaldi and Domingo German from the Marlins in exchange for 3B-R Martin Prado, RHP David Phelps, and cash considerations. [12/19]

Eovaldi isn't the power arm Yankees fans hoped the team would acquire this winter, but he could be a productive member of New York's staff anyway. Eovaldi, 25 in February, is cheap and under team control for an additional three seasons. It might take that long for pitching coach Larry Rothschild to milk all the upside from Eovaldi and his impressive power arsenal—mostly an upper-90s fastball that he controls well and an upper-80s slider. Unfortunately, hopes about him curbing his platoon issues proved premature last season, thus fueling further skepticism about his future role. Perhaps Eovaldi does shift to the pen in time, but for now he ought to take a spot near the back of the Yankees' rotation.

Spaced out of the Marlins' plans by the Mike Morse signing, Jones joins his third organization in three seasons. The difference between his OPS against righties and lefties over the last three seasons is more than .280 points, meaning he needs to be micromanaged to be effective. Joe Girardi shouldn't have a problem with that, though finding consistent plate appearances might be a challenge. Maybe Jones could platoon with Chris Young, either straight-up or in some sort of triangle arrangement, or maybe he'll get enough action as Mark Teixeira's main backup. Whatever the case, he should help the Yankees' run-scoring efforts, provided he sees a southpaw as often as he sees an eclipse. –R.J. Anderson

From the Marlins' Top 10: "[German] flashes the potential for a power sinker coupled with a late-breaking slider and changeup with bottom-dropping action. The command does need work, with the gap between the present and where it needs to be on the larger side. If everything breaks right, it’s an arm that could push mid-rotational status, and have a late-inning fall back."

Fantasy Impact

Nathan Eovaldi
There is room for improvement here (the FIP was 3.37 compared to Eovaldi’s 4.37 ERA), but moving out of spacious Marlins Park to Yankee Stadium is going to crimp some of the strides that Eovaldi might or might not have made next year. Taking him out of the soft NL East on a quickly improving team and putting him in the tough and improved AL East (hello Josh Donaldson, Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval) doesn’t do Eovaldi any favors either. The wins bump for the Yankees isn’t as much of a factor as it might have once been. He is still a worthy target in keeper/dynasty formats, but in one-and-done leagues, Eovaldi should be downgraded.

Garrett Jones
Depending on how the playing time shakes out, Jones goes from being borderline relevant in deeper mixed to a possible standard mixed-league starter. The shift from Marlins Park to Yankee Stadium cannot be more extreme, and while Jones is not on the best point of the age curve (he turns 34 in June), he is only two years removed from a 27 home-run campaign in 2012. A 20-25 home-run season at Yankee Stadium is not difficult to envision, and while the batting average might still be poor, in the current offensive context, Jones could be a surprising fantasy asset. Furthermore, if the Yankees use him in an exclusive platoon, the batting average could actually be a positive.

Alex Rodriguez
I’ll leave the speculating to the speculators (this sounds like country music meets pseudo intellectualism in the worst crossover of anything ever), but the acquisition of Jones doesn’t seem to leave A-Rod with a regular job at DH or anywhere else. Jones is a non-entity against lefties, so A-Rod should DH against southpaws, but that’s a very limited role. If the Yankees do keep A-Rod (again, speculating/speculators/terrible crossover), his fantasy value appears to be limited to a single-digit bid in AL-only at the moment.

With Prado out the door, the opportunity appears completely open for Refsnyder to claim the Yankees second base job. The minor league numbers look underwhelming, but even if you knock down the batting average, Refsnyder’s 10 home run, 10 steal potential make him worth owning at second base even in standard mixed leagues. He will be underrated by many still using contextual valuations/rankings from 4-5 years ago, but he will be a worthy grab in all formats. —Mike Gianella

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired RHPs Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo from the Giants in exchange for 3B-R Casey McGehee. [12/19]

Acquired 3B-R Martin Prado, RHP David Phelps, and cash considerations from the Yankees in exchange for 1B/OF-L Garrett Jones and RHPs Nate Eovaldi and Domingo German. [12/19]

Prado, a consistently above-average hitter with the defensive flexibility of a utility man, still has two years and $22 million remaining on his contract, yet he's on the move for the second time in the past five months. (On a related note: the Yankees are reportedly pitching in $6 million.) Whereas Prado has played all over for his past teams, he figures to have a somewhat regular home at third base with the Marlins. Ditto for his spot in the order, as Mike Redmond would do well to leverage Prado's patient, high-contact ways by batting him near the top. Hey, speed aside, he's a better choice than Dee Gordon.

Phelps is a finesse arm who gives the Marlins another back-of-the-rotation option. He pitches off a low-90s sinker and upper-80s cutter, mixing in an occasional curveball and changeup. During his time with the Yankees, he struggled with his control and with keeping the ball in play—an ache that should be soothed with a move to a more spacious ballpark. Technically, the Marlins will control his rights through the 2018 season; realistically, he's more of a short-term fit. –R.J. Anderson


Fantasy Impact

Martin Prado
Prado has never been a big-time power hitter, so moving out of Yankee Stadium hurts him a little less than it would hurt other hitters. But it still hurts, as it is an extreme change of venue. Prado will still provide deeper mixed and only value, but the potential to sneak into the top 10 at second base or third base is probably gone now. The playing time should remain the same, but drop Prado a couple of rounds in your draft rankings.

David Phelps
It is hard to believe, but at the moment the Marlins don’t seem to have room for Phelps in the rotation. He doesn’t have value in any format as a long reliever, so unless Dan Haren decides to hang them up, cross Phelps off of your draft lists in all formats. —Mike Gianella

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Signed 1B/OF-R Corey Hart to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million guaranteed with an additional $2.5 million in incentives. [12/19]

A surprise pairing. Hart, who missed all of '13 due to knee surgery, returned with a whimper last season. All the time off didn't help him stay healthy, as he made separate trips to the disabled list with a bruised knee and strained thigh. Sadly, Hart performed poorly when he was on the field, showing his trademark swing-and-miss without his trademark power or on-base skills. Clint Hurdle figures to platoon Hart with Pedro Alvarez at first base, which makes for a good fit on paper. Over his last three seasons, Hart has posted an .853 OPS against southpaws. Factor in how the reduced role could help his durability woes, and perhaps this is the ideal situation for the big guy. And if it isn't? The Pirates ought to be able to eat the $2.5 million without hesitation. –R.J. Anderson


Fantasy Impact

Corey Hart

For what the Pirates paid, Hart is a worthy gamble that won’t cost them much if he fails, but for fantasy purposes Hart chose one of the worst possible landing spots he possibly could have. PNC Park is a terrible hitters’ park in general, but it is a terrible place for right-handed hitters. Hart will play the role of Gaby Sanchez in 2015 to Pedro Alvarez’s left-handed version of Ike Davis, but even in NL-only don’t go past three dollars (at most) for Hart. He could bounce back, but there is also the possibility that he is done.

Pedro Alvarez
Hart’s addition does not do anything to Alvarez’s value one way or the other. The Pirates were going to find a caddy for Alvarez against left-handed pitching, so Hart is simply confirmation of this. Alvarez was going to get the bulk of at-bats at first base for the Pirates regardless of who they brought into the fold; the fact that it is Hart is irrelevant to Alvarez’s 2015 fantasy value. —Mike Gianella

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
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Acquired 3B-R Casey McGehee from the Marlins in exchange for RHPs Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo. [12/19]

McGehee isn't Panda or even Koala, but he should be an okay one-year fix for the Giants at third base. He returned to the majors last season after a year-long detour in Japan, and provided the Marlins with a solid return on their investment. (Assuming, of course, that he wasn't quite as bad as FRAA thinks.) McGehee gleaned his value at the plate through a disciplined, walks-and-singles approach, which saw him post career-best rates for strikeouts and walks. He won't offer much power or speed, but he should suffice as a cheap down-the-order band-aid. –R.J. Anderson

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here
Mike Gianella is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mike's other articles. You can contact Mike by clicking here

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