Dave’s Free Plays, Friday 7/24/15
Trading season is now officially underway. The A’s and Astros got things rolling on Thursday as Oakland sent veteran lefty Scott Kazmir to Houston in return for a pair of prospects.
This appears to be a good deal for both entries. The Astros add a quality lefty who should enhance their chances of getting to the playoffs. The Athletics acquired a couple of kids with some upside, and catcher Jacob Nottingham was recently tabbed as the A’s top breakout prospect for the current season. As for Houston parting with prospects, even one who’s rising with a bullet, it still makes sense. They’re taking the approach that they can win right now, and besides that, the Astros organization is laden with legit prospects, so parting with a couple for a quality starting pitcher is not at all unreasonable.
The Brewers also swung into action on Thursday, dealing away the soon to retire Aramis Ramirez. Milwaukee didn’t get much in return, but with ARam calling it a day after this season, getting any warm body was about all the Brewers could possibly expect. Ramirez now gets to close out his career where it started, and he also will have a chance to perhaps play some October baseball with the Pirates.
This is just the start of what has a chance to be a frenzied couple of weeks. The Cubs have reportedly made the Phillies a firm offer for Cole Hamels. The Dodgers might well be on the lookout for another starting pitcher, especially with Brett Anderson now injured again. The Angels just lost David Freese to his second broken finger of the season and while he should return sometime in August, I won’t be at all surprised to see the Halos go hunting for a third baseman.
I think the Padres could be one of the more interesting entries heading toward the deadline. The consensus is they’re going to be sellers. I’m not so sure. AJ Preller would basically be digging his own grave as the GM if he starts unloading talent. Unless he has orders from above to conduct a fire sale, he probably shouldn’t do so. Preller needs to sell the suits on giving this another year. That might sound foolish based on how the Padres have performed this season. But considering how barren the farm system is right now, it might be the best move if this team wants to avoid 3-4 more years of mediocrity.
I might sing a different tune on the Padres if I thought they could get a great return for their most attractive trade pieces. But Justin Upton has an oblique issue and hasn’t hit a lick recently. Craig Kimbrel is a top tier closer but there’s not much of a market for closers right now among the buyers. James Shields wouldn’t be a bad fit for some teams, but he’s not having a great season and let’s call it straight, his post-season ledger isn’t exactly sensational. I think that reduces his value in terms of what he might bring in return.
Thus the Padres are between the proverbial rock and hard place. If they choose to sell, they aren’t likely to get a whole lot back. If they stand pat, they run the risk of losing some talent to free agency. If it’s me, I hang onto Upton and hope the prospect of getting to play with his brother again in 2016 gives the Padres a chance to sign him as a free agent. That’s assuming some team doesn’t decide to part with a big prospect package to rent Upton for two months, of course. But that’s very unlikely to happen.
Then there’s my team, the Red Sox. Yikes. Yeah, I know, they need to sell. But who in their right mind is going to buy? Sorry, but looking for trade partners willing to deal for expensive and very possibly over the hill talent is not going to be easy. Boston might need to literally pay somebody to take some of these guys off their hands.
In any event, the fun is just getting started and I’m hoping the next eight days are action packed!
This has not been a good stretch, with an ugly 1-7 ledger the last three days. There are inevitable valleys during the course of a long season, but that doesn’t make them any more palatable. I’m working hard to get things back on the right path, though, and hopefully that starts paying off tonight.
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I’m going with a Total for the Friday free play. The Orioles certainly weren’t a healthy investment the last couple of days, but perhaps trying to capitalize on their struggles will pay off tonight.
ORIOLES (Tillman) @ RAYS (Archer)
Take: UNDER 7 -120
The stats tell the story loudly and clearly. The Orioles and Rays are a pair of teams having a great deal of trouble scoring runs right now. For the month of July, these have arguably been the two worst offensive teams in the American League. I expect those woes with the sticks to continue for at least one more night.
Chris Archer is pitching for Tampa Bay tonight. Archer has not been quite as consistently dominating recently as he had been earlier but it’s sure not like he’s falling apart. Expecting Archer to contain the currently feeble Orioles attack is clearly not unreasonable.
I think the more interesting guy here is Chris Tillman. The Baltimore righty has seemingly found his groove after struggling mightily all season. It’s really not so tough to see why Tillman’s numbers have improved. He’s not walking people like he had been all season.
It’s almost that simple sometimes. Throw strikes and make the other team beat you instead of the other team around. We saw a great example of this on Thursday night with an unknown Diamondbacks kid who had pitched a grand total of there games above Class A. He took the mound at Chase and got ahead of almost every hitter and Zack Godley, a kid with what appears to be really marginal stuff, walked away with a major league win in the process.
So I’ve got an All-Star righty on one side, and a starter who is absolutely in his best form to date this season, plus two offenses that can’t get out of their own way right now. There’s a little juice involved here, with the low being a 6/5 favorite as I’m writing this, but I see that as the way to play. Let’s try for a winner with the Orioles and Rays staying Under the number.
FanDuel Value Play, Friday 7/24
ANDREW CASHNER, P, $7300
I know this has not been a great season for Andrew Cashner or his Padres teammates. But there’s still reason to believe Cashner could have a dominant performance tonight that gets him as many DFS points as any pitcher on the board.
Cashner has some dynamite metrics at Petco again this season. His home xFIP is 2.44. He’s averaging just a shade less than 11 strikeouts per nine innings in his park. Cashner is facing a Marlins lineup that is minus its catalyst in Dee Gordon and its main power source in Giancarlo Stanton. In other words, there’s every opportunity for Cashner to have a really big game and at only $7300, I am definitely tabbing the talented righty as my value play tonight.