- Matthew Berry, Fantasy
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If Friday is any indication, this is going to be a fun trade deadline. Two big baseball trades are already in the books, and there's fantasy ripple effects to both.
First, Kenny Lofton goes to the Indians, where he probably play about 75 percent of the time, with Jason Michaels still starting against lefties. This trade hurts the value of basically every Cleveland outfielder except Grady Sizemore. And frankly, if they decided to bat Lofton leadoff and move Sizemore down, it may mean fewer steals for Grady.
You can go ahead and drop Trot Nixon in mixed leagues if you haven't already, and if you were counting on Kenny Lofton for tons of speed down the stretch, you want to make alternate plans, because he'll still steal some, but won't be playing nearly as much as he was in Texas.
This is very bad news for Ben Francisco, who goes to the bench or, more likely, the minors. If you were in a mixed league and thinking about picking up Franklin Gutierrez, think again. However, he's still an option for AL-only leagues.
On the Rangers, this means full playing time for Marlon Byrd, who is an immediate pick-up in shallow AL-only leagues and deep mixed leagues. He'll play center field every day and he's hitting .350 with 34 RBIs so far this year. If you're in a deep AL-only or keeper league, you'll also want to grab Nelson Cruz. The Rangers just called him up and he'll get into the mix. He was hitting .352 with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs in Triple-A. I really like Cruz, long-term.
Now let's go to Philadelphia, where the Phillies solved the Chase Utley problem by dealing for Tadahito Iguchi. Iguchi is fun to say and now fun to play. Obviously, he's an immediate pick-up in all NL-only leagues and, even though he has struggled this year, I think this is a good move for his value in mixed leagues. He's available in over 75 percent of ESPN.com shallow mixed leagues and should be picked up, especially if you need help in at the middle infield spot. Utley owners, I'm talking to you! In 45 career interleague games, he's hit .302 with seven home runs, 28 RBIs, and 34 runs scored. He likes the NL. Keep in mind that, with the trade deadline around the corner, he probably shouldn't be bid on if you're holding the most money or have the highest waiver priority, but if you're third or fourth in line in that scenario, or you're that Utley owner with a sudden hole at second base, he may well be the best you'll get.
In a move to replace Iguchi, the White Sox have called up prospect Danny Richar from Triple-A. He hit .306 in the minors this year and was hitting .346 since being traded to the White Sox organization (he was in the Diamondbacks system). Richar will play second base for Chicago and is an immediate add in AL-only leagues.
9hTristan H. Cockcroft