Impact: The Boston/LA Mega Deal Pt.1

Yes, it’s been a while since our last post here. Real world things come up with jobs and family, etc. Working for a minor league baseball team means some long hours during home stands and the need to spend more time with family when the team is on the road. That being said, we’ll be back in full force this offseason, and periodically until then.

The Red Sox and Dodgers have completed an August waiver trade the likes of which have never been seen. Obviously, for those in AL/NL only formats, this could be a game changer. For mixed formats, there will still be some impact for the rest of this season, but the real impact for those formats comes in terms of keeper/dynasty value. Here are my thoughts on the players going from the Red Sox to the Dodgers.

Josh Beckett – Beckett’s strikeouts and velocity are down this season, but part of his inflated ERA can be explained by an extremely low 65-percent strand rate, so there is at least some silver lining. Always having struggled with giving up the long ball, Beckett now moves into a pitcher friendly environment, in a division that includes other pitcher friendly parks in San Diego and San Francisco. On top of that, he moves from the brutal AL East to the soothing offensive environment of the NL West. I’d expect his strikeout rate to rise at least one K/9.

Beyond the stats, Beckett is now free of the criticism and constant breath of Beantown upon his neck. Poor conditioning and attitude issues have seemed to have played a significant roll in his inconsistency while with the Red Sox, but moving to LA gives him a chance at a fresh start, and one in which he will be pitching to opposing pitchers standing meekly against him in the batter’s box.

Who knows, maybe Beckett will make his own trade: Fried Chicken and Beer for fresh sushi and wheatgrass.

The bottom line is that Beckett still has the potential to dominate hitters from time to time, though there is still plenty of risk in his inconsistent track record. He’ll be one to keep in mind in the later rounds of next year’s draft, in hopes that he bounces back like he did from 2010 to 2011.

Adrian Gonzalez – It’s been a down year in the power department for A-Gon, though he has been on fire for over a month in a half, crushing nine of his 15 long balls on the year. Last season, Gonzalez failed to reach 30 home runs for the first time since 2006. Some of that loss in power was explained away due to offseason shoulder surgery (labrum), however, instead of getting stronger A-Gone reportedly felt soreness and weakness in the surgically repaired shoulder late in the 2011 season. At Fenway, he could routinely pepper the Monster and easily go yard to the opposite field. Now, playing home games in the spacious expands of Dodger Stadium, A-Gon’s power ceiling seems quite limited from here on out. As a consolation, his overall skills at the plate should allow him to continue to hit for AVG and post well above OBPs.

Great hitters hit, and A-Gon has the skills of a great hitter (assuming his walk rate returns to form in 2013). Could he have some more .290-.300, 30 home run seasons? Sure, but the risk for me lies in how his surgically repaired shoulder ages. If the trend over the last two seasons continues, his fantasy value will be subdued. Approach with caution when considering buying at full price in keeper formats.

Carl Crawford – The Dodgers acquired Crawford just days after he ended his season with Tommy John Surgery. Not only does his astronomical contact, well below par performance on the field and inability to stay health for two seasons come with him to LA, but the Dodgers made this move knowing full well that they will be without his services for a good chunk of 2013. Honestly, I don’t know what to think of Crawford at this point, largely because I don’t think we’ve seen him at full strength for a while now. I do believe that the move from the pressures of Boston and into the laid back style of LA will help (things were pretty low key in Tampa Bay where he thrived, after all).

Crawford is now 31 and perhaps on the downward arc of his career. If fully healthy, he has the athleticism to become a very good, but not great fantasy player once again. At this point, all we can do is wait and listen in on his rehab. If there is a chance to buy at 10 cents on the dollar, he might be worth a stash in long-term keeper leagues.

Nick Punto – Just kidding.