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TGIF: Fantasy Impact of Recent MLB Trades and Signings

Roy Halladay

Over the past couple of weeks, the baseball world has been buzzing about Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, John Lackey, and Curtis Granderson. There is no doubt that this offseason’s hot stove has helped warm up this chilly weather.

These aren’t just new faces in new homes, these are *big* names in new homes. I know it is only December, but come on, any real fantasy baseball enthusiast is constantly thinking about the upcoming season…even in the winter. Like any good fantasy dork, the only thing going through my head as these deals went down was how they would affect my drafting for the 2010 season.

This is basically what is going through my mind at the moment in regards to the recent offseason moves.

2009 Offseason Moves

Curtis Granderson (OF), New York Yankees

Feels weird saying that doesn’t it? Remember the last time the Yankees plucked a hot young stud from Detroit, only to ruin his career? Yes, Jeff Weaver! That is correct. Oh, that has no significance here, I just thought it was funny.

Granderson playing in Yankee Stadium will no doubt maintain his power numbers, but don’t go expecting a 40-HR season in 2010. You can expect him to get you 30 home runs and maybe even a little more. Over 25 of Granderson’s home runs last season were hit to right-center or right field. Being a lefty at Yankee stadium will bring incredible value to Granderson since the right field fence in Yankee Stadium is 314 feet from home plate.

What you need to watch out for is his sudden decline in hitting. Granderson hit a career-low .249 last season despite having a career batting average of .272. It should also be noted that Granderson couldn’t hit lefties last year as he hit only .183 off them and only 2 of his 30 homers came off of southpaws.

Then again, he was only a .261 career hitter at Comerica Park and a .284 hitter on the road, so maybe it was just the ballpark holding him back.

In any case, not accounting for the psychological torture of having to play in the Bronx, Granderson is definitely an early third round pick next season. His power will remain and leaving Comerica Park will boost his average. Those in leagues with expanded categories will value Granderson higher as he is always a lock for a high amount double and triples too.

John Lackey (SP), Boston Red Sox

Feels weird saying that doesn’t it? The man who dismantled us in the playoffs this past October is now one of our own.

The Red Sox signed Lackey to a 5 year/$85 million deal. It is slightly more than what the Yankees signed A.J. Burnett for last year. Apparently everyone can laugh at New York for signing Burnett for that much money but nobody cares when Boston does the same thing for Lackey, who has almost identical career numbers as Burnett.

That’s not the point, what we want to know is how Lackey will do in Boston. So far in his career, he has been terrible at Fenway Park, where he holds a career 5.75 ERA in nine starts. I am sure with time that can be whittled down.

Lackey will now have to pitch against some stiffer competition in the A.L. East. The Rays, Blue Jays, and Orioles all have young, potent offenses. Oh yeah, and he now has to play against the world champion Yankees a lot more too. Gone are the cupcake games against Seattle and Oakland and I think that combined with Lackey’s mediocrity at Fenway may lead to a rise in ERA.

However, he will get around 15 wins due to the Sox offense backing him up. Even in games where he throws 5.0 IP and gives up 4 ER, Lackey will still get the W. So look for increased wins from last season, but the ERA will be on the rise.

Roy Halladay (SP), Philadelphia Phillies

Feels weird saying tha…oh forget it. Yeah so, Roy Halladay finally found a new home, but it took longer than expected. Speculation about the former Cy Young winner leaving Toronto had been going on since the summer, but here we are still talking about it in December. Except now it is over with!

There is nothing much to say about the deal, Halladay leaves the American League and gets to wreak havoc in the National League. Like others before him (CC Sabathia, Chris Carpenter, and even Randy Johnson back in the day), Halladay should benefit tremendously from a move to the N.L.

He got his contract extension (at $20 million a year!) and now he gets a chance to win a world title. Those who believe that a player puts it into cruise control after receiving a huge payday are going to see the opposite with Halladay.

Halladay wants to win a World Series in his career, so don’t think for a second that he won’t be trying 100% in 2010. Backed by the potent Phillies offense that has brought Philadelphia to two straight World Series, Halladay is likely to challenge San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum for the N.L. Cy Young.

In short, expect the same numbers you are used to from Halladay and nothing less.

Cliff Lee (SP), Seattle Mariners

Lee took a few months off from the A.L. and has decided to return. Well he didn’t decide, but let’s not argue semantics here.

Lee has been a dominant force in both the A.L. and N.L. over the past two seasons, including winning the A.L. Cy Young with the Indians in 2008. This just means that going back to the American League should prove to be no problem at all for Lee.

Lee is slated to become a free agent after the 2010 season and may be reluctant to sign a long term deal with Seattle after spending just one season there. So this could be another great contract year for a stud player hoping to make big bucks in free agency. In which case, Lee is an even more intriguing pick in fantasy drafts.

Lee will be playing half of his games at Safeco field, a pitcher-friendly environment, and that will hopefully make for improved stats over playing home games at Philadelphia’s Citizen’s Bank Park.

An already dominant pitcher is moving to an up-and-coming Seattle team hoping to make a run in the A.L. West this season. Factor in a friendlier ballpark, a contract year, and joining Felix Hernandez as a 1-2 punch in the rotation, and you have the makings of another great season by Lee.

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