I know what people think about rumors in the Hot Stove Season. So many are talked about and sometimes just flat out made up, that you take them as seriously as you do when someone claims they saw Elvis alive and working at a 7-11 outside of Houston.
Still, some of them do happen, and that’s what makes them fun to read about and speculate on. That’s what we’re going to do today. I’m not going to look at every rumor. Actually, we’re only going to look at two for now. If one of them happens, it would be big news, while the other would probably slide under the radar. But if they happen, both would have a sizable impact on fantasy baseball in 2014.
Rumor 1: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports:
Okay, maybe I am stretching in calling this a rumor. But, we’re talking about some big names and the fantasy impact of this trade would be pretty good, and there wouldn’t be a negative to come from it. From that perspective I think it’s too bad that this trade doesn’t have any traction.
I can’t imagine that Elvis Andrus wouldn’t be at least as good with the Los Angeles Dodgers than he was with Texas Rangers. Even without Matt Kemp there, he’d be batting in front of guys like Yasiel Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Andre Ethier, and possibly Carl Crawford. That’s a great chance to score a lot of runs. Remember that Hanley won’t have 3B eligibility to start the year, but he’d certainly pick it up in the early weeks of 2014 if Andrus joins the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lastly from the L.A. perspective, Kemp being out of town would certainly mean more playing time for Ethier and Crawford, which would only help their fantasy value.
As far as Kemp goes, there’d really nothing bad to take from this statistically. Texas is a much better place to hit than Los Angeles. That wouldn’t be a big loss for Andrus, because he’s not a power hitter, but I can’t see this doing anything but helping Kemp’s power numbers. Also, for a guy who’s dealt with some injuries over the last few years, having the DH would be a big benefit.
Doesn’t seem likely at this point but from a pure fantasy point of view, it would benefit the depth of the outfield and third base positions.
Rumor 2: Troy Renck, Denver Post:
A few names mentioned there, but one really stands out above the others: James Loney. First off, Loney was the 21st ranked fantasy first baseman on ESPN’s Player Rater in 2013. But look at how his fantasy stat-line stacked up to Adrian Gonzalez, who was ranked No. 10.
The numbers actually aren’t that far apart. Now, I’m not going to say that Loney is a better hitter than Gonzalez, he’s not. But from a fantasy standpoint, Coors field would go a long way in closing that gap.
Loney has shown that he’s a pretty well-rounded hitter, but lacks power. Unfortunately for him, excluding a brief window where he was in Boston, Loney’s home stadiums have been Dodger Stadium and Tropicana Field, which are not HR friendly. Breaking news here: Coors Field is.
Loney’s never going to be a big crusher but if he goes to Colorado, I can see him being very similar to what Michael Cuddyer was in 2013. Even at a deep position like first base, a guy who can hit around .300 and be in the 20-25 HR range is a pretty valuable and likely will be a Top-10 player at the position come the end of the season, witness Gonzalez in 2013.
Actually, if Loney is on the Rockies and they keep most of their core offense together, I’d probably say that he’d be a better fantasy player than Gonzalez in 2014. I doubt that many rankings and fantasy players would agree with that. If Loney signs with the Colorado Rockies, he’s a very interesting sleeper to watch come draft time. Keep an eye on this one.