While a few teams made big moves at the deadline to bolster their lineups and make a push for the postseason, some sold off key offensive pieces with an eye for the future. A couple of teams cleaned up shop all but entirely in favor of a complete rebuild.
In DFS, we will want to quickly react to these moves and regard these offenses for what they are now and not our perception of them from earlier in the season.
Let’s take a look at some of the teams most depleted by their trade deadline moves and their DFS prospects for the rest of the 2021 season.
The Cubs are right up there as one of the most extreme sellers at the deadline. They all but totally broke up the band, and almost the entire core that won the 2016 World Series is gone. The Cubs, even with their core intact, already sported an underwhelming offense earlier in the year. Their new-look squad stands to be one of the worst in the league. It will likely be one to be avoided for DFS purposes in all but the most advantageous of circumstances.
Remove players of the caliber of Anthony Rizzo, Joc Pederson, Javier Báez, and Kris Bryant. Insert folks like Joneshwy Fargas, Frank Schwindel, Sergio Alcantara, and Rafael Ortega. I’d say this constitutes a sizable downgrade, to say the least. They even traded Jake Marisnick, which doesn’t really matter, but it just makes them that much thinner. David Bote and Ian Happ are now bonafide middle-of-the-order starters. Most of their remaining hitters are journeymen, some at least with a good bit of MLB pedigree, some not as much.
This is a lost season for the Cubs. Unless they face a terrible pitcher/bullpen, I’d be reluctant to put much DFS stake in them for the rest of this season unless they call up some top prospects and get hot. Even in Coors field against a sub-par starter, it is pretty hard to click the button on these guys.
Alongside the Cubs as one of the two biggest sellers at the deadline stand the Washington Nationals. The 2019 World Series winners appear to have committed fully to a rebuild, selling off any semblance of a genuinely major-league caliber team.
After treading water for most of the year, there was a brief period when Kyle Schwarber went on a historic home run tear. They looked like one of the better offenses in the league for a hot minute there. They were contending and could have been buyers instead of sellers, then Schwarber got hurt, and the ship collapsed. The days of the Nationals being a DFS asset look to be over for 2021.
The Nationals traded Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Josh Harrison, and Yan Gomes. This leaves them with basically Juan Soto and Josh Bell as the only semblance of a legitimately competitive squad left.
When guys like Alcides Escobar and Yadiel Hernández are batting toward the top of the order, and Victor Robles is leading off, it is safe to say that the machine is broken. The Nationals are essentially on hold until next year. They are for now sending out a barely MLB-caliber offensive team. Roster with caution when it comes to DFS.
To be fair, the Marlins were already bad, hence them being sellers in the first place. However, they were a less-than-excellent offensive team that still had some upside here and there. They had some decent pieces keeping them from absolute bottom-of-the-barrel status. A couple of those pieces are gone. The Marlins are now cemented as one of the worst offensive teams in the league.
Adam Duvall and Starling Marte being traded to the Braves and Athletics, respectively, has left the Marlins with very little to work with on the offensive front. Lewis Brinson is batting cleanup. Enough said.
The Cleveland soon-to-be Guardians were already sending out a fairly dismal offense. They managed to get worse at the deadline, trading away two of their only decent hitters in César Hernández and Eddie Rosario.
While Cleveland’s move did not have the massive feel of those made by the Cubs and the Nats, they went from a somewhat sub-par offensive team to an absolutely dismal squad. José Ramírez and Franmil Reyes as the only two real bright spots left in Cleveland.
I would not expect the team currently known as the Indians to score many runs with this motley cast of characters. Certainly not until they have a chance to regroup and their jerseys officially read “Guardians” in 2022.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates traded 2021 all-star contact man Adam Frazier to San Diego, making a terrible offense that much worse.
- The Kansas City Royals unloaded power-hitter Jorge Soler to the Braves, pushing an almost halfway decent offense further into no-mans-land.
- The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Eduardo Escobar to the Brewers, cementing them as one of the worst offenses in baseball.
- The already offensively limp Texas Rangers let go of their only legitimately reliable offensive player in Joey Gallo, now a Yankee.
- The Twins suffered a big blow with the loss of Nelson Cruz to the Rays a little before the deadline.
The trade deadline this year was particularly active with big moves. We will have a situation in the MLB for the rest of the year where several teams field a borderline minor league squad. In contrast, several other already potent offenses have gotten that much better. We will want to adjust to this landscape as quickly as possible and construct our DFS lineups accordingly.