By Sam McPherson
In standard, one-season fantasy baseball leagues, there is often a trade deadline toward the end of August. This means no trades can be made in the league after the deadline passes, leaving the final five weeks of the season to an owner’s ability to skillfully manage a roster. No owner can sneakily trade for players in the final weeks of the season to wreak havoc on the standings at the last second.
However, there probably is still time in your league to make a trade that can help your roster. The best strategy is to look at the standings and see what your team needs to gain a few valuable points over the last month-plus of the fantasy baseball season. Then, look at the bottom of the league standings to see which teams have what you need. Target those teams with the “nicer” owners and see if you can make a deal.
This may seem devious, but it happens all the time. As long as the trade is equitable on the surface, the other owners in the league cannot protest the trade or stop it from happening. Be smart and target the right assets on the right team to help your fantasy baseball season end on a high note. If you don’t at least try this strategy, you’ll regret it all winter long.
Players to Get On Your Roster Now
1. Ian Kennedy, SP, Kansas City Royals: If you picked him up in mid-April like we suggested then, you’ve been rewarded with a 3.58 ERA, a 1.146 WHIP and 145 strikeouts so far. Kennedy has only won eight games, though, because the Royals have struggled so much to score on offense. But with a 2.77 ERA since the All-Star break, if you don’t have him on your roster already, grab him quickly.
2. Dan Straily, SP, Cincinnati Reds: Likewise, we suggested grabbing Straily in early June, and now he’s posted a 2.25 ERA in the second half. Like Kennedy, the wins aren’t plentiful because the team quality stinks, but late in the year, Straily can really help your ERA, WHIP and K totals down the stretch as you try to move up in the standings.
3. Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees: With the Bronx Bombers in full rebuild mode, Judge is now going to be playing every day until the end of the season. He’s a big man the Yankees selected in the first round of the 2013 draft, and he’s already hitting over .300 in the majors right now. Grab him if you can’t make a trade with another owner for OF talent.
4. Gary Sanchez, C/DH, New York Yankees: Sense the theme here? The Yankees are going to be very good again in the near future, but in terms of fantasy potential, that future can be now for your team. Depending on your league rules, Sanchez may not qualify at catcher yet, but he’s pure hitter all the way. He already has six home runs and 12 RBI through his first 15 games in the majors this summer.
Players to Drop This Week
1. Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins: Injured and out for the season now, we’re beginning to wonder if Stanton will ever play anything close to a full season again. In his second year (2011), he played 150 games, but the other six years of his MLB career he’s averaged just 110 games per season. If you draft him next year, be ready to trade him after the All-Star Game.
2. Matt Holliday, OF, St. Louis Cardinals: He’s a seven-time All-Star player, but Holliday is now 36 and out with a fractured thumb. He won’t be back before the end of the season in any decent capacity, so it’s time to find a new bat for your roster. Holliday really dropped off this season, anyway, as he’s posting the lowest OPS of his career (.783). Thank him for all he’s done in career and then move on.
3. Justin Upton, OF, Detroit Tigers: Yes, there are a lot of outfielders to jettison this time of year. At 28 years old with a fat new contract in a hitters park on a loaded offensive team, Upton is having the worst season of his career, too. If you’ve kept him this long and still have a chance at your league title, it’s a miracle. Don’t press your luck any further, as there are much better hitters on the waiver wire.
4. Hector Santiago, SP, Minnesota Twins: Hopefully, you dropped him already, but if not, please do so now. As we noted in April, his first-half ERA is much better than his second half, and when the Los Angeles Angels traded him to the Twins, it’s just been downhill from there for Santiago. He has a 10.89 ERA for Minnesota, and it looks like Santiago has forgotten how to pitch.
Sam McPherson is a freelance writer covering baseball, football, basketball, golf and fantasy sports for CBS Local. He also is an Ironman triathlete and certified triathlon coach. Follow him on Twitter @sxmcp, because he’s quite prolific despite also being a college English professor and a certified copy editor.