As I click publish on this latest weekly recap of fantasy news and developments, the MLB trade rumor mill is in a frenzy with Monday afternoon's non-waiver deadline bearing down.
We expect to see a few more big transactions go down over the next couple days, perhaps involving marquee names like Yu Darvish and Sonny Gray. But already we have seen many impactful deals take place, and we'll run through the biggest ones from the past seven days before launching into the rest of the week's need-to-know stories.
The biggest splash came from the red-hot Kansas City Royals, who have been on a tear lately and are now within spitting distance of the first-place Cleveland Indians (also red-hot) in the AL Central. On Monday, the Royals pulled the trigger on a trade to acquire Trevor Cahill from the Padres, along with relievers Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter. Kansas City gave up lefties Matt Strahm and Travis Wood, along with prospect Esteury Ruiz. Cahill might take a slight ding in value moving out of Petco, where he was 4-0 with a 0.72 ERA in four starts, but his strikeout stuff should play anywhere. We're very curious to see what Strahm can do in the new spacious digs, though he's out for the remainder of this year after knee surgery.
The big move by KC overshadowed the Twins, who had acquired Jaime Garcia earlier in the same day for a teenage pitching prospect. Garcia made his first start for Minnesota on Friday and looked good, but now the Twins are reportedly considering flipping him elsewhere after a horrendous week essentially knocked them out of contention in the Central. Minnesota is also said to be floating All Stars Ervin Santana and Brandon Kintzler.
Elsewhere in the American League, the Rays picked up Lucas Duda from the Mets, and he figures to be the regular DH in Tampa. He should get a big boost from escaping New York's dismal lineup, in which he'd somehow managed only 37 RBI on 17 home runs. Additionally, the Rays flipped Erasmo Ramirez to Seattle and brought in Steve Cishek to supplement their bullpen.
The Red Sox traded a couple of pitching prospects to San Francisco for Eduardo Nunez, who will be a versatile weapon in Boston although he doesn't have a clear path to everyday starts anywhere in particular. Top prospect Rafael Devers, called up earlier in the week, should get most of the reps at third base going forward and carries plenty of fantasy intrigue. He launched his first big-league homer on Wednesday.
The Phillies, in sell mode, sent out a couple of rental pieces, with Jeremy Hellickson going to Baltimore (where he ought to receive considerably more run support) and Howie Kendrick going to Washington.
The Mets acquired A.J. Ramos from Miami and he seems very likely to take over closer duties once Addison Reed is inevitably dealt in the coming days. Under contract through next year, Ramos could be the guy in New York for a while. Meanwhile, Brad Ziegler is expected to take over the ninth for the Marlins.
The White Sox continued their all-out teardown by sending reliever Anthony Swarzak to Milwaukee. It's unfortunate news for Swarzak owners who were hoping to get a few saves with David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle shipped out; the right-hander will work in a setup role for the Brewers in front of closer Corey Knebel.
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* Moving beyond the realm of trade news, the week's biggest headline was Clayton Kershaw hitting the disabled list. The Dodgers ace is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a lower back strain, putting him on track to return in early September. The good news is that this injury doesn't appear related to last year's disc issues, but that's little consolation for owners who've been leaning on the stud lefty. Hopefully he'll be back in time for the fantasy playoffs.
* In an ominous turn of events, David Price hit the DL with renewed pain in his elbow. The left-hander missed the first chunk of his season with issues in the same area, but has mostly pitched well in 11 starts since returning. As of now, results of an MRI are not known, but GM Dave Dombrowski insisted Friday he expects to get Price back this year. If true, it probably won't be until September.
Doug Fister now moves back from the bullpen to rotation in Boston, but he's been pretty awful with a 7.46 ERA and 21-to-17 K/BB ratio.
* Kershaw and Price weren't the only big-name starters to go down this week, as the Nationals placed Stephen Strasburg on the DL with an elbow nerve impingement. Fortunately, he played long-toss on Wednesday without issue and it sounds like he might only miss one start.
Filling in, perhaps just for a single turn, is 24-year-old righty Erick Fedde, who might be worth a look as a deep-league streamer on Sunday against Colorado.
* While three championship contenders lost key starters this week, a couple others got theirs back. In Detroit, Dallas Keuchel returned to the mound for the Astros for the first time since June 2nd, but was far from sharp, allowing three runs on six hits over three innings. He was unbelievable before missing almost two months with a neck injury, so hopefully it's just a matter of getting back up to speed.
On Monday Kyle Hendricks made his first start since June 4th for the Cubs, allowing one run over 4 1/3 innings while striking out five and walking none. While the results weren't bad, he gave up eight hits and needed 92 pitches to record 13 outs against a weak White Sox lineup. We'll see how Hendricks looks in Milwaukee on Saturday.
* One hitter he'll have to contend with is Lewis Brinson, the exciting young outfielder called up by the Brewers on Wednesday. Brinson didn't do much during an earlier stint in the majors this summer, going just 3-for-31, but he went back to Triple-A and put together an insane stretch (.404/.456/.691 in 22 games) to earn another call. Now, he's looking much more confident, and bashed homers in each of his first two games back. Grab him if he's available.
* Brinson wasn't the only intriguing outfield prospect to join the NL Central ranks this week. The Cardinals called up Harrison Bader to replace injured Dexter Fowler, and the 23-year-old is in line for daily starts in center while the starter is down. Bader had an .871 OPS with 19 homers in 97 games at Class-AAA Memphis, and while he's not in Brinson's class, he could make some waves during his stint in St. Louis. Bader is currently available in 97 percent of Yahoo leagues.
* The Rays took a flier on veteran reliever Sergio Romo following his recent DFA by the Dodgers, sending cash or PTBNL to LA. He'll likely need to work his way into high leverage appearances after posting a 6.12 ERA in 30 appearances for the Dodgers. He gave up a run on two hits in one inning's work while debuting for Tampa on Monday.
* Colin Moran's latest run with the Astros ended almost before it started. The 24-year-old infielder got the call last week to fill Carlos Correa's roster spot, and homered in his first start for Houston, but hit a foul ball into his face last Saturday and suffered a fracture. He underwent surgery and is out until mid-September.
* A few other players hitting the disabled list this week: George Springer (quad), Ian Desmond (calf) and Troy Tulowitzki (ankle). Springer should be back shortly after the 10-day minimum, but we don't have clear timelines on Desmond or Tulo at the moment.