Fantasy Baseball Offseason Tracker: Hunter Renfroe adds to Angels lineup; Teoscar Hernandez dealt to the Mariners

The offseason is here, and the hot stove is heating up. The big free-agent splashes figure to come later, but already we’re seeing some trade activity.

Here is where you’ll find our breakdown of the biggest moves — ie, the ones with serious implications for Fantasy Baseball — and now seems like an appropriate time to get the ball rolling. You’ll of course want to check back throughout the offseason, into next year and in the lead up to spring training. The lockout last year threw off the usual timing, but offseason movement tends to be a slow drip.

Here’s my breakdown of everything that matters so far…

Hunter Renfro traded to Angels

With at least 26 homers in five straight seasons (pandemic-shortened 2020 excluded), Renfroe has emerged as a reliable slugger at a time when those are becoming more valuable again. His past two seasons were his best two, with him delivering a near-identical slash line in each. What’s reasoning about his move to a new venue is that those two performances came in different parks, and while Angel Stadium may not have the hitter-friendly reputation of American Family Field, where Renfroe played in 2022, it has actually been the more hitter- Friendly of the two over the past three years.

There, Renfroe will have a chance to drive in Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Taylor Ward, all of whom reached base at better than a .350 clip last year. Suffice it to say, then, Renfroe’s stock doesn’t suffer with this move, and given the current state of the outfield position, he should be one of the first 30 drafted.

Teoscar Hernandez traded to the Mariners for Erik Swanson

This move for Hernandez would have inspired more dread a couple years ago, when Rogers Center was still regarded as a hitter’s haven, but with its introduction of the humidor in 2021 (a year earlier than most other venues), it hasn’t played as well. favorably. It’s still better than T-Mobile Park, which ranks near the bottom in overall park factor but in the middle of the pack for home runs. Hernandez’s quality of contact is so high that I don’t see it being a major issue for him, but it does clarify his ranking for 2022 — behind Randy Arozarena and Cedric Mullins but ahead of Adolis Garcia.

Swanson, meanwhile, gives the Blue Jays a reliable setup man, having compiled a 1.68 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 11.7 K/9 with the Mariners last year. He’ll back up Jordan Romano for saves, in all likelihood. The Blue Jays also got a decent pitching prospect, Adam Macko, in the deal.

Tyler Anderson signs with Angels

The Dodgers are one of those organizations known for pulling gems out of the scrap heap, and Anderson is one such example. Signed to a one-year deal, the 32-year-old soft-tosser altered the grip on his changeup to make the bottom fall out, and the results were good enough to earn him an All-Star nod and qualifying offer — one he seemed destined to take until the Angels stepped in with a three-year bid. We of course would have preferred Anderson to stay put in Fantasy. His poor track record and low strikeout rate would prompt skepticism even with the Dodgers’ built-in advantages, and he’ll probably be part of a six-man rotation now to accommodate Shohei Ohtani. Still, early ADP results have Anderson going so late that a glass-half-full approach makes sense.

This move only increases the chances that an up-and-comer like Ryan Pepiot, Bobby Miller or Gavin Stone has a spot in the Dodgers rotation to begin 2023.

Anthony Rizzo signs with the Yankees

Though several teams reportedly had him in their crosshairs, Rizzo opted to re-up with the Yankees for two more years rather than test the open market. It may seem like the best possible outcome in Fantasy given that he just reached the 30-homer threshold for the first time in five years — and at a time when 30 homers actually means something. He took aim at the short porch in right field, altering his swing to launch the ball in that direction, and now we can expect more of the same. But with those alterations came a reduction in batting average that may also be locked in.

If he goes elsewhere, maybe Rizzo levels out his swing and sees his batting average spike with the new shift limitations put in place. But now, we’ll never know. His current setup makes him a viable option at first base, but a flawed one who probably shouldn’t be drafted in the first 10 rounds.

Joc Pederson signs with Giants

The most surprising player to receive a qualifying offer not surprisingly took it, raising Pederson’s base salary from $6 million to $19.65 million. He was coming off arguably his best season, setting a career-high in batting average by 26 points while coming within two points of a career-high OPS, but he was also a defensive liability who didn’t see much action against left-handed pitchers. The Giants like to mix up their lineup as much as any team, so those playing-time concerns will remain in spite of the big payday. Pederson has a place in five outfielder leagues, but his upside is limited.

Martin Perez signs with Rangers

Another well-traveled 30-something coming off a career year, Perez couldn’t resist the big pay increase afforded by the qualifying offer and will be back with the Rangers in 2023. He has long excelled at limiting hard contact, so his breakthrough 2022 may have simply been a byproduct of the league taking the juiced ball out of circulation. But even if that’s the case, his 3.59 xERA and 3.80 xFIP offer a better idea of ​​what to expect moving forward than his 2.89 ERA. It’s also troubling that he issued 4.3 BB/9 over his final 15 starts compared to 2.2 over his first 17. He’s not a good enough bat-misser to get away with that.

These concerns are widely shared, though, and early indications are that they’re having an outsized influence on Perez’s draft stock, making the risk possibly worth the reward.

Miles Mastrobuoni traded to Cubs

Mastrobuoni isn’t a big name and may never become one. But as I wrote in September, the Rays produce so many super utility guys like him that they’re often forced to trade them once they come of age, with Jake Cronenworth being a notable example. And, well, voila. Whether Mastrobuoni makes himself into a fantasy asset with the Cubs like Cronenworth has with the Padres remains to be seen, but the 27-year-old profiles similarly as a hitter and could also potentially act as a base-stealer. Plus, the rebuilding Cubs wouldn’t have much trouble finding at-bats for him should he prove worthy of them. Put him on your radar as a deep sleeper worth monitoring during spring training.

Clayton Kershaw signs with the Dodgers

Like he was going anywhere else, right? It’s almost as if Kershaw and the Dodgers have a one-year standing agreement up until the time he decides to retire. There’s of course no place we’d rather see him go in Fantasy, and he’s still every bit an ace when he’s able to take the mound, averaging as many Head-to-Head points per game as Shane McClanahan this past season. But that’s only when he’s able to. His 126 1/3 innings were the most he’s thrown since 2019, and he hasn’t made 30 starts in a season since 2015. Lengthy absences are just part of the package now, making Kershaw too troublesome to target among the top 30 starting pitchers. .