If you play Fantasy Baseball, this is the page you’ll want to bookmark for hot stove season. It’s where you’ll find our breakdown of the biggest moves — i.e., the ones with serious implications for Fantasy Baseball. The trade market may be beginning to pick up with the news of Daulton Varsho being dealt to the Blue Jays. Here’s the breakdown of that and everything else that matters so far … Craig Kimbrel signs with PhilliesThe 34-year-old gets another chance to close after sputtering in the role for the Dodgers most of last year. It’s a good spot for him, at least as far as Fantasy is concerned, because the Phillies were relying on a committee in their march to the World Series last year. Seranthony Dominguez’s stock takes the biggest hit, but he already made for an uneasy pick. Granted, Kimbrel won’t be drafted with the highest degree of confidence either. Once the gold standard among closers, he has battled command issues in recent years, with 2021 being a notable exception, and his stuff became somewhat diminished last year, too. He won’t have the greatest job security, given that recent history, and should be targeted more along the lines of a Scott Barlow than a Ryan Pressly.Daulton Varsho traded to Blue Jays for Gabriel Moreno, Lourdes GurrielThe Blue Jays were loaded with catchers and used the least proven of them, Moreno, to get … well, another catcher. At least that’s how we think of Varsho in Fantasy, but in reality, he’s much better in the outfield. That’s where the Blue Jays figure to play him most, given the hole they just created by including Gurriel in the deal, and it could make 2023 our last year to enjoy Varsho as a catcher in Fantasy.
Of course, that’s more an issue for dynasty than redraft leagues, but this deal could also hinder Varsho in redraft. The Blue Jays, being in the throes of contention, may not be as willing to suffer through Varsho’s struggles against left-handers, which resulted in a .550 OPS last year. As such, he may lose some of the playing time advantage that sets him apart among catchers. And while he’ll be hitting in a much better lineup overall, he’ll likely have to bat in the lower third of the order rather than the upper third. He should still probably be the second catcher drafted in 5×5 leagues, being far and away the best base-stealer at the position, but in points leagues, where steals aren’t as essential, I’m taking him no higher than fifth. As for the Diamondbacks’ side of the deal, they now have a potential franchise catcher in Moreno, who they could give more seasoning at Triple-A with Carson Kelly already in the fold. Moreno’s upside makes him the more attractive target of the two in two-catcher leagues, even with a questionable power profile. Gurriel will slot into Varsho’s spot in the outfield and is a bounce-back candidate for five-outfielder leagues, having played much of last season with a wrist injury. Moving to a lesser lineup lowers his overall ceiling, though.Taylor Rogers signs with GiantsJust when it seemed like Camilo Doval had the closer role on lockdown for the Giants, Rogers has to come in and muddle things, getting a sizable three-year, $33 million offer to serve as a back-end reliever of some kind. As the roster currently stands, he’s the Giants’ one high-leverage lefty, which makes him more likely to be deployed situationally, but manager Gabe Kapler has never been one to shy away from a committee. For now, I’ll just say to draft Doval with slightly less confidence, though he remains my No. 13 reliever. Just as a fun side note, Rogers will be joining his twin brother, Tyler, in the Giants bullpen.
Michael Conforto signs with GiantsIt’s unclear exactly what the Giants are getting here. There’s a sense Conforto was this offseason’s hidden gem, some sort of ace in the hole, after sitting sat out all of last season because of shoulder surgery, and the Giants will be paying him $18 million each of the next two years. But when we last saw him in 2021, right around the time the league landscape was beginning to change, he slugged a paltry .384. He hasn’t been one to deliver premium exit velocities, and it’s possible the heights he reached earlier in his career (with a high of 33 homers in 2019) were at least partly a product of the now-defunct juiced ball. At 29, he may still have plenty left in the tank, but out of an abundance of caution, I’m ranking Conforto outside of my top 40 outfielders.Wil Myers signs with RedsIf there was ever a venue that could turn Wil Myers’ career around, it’s Great American Ballpark, which rates as far and away the easiest place to hit a home run. Statcast estimates the 32-year-old would have had 15 if he played every game there last season as opposed the seven he actually hit. San Diego, as you may know, isn’t so great for power, and it’s fitting that Myers hit .208 with a .588 OPS there last season vs. .309 with an .830 OPS everywhere else. He hasn’t reached even the 20-homer threshold in five years and will no doubt have to perform to stay in the lineup every day, but if you’re looking for a deep sleeper, this marriage could pay off. Carlos Correa signs with Mets Wait, Mets? What happened to the Giants? That deal fell through because of something that turned up in Correa’s physical, and the Mets stepped up with an offer one year and $35 million shy of the original (final terms: 12 years, $315 million). It was an unlikely fit given that the Mets already have a franchise shortstop in Francisco Lindor, but now Correa will be picking up eligibility at what’s currently the weaker position in Fantasy, third base, and his stock improves as a result. You can read the full breakdown from Scott White by clicking here
Brandon Drury signs with Angels Chances are you hadn’t heard of Brandon Drury before he joined Cincinnati last season, where he hit .298 with a .915 OPS at the game’s most homer-friendly park. He hit .240 with a .746 OPS everywhere else, including San Diego, where he went at the trade deadline. His best chance of following up on his breakthrough season, then, was to go back to Cincinnati, and well, now we know that he’s not. Granted, there are worst places to hit than Angel Stadium, but my expectation from looking at the entire hitting profile is that Drury will play closer to his numbers away from Cincinnati moving forward. His versatility (eligible at first base, second base and third base) ensures he’ll be drafted in every league, but I expect he’ll be dropped in many of them by season’s end. Matt Carpenter signs with Padres You may not feel much incentive to draft Carpenter, a 37-year-old who’s eligible only at DH and who played in just 47 games last year, but let’s not forget how incredible those 47 games were. He had a 1.138 OPS. His 162- game pace was 52 home runs. This came after he had worked to remake his swing in the offseason. While it’s unreasonable to think he could sustain anywhere close to that pace over a longer period of time (and in a tougher place to hit, no less), it’s not a stretch to think he could factor in 2023, even in shallower leagues. That’s particularly true given that the Padres’ plan is to play him all over the diamond, taking him from no eligibility to multi-eligibility in short order. Keep an open mind is all I’m saying. Justin Turner signs with Red Sox Raise your hand if you thought Turner would be back with the Dodgers next season. This move is the clearest signal yet that prospect Miguel Vargas will play big role with the club next season, perhaps even spending most of his time at his natural position (third base) after not even appearing there in a late-season look last season.
As for what it means for Turner, well, his primary position is already occupied by one of the best in the game (Rafael Devers), so he’ll probably be confined to DH, mostly, while also pushing rookie Triston Casas at first base. It’s unreasonable to expect the 38-year-old to play every single day at this stage of his career, particularly given the way his power production suffered last season. Third base being as weak as it is, he may be drafted still in deeper Rotisserie leagues, but this move does nothing to improve his stock. Michael Brantley signs with Astros This is the best possible outcome for Brantley, who remains with the organization that knows him best and that has a clear opening for him alternating between left field and DH with Yordan Alvarez. The Astros’ willingness to spend $12 million on him suggests that they’re comfortable with his recovery from the labral damage in his shoulder shoulder, an injury that sidelined him for the final three months of last season. Expectations for Brantley should still be guarded given how frequently he’s injured, a trend that’s unlikely to change in his age-36 season, but he averaged nearly as many Head-to-Head points per game as Bryan Reynolds last season thanks to his excellent plate discipline. He’s also a batting average specialist for Rotisserie leagues and will probably be usable in both formats next season even if he’s likely to go undrafted. J.D. Martinez signs with Dodgers What makes this move most interesting is where Martinez is going, the Dodgers, a team that’s been reluctant to spend this offseason, looking to usher in a youth movement, but also one with a history of bringing out the best in overlooked veterans. Martinez is, of course, a five-time All-Star, so it’s a stretch to call him “overlooked.” But he is getting just a one-year, $10 million deal, which tells you how much his stock has fallen. He played DH exclusively last season, and his average exit velocity and hard-hit rate suffered as much as his production did. The Dodgers would have to reverse the decline of a 35-year-old in this case, which isn’t so much what they’re known for, and as such, I still expect Martinez to last into the back half of drafts.
Dansby Swanson signs with Cubs Coming off a career season, Swanson gets $177 million over seven years. He joins a markedly worse lineup, one that probably doesn’t give him much hope of exceeding 95 runs and RBI again, so it’s hard to say his value improves with this move. Still, a potential 25/20 shortstop is a pretty valuable commodity in Fantasy, and because of that speed element, I’m disinclined to move him behind Xander Bogaerts in my 5×5 Rotisserie rankings. I already ranked him behind Bogaerts in points leagues and am now tempted to move him behind Wander Franco as well. Swanson’s arrival in Chicago shifts Nico Hoerner back to second base and takes Nick Madrigal out of the running (not that he’ll be missed in Fantasy), but it’s the void he leaves in Atlanta that’s more interesting.Second-year player Vaughn Grissom has earned rave reviews in his workouts at shortstop with coach Ron Washington. He hit .324 with 14 homers, 27 steals and an .899 OPS in the minors last year before providing the Braves a jolt as a fill-in second baseman down the stretch. He had slumped his way out of the lineup by postseason time, but at 22, he’s the future and potentially the present at the position. The Braves might bring in another veteran to push him, but Grissom is the best bet to approach Swanson numbers (potentially more batting average, but fewer home runs) and is worth drafting to fill your middle infield spot in the middle-to-late rounds. Andrew Benintendi signs with White Sox Perhaps no contract better demonstrates the current state of the market than Benintendi getting a five-year, $75 million deal. He’s the sort of fringe outfield starter who would have commanded like a two-year, $16 million deal just a year or two ago. Granted, a career-high .373 on-base percentage might have raised his real-life value in a way we can’t fully appreciate in Fantasy, and he is still in his prime at 28. As a left-handed hitter who puts bat to ball regularly, it’s also possible he could benefit from reduced infield shifting this season, though he doesn’t seem like an obvious candidate to do so. Regardless, his limited home run and stolen base contributions make him no more than a late-round selection even in five-outfielder leagues.
Joey Gallo signs with Twins There has been some speculation Gallo could benefit from the reduced infield shifting set to take effect in 2023 just because shifts against him have always been so extreme, but he strikes out so much (nearly 40 percent of the time last season) that it’s hard to see it making a huge difference. Of course, a swing adjustment could change the math entirely, and it’s possible the Twins see something that could work for Gallo. He isn’t far removed from being an All-Star and perennial 40-homer threat, after all, and he is only 29. If the Dodgers couldn’t figure him out, though, color me skeptical. Carlos Rodon signs with Yankees After fading down the stretch during his breakout 2021, Rodon had to settle for a two-year deal with the Giants last offseason. Did it seem like just one year? That’s because he was so good that he opted out after the first and now gets the payday he sought all along, agreeing to a six-year, $162 million deal with the Yankees. Clearly, his stock is at an all-time high after setting career highs with 31 starts and 178 innings, but the fact it took him until age 29 to do that gives you some idea of his injury history. He’s also leaving spacious Oracle Park, where he had a 1.93 ERA last year, for a notoriously homer-friendly venue, which is particularly concerning for a fly-ball pitcher.(Then again, Statcast suggests he would have allowed only six home runs pitching every game at Yankee Stadium last season vs. the 12 he actually allowed. Make of that what you will.)
We’re nonetheless talking about a pitcher with a combined 2.67 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 12.2 K/9 the past two years. In what was his first year as a qualifier himself, he led all qualifiers in K/9, FIP and xERA. He retained his velocity gains from his breakout 2021 and showed he could sustain them over a full season, recording double-digit strikeouts in five of his final eight starts. Maybe this move brings Rodon’s ERA closer to 3.00, but with as many bats as he misses, I can’t see it being his undoing. The biggest concern for him remains health, and it’s already baked into his ranking. He’s my No. 13 starting pitcher for now, but I’d say he has more upside than at least the four guys directly ahead of him. Noah Syndergaard signs with Dodgers Syndergaard found a way to survive after averaging nearly 4 mph less on his fastball in his first year back from Tommy John surgery, which speaks to his tenacity. He’ll need it as he attempts to recapture his lost form or perhaps reinvent himself with an organization known for bringing out the best in pitchers, with Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson standing out as two recent examples. Syndergaard agreed to a one-year deal with the Dodgers, turning down bigger offers from other organizations, for precisely that reason. He’s also been working with Driveline Baseball this offseason, a development program known for enhancing pitchers’ velocity, so he isn’t taking his diminished stuff in stride. Consider this the perfect landing spot for a pitcher in Syndergaard’s predicament, making him, at age 30, something of a sleeper in Fantasy. Ross Stripling signs with Giants I noted when the Giants signed Sean Manaea that he looks like their pitching reclamation project for 2023, but Stripling is another who has shown big upside in the past but struggled to live up to it in recent years. The Giants may not have as much work to do in this case. Stripling was actually pretty useful in between injuries and bullpen stints in 2023, but it was with a much lower strikeout rate than he’s shown at his best. Maybe the hitting landscape has changed enough with the dead ball that more strikeouts would be superfluous. Maybe the move to Oracle Field will help Stripling lock in his gains from this past season. As it is, I’m targeting him much like Jose Quintana and Taijuan Walker, meaning just outside the top 100 at starting pitcher.
Christian Vazquez signs with Twins As catcher acquisitions go, this one pales in comparison to the three-team deal that landed the Braves Sean Murphy and the Brewers William Contreras earlier in the day, but it is another case of a catcher finding a new home. Before being dealt to the Astros at the trade deadline and being reduced to more of a reserve role, Vazquez was having a fine bounce-back season with the Red Sox, getting back to his roots as a contact hitter first. He’ll be one of the better bets for batting average at the position, capable of delivering something in the .280 range, and could emerge as a fringe No. 1 in Fantasy if he plays enough, but the Twins are also looking to give up-and-comer Ryan Jeffers at-bats. Vazquez is best left, then, for two-catcher leagues. Chris Bassitt signs with Blue Jays Bassitt is back in the AL after a year with the Mets doing the same sort of stuff he did with the Athletics. What reason is there to believe anything would change for him in Toronto? Rogers Centre has been so hitter-friendly since introducing a humidor in 2021 — more than Citi Field, maybe, but closer to the middle of the pack overall. Bassitt tends to more of a ground-ball pitcher anyway. At 34, he’s at some risk of decline, perhaps, but he has shown no signs of it yet. He’s just a solid mid-rotation arm likely to produce an ERA in the low-to-mid threes while providing enough volume to pile up wins for a team like the Blue Jays. His modest upside has him barely inside the top 50 starting pitchers for me, but chances are he’ll outperform that ranking. William Contreras traded to Brewers Contreras goes to the Brewers in the same deal that sent Sean Murphy to the Braves. For a complete breakdown, including all the prospects involved, click here. For as good as Contreras was at the dish last year, the Braves weren’t sold on his defense. The Brewers, though, wouldn’t seem to have much choice but to make Contreras their No. 1 option behind the plate, and of course, you won’t find too many venues more hitter-friendly than American Family Field. So Contreras gets the benefit of more playing time, a better park and most likely the natural growth that comes with his level of experience. Already, his percentile rankings on Statcast are almost identical to his older brother, Willson, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s the better of the two in 2023.
Sean Murphy traded to Braves This acquisition is part of the same deal that sent William Contreras to the Brewers, a massive maneuver with far-reaching implications for Fantasy Baseball, and you can read more about it here. Murphy hit .226 with a .702 OPS in Oakland last year compared to .272 with an .812 OPS on the road. Atlanta offers a better hitting environment and certainly a better supporting cast for a player whose stock already appeared to be on the rise. From July 1, Murphy hit .278 with an .828 OPS, reaching base at a .366 clip and striking out just 17.4 percent of the time. His stock no doubt improves with this deal, though there isn’t much room to move him up in an increasingly crowded catcher crop. Sean Manaea signs with Giants Looks like the Giants have identified their pitching reclamation project for 2023 after having success with Kevin Gausman, Alex Wood and Alex Cobb the past three years. Of course, the fact Manaea fits into that category gives you some idea how far his Fantasy stock has fallen. At this time last year, he was more of a mid-round target, having just put together arguably his best season in the majors. But he lost a mile per hour on his fastball and more or less fell apart once the weather warmed up midseason, delivering a 6.16 ERA over the final three months. He’s already used to pitching in big parks, so going to San Francisco won’t help much in that regard. The reclamation factor is likely to earn him some late-round looks, though. Kodai Senga signs with Mets The Mets are giving Senga $15 million less than the Red Sox are giving outfielder Masataka Yoshida over the same span of time (five years), but he’s considered the superior talent of the two. He’s an unusually hard thrower for a Japanese pitcher, his fastball peaking at 101 mph for the first time this year, but it’s his splitter, nicknamed the “ghost fork” that stands out most, rating even better than Shohei Ohtani’s when the two were still squaring off against each other. You can get a look at it here. Senga’s 2022 stats (in Japan): 11-6, 1.89 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 148 IP, 50 BB, 159 KOf course, there are risks. All that velocity on Senga’s small frame has made him no stranger to injuries, if mostly minor ones. At 30, he has no potential for growth. He’s also been known to have bouts of wildness. And who knows if his pitches will even play the same as he adjusts the size and feel of the MLB baseball? Still, the upside is enticing enough to make him an attractive pick in the middle rounds of Fantasy drafts. I would rank him just outside the top 40 in a particularly deep starting pitcher crop, behind up-and-comers like Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo but ahead of reclamation projects like Charlie Morton and Chris Sale. Brandon Nimmo signs with Mets The terms of the deal — eight years, $162 million — might make for some sticker shock, as has been the trend this offseason, but if we can overlook that aspect, Nimmo has emerged as a solid Fantasy contributor now that he’s entrusted with everyday at-bats. That’s especially true in points leagues, where he was the No. 9 outfielder without doing anything particularly out of character (walking less often, if anything). Partly, it’s a byproduct of the position’s weakened state, but partly, it’s a credit to his superlative plate discipline. I’m still taking him outside the top 30 outfielders in that format, his upside being only so high, and he’s closer to 40th in my 5×5 rankings since his combined home run and stolen base total figures to be pretty low. Xander Bogaerts signs with Padres After falling short in their bids for Trea Turner and Aaron Judge, the Padres blew away the competition with an 11-year, $280 million offer to the 30-year-old Bogaerts. It’s not the greatest move for his Fantasy value. His swing was well suited for Fenway Park, delivering middling exit velocities but with a high enough pull rate to take advantage of the Green Monster. Ten of his 15 home runs last year came there. Over his career, he has an .872 OPS there compared to .758 everywhere else. My fear is that this move locks Bogaerts into being the 15-homer guy we saw last year as opposed to the 25-homer guy we’ve seen in years past. For Scott White’s full analysis, complete with the ripple effect on Padres roster, click here. Masataka Yoshida signs with Red Sox The Red Sox’s investment in Yoshida, factoring in the posting fee, is more than $100 million over five years, which clearly suggests that they plan on him playing a significant role. And his production in Japan last year — a .336 batting average, 21 homers, 1.007 OPS and nearly twice as many walks (82) as strikeouts (42) — suggests he deserves it. But as is always the case with these signings, the power production is inflated, and it’s questionable whether Yoshida’s contact and on-base skills are enough to make him a significant Fantasy asset. For a complete breakdown, check out Scott White’s full-length article. Willson Contreras signs with Cardinals The Cardinals have found their heir to Yadier Molina, locking in the top free agent catcher for the next five years, and in St. Louis, I expect simply more of the same from Contreras. Busch Stadium isn’t the most favorable place to hit, but it isn’t on the opposite end of the spectrum from Wrigley Field either. If Contreras had played every game there, Statcast suggests he would have hit 19 home runs last season as opposed to the 22 he actually hit, but of course, he won’t be playing every game there. Meanwhile, he’s leaving the lineup that ranked 22nd in runs scored for the one that ranked fifth and could see a boost in runs and RBI as a result.Some might point to Contreras’ .186 batting average from July 1 on (he missed most of September with a sprained ankle) as cause for concern, but I just see it as the usual inconsistencies from an up-and-down player. He got off to an impossibly hot start, and his final numbers were in line with career norms. Catcher has become deep enough that Contreras is no longer an automatic top-five option at the position, but I would bet on him continuing to perform at an All-Star level even entering his 30s, and it seems like the Cardinals are doing the same. Kenley Jansen signs with Red Sox The plan is for Jansen to serve as the Red Sox’s closer for the next two years, a role they’ve struggled to fill since Craig Kimbrel left. His ERAs have been a little on the high side in recent years, but he’s still a safe bet for a big saves total, which is harder to find these days. Matt Barnes is of course out of the running for saves, not that anyone is terribly disappointed in that. The bigger impact of this signing for Fantasy Baseball is the clarity it brings to the closer landscape. Raisel Iglesias should step into the role for the Braves after serving as Jansen’s setup man down the stretch, and he’s the one I’d draft higher of the two. Meanwhile, Camilo Doval seems locked in for the Giants now that they won’t be acquiring Jansen. Jose Quintana signs with Mets The Mets rotation is quickly coming together. They’re down Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker but up Justin Verlander and now Quintana, who was surprisingly effective with a 2.93 ERA between the Pirates and Cardinals last season. The deadened ball deserves some of the credit, but what deserves even more is that both teams limited his exposure the third time through the lineup. All the five-inning starts took much of the bite out of his ERA, though, and it’s unlikely he sustains that number anyway. He’ll probably do better than a 6-7 record with the Mets, but Quintana remains a fringy Fantasy asset. Aaron Judge signs with Yankees This was always the best outcome for Fantasy. Judge returns to the place where he just set an AL record (and some would argue a major-league record) with 62 home runs and a place where we know he’s built to thrive. And as such, it should make the masses think much harder about selecting him No. 1 overall. He was far and away the No. 1 player in every scoring format last year and has special distinction among power hitters at a time when power is becoming much harder to come by. Scott White lays out the case for Judge as the top choice, particularly in light of this news, here. Jameson Taillon signs with Cubs Taillon became the second No. 4 starter to be handed mega millions at the winter meetings, following Taijuan Walker’s four-year $72 million deal with a four-year agreement of his own, this one for $68 million. I’m being cheeky, but as with the Phillies and Walker, it seems like the Cubs are paying for some idealized version of Taillon instead of what he actually is. His control did go from good to great last year, but he also become even less of a bat-misser. And after a stellar first two months when offense was down around the league, his ERA ballooned to 4.70 over his final 22 starts. He won’t approach 14 wins with the Cubs, and meanwhile, he’ll be denying a rotation spot to someone more interesting like Hayden Wesneski. Taijuan Walker signs with Phillies The terms are the most eyebrow-raising part of this deal. Four years, $72 million seems exorbitant for this pitcher in this market. Then again, Walker has always been difficult to quantify. He’s not a big bat-misser or strike-thrower, yet he’s had a tendency to outperform his peripherals by inducing low-quality contact. It stands to reason he’d be one of the bigger beneficiaries of the leagues move to de-juice the ball, though last season’s 3.49 ERA was probably still too good to be true. It ballooned to 4.80 in the second half, and something in the high threes is probably the best you can hope for, especially now that he’s going to one of the more homer-friendly venues. Walker will be streamable at times in 2023, but for most leagues, you can do better with a late-round pick. Mitch Haniger signs with Giants Oracle Park of course isn’t a hitter-friendly venue, but it’s not quite the outlier it used to be. And of course, Haniger is coming from another pitcher’s park in Seattle, where he managed to make a name for himself. It’s not the most optimal landing spot, but it’s no reason to downgrade him either, especially since he’ll be among the last bastion of serviceable starters before the sudden outfield void. Am I certain he’s on the good side of that void? Well, no, but for all the time he missed with an ankle injury in this year of the dead ball, playing in just 57 games, the home run total was solid. And he did hit 39 homers in 2021. As a third outfielder, his fine, but your expectations can only be so high. Cody Bellinger signs with Cubs The Cubs are in a position to take on a big reclamation project, having few financial commitments or lineup fixtures. The 2019 MVP, who has hit .203 with a .648 OPS in the years since, should get plenty of run with them as he looks to parlay a one-year $17.5 million deal into a mega multi-year offer. It’s not so far-fetched that Bellinger could rebound at age 27, but he’s been such a mechanical mess for so long that it’s certainly not the safe bet, particularly since the Dodgers, of all teams, couldn’t get him right. He’s been working with Matt Holliday this offseason, though, and his swing already looks different.Christopher Morel, who came on strong last May but faded hard down the stretch, may lose out with this deal since Bellinger is at his best in center field, but it’s also possible Bellinger helps break in prospect Matt Mervis at first base. Andrew Heaney signs with Rangers The Rangers have their second pitching pickup in a week, having come to terms with Jacob deGrom on Friday, and he and Heaney join Martin Perez and Jon Gray to form a low-key formidable rotation … at least in theory. The Dodgers helped Heaney unlock his long-forgotten potential by introducing him to a new sweeping slider that quickly became his put-away pitch. That’s hardly the whole story, though. Shoulder issues limited him to less than 75 innings, and even when he was “healthy,” the Dodgers generally held him to 4-5 innings, undermining his potential in Fantasy.So is departing them to Heaney’s benefit? We can’t be sure he’ll perform as well without their oversight, but the Rangers probably won’t baby him as much either. He’ll also benefit from moving to a bigger park, his vulnerability to the long ball accounting for a 3.72 ERA at home last year compared to 2.38 on the road. All told, it’s still likely Heaney is drafted outside the top 50 starting pitchers. Josh Bell signs with Guardians Bell should fare well enough in Cleveland, which rates in the middle of the pack as far as venues go. The bigger question is what “fare well” even means for him. Last year was itself a tale of two seasons, with him hitting .301 with an .877 OPS in 103 games for the Nationals compared to .192 with a .587 OPS in 53 games for the Padres. His quality of contact has always been high and his plate discipline excellent, making him a better bet for points leagues than 5×5, but his tendency to put the ball on the ground makes the home run output difficult to predict. He’s a mid-tier option at the deepest position.Meanwhile, Josh Naylor’s path to playing time becomes less clear. The Guardians don’t have a dedicated DH, so maybe he (or Bell) becomes essentially that, but the lineup clearly offers fewer openings now. Naylor has played some outfield in the past, but it’s unclear if the Guardians would be willing to try him there again. The 25-year-old hit .256 with 20 homers last year and is sure to get some looks in leagues that require a third corner infielder. Trea Turner signs with Phillies Turner is leaving the Dodgers, a historically efficient run-scoring juggernaut, but it’s hard to say his stock is down as a result. He’s joining a team that itself ranked seventh in runs scored last year and has plenty of big boppers like Bryce Harper (his longtime teammate in Washington), Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins to drive him in. He may even get to run more seeing as he’ll be joining the team with the fifth-most stolen bases in 2022. As good as Turner was last season, his 27 steals were kind of a disappointment and less than we’re used to seeing from him. He remains in the mix to go No. 1 overall. Scott White breaks down the Turner and Verlander signings in more depth here. Justin Verlander signs with Mets After leading the majors in ERA and WHIP en route to his third Cy Young award, Verlander is my top ranked starting pitcher for 2023, and going to the Mets doesn’t change that. Granted, you won’t find a more favorable situation for a pitcher than the Astros, who have gone to four of the past six World Series, winning two, but the Mets actually outscored them last year. And while I wouldn’t bet on it becoming a trend, the fact is that Verlander shouldn’t find the run support lacking with his new team. Whether his 40 years of age is enough to scare you away is another matter, but he’s obviously showing no signs of decline. Check out Scott White’s article for a full breakdown. Jacob deGrom signs with Rangers This generation’s best pitcher going from the only organization he’s ever known to an upstart trying to spend its way into contention is, from a real world perspective, earth-shaking news. But from a Fantasy Baseball perspective, not much changes. If deGrom can stay healthy, he’ll be the best pitcher — and by quite a lot, probably. And if he can’t, well, he’ll be like he’s been the past two years, making a combined 26 starts but with a 1.90 ERA, 0.63 WHIP and 14.3 K/9. Check out Scott White’s article for a full breakdown. Jesse Winker traded to Brewers for Kolten Wong Provided the Brewers hold on to Winker and don’t flip him in his final year of control, the 29-year-old has a prime opportunity to rebound in a park much more like the one where he made a name for himself in Cincinnati. Chances are, though, his bigger issue in Seattle was health. He had surgery on both his knee and neck after the season, and president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto implied that he played through the former injury much of the year, which might explain the plummeting exit velocities. Winker is a master at getting on base and was coming off his best season, having hit .305 with 24 homers and a .949 OPS for the Reds in 2021, but longstanding health and platoon concerns cap his upside. Even with this news, he may go undrafted in three-outfielder leagues.Likewise, Wong is a better option for deeper leagues, as in the kind that require a third middle infielder, but he offers moderate speed and modest power. His 15 home runs last year were a career high, and Statcast estimates he would have hit just as many if he had played every game in Seattle. Abraham Toro, who the Mariners are shipping along with Winker, figures to replace Wong at second base for the Brewers, though we shouldn’t rule out Keston Hiura having a role there as well. Winker, meanwhile, should fill the void left by Hunter Renfroe, at least offensively, though he’s more likely to play DH than the outfield. Zach Eflin signs with Rays The relief pitcher market has been outrageous this offseason, but even so, three years for $40 million suggests the Rays are looking to make Eflin a starter again. And that they see something in him. They’re a clever but notoriously stingy organization, and yet they just handed their biggest ever free agent contract to a 28-year-old with a history of knee troubles and only one season with a sub-4.00 ERA (3.97 during the pandemic-shortened 2020). So what could be the reason? Well, he had a 3.27 xERA. He also leaned on his curveball unlike before when he returned as a reliever in September, and it’s a pitch he could stand to throw even more. If nothing else, you can trust the Rays not to behave stupidly, so Eflin is now deserving of late-round consideration. Jose Abreu signs with Astros Abreu is coming off a career-worst season in which his 2021 home run total was cut in half, which might raise some alarm given that he’s 35 and … well, you may have heard about a new ball suppressing home run totals for certain players. But his average exit velocity and hard-hit rate were in line with career norms, which is to say 93rd and 97th percentile, respectively, which is to say excellent. It suggests that age wasn’t an issue, and the ball likely wasn’t either. There is such a thing as statistical oddity.In other words, Abreu was likely to rebound no matter where he went, but joining the Astros only makes it more likely. Statcast estimates he would have hit 22 home runs at their park vs. the 15 he actually hit. The Astros also qualify as an offensive juggernaut, which bodes well for someone with an uncanny knack for driving in runs (to the extent any of us believe in such things), averaging 110 per 162 games in his career. The response to Abreu in early drafts has been tepid, but this move should solidify him as one of the top 6-7 first basemen off the board. Mike Clevinger signs with White Sox Clevinger’s long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery didn’t go as hoped. His velocity was down a couple miles per hour from when we last saw him in 2022. His whiff rate went from 75th percentile to 39th percentile. Neither improved over the course of the year either, resulting in a 6.52 ERA over his final six starts. It was 3.59 before then, but the underlying numbers spelled trouble. Every time a pitcher has Tommy John surgery, the odds of a return to form go down, and this was Clevinger’s second. It’s possible he’s no more than a back-end arm moving forward, and that’s all the White Sox are asking him to be. Draft him late, if at all. Hunter Renfroe 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 reassuring 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 Mariners for Erik Swanson This move for Hernandez would have inspired more dread a couple years ago, when Rogers Centre 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 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 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 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 potentially also factor 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 in spring training. Clayton Kershaw signs with Dodgers Like he was going anywhere else, right? It’s almost as if Kershaw and the Dodgers have a standing one-year 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.