With Memorial Day weekend in the rear view mirror, fantasy baseball league standings have really started to take shape. By now, managers are well-aware of their team’s strengths and weaknesses, and the odds of fixing their flaws via the waiver wire are slowing fading. All of these factors add up to the trade market becoming the best way to change the course of a fantasy season.
I recommend that that managers search for their best value deals in June by using their league standings and for you Yahoo Fantasy Plus subscribers, take advantage of the trade hub to help find your ideal trade partners. The plan should be to find teams who running away with specific categories, and then to approach their managers with the idea of trading from an area of strength. For example, a manager with a 15-homer lead over the next competitor is more likely than other teams to consider trading away one of their top sluggers. Also, the manager with the 15-homer lead is most likely to have a wide array of successful sluggers to choose from. This plan won’t work in every category of every league, but in most leagues, about half of the categories will have one or two teams who have separated themselves from the pack.
Here are some players who should be involved in plenty of deals this week.
Players to Acquire
Salvador Perez (C, Kansas City Royals)
Perez recently returned from an IL stint, and this has been a quiet season for him overall (.588 OPS). There are many Perez managers who are now regretting drafting him, worrying that they invested a premium draft pick on someone who will never again come close to repeat his gaudy numbers from last year (48 homers, 121 RBIs). But the massive totals from last season also serve as a reminder that when he gets hot, Perez can carry a fantasy squad by providing huge numbers from the catcher position. For this reason, the 32-year-old is a great trade target for managers who need to take chances to turn around their season.
Juan Soto (OF, Washington Nationals)
I can hear some managers telling me that there is no way Soto is going to come cheap. Well, the 23-year-old is hitting .232 with 16 RBIs in a terrible lineup, and I can guarantee that managers in some Yahoo leagues have grown frustrated with him. If you don’t believe me, check out his Trade Market page. Soto started slowly last year as well, with his two worst months coming in April and May, before he turned it on and posted a 1.164 OPS in the second half of the season. June might be the perfect month to acquire him.
Alex Wood (SP, San Francisco Giants)
Wood is 53 percent rostered, which makes him available on the waiver wire in shallow leagues and an easy trade target in 12-team formats. Like many San Francisco pitchers, the right-hander struggled in May, and he now owns poor ratios (4.81 ERA, 1.47 WHIP) this season. But there is plenty to like about a starter with a 45:13 K:BB ratio in 43 innings, and he has mostly been felled by a .360 BABIP and a 16.1 percent HR/FB rate. I don’t expect Wood to be a fantasy savior, but he should be a helpful lineup member once his luck evens out.
Emmanuel Clase (RP, Cleveland Guardians)
Clase has the lowest saves total of any top-tier closer, which makes him a worthwhile target on the trade market. Some of his managers might be getting more saves from their other closers, which will allow them to consider moving Clase in return for someone at a position of need. The Guardians are not going to win the 2022 World Series, but they should give Clase more chances to close out games in the coming weeks, and he has the skills to convert saves in bunches.
Craig Kimbrel (RP, Los Angeles Dodgers)
Kimbrel has struggled of late, giving up five runs (four earned) in his past three appearances. And while some fantasy analysts are worried about him, I’m not one of them. The right-hander hasn’t had control problems this year, nor has he given up many home runs. He is also collecting strikeouts at a reasonable rate for a closer. I don’t see Kimbrel as a top-tier closer, but as part of an outstanding Dodgers team, I can see him getting to 30 saves.
Players to Trade Away
J.D. Martinez (OF, Boston Red Sox)
At age 34, Martinez remains an excellent hitter. But his .363 average will likely make him overvalued on the trade market. The slugger has enjoyed a .469 BABIP, and his rates of strikeouts and walks are similar to his marks in previous seasons. His batted ball tendencies haven’t changed much either, which is not surprising for a player of his age. Overall, Martinez perfectly fits the description of a sell-high player.
Daniel Bard (RP, Colorado Rockies)
I put Bard in this article two weeks ago, and his sell-high window remains option. The right-hander ranks sixth in baseball with 11 saves, but this is a ride you want to get off of right now. Things typically don’t end well for Colorado closers, and the guess here is that Bard does not have enough talent to reverse that trend. His ratios are solid (3.12 ERA, 0.98 WHIP) and unless you are desperate to keep him for his saves, I would look to trade him for a useful player at another position.
Nolan Gorman (2B, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals)
Gorman perfectly fits the profile of a high-level prospect who is off to a great start and gets fantasy managers dreaming about what he could become over the next few months. And while young players in these situations sometimes meet expectations, they often fall short once Major League hurlers have had a longer look at them. I have nothing against Gorman as a prospect, but he might be worth more on the trade market than on your roster right now.