By Scott Barzilla

Fantasy focus took the all-star break off to recharge its batteries and lick its wounds, but it’s coming back hard and fast with the non-waiver trade deadline approaching. Most fantasy playoffs begin at least a month before the real postseason, so while it may seem like there is a lot of time left in the season, there is really only six or seven weeks of regular season left. It’s moving time for both fantasy teams and real teams.

Lynch Ed Wade

  • 10 teams, 10 x 10 format
  • 142-117-21
  • 2nd place
  • 9.0 games back

Jobu’s Rum

  • 12 teams, 6 x 6 format
  • 84-72-12
  • 6th place
  • 25.5 games back

This is the time of year where it pays for everyone involved to be realistic. First of all, winning in the regular season means virtually nothing. I suppose you could brag about it, but it only means a more favorable matchup in the playoffs. Given that we haven’t figured out a way to create a home field advantage, that is all you get. So, aim for first if you wish, but it is more realistic and beneficial to aim at making the playoffs.

I’m not catching the first place team in 12 team league. Neither is anyone else as he has a 16 game lead on everyone. Yet, that means I am a mere nine games out of second place. That is a realistic goal. Fourth place is an even more realistic goal. In my ten team league I am already solidified at the moment to be in the playoffs, so I can make a run at the top spot or simply do enough to stay where I’m at. Let’s see the kind of players on the market for the real teams this time of year.

Catcher

Ramon Hernandez- He has already been rumored to be on the move from the Rockies with the development of Wilin Rosario in full swing. The Mets supposedly were going to be in on that action, but any team with a desire to upgrade offensively might take a look.

Nick Hundley- The Padres just signed him to an extension and then Yasmani Grandal happened. I thought this would happen earlier in the year when we talked about it on the air. I hate to say I told you so. The Rays are supposedly interested and if that trade happens then Hundley might become a viable fantasy option again.

Kelly Shoppach- As a real catcher, Shoppach has been a lot better this year than he has in years past. As a fantasy prospect he has been off the radar completely. That could change some if he dealt to make room for Ryan Lavarnway. If the right contender picks him up he might see a lot more playing time.

First Base

Justin Morneau- The Twins would love nothing more than to rid themselves of his contract. Right now they have a funky rotation system of players at first base and designated hitter. Dealing Morneau would allow them to play guys like Ryan Doumit and Trevor Plouffe more consistently. That’s really good news for fantasy players that own those two guys.

Bryan LaHair- The Cubs would like to deal Alfonso Soriano to make room for LaHair in left field, but they might have to settle for dealing LaHair. LaHair is not a top flight first baseman in fantasy terms, but he could be productive in the right set of circumstances. Playing in the outfield only makes him more versatile in most fantasy leagues.

Second Base

Marco Scutaro- I could just as easily list him as a shortstop. Losing home games in Denver would actually likely hurt his fantasy value, so current owners need to keep their eye on where he’s headed. If he gets dealt to say San Francisco then dump him like a hot potato.

Darwin Barney- There’s rumors he’s available. He is off the charts as a fielder, but as an offensive player he leaves a lot to be desired. He could really solidify this spot for certain teams, but fantasy players should steer clear.

Third Base

Chase Headley- He just might be the prize of the whole trade season in real life and fantasy life. Petco Park really kills offensive numbers, but he is still producing an OPS near 800. Imagine if he were traded to a team with actual firepower in its lineup and a home ballpark that doesn’t destroy power numbers.

Chris Johnson- Stranger things have happened. I personally wouldn’t acquire Johnson, but a sucker is born every minute. The market might be limited for him, but a team looking for a little punch down the stretch could add him for a song. The Dbacks might be the only team where Johnson could be considered even an upgrade over what they currently have.

Shortstop

Brendan Ryan- With Nick Franklin on the way, the Mariners may choose to use this opportunity to get something of value for Ryan. Again, he would be a great defensive addition for any team in real life, but in fantasy terms he is still a dud.

Starlin Castro- The rumor mill keeps fluctuating on him as to whether he will be available or not. If he is he could bring the Cubs a ton in return and if he goes to the right team he could bring his owners a lot of joy.

Jed Lowrie- Here is another guy that may or may not be available. As a fantasy player he is a bit of a mixed bag. 14 home runs is certainly something to write home about, but this offense is terrible overall. A trade to a contender would perk things up a bit.

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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