During the course of the year a fantasy team can get help off their league free agency / waiver wire be it from a prospect getting promoted or an American League Player getting traded to the NL. Of course a team can get hurt depending upon one's league rules in an NL only league if one of their players got traded to the AL. So let's take a look of what to expect from now through the end of August under each.
Help from the AL? I don't think so
The free agent class coming up this off-season is probably one of the worst classes we
have seen in years. Other than upcoming free agent Michael Morse I don't see any real impact guys in the AL being available at the trade deadline that teams would want. I am sure the White Sox would love to unload some players but do to those contracts of those players teams are not going to be interested. Conversely I think it's going to be a short list of sellers in the NL especially if the Rockies & Padres remain in their Division race as well as the wild card. I think the big name that you will hear that will be available at the trade deadline is Cliff Lee. Cliff Lee is owed a ton of money between now and over the next two years (making 25 Mil this year, 2014, 2015 & 2016 salary is vested at 27.5 Mil with 12.5 Mil buyout). So the Phillies I think are going to have be willing to pay part of his future salary in order to get a good package of prospects. Also Lee has a 9 team no trade list. The team I heard that will make the most sense given all the parameters is Texas. The Phillies are a .500 team at best and Doc Halladay is probably done and the Phils have a number of older players as their core. It's time for them to rebuild. This is something to watch. There was also a reporting on Monday in the Boston Globe that there are 3 teams interested in trading for Papelbon (Red Sox, Tigers & Cardinals). If your rebuilding why do you need a very expensive closer? Papelbon is making 13 Million this season is signed for 2014 & 2015 for 13 Million each season as well with a vesting option for 2016 at another 13 Million.
Also to keep in mind is pending free agents Matt Garza & Rickey Nolasco will be moved by the July 31st trade deadline. Other than that of the teams that are bad there are no real selling chips. Cubs would love to move Alfonso Soriano who is signed for 17 Mil next season but would anyone take him on even if the Cubs pay part of that salary? If Soriano is moved 99% it will be to an AL team to DH. The Brewers could move pending free agent Corey Hart if he comes back healthy and is producing but right now that's looking like a big IF. I don't expect Stanton of the Marlins or Headley of the Padres to be moved until the off-season at the Winter Meetings if that happens.
Help from more Top Prospects? It's Thinning Out
Gerrit Cole just came up and Zack Wheeler will make his MLB debut tomorrow Tuesday the 18th versus the Braves. After that you won't see one of the top prospects to hit an NL roster until at least early August when Travis D'Arnaud gets called up by the Mets. That's assuming D'Arnaud does not have a setback with his foot injury. After him the rest of the top prospects to be called up in the NL will be in September as September callups and they will be their to spell the regulars and get a taste of the big leagues.
So my advice is for all teams to start working the phones, the e-mail etc with your fellow owners in your NL only league because not much help is coming.
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NL King - C.Lizza