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Hot Stove flurry gives fantasy owners lots to ponder

January 14, 2016

After a slow start to the New Year, Major League executives picked up the pace in recent days. With roughly one month until Spring Training, fantasy owners will need to keep close tabs on the key transactions from recent days.Royals retain GordonBecause of a severe groin strain that caused his

After a slow start to the New Year, Major League executives picked up the pace in recent days. With roughly one month until Spring Training, fantasy owners will need to keep close tabs on the key transactions from recent days.
Royals retain Gordon
Because of a severe groin strain that caused his first disabled-list stint since 2010, Alex Gordon is coming off a '15 season in which he posted his lowest marks of the past five seasons in virtually all cumulative offensive categories. But on the bright side, the Nebraska native recorded a career-high .377 on-base percentage with his best homer-per-at-bat rate since '11. Even if he is no longer a notable basestealer, the 31-year-old should be a solid No. 3 or No. 4 outfielder in mixed leagues by combining 70-80 runs and RBIs with roughly 20 round-trippers.

Span slides into San Francisco
Denard Span was afflicted by a multitude of injuries in 2015, making three trips to the disabled list and playing just 61 games before undergoing season-ending hip surgery. The outfielder posted a terrific .301 average with a .365 on-base percentage and 11 steals, however, mirroring the type of quality production he has provided throughout his career. Although his durability is now a question, a healthy Span can help mixed-league owners by hitting .300, swiping 25 bases and scoring 90 runs as the sparkplug atop a strong Giants lineup.
Blue Jays, Nationals fill holes with 1-for-1 swap
Ben Revere should slot as the Nationals' leadoff hitter, which will enable him to exceed 80 runs in 2016. Capable of batting .300 and exceeding 35 steals, the speedster should be a productive outfielder in shallow leagues. Revere may have scored a few more runs atop the Jays' star-studded lineup, but he will likely swipe more bases as a member of the Nats.

Revere's arrival in Washington will push Michael Taylor back to a reserve role. Taylor totaled 472 at-bats last season, but he will be unable to repeat that volume of work if Revere, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth stay off the disabled list.
In Toronto, this trade opens the left-field spot for Michael Saunders. If he can rebound from an injury-affected 2015 season, the Canadian outfielder could approach the 15-mark in both homers and steals.

Drew Storen will occupy a late-inning role with Toronto, and his arrival gives the club a tough decision on how to assign ninth-inning work between him and Roberto Osuna. This trade may free up right-hander Aaron Sanchez to move back into the rotation. To survive as a starter, Sanchez will need to improve vs. left-handed batters, against whom he surrendered an .878 OPS last season.
Marlins choose Chen
Although Wei-Yin Chen could see his 2016 win total affected by a potential lack of offensive support, his relocation to Miami represents a terrific fantasy fit and cements his status as a viable rotation option in '16 mixed leagues. If he had continued to pitch for an American League club with a hitter-friendly home park, the left-hander -- who logged a 4.16 FIP last season -- would have been hard-pressed to repeat his 3.34 ERA from a year ago. But with a chance to play home games at spacious Marlins Park and face shallower National League lineups, the 30-year-old may be able to limit homers -- his longtime Achilles' heel (career 1.2 HR/9 rate) -- more effectively.
Rockies create outfield logjam
Despite playing his entire career with clubs with hitter-friendly home parks, Gerardo Parra has rarely been a standard mixed-league lineup fixture. But in a full-time role with the Rockies, Parra would warrant a late-round pick in those formats. The move to Coors Field -- arguably baseball's premier offense-inducing venue -- could provide a slight statistical uptick for the native Venezuelan, who is coming off a season in which he hit .291 with 14 homers, 14 steals and 83 runs scored.
Currently, Parra lacks a clear path to an everyday job in Colorado. If the Rockies were to maintain their roster to Opening Day, the 28-year-old would be relegated to a fourth-outfielder role behind fantasy studs Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson. But given the Rockies offered Parra a significant contract, they may be planning an additional move that would shift him into a prominent role.

Johnson returns to Braves
A versatile defender with dependable power, Kelly Johnson has ripped at least 14 round-trippers in five of the past six seasons. Set to begin the upcoming campaign with multiposition eligibility -- first base, second base and outfield -- the 33-year-old could be a solid NL-only option by belting double-digit homers in a high-use utility role.
Carter gets fresh start with Brewers
A .199 average in 2015 cost Chris Carter his starting role with the Astros, but poor fortune on balls in play contributed to that low batting mark. Set to serve as the Brewers' starting first baseman, the native Californian should be set to deliver roughly 30 homers and 80 RBIs with the backdrop of hitter-friendly Miller Park. Those in deep-mixed formats will be willing to live with a batting average in the range of .225 to secure Carter's counting stats, but shallow-league owners will seek a corner infielder with a more balanced profile.

Fred Zinkie is the lead fantasy baseball writer for Follow him on Twitter at @FredZinkieMLB.