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2022 MLB Free Agent Frenzy: Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Yusei Kikuchi, Chris Bassitt (3/13)

2022 MLB Free Agent Frenzy: Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Yusei Kikuchi, Chris Bassitt (3/13)

Play ball! The players and the owners finally agreed, and it is time for Major League Baseball. Players are reporting to Spring Training, and transactions are taking place. Things are happening fast, so I am here to keep you up to date on all the transactions that take place and their fantasy impact. Each morning I will publish a new article covering players that signed the previous day. There was a lot of action yesterday; let’s get to it!

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Free Agent Signings, Trades, and News: March 12

*Transactions up to date as of 3/13/22 at midnight EST.

Steve Cishek signs a one-year, $1.75 million deal with the Washington Nationals

Cishek pitched 68 innings last season, with the Angels posting a 3.42 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. He posted a 20.8 percent strikeout rate and a 13.3 percent walk rate. Cishek likely factors into a seventh-inning role. I don’t him getting a shot at a closer role, despite having experience in the ninth inning.

Mitch Garver traded to Texas Rangers, Isiah Kiner-Falefa traded to Minnesota Twins

Mitch Garver gets a nice boost in a move to Texas. He was likely going to spit some time with Ryan Jeffers in Minnesota. He receives a playing time boost and a slight park upgrade for a right-handed hitter.

Garver could easily eclipse 500 plate appearances and would have a chance to break 30 home runs. He will also be a solid source of batting average, especially by catcher standards. Jonah Heim sees a huge downtick in value, though there was not a ton of fantasy relevance there anyways.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa should get a nice value boost with his move to the Twins. He was likely out of playing time in Texas with the new acquisitions of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. Kiner-Falefa’s versatility enables him to catch, play third base, or shortstop.

Last season he stole 20 bases, hit eight home runs, and slashed .271/.312/.357. Kiner-Falefa becomes an intriguing late-round target for stolen bases and batting average. Kiner-Falefa currently has a Fantasy Pros ADP of 324. Mitch Garver’s ADP comes in at 211.

Jordan Lyles signs a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles

Many will be quick to write this deal off and call Lyles irrelevant. In most fantasy leagues, he is. His current Fantasy Pros Consensus ADP is 558. Lyles pitched a career-high 180 innings last season with the Rangers. It did come to the tune of a 5.15 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Baltimore did move the left-field fences back, which does help the Orioles pitchers.

I like Lyles late in draft-and-hold leagues because he made some tangible changes last season. He began to use his slider at a career-high rate last year. He saw his slider velocity take a dip, but he significantly increased his vertical and horizontal movement in the process. I don’t have high hopes, but Lyles is an innings eater and has the potential to be a serviceable starting pitcher late in drafts.

Yusei Kikuchi signs a three-year, $36 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays

Kikuchi’s move to Toronto gives him a boost from a team standpoint as he now stands a chance to get more wins for fantasy purposes. Kikuchi slots in the fifth spot in the rotation behind Berrios, Gausman, Ryu, and Manoah. Nate Pearson‘s chances to win a rotation likely take a hit. Some think he can beat out Kikuchi, but there are slim chances the Blue Jays paid Kikuchi not to be in the rotation.

From a ballpark standpoint, T-Mobile Park (Mariners) and Rogers Centre (Blue Jays) are pitcher-friendly parks. Kikuchi keeps the ball on the ground at a high rate, and with a solid infield behind him, he can only benefit.

Pitching regularly against the AL East teams is a negative, though. Facing the Red Sox, Yankees, and Rays multiple times is far from ideal. Regardless, Kikuchi is a solid draft pick, given his 350 Fantasy Pros ADP.

Chris Bassitt traded to New York Mets for J.T. Ginn and Adam Oller

Over the last several years, Chris Bassitt has been one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball. Since 2018, Bassitt has a 3.23 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP over 412 innings. His strikeout rate is not flash, just 23.1 percent over those four seasons, but he did post a carer high 25 percent strikeout rate last season.

He moves to a Mets team that has bulked up this offseason. Bassitt should see a chance at a ton of wins and should continue his substantial success in the big apple.

Josh Harrison signs a one-year, $5.5 million deal with the Chicago White Sox

After signing with the White Sox, Harrison joins his fifth team in five seasons. Last year, Harrison slashed .279/.341/.400 with eight home runs and nine stolen bases. At the moment, Harrison looks like he could be the White Sox everyday second baseman unless more moves are made. The fantasy value is slim here unless you are in a deep league.

Niko Goodrum signs a one-year, $2.1 million contract with the Houston Astros

I am not sure how Goodrum factors into the Astros lineup, but he has shown the ability to play every position on the field. Since 2019, the only positions that Goodrum has not played are catcher and pitcher. His flexibility should earn him at-bats. Last season, Goodrum slashed .214/.292/.359 with nine home runs and 14 stolen bases. If he plays regularly, there is a 20/20 upside which few players have going late in drafts.

Alex Colome signs a one-year contract with the Colorado Rockies

Everyone will be quick to laugh off this move because it involved Alex Colome and the Rockies. But, Colome has 155 saves since 2016 and has a 2.91 ERA over that span.

Over the last three seasons, Colome has a 3.09 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He also has a ground ball above 50 percent, which is huge in a park like Coors Field. Colome also does a great job of keeping the ball in the park with a .91 home run/nine innings. Cutter

Colome is a perfect third closer in a 15 team league. Worst case, if he loses his job, you likely drafted him late enough where it’s an easy drop.

Minor Deals Without Much Fantasy Relevancy

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Chris Clegg is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Chris, check out his archive and follow him @RotoClegg.

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