Trading deadline alters roles, fantasy values

With the highly anticipated Tuesday trading deadline provoking a bevy of moves aimed at improving the playoff chances of contenders around the league, many players involved in the transactions could see their statistics altered greatly by the different roles they will play on their new teams — an alteration that will have quite an impact with fantasy baseball owners.

One player likely to be adversely affected (at least on paper) by the change of scenery is new Boston Red Sox reliever Eric Gagne. The 2003 NL Cy Young Award winner with the Los Angeles Dodgers who once converted a majors-record 84 consecutive save opportunities, Gagne will take on a new role with Boston — as the setup man for young closer Jon Papelbon.

Although Gagne will play an invaluable role in the Boston bullpen alongside Hideki Okajima, he moves from being the Texas Rangers’ full-time closer, where he racked up 16 saves, to the Red Sox, where he will be racking up more holds with an occasional save to spell Papelbon.

Unlike Gagne, infielder Wilson Betemit, who was acquired from the Dodgers by the New York Yankees in exchange for setup man Scott Proctor, could see an improvement in his numbers, depending on his new role, which is likely time at first base.

Betemit, who has struggled with expectations since he arrived in Atlanta in 2001, got off to a horrid start this season in Los Angeles, batting just .125 in April before slowly starting to come to life as a reserve, compiling 10 homers and 26 RBIs.

Along with Betemit, other players who should improve with new teams include former Houston Astro Morgan Ensberg in San Diego and the ageless Kenny Lofton, who looks 10 years his junior while once again suiting up for the Cleveland Indians.

Like the varying results of past trades have proven, neither Gagne nor Betemit are guaranteed to put up the numbers expected of them, so its always a risk to drop or add the players based on probable output. But as the season wears on and the margin for error gets slimmer, these players could play a pivotal role in determining the overall success of a lineup.

WHO’S HOT?

» Pat Burrell, OF, Phillies

» Reggie Willits, OF, Angels

» Alex Gordon, 1B-3B, Royals

» Dustin McGowan, SP, Blue Jays

» Joaquin Benoit, RP, Rangers

WHO’S NOT?

» Kaz Matsui, 2B, Rockies

» Jarrod Washburn, SP, Mariners

» Claudio Vargas, SP, Brewers

» Frank Thomas, DH, Blue Jays

» Tom Gorzelanny, SP, Pirates


Whose role will be affected most by the trades?

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