Mariners, O’s Swap Smith, Gallardo: Fantasy Fallout

The Mariners and Orioles made a move today that will have Seth Smith heading to the Orioles for Yovani Gallardo. What is the fantasy impact of the deal?

As the 2017 season slowly inches here, there are still some moves and names out there they need to be settled. The latest deal saw the Orioles adding a much-needed lefty bat, while the Mariners hope they are getting an innings eater. Both Seth Smith and Yovani Gallardo have been around for a while, so does this move have any fantasy impact?

Smith probably has the easiest path to having fantasy value in 2017, as he should step right in and be on the better side of the platoon in right field, or slide into the DH spot. He will join what is still a solid O’s lineup and should get ample at-bats this upcoming season.

In 2016 he posted a .249/16 HR/63 RBI/.758 OPS over 137 games. It was his highest HR output since 2010, and the RBI total was the highest of his career. Outside of a rough two months to end the season, he had a solid year for the M’s.

Smith is known to handle RHP better than LHP, and once again that will be the expectation entering next season. He is a career .272 hitter against righties, but that AVG has slipped below .260 the last two seasons.

He was able to notch 16 HR even though his 48% GB rate was the highest of his career. If that number can drop back to his career norm of 42%, and his FB rate climbs back over 35%, 20 HR could be on the table in Camden. He is not a player to draft, but one that is worth adding off the waiver wire once he goes on a hot streak.

Gallardo, on the other hand, is a name fantasy owners can probably ignore this season. It is first important to note that Gallardo was an absolute workhorse from 2009-2015. Over that seven-year span, he posted at least 30 starts per season, while averaging at least 180 IP. He offered fantasy owners some of the most bankable production over that span.

Fantasy sports are all about what have you done for me latelys though, and Gallardo had a rough season in 2016. He entered the season with some arm issues and missed two months of the season with a shoulder issue. This led to only 23 starts, and an unsightly 5.42 ERA.

Gallardo’s FB rate if often pointed to as a warning sign, and it reared its ugly head last season. He posted a 37% FB rate, clearly not playing well in the AL East. Safeco will be the first pitcher-friendly home ballpark that he will play most his games in, so he does have that working for him.

But, it is hard to look past the arm woes last season and the sheer usage over his career.  He is capable of posting a high-3.00 ERA, but fantasy owners are simply better off looking elsewhere for a more upside. Pitching is just too deep.

On the surface, this trade fills a need for both teams. Both players have their red flags, and their fantasy value reflects it. Both could turn into streaming candidates off the waiver wire,  but neither should be drafted.