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Breaking down the five under the radar MLB transactions impacting fantasy baseball

Sometimes the smaller moves are the ones that pay the biggest dividends for a team. We break down five of those moves ahead of the 2020 season.

Cincinnati Reds second baseman Mike Moustakas tracks a groundball during drills, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at the baseball team’s spring training facility in Goodyear, Ariz. The Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK via Imagn Content Services, LLC

We all know about the big signings that took place during the offseason. It would be impossible for you to have not heard about Gerrit Cole signing the richest contract ever for a pitcher. Or the blockbuster trade that took place between the Dodgers and Red Sox that landed the National League team one of the best players in the league in Mookie Betts. While they are important, it’s often some of the more quiet, smaller moves that could be the final piece of the puzzle to put a team over the top. Our job here is to highlight five of those moves and break down the ramifications for those teams.

Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos sign with Reds

I absolutely love the move the Reds made over the offseason and both of these haven’t been talked about enough. By adding these two bats, the Reds are injecting some massive power into a lineup that was just above league average in home runs last season with 227. Combined, these players hit 62 home runs and will be in a lineup that already includes Eugenio Suarez, who hit 49 home runs last season. If Joey Votto can get his power swing back, we’d have a Reds lineup that could look like Votto, Suarez, Moustakas and Castellanos in the 2-5 spots.

Moustakas is no stranger to that division after spending a year and a half with the Brewers. Last season, he slashed .254/.329/.516 with 35 home runs and 87 RBI through 143 games. Now he moves into a very hitter-friendly ballpark and his numbers could continue to climb, especially in the power department. Castellanos also spent time in the NL Central after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. Once he moved to the NL, Castellanos slashed .321/.356/.646 with 16 home runs and 36 RBI through 51 games with the Cubs. Signing both of these guys should prove to be a massive move for the Reds, who I think have a legitimate chance to win this division.

Padres acquire Trent Grisham from Brewers

Perhaps the last memory Brewers fans will have of Grisham was his eighth inning error against the Nationals in the NL Wild Card game that allowed three runs to score on a Juan Soto single. It’s quite unfortunate because he’s a very talented player who in the minors before his call up slashed .300/.407/.603 with 26 home runs and 12 steals through 97 games in Double-A and Triple-A. While it’s still early, the Padres are reportedly impressed with him and believe he’s going to be a big bat in their lineup.

The Padres continue their youth movement in 2020 after rolling out the second-youngest team in the league with an average age of 26. The Orioles boasted the youngest at an average of 25.7. Grisham is yet another example of that, as he’ll open the season at the age of 23. His quick ascension through the minors is a clear indication of his talent and he’s someone to keep an eye on from a fantasy perspective as well. After getting his feet wet in the majors last year, we should be looking forward to a full season from the primary speedy outfielder.

Diamondbacks trade for Starling Marte

This move should be up on a bigger scale but for whatever reason, it feels as if it fell off the radar quickly. The Diamondbacks were looking to move Ketel Marte back to second base primarily, as he played 92 games in center field and 74 at second. The cost to acquire the other Marte required two prospects from the D-Backs, Brennan Malone and Liover Peguero, both of whom have been hyped but neither of which played higher than Single-A ball last season. In return, the D-backs received an outfielder that had his season cut short due to a back injury but slashed .295/.342/.503 with 23 home runs, 82 RBI and 25 stolen bases through 132 games.

Starling is a very underrated ballplayer and he’ll have the opportunity to shine on a new look D-Backs team that I think has the potential to exceed their win total for this upcoming season. The starting eight bats in their lineup ALL have the potential to hit at least 20 home runs, which reminds of us the 2019 Twins who just set the record for most home runs in the regular season with 307. I’m not saying the D-Backs will challenge that but this is the type of team he’s joining. Starling is also a thief on the base paths, as he’s stolen at least 30 bases in five of his eight seasons up in the majors. It bodes extremely well for a team that likes to run already, finishing the 2019 season 10th in the league in stolen bases with 88. This was a huge get for the D-Backs.

Avisail Garcia signs with the Brewers

This was one of my favorite moves of the offseason and I’m a huge fan of Garcia. He should flourish with the Brewers after hitting well with the Rays last season to the tune of .282/.332/.464 with 20 home runs 72 RBI and 10 stolen bases through 125 games. Now he gets a big park upgrade at Miller Park, where he has a legitimate chance to reach 25+ home runs for the first time in his career.

The move was also important to the Brewers, as they are now able to shift around their players defensively. Garcia will be able to play right field, shifting Christian Yelich to left. Ryan Braun can play first place and Lorenzo Cain can stay in center field. Garcia can plug a number of holes defensively for any team but with recent injury to Yelich and Bruan getting older, this should be a very useful move. Aside from the defense, Garcia is going to be a sleeper play in your fantasy drafts and daily fantasy, especially against lefties.

Corey Dickerson signs with Marlins

It does seems a bit odd that a player would CHOOSE to sign with the Marlins, who finished last season with a 57-105 record, good for last in the NL East. However, we have to give credit where it’s due, and the Marlins made some moves to improve their lineup. Dickerson was the centerpiece of those moves and should slot into the heart of their lineup. A very underrated bat, Dickerson’s biggest problem is staying healthy. He’s missed 111 games over the past two years, 84 of which came in 2019. However, when he’s healthy, he’s a big asset to any team.

Dickerson has 20+ home run potential and we’ve seen him do it multiple times. In the four years he’s played at least 130 games, he’s hit at least 24 home runs in three of them with the Rockies and Rays. His bat in the lineup will immensely help a Marlins team that was dead last in home runs (146) and SLG% (.375). The also acquired Jonathan Villar and Jesus Aguilar, who should bring even more power to a team that severely lacked it. Dickerson is the big piece here and if he can stay healthy, the Marlins could surprise us a bit.