Instant Fantasy Baseball Reaction: Jay Bruce trade renews Dominic Smith watch – CBSSports.com

You thought the big trades were behind us, right?

Yes, I’m talking about Jay Bruce to the Indians. For those who don’t own him in Fantasy Baseball this year, he is indeed a big deal again, ranking 19th among outfielders and 11th among first basemen in Head-to-Head points leagues. It’s arguably a career season for the 10-year veteran.

And so this trade is arguably as big as they come for a post-deadline deal. All you AL-only owners who wondered why you saved all those FAAB dollars all year, now’s your chance to cash in. I can’t guarantee nobody bigger will come over from the NL in the next three weeks, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

The move to Cleveland shouldn’t adversely impact Bruce’s value. They got him to start and shouldn’t have trouble fitting him into a lineup already down two outfielders: Lonnie Chisenhall, who has missed nearly a month already with a strained calf, and Michael Brantley, who went on the DL earlier Wednesday with a sprained ankle.

It’ll be bad news for someone eventually. I’m thinking Chisenhall, who had become something of a daily-league darling with his .305 batting average and .953 OPS but who manager Terry Francona was unwilling to trust against left-handed pitchers. Shoot, his slow recovery may have necessitated the trade. A month away and still no rehab assignment in sight? We’re running out of season, folks.

Mostly, though, I’m fascinated by what this deal could mean for the Mets, who have hinted that first base prospect Dominic Smith could arrive at some date in the near future but have yet to take the plunge. Bruce of course was primarily an outfielder, but he had played mostly first base since the Mets traded Lucas Duda to the Rays in late July.

Now they have one less bat to force into their lineup, and Smith’s position is still free for the taking. Not much of a brain strain, Mr. Alderson.

Of course, even if Smith gets the call, I don’t know that he’s must-own in mixed leagues. First base is incomparably deep, and in leagues that use a standard Head-to-Head lineup, the most first basemen any team can start is two. And as I pointed out in the latest Prospects Report, I prefer the PhilliesRhys Hoskins, who’s also on the verge of a promotion, to Smith.

I also don’t know that I buy Smith’s power breakthrough at Triple-A Las Vegas, a hitter-friendly venue in a hitter friendly league. It’s a skill scouts always hoped he’d develop, and it’s imperative at first base, particularly in this offensive environment.

Of course, this offensive environment also has a way of maximizing players’ power potential, and one with the contact skills and batting eye of Smith could be primed to take advantage. If you play in a deep enough league that a high-floor first baseman will do you some good, now’s the time to pick him up.

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