Willson Contreras, Juan Soto replacements may give fantasy baseball boost

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With the All-Star break in our rearview mirror and the MLB trade deadline looming, fantasy baseball managers need to prepare for their second-half surge to the top of their standings.

Your waiver-wire work needs to be on point, and you are going to have to start rifling through the rosters of those near the bottom of your standings to start finding quality trade targets for the second half. The rest of the contenders are fighting the same fight you are, so looking in some unusual places might just be what’s best for you right now.

The trade rumors continue to swirl around Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. If you can acquire him for a reasonable price, then of course you look to make that deal, but we are going to look even deeper here while staying within the friendly confines of Wrigley Field — where the ball carries like it’s Coors Field when the wind is blowing out. When Contreras goes, the Cubs will have an opening at their designated hitter spot that should go to veteran outfielder Rafael Ortega, who will be pushed out of center field by Christopher Morel when Nick Madrigal returns to second base.

Ortega may not be a world-beater, but he has a little bit of pop, some decent speed, and his extensive experience lends to strong plate discipline and a solid on-base percentage. He is probably sitting on your waiver wire right now, so stashing him might be the move to make this weekend. Once Contreras goes, Ortega is likely to be a staple in this Cubs lineup, and his speed potential will be front-and-center for all to see.

Juan Soto
Getty Images

Another spot to investigate is Washington, as we expect the Nationals to be very active in trading. The Juan Soto rumors are abundant, as are the ones surrounding Josh Bell and Nelson Cruz.

Though the team has a few mediocre bats to patch up some of the potential holes, they did make an interesting move and signed outfielder David Dahl to a minor league deal. Dahl flashed some potential during the pre-COVID era and currently has a slash line of .294/.357/.468 with nine home runs and three stolen bases over 280 plate appearances at Triple-A Nashville. He could be an intriguing asset over the final few months of the season should he get the call.

Your goal over the next few months is to accrue as many productive at-bats as possible. No one says those at-bats need to come from teams contending for the playoffs. Find the right players in the right situation, and you should find yourself soaring up your league standings in no time.

Howard Bender is the head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.

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