For those fantasy players who play in standard mixed leagues, the hot stove season is a time of excitement. These owners can just sit back and enjoy the player moves, secure in the knowledge that regardless of what happens there will not be a huge impact on gameplay.

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Traditionally, the backstop has been a bitter bane of the fantasy owner’s existence. Owners either spent mega-dollars on one of the heavy hitters at the position or contented themselves to spend the season with a Kurt-Suzuki–sized hole in their lineups. The mayhem came to a crescendo a few years back when Joe Mauer’s ADP crept into the 1st round.

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2011 was supposed to be a big year for Shin-Soo Choo — he was coming off his 2nd straight 20-20 season, his looming military service requirement to the Korean government was in the rearview mirror and he was just entering his prime age.

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Baseball’s hot stove season has been largely dominated by the new-look Marlins. The last time a Miami team made such headlines in free agency, it was the controversial Miami Heat “Dream Team.” Although they did not have their own hour long ESPN special and subsequent public hatred like Lebron and his gang, the new-look Marlins have come to play.

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Yu Darvish has been generating lots of headlines stateside after rumors circulated last week that he had asked the Nippon Ham Fighters to make him available for MLB teams this winter.  Shortly thereafter Darvish himself shot down these rumors, but did not rule out leaving Japan saying, “I haven’t decided anything [about my future].” Adding fuel to the fire is his recent choice to be represented by Arn Tellem and Don Nomura, agents well-known for helping Japanese players transition to Major League Baseball.

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For Philly fans (myself included), it was hard to imagine a worse way for the 2011 season to end. As prohibitive favorites to win the World Series, the Phillies watched a 2-1 series lead evaporate with it all culminating in a Ryan Howard groundout to end the series that saw him pull up lame and fall to the ground in a heap.

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