Friends
How many of us have them?
Friends
Ones we can depend on

So it dawned upon me that, in the Whodini song, “Friends”, can be replaced by any good word, from your favorite lady parts to my personal favorite, relievers. That’s the hard part, reliability. The reliability of a great conversation with say, and in this instance, a Bartender. Who just happens to be in the news again this week. Tom Wilhelmsen is back, as was inevitable. I mean, come on, Ollie Perez, really? Really? Eric the Wedge has seen the light and by hallelujah from up above realized the error of his ways. Now, he wasn’t laying blame on anyone, though I think it may have been Radames, at least that’s what my boy Bishop was sayin’. So, not if, but when he gets back, what has he learned, walks need to come down, K’s need to come up. Shot specials or a bucket special wouldn’t hurt either. Tom Will needs to forget that month long stretch where he was about as good as a 12-pack of Schafer light. I have some confidence, but the chances will be limited as the Marginers have only had 1, yes I said 1, save opportunity in the last 14 days. Hooray for stats. Stick around for some other tidbits and rankings. Oh and Enjoy the glorious celebration of our nation’s birth.

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So at the middle post of the real year, the ever-changing scenarios that are closers continue to fire on. This week I am going to speculate on some popular names that have been bantered about in trade rumors so far and add in some of my own because that’s what hippies do, we give. This week marks the return of Chris Perez and Rafael Betancourt, soon to displace Rex and Vinnie, so sad. It was so much more fun writing their names than the dog smokers and the pride of Isaac Newton College (True statement — go look it up). Now both of these guys may be coming up later in my trade speculator, because I think they are a good mix of hot garbage and tradeable commodity. Sorta like a great combo of mayonnaise and milk…yum. This year I have a gut feeling there will be a glut of trades involving current teams’ closers making the waiver wire a cavalcade of shenanigans. If nothing else, it leads to some good conversation, some yelling and maybe some new-un-found friendships. So shall we get on with the speculating..I think we shall.

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So, the eventuality of Chris Perez’s return to the back end of the Indians bullpen has hit a not foreseen bump in the road. I bet he blames this on his dog also. I mean it had to be Fido getting lit up in the minor leagues and Fido’s fault for his shoulder to not be up to snuff after his stint on the DL. I mean everyone has blamed their homework on the poor species, but now…well you get the gist. So Vinnie and the Italian Jets are in a hold mode on your roster; is it just me or does Perez’s return feel like opening a present on Christmas and you already got it from someone else. I mean, who needs two Blu-Ray copies of Mannequin 2? So I am predicting a semi longer DL stint for Perez and then a return, followed up by another DL stint. Predicting is fun, especially when you get judged by a group of your peers, persecuted for it, and then banished to the basement with no food or drink for a week. Enjoy this week’s tidbits.

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So Donnie Baseball finally read all those free pamphlets that Mensa has been sending him.  I mean it was written on the urinal wall next to that for a good time call, insert Nick Capozzi’s home phone number, message on your favorite swill factory you frequent.. 

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Another week, another 2 temporary save mongers join the closing fray. Luke Gregerson and Rex Brothers, of Emmett Otter fame, took over for Street and Betancourt respectfully. Gregerson has been one of the the best relievers over the last 5 years, and should be a prime target in another month or so at the deadline for teams desperate for bullpen help. Brothers is in a different situation, he is the heir apparent. Closing situations are about as funny as my mail going to Chris Perez’s house. Speaking of which, he should be back very shortly and Vinnie really did a Tazawa in his role there, garnering zero saves. Also coming back this week will be Jim Henderson, who will take his role back without any questions asked. That sorta sounds like strong arming, but maybe that’s just me. So enjoy the week to come and don’t be shy. Not you, the other guy, about asking questions.

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Every good conga line needs a caboose, so the Miami Save Machine is bringing up the rear this week. Feel the rhythm of the beat getting stronger. No? Me either. Moving on. The Midwest is getting mauled by injuries, it’s like that time the flu virus swept through the cast of Laverne and Shirley, you know the one where the Big Ragu, sneezed on everyone and it spread all the way to Squiggy and Pop. Well I guess I am the only one that remembers that stuff. Chris Perez, and not to be outdone, Jim Henderson, both came up lame just in time for the Belmont Stakes, looks like horse meat is back on the menu. Perez’s shoulder came up gimpy after his pitching came undone over the last week. He is expected to take a week off, try to throw and then work on curling his mullet. Vinnie Pestano is the heir in Cleveland, he himself isn’t healthy, and personally I have stashed Cody Allen everywhere in preparation of the H, for hurt.

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So here we sit at the quarter post of the season, closers have had some ups and some flops. Staring at you Mr. Axford. Forecasting the next big closer blow-up is no easy business. It’s kind of like yelling Bingo and not really having it, facing the scourge of the geriatric posse that is inhabiting such an establishment. Let me just tell you it’s an awkward walk to get coffee or to your car afterward. So, I am not going to sit here and bold-fully predict the next closer to go down, because I am not Negrodamus or that fake Jamaican psychic. But, I can tell you things that I notice that I don’t like or do like. I like Heath Bell‘s re-established Heath Bell-ness. I am buying Edward Mujica as a one-pitch pitcher. I am worried about Chris Perez‘s career low numbers in categories that aren’t really stats but I pay attention to. Mariano Rivera is the G.O.A.T., period. It somehow took Jason Grilli 13 years to get where he is and that’s arguably the best fantasy reliever in baseball. So hit the red bar and see how far this rabbit hole goes.

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I wish I knew what Donnie Baseball was doing, he says what he doesn’t mean but means what he doesn’t say. I personally think we need to get Rand Paul involved in this and get some filibustering going. Maybe Magic can open a movie theater or something to show us a preview of what is actually going to happen. Well my theory is this, Donnie is a player’s manager and doesn’t wanna step on anyone’s feelings, so instead he will have no common decency and piss all over everyone’s fantasy teams. He kinda makes me feel the same way I felt when I watched Iron Eagle for the first time and I really thought Chappy died. Cheated is the reference, if that movie escapes you. So for my own personal rankings below I have inserted Kenley into the chart, while I am not completely sold that we know which way is loose. So screw it, it’s my list so I am placing him there just like the Gideons place bibles.

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Well, last week I said the Boston situation would go swimmingly, results so far have been 2 drowning victims and an all-Asian rescue team. First, Andrew Bailey went down with triceps injury, then Joel Hanrahan said, “anything you can do I can do better,” and has a forearm strain. Now, I’m no doctor, I pretend to play one at 2 AM and it’s last call, different story, but you get my point, but isn’t it only one arm, not fore? So to the rescue in their tight red water panties are the best combo since Chico found the man, Koji and Junichi. The eighth and ninth innings for all games on NESN now will be in full anime, and Rem-Dog will be eaten. I fully expect Tazawa to be the focal point of save situations until either Bailey or Hanrahan return. He was closing for a tick last year at Pawtucket, which is like me fishing and saying I’m Gordon’s fisherman. The numbers this year are pretty outstanding (18 K’s in 14 In) so he has momentum, his only flaw is he is a fly ball pitcher and that tends to bite ya in the oshiri…sometimes. Stay tuned to see what else I see/saw or foresee coming up in the world of conclusionary pitchers and the gents that set them up.

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The week was going swimmingly, with inflatable swim muscles, I may add, then Kevin Gregg showed up and said “Oh, I thought everyone wore these glasses now.” I don’t trust Kevin for 2 reasons, closers come and closers go (Kyuji is coming back) so add that into your closer entree like a good splash of adobo. The second reason is he has two first names, I’m sorry, it’s a phobia of mine ever since I went to school with a kid named Ferris Ferris. No I didn’t stutter, that’s a true story. Next we move to Boston, where Joe-L is returning from the DL; John Farrell has said what is typical, we will see what happens. My 2 cents is that Bailey keeps it until he falters or Hanrahan whines enough to make a stink. If I could call Joel, this is how the convo would go. Sup Joel. Who is this? Then I would hang up and not answer when he star 69′s me. I do that cause I don’t like people messin’ around on my phone. Lastly this week, I have moved Jim Johnson, minus his cult following, into the top tier. He has shown me enough to warrant a bump up. The games he pitches in are showing the confidence that Buck has in him, like a great illegitimate dad would in his Maury Povich type son. The bump over Papelbon is based purely on stats and accumulation right now, Paps just isn’t seeing the chances that some other closers are seeing and that inevitably hurts my feelings and his stats/value. Enjoy the week as if you were listening to the soundtrack from Rocky 4, what could get better than that.? If you said that talking robot Pauly got, then we are on the same page my friend.

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