Taijuan Walker was shut down for a week due to a bursa in his right shoulder. Isn’t a bursa a type of Ethiopian bread? Sounds more like Somalians are holding my beautiful, upside starting pitcher captive. Only Captain Phillips can get me out of this mess…by being taken captive for two hours of a two hour and twenty minute movie and then being saved by characters we don’t even empathize with. Snooze. True story, schmue story, give Phillips a hidden machine gun in his rectum and let him shoot his way out by farting! This is starting to sound bad for Walker. I haven’t moved him in my top 80 starters for 2014 fantasy baseball yet, and, since I only have him down for 170 IP in my projections, I’m not changing anything, but I’d definitely be careful about pairing Walker with lots of other risk. As of right now, Walker will not be ready to start the year in the rotation. Anyway, here’s what else I’ve seen in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:

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“Get in a line, and limp.” That’s the master of ceremonies at the latest calfalcade. Chase Headley has a Grade 1 strain of his calf. Grade 2 or higher would be a cow. Semantics, perhaps. He’s supposed to be out for two to (stutterer!) three weeks. I’ve dropped him a couple of spots in my top 20 3rd basemen for 2014 fantasy baseball and my top 400 for 2014 fantasy baseball. Probably if he was in Coors for his home games, coming off a 30-homer season and/or whispered in my ear sweet nothings about Giancarlo, I wouldn’t have moved him in my rankings at all. However, he’s in Petco, coming off a 13 homer season and any reason to not mess with a Padre is good enough for me. You say confirmation bias, I say keep your Psych 101 terms and Headley. To give you a present day example of another player with a calf strain who I’m not currently moving in my rankings: Josh Hamilton. If this were the 2nd week of March, I’d re-rank him, but he’s got time to heal or get injured worse. I’ll be monitoring Hamilton like a cyclops with a monocle. Anyway, here’s what else has been going down in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:

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Tanaka schoen, he finally signed! As you all know by now, Masahiro Tanaka signed with the New York Yankees Of The One Borough Where No One Can Afford A Yankee Ticket. Buster Olney said that Tanaka once threw 160 pitches then pitched the next day. Sounds like Joe Torre could’ve made Tanaka a great reliever. People who know a lot more about Tanaka than I do say he compares more favorably to Hiroki Kuroda than Yu Darvish. I’m assuming those people could’ve also compared him to non-Asian pitchers, which isn’t meant as a subtle accusation of racism until you see those same people compare Tanaka to a 185-pound spicy tuna roll, drop The Cove references and say they’re wondering how Tanaka will adjust without a TV station dedicated entirely to wacky game shows. Those people have some nerve — or noive if you’re reading in a Curly voice. So, what can we expect from Masahiro Tanaka for 2014 fantasy baseball?

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Scott Boras got Shin-Soo Choo his Christmas present after all. A $130 million contract to play for the Texas Rangers of the American League West. The only stipulation of the contract was Choo will buy the island nation of Bora Bora and change its name to Boras Boras. A small price to pay for Boras getting him the big bucks. I wonder what Boras could do for me. Maybe one-point-two million dollars per page view? A five hundred thousand bonus for every waxed mustache hair? A stipend to feed the monkeys that type up these posts? Ling-Ling wants a banana! (On side side note, my friend from Frazers’ Edge provided the comic at the bottom of the post.) Wikipedia tells me Dallas has the 2nd largest Korean population in the southern United States. Shin-Soo Choo blushes at the thought. Or maybe he’s just been drinking. This doesn’t do a whole lot for his fantasy value. He was already in a great park atop a terrific lineup. He’s really an odd duck because he’s so damn consistent yet has such dramatic splits. He regularly bats .320+ vs. righties and barely .200 vs. lefties. If he has a bad year vs. righties, he’ll be awful. I’m not talking a .250 or lower year either. I mean, a .280 year vs. righties would kill him. Due to his splits, the tightrope he walks is thin but he’s managed to traverse it well thus far, so there’s no reason to think the end is nigh, not to mention no one has any idea what nigh means. Is it really near? It’s not saving letters by writing nigh. Is there a nighby? Who says that? The bigger pickle Choo’s brined with this signing is Leonys Martin will be relegated to batting ninth for another year. There’s no chance he bats 2nd or moves up in the order vs. lefties either because he’s just as bad as Choo vs. them. For 2014, I’ll give Choo the line of 101/20/59/.277/20. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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It’s a closerousel! Which is a play on carousel, not arousal. Pick up your pants. Recently, the Cleveland Indians organization talked to the media about moving away from the unfortunate Native American stereotype their team is known for. They said, “We respect the people who came before us. This was their land, and we drove them out. Scalping was a crime on humanity. In other news, we just signed a guy that goes by the Ax Man. Chief Wahoo, can I get a woohoo?!” John Axford should be perfectly competent as the closer in Cleveland, until he’s not. What I mean is he’ll be handed the job and will hold it the whole year unless he reverts to his hideous ways. I was burnt by him in more leagues than I care to remember, but I would still draft him again. SAGNOF, after all. Then Theo Cubstein went out and got Jose Veras to close games. Cubs fans will miss the days when their games went an extra fifty minutes due seven men getting on base in the ninth inning. If you throw out Veras’s first five appearances and start his stats on April 13th of last year, he had a 2.48 ERA. Yeah, that’ll work just fine. Then the Orioles pulled their best Billy Beane impersonation when they let one high-priced closer go and got Grant Balfour back. Oddly enough, Billy Beane was the one that took the high-priced one. I scream, what’s the world coming to?! Then Billy Beane shoots Spider dead. Then Beane turns to me and says, “Not so fast, amigo. Check Balfour’s health. Oh, and amigo is being sarcastic, you dumbass.” I knew that! But not about the health. No one did. Except for the Jedi master. Of course, there was more to it. So, now Balfour’s deal may fall through with the O’s due to health concerns raised in his physical. It’s a developing situation as they say in third world countries about their water and cable TV. Finally, Addison Reed went from the Chicago White Sox to Arizona. Now the Diamondbacks won’t have to worry about what happens when J.J. Putz hurts himself opening a tin of Band-Aids. Irony only takes you so far, Putz. This leaves a vacuum in the South Side of Chicago in the ninth inning, but I guess they don’t plan on winning any games. White Sox GM Rick Hahn named Nate Jones, Matt Lindstrom, Scott Downs and Daniel Webb as possible replacements. Due to Scott Downs’ Syndrome, Downs is out of the mix. Jones will be a favorite by fantasy baseballers (<–my mom’s term!) due to his ability to strike guys out, but I’m guessing Lindstrom will end up with the job due to that hard-to-put-your-finger-on-it closer experience quality. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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The Mariners trying to bulk up their team is like watching someone dress up their pet monkey in baby clothes. It’s cute. You’re glad they have something they love. Then you realize they’re suffering from postpartum depression and you’re sick of them bothering you with questions about when they should enroll their baby monkey in daycare. That monkey ain’t gonna grow up to be a world famous fantasy baseball blogger like yours truly who uses 100 monkeys on 99 typewriters to write these posts. Someone buy Ling-Ling a typewriter! Similarly, it’s cute the Mariners are dressing up their monkey with new outfielders, especially one that missed all of last year — Corey Hart — and one that even a terrible team didn’t want any part of — Logan Morrison. Corey Hart is committed to wearing sunglasses at night and being ready to go for Opening Day. Let’s see, someone says to you, “I’ll give you millions of dollars if you say you’re healthy and ready to return.” Would you say you’re healthy and ready to return? Yeah, me too. It doesn’t make us or Corey Hart bad people, but it’s a whole lot easier for him to say he’s ready to return than to go out and play 150+ games after a pair of knee surgeries. If he can DH the whole season and stay in the lineup, I could see a 27 homer, 90+ RBI season. The once 20-steal speed isn’t happening anymore. Unless he got a stamp card with those knee surgeries and the fifth one is free. For 2014, I’ll give him the line 72/23/84/.278/3. Morrison also had knee surgery last year, but he’s a lot younger and more prone to saying hashtag. I’m guessing Seattle GM Zduriencik saw Morrison had 363 homers in his four-year career and wanted him bad. Too bad Zduriencik moved his finger down the homer column and accidentally slide to the left and was actually reading his games played. There’s a chance Seattle will push Morrison and Hart to DH/1B and be done with Smoak like the Marlins were done with Morrison, but it’s too early to say. I’m just hoping Seattle trades Brad Miller for Starlin Castro so the Cubs can field a Barney/Miller at middle infield. For 2014, I’ll give Morrison the line 61/17/70/.245. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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Unlike McCarthy-era Hollywood, the Diamondbacks seem to put everyone on their blacklist except Trumbo (see Bauer, Scherzer, Eaton, Skaggs, Upton). Remember when they traded Reynolds and J-Up because they hated being the Diamondhacks? It’s back (sad Trumbo). BTW, Scherzer, Bauer and Skaggs: the hypothetical law firm where Alan Dershowitz would feel least comfortable. Then again, he represented that Claus Von Bulow guy. I wonder if Kevin Towers would’ve been torn if Mark Trumbo had the name Mark Trumboschnitzel. Probably. I’m not sure what Kevin Towers hates more, Krauts or pitching prospects. I think it’s still too early to evaluate the Didi Gregorious-Trevor Bauer trade and a year has past since then, so it’s way too early to dissect the Trumbo, Skaggs and Eaton dealings for real baseball, which is fine since we only care about fantasy implications. Mark Trumbo in Arizona is a plus for him. In the city of Los Angeles That’s Not Really Los Angeles of Anaheim, the Sciosciapath would bench Trumbo if he farted in the wrong direction. “Did you just fart north by northeast? Hit the pine, meat!” That’s the Sciosciapath. Also, Trumbo moves to a better park. He’s still never going to win a batting title, but Michael Cuddyer won last year’s NL batting title and no one even cared, so do we care? No, no we don’t. Trumbo goes to a relatively similar lineup, perhaps a tad lighter, but not enough to factor in. Trumbo would be a thirty homer guy in Petco, and in Arizona he could reach 35+ homers. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 74/33/89/.244/5. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves and what they mean for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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It’s amazing to me how many times teams get burned by signing huge free agent deals. It’s like they’re either not aware of what other teams are doing or they’re not paying attention. How’d that A-Rod to Rangers deal work out for the Rangers? Hamilton and Pujols to the Angels? Or when the entire National League All-Star team spent three months in a Marlins uniform? Robinson Cano is quality, but Marco Scutaro could’ve won the Mariners the AL West if F-Her, Iwakuma and Taijuan were hitting on all cylinders. Well, at least the Mariners didn’t need to give up anything but a crapton of a money. Cano went from re-signing with the Yanks to resigning to play with the Mariners (play on words points!). Can’t fault a guy for taking that kind of money. Shouldn’t be surprised either, I mean his mother’s maiden name is Mercedes. When it appeared like Cano was going to the Yanks, I gave him the projected line of 97/29/110/.310/4 and ranked him fifth overall in my rankings that I’m working on now that will be published in January. Now, I can’t see it. Not sure which way I’m re-shuffling my rankings, but his projections have to drop in Safeco, unless they move in the fences once again. I don’t like just looking at what a player did in away games at the stadium he will now call home. Just looking at what Cano did in Safeco for his career doesn’t tell the full story. He was facing the Mariners staff, and it was an away game. Players react differently to being on the road, especially cross country. With that said (reversal time!), in 40 games in Safeco, Cano had a line of 17/4/20/.309/2. Last year, Safeco played more neutral than it has in the past. Doubles and triples went up, homers and average sat pretty much where they were prior to the fences moving in. All of that info leads me to think what a fourth grader could’ve told you, Cano will remain a batting average plus but take a small hit in power. A small hit in power for a guy who doesn’t regularly top 30 homers isn’t great. The Mariners are now in play for every free agent so it might seem like his runs and RBIs won’t take as big of a hit, but remember what happened when Pujols and Hamilton were united in Anaheim or every All-Star landed in South Florida? Not a whole lot for their runs and RBIs. Even if the Mariners sign every other free agent, it doesn’t mean great things for Cano. I’ll say Cano will stay relatively neutral from last year because the Yankees weren’t good then either. So that brings me to Cano’s projected line of 84/26/105/.312/4. Not terrible, not quite what I hoped for in a rebound season in New York. As Simon and Garfunkel would tell you, this deal does prove Seattle loves Robinson more than you ever Cano. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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You take a guy fresh off a boat — let’s call him Sailor — and Sailor’s boat left a country that didn’t have baseball. After explaining what baseball is, you tell Sailor that one baseball team, the Yankees, throws dollars at free agents. After a lengthy explanation that dollars are our currency and why presidents are on low denominations and a non-president is on the hundred and what the hell a free agent is, you then list the top free agent bats for this year: Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran. You then ask Sailor which of those guys the Yankees will get. He’ll probably say one of the first couple of players. Or maybe he’ll say Robinson or Cano Jacoby because he won’t know their names and confuse where commas are when spoken. It’s such an obvious Yankee move to get Ellsbury that even Sailor figured it out. It reeks of throwing money at the team. Or maybe the Yankees just figured if they can’t work with Jay-Z, they’ll work with J-E. The short porch in right won’t hurt Ellsbury. What could hurt him is just about everything else that seems to hurt him every other year. Since 2009, his games played has been 153, 18, 158, 74 and 134. Saberhagenmetricans shudder at the thought of drafting Ellsbury following a big year. I’m with them. I won’t be drafting him anywhere, especially not after he gets bumped up in drafts from his newly adjusted Yankee tax. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 98/13/57/.279/32. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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This is a true story. In 1981, the St. Louis Cardinals bought a barrel of oil for $12, then sold that barrel of oil to OPEC for $13, netting the Cardinals one dollar. That one dollar was used by the Cardinals to buy a pack of gum that was used to repair a broken condom that was used by Albert Pujols’s father so there would be only one Albert Pujols and no competition for the best 1st baseman from 2001 thru 2011. Marxists and Capitalists have argued for years about the right of the Cardinals to use that dollar to stunt natural selection and why didn’t they just buy Albert Pujols’s dad one new condom rather than a pack of gum. This illustrates a very important point. You and I may want David Freese due to his position eligibility, but never underestimate the Cardinals ability to get the better side of a trade. If they’re smarter than OPEC, they’re smarter than us. Peter Bourjos is in the pile of scraps in mind that includes Brett Gardner and Michael Brantley as guys that I like a lot, maybe more than is reasonable. (BTW, my 2nd album that critics called ‘very emo’ is also called, Scraps In Mind. That’s purely coincidental.) Bourjos got a sleeper post from me for about three years in a row, though he had the misfortune of playing under The Sciosciapath, and The Sciosciapath doesn’t play the hitters he should — hello, Napoli. Bourjos had a 50-steal season in the minors one year. You don’t just lose that kind of speed, and, if you’ve ever seen him run out a triple, you know how crazy fast he is. Oh, and he’s not just SAGNOF. He also had 12 homers one year for the Angels. If he put together a 15-homer, 35-steal season, I wouldn’t be shocked. For 2014, I’ll give him the line of 74/12/58/.263/20 with a chance for much more. He’ll definitely be someone I’ll be looking at in all leagues. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2014 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?