The deadline will have past by the time you’re reading this, so I’m sorry that I can’t meet or exceed all those expectations. What I can do is give you the in’s and out’s of middle relief. Wait, why did everyone just get up and leave? There is punch and pie at the end! So is everyone else confused on what to do with Will Smith?… yeah, me too.  He’s been getting beat up lately needs a vacation. Smith leads the league in appearances, is the leader in appearances with the lead by a non-closer (41), and has pitched an amazing 17 times on consecutive days. He has rewarded you with 19( albeit painful) NSVH, but his recent implosions may lead me to think there could be a better option for the time being. His BB/9 over the last 30 screams bad news, (P.S., it’s in the seven’s). I mean, I know the 24 Holds this year is all good and looks like a Canal St. watch, but if you have someone that just reads stats and doesn’t read between the lines of fantasy too well, see if they give you a name you like better. My best advice is pull a Judas Priest and run for the hills. Stay tuned for some charts and fun words and sentences that lead to abbreviated paragraphs. Good luck in the week to come.

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Well, I guess enough was enough in Detroit.  It’s always nice to waltz around with a security blanket like Linus, and have the ability to add a closer to back-up a closer that is making 10 mil a year.  Joakim Soria walks into the room dressed like Lloyd Christmas and is all tops and tails.  Great starting pitching and an actual winning team that he can back up.  For the Rangers this year, he had 17 saves for a 40 win club.  Turn that around, and he went from being on a 21-games-under-.500-team to a 14-games-over one.  His only problem is that he is flirting at the Sadie Hawkins dance with the date that Brad Ausmus brought, and Nathan has a some pull there.  My take is it’s not going to be long before the settle in on “The Mexicutioner”.  So I have them ranked mid-table until the dust settles and we see what’s what. I mean, all Soria has to do is show some kind of consistency, and boom, you have a top-8 closer for the rest of the year.  You can think what you want, but Detroit is a 90 win team all day and a bag of chips tomorrow, however that expression goes…  In Texas, Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz as of now look like the two heads of the class for minimal save value in Arlington.   So the closer-thon to cure save depravity has begun, adjust your rosters, operaters are standing buy to take your recent waiver wire donations.

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Ahh, I remember the Midway, it was fun it was like an air show but instead of crashes there were bullets.  I was just informed by Jay that statement is both wrong and wrong.  Moving on as graceful as Martha Graham.  So  I was actually thankful for a few days off, unhappy I didn’t make the all-star team, but I’m told that poor vocabulary and lack of knowledge of the home row keys are not determining stats that merit all-stardom.  Holds are fun, I don’t care what you say, if that makes me a loser for rooting for a fake stat, then I’m a loser.  This guys help your team though even if you don’t play in a Holds or NSVH league.  I am being serious.  I am the Will I am Tell of the loogy business.  Let’s check out my four up and four down for the closers in the second half, and stay around after that for some set-up news and blues.

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In school they teach, or try to teach, in most of our cases for the ADHD crowd, the essentials of a good curriculum. Reading, Writing and arithmetic. We can apply that to the closer situation in Arizona.  Addison Reed is the closer, but for how much longer?, is the key conundrum. He see’s the writing on the wall, but he also has the backing of his manager throughout the season (and again on Tuesday), and has since blown 2 more saves. Though the way the D-Backs are going, would it be optimal for them to ground an asset, or a “sort of asset” now, and then try and go a different direction later via trade?  Cuz let’s be honest, they aren’t going anywhere, and have capable arms in the majors and minors to jump in if necessary.  Now the math part, well that is why we do fantasy baseball, it’s all about the numbers.  Which, in Addison’s case, really sounds like a totally hot chicks name, prolly drives a Jeep Wrangler, wears her dad’s old jeans as cut-offs, basically a goer if you catch my drift.  [Jay's Note: I really don't.] Where was I and why am I all sweaty?  Oh…numbers.  Reed’s K’s are up and walks are down from his career numbers… but but but Smokey, those are good things.  Right?  Well, technically yes, but when luck runs out you go to Zig-Zags, and by that, I mean Brad Ziegler, (the next guy up in the event of  a change). Yes, even with the escape-goat win on Wednesday.  I mean, Addison has done really nothing wrong besides blow 5 games, and sometimes looks about as hittable as Rihanna.  So sit on Addison, but cushion the blow with B-Rad, and for dynasty lookers, take a look at Jake Barrett.  Let’s see what other geniuses of truth happened in the last week or two.

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Like typical closenado news and happenings, it comes in spurts.  The White Sox, Giants, and the Angels all made changes this past week.  All changes were needed, but only one team, the Giants, look like they will try something new and not return to the original status quo.  Sergio Romo is a proven and decent closer, but he’s overused, predictable, and doesn’t throw very hard.  The change to Santiago Casilla and the cast of Affeldt, Machi or any other Giants RP seems to be temporary.  Casilla has done well in the past with 25 saves in 2012, and a shiny ERA that hasn’t eclipsed 3+ since 2010.  Consistency makes you reliable as a relief pitcher.  I stole that from a German beer ad, or at least I think I did…it was in German and me no sprechen di lingie.  So to continue the look down the road, take a look at the SF bullpen picture for next year and you’ll notice that Romo is a free agent.  So the point is: either Santiago Casilla is the answer there for a one-year stop gap, or should they look to, what is IMO, the best relief pitching group of prospects in baseball.  They have three guys who look to be ready (dynasty leaguers go get a pen!): Stephen Okert, Heath Hembree, and my favorite, Ray Black (public advisory over drop pens). So sit on Casilla if you grabbed him.  It could be a long ride, but big head Bochy, and the monsters of the SF bullpen have a proven closer that will, for all intents and purposes, be back…maybe.  It’s more fun to leave it suspenseful, like Murder She Wrote.

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It’s just sad when you watch what should be a fluid situation turn out to be a fiery car wreck.  That’s what the bullpen situation with the Angels is like.   Just awful to think about, watch and….yikes, to even be immersed in their roster purgatory is just dreadful.  Their bullpen is like the Swamp of Sadness in The NeverEnding Story.  Atreyu (Mike Scoiscia) leads his horse, Artax (Ernesto Frieri) there, and the horse gets swallowed up with despair (your roster).  The only bad thing is that Fred Savage isn’t in the Angels pen. Instead, we are stuck with Joe Smith, Ernesto Frieri and the schloo of underachieving or unproven arms that they have to offer.  I for one would like them to just settle on a guy, who cares if he fails 5 out of 10 times.  I was just informed that this is exactly what has happened already.  In all seriousness, roster Joe Smith, bench Ernesto.  Monitor everyone else, but don’t hold out hope that a luck dragon is going to come swoop in and save the situation, or your team if you got pot committed to the situation there.  Stick around for some random tidbits of mental masturbation…

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I know bad raps can make a career… I mean Shaq made his secondary career off of them, but Joel Peralta is really getting one.  Everyone loves change, and the whole shiny new toy factor associated with bullpens, but I’m here to learn you something about guys that have been drafted, dropped, and then added and dropped twice over this year.  The Tampa Bay bullpen, and starters for that matter, are just bad this year. But, in the last 30 days, Peralta has lowered his ERA by 3-and-half runs.  That’s not exactly easy, especially on a team 15-plus games below .500. Also, he has more K’s, same ERA, and more Holds than the now more-coveted  Jake McGee during the last 30 days. Better pitcher all year, McGee, better lately? Peralta (but he burned us, so we give him the finger).  Just me giving my two cents.  I mean fluctuation, and “oooh that guy looks good in macrame shorts” are a blinding factor for rostering fringe bullpen guys.  Stick around for some cool bullet points shaped like baseballs… neat.

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The job in Tampa isn’t as pretty as it used to be, as the team is super underachieving, and not in a superhero-footed pajamas kinda way. Joe Maddon looks like he needs an executive parachute, even though he is a hoot to listen to during an interview. I think he is waiting for someone to jump and run with the job. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta or even the artist formally known as Leo Nunez may be the most obvious and experienced options, but I have another one for ya: Kirby Yates.  I didn’t make that up. He reminds me of what Jim Henderson did two years ago with the Brewers. Career journeyman, decent, but nothing stands out about his minor league numbers… then boom. K -ates in the minors are above 12 for the last 3 seasons, and he has over 50 saves during that same time.  Tampa is the place to rehab relievers, and Korean War shrapnel wounds, so crazier things have happened.  Kyle Farnsworth, Fernando Rodney, Troy Percival, Danys Baez, Lance Carter, Al Reyes…. you get the point. The rule with closers is: It’s better to be first then not at all. So if time and space are in alignment and Rod Serling is already taken, pounce. Stick around, it’s a good week to speculate on saves and save-nots.

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Everyone knows about the top prospects getting called up. The Singleton’s, Tavares’, and Springer’s get all the pub, as they should.  Hitters that actually hit the ball only need to be successful 3 out of 10 times, and they are considered fantastic… even all-stars.  Now a pitcher gets 3 out of 10 wins, he’s a bum of the highest order, like a bum that can’t play an instrument, but has a puppy for sympathy change.  We all know that guy.  So the rookie RP getting called up around this time may stick with their respective teams, and they may not.  The three in particular I am referring to are Cam Bedrosian, Shae Simmons and Corey Knebel.  Bedrosian’s numbers in the minors are crazy unimaginable, and he could find himself in a great situation once he gains the trust of the bullpen-opath in Scoiscia.  The latter two are prolly not really factors, just yet as Simmons is blocked by the current GOAT at the position, and Knebel, albeit the first 2013 draft pick to make the majors, is going to be a bit-player until next year unfold’s.  I just wanted to point out that bullpen only-guys that get promoted need some love, it’s not like they smell like that musically challenged, puppy wielding guy from previous.  These adds are more of a deeper league or keeper league adds now, though I have speculated on Bedrosian in a 16-teamer with a deeper bench.

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There is something to be said about doing your job, and then saying “good job but the regular guy is back, and he’s taking your job back.”  Mark Melancon filled in swimmingly for the injured Jason Grilli and his line is better than most closers in the F-tier of my rankings.  To his dismay, Grilli is back, and is being eased back into his role.  Is it fair? Probably.  Does it suck for Melancon stat vultures? Most definitely. Going back exactly one year, when Melancon became a fantasy stalwart on our rosters, he has an ERA under 2, 25 Saves and 17 Holds.  That’s all after Grilli went down last year. Besides the K factor, which is in Grilli’s favor, Melancon is basically being grounded for getting only an A- in English class… but but but it’s still and A!, I’m sure he’s muttering.  But, I’m rooting for Grilli, dat journeyman done good, saved all those kids from dat thang. Whatever that thing was. You know the story. No? Well make one up, tell your friends it happened, and let’s start a rumor. So good luck Jason Grilli, just make sure to look both ways when you cross the street. Oh, we totally forgot about your 3 BS in April. Cause you’re back here forever.  Subliminal message: Hold onto Melancon.

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