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It’s the first week of the season and there is really only one question as we enter the first week of fantasy SAGNOF-ville.  What in the name of Brian Boitano are the Tigers doing with the closer situation.  Well I liken it to a drug cartel, 3 Latinos and some coke, with some equal distribution until someone gets too big for their britches and knocks everyone else off.  I like a good even mix of Al-Al, Benoit, Dotel and Coke to all get some run based on the situation and it being too early for Leyland to cash in his Marlboro miles for that new kayak. So with the first post of my inauguration, I am starting from scratch and the rankings start with this post — so no fancy pluses or minuses until the next post. I will also try and alternate between closers and Holds guys for my weekly posts.

$12 Salads

You know that restaurant your girlfriend/wife/what-have-you likes to go to that charges, like, $12 for a salad? Every time you go there, you have a thoroughly solid meal. No complaints, except you just paid $12 for a salad when you could’ve went to McDonald’s and stuffed you and your woman for ten schmools and had $2 in quarters left over to make the hotel bed vibrate. These closers are $12 salads.

1. Craig Kimbrel – (Jordan Walden, Eric O’Flaherty)
2. Jonathan Papelbon – (Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams, Jeremy Horst)
3. Aroldis Chapman – (Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall, J.J. Hoover)
4. Mariano Rivera – (David Robertson, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain)
5. Rafael Soriano –  (Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard )
6. Joe Nathan – (Jason Frasor, Robbie Ross)

Donkeycorns

Imagine you’re following a donkey, who’s wearing a wool cap, through a desert for 1700 miles. Why are you following a donkey? Because he promises you something wonderful and you just need to trust him. Does the donkey talk? Yes. Yes, he does talk. So when you and the donkey in the wool cap arrive at his destination, he removes the wool cap to reveal a horn. The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves. These closers are Donkeycorns.

7. Greg Holland –  (Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins)
8. Tom Wilhelmsen –  (Carter Capps, Stephen Pryor, Charlie Furbush)
9. John Axford – (Jim Henderson, Mike Gonzalez, Brandon Kintzler)
10. Huston Street – (Luke Gregerson, Dale Thayer, Brad Brach)
11. Fernando Rodney –  (Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, Kyle Farnsworth)
12. J.J. Putz – (David Hernandez, Brad Zeigler , Heath Bell)
13. Jim Johnson –  (Pedro Strop, Darren O’Day)
14. Glen Perkins – (Jared Burton, Alex Burnett)
15. Steve Cishek –  (Mike Dunn, Ryan Webb, A.J. Ramos)
16. Sergio Romo –  (Santiago Casilla, Javier Lopez, George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt)
17. Addison Reed –  (Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Nathan Jones)
18. Joel Hanrahan –  (Andrew Bailey, Koji Uehara)
19. Rafael Betancourt –  (Matt Belisle, Wilton Lopez)
20. Grant Balfour – (Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle)
21. Chris Perez – (Vinnie Pestano, Joe Smith)

Brain Freezes

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, bananas and Carlos Marmol– Wait, he just gave up 12 earned runs and hit Castro in the head with a pick-off throw. Brain freeze! Make it stop! Use the following closers at your own risk.

22. Casey Janssen –  (Sergio Santos, Darren Oliver)
23. Jason Grilli –  (Mark Melancon, Tony Watson)
24. Mitchell Boggs – (Trevor Rosenthal, Edward Mujica, Jason Motte)
25. Brandon League –  (Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario)
26. Carlos Marmol – (Kyuji Fujikawa, Shawn Camp)
27. Ernesto Frieri –  (Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett, Scott Downs)
28. Bobby Parnell –  (Frank Francisco, Josh Edgin)
29. Jose Veras –  (Wesley Wright, Hector Ambriz)
30. Detroit Closing Cartel – (Joaquin Benoit, Bruce Rondon, Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque)

From Around The Web

  1. Hats for Bats says:
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    According to MLBTR Valverde just signed a minor league deal with the Tigers

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Hats for Bats: just adds to the confusion, but eventually he gets dibs

      • Rye Rye says:
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        @Smokey:

        Smokey: Do you think the Tigers could trade for a real closer? Not bringing back Valverde again…..I know this sounds wild, but Marmol might actually do well in the AL and new scenery. They could trade for Cashner and let him close too. Your thoughts?

    • Swat290 says:
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      @Hats for Bats:

      Hope this situation gets resolved soon. I’m relying on K. Jansen and Boggs till Motte gets back. All current closers, and some of the backups are on teams already. Got a trade out for Jim Johnson but I doubt it lands. I dealt with this same issue last season, didn’t bother to rectify it in the draft this year and am seriously considering just punting saves for the entire season.

      It’s exhausting trying to keep up with who’s going to be closing when and is it worth getting this guy now on the off chance someone else gets hurt… I just don’t have the bench spots nor the justification in holding some of these guys for a category you really have no control over.

      but thanks for the heads on on Valverde, he is now sporting a solid blue flag next to his FA status.

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Swat290: if you have the stash room by all means stash Valverde

        • Rye Rye says:
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          @Smokey:

          How about moving down Axford a tier? Stash Kintzler?

  2. Jay

    jaywrong says:
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    Based on Tehol’s cry for help this morning, he should be memorizing this post, no?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @jaywrong: I just pictured him sounding like hippy crystal in princess bride.

      • Jay

        jaywrong says:
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        @Smokey: Hah. I feel that fits as well.

  3. Tehol Beddict says:
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    ive been up all night crusing the streets pondering my next move. saves and steals are going to be my downfall. i need a closer RIGHT NOW. someone give me one. the strategy of having like 3/4 starters and all relievers is so lame to me. Fantasy baseball is about stars. I don’t want phuckin middle releivers on my phuckin roster. i want a rule in place of no middle relievers allowed put in place immediately. JayWrong I’m counting on you big dog.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Tehol Beddict: I looked at it this morning was going to offer one then I had something better to do.

      • Tehol Beddict says:
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        @Smokey: like what??? get blazed then write grey another love poem? im sending an offer now. accept it

        P.s.

        I like these closer updates. please keep em comin. for my sake……………

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Tehol Beddict: half right. Eagerly waiting for this blockbuster

        • Jay

          jaywrong says:
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          @Tehol Beddict: I’ll trade you Addison Reed for Max Scherzer.

    • Jay

      jaywrong says:
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      @Tehol Beddict: Sure, I’ll get right on that.

      Wait, why do I care?

  4. Axford at 9??? Is this a pre-season ranking? I have Axford in a league and he’s making Jake McGee look like Craig Kimbrel.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @exactly: was written before last nights debacle

    • Sorryano Northsiders says:
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      @exactly: Gotta agree with Exactly, Axford had a great 2010 and 2011, but has stunk ever since although the K Rate is still high.

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Sorryano Northsiders: as do I he would be in the Chris Perez type area if I wrote this again right now.

        • joshzam says:
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          @Smokey: Jim Henderson is apparently the lady in waiting here. Worth a bench spot?

          • Smokey

            Smokey says:
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            @joshzam: Always depends on league but if have a spot worth to speculate and be first

  5. pwnightmare says:
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    …and the TIgers just re-signed Papa Grande.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @pwnightmare: Yup should be ready to contribute in 2 weeks from what I am reading from early reports.

      • Big AL says:
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        @Smokey:
        Contribute what ? Throw batting practice ? Bad thing about him is after he throw’s BP before the game he’ll be doing it at the end of the game if they let him pitch. There must be some flame thrower in AA-AAA who can find the plate. Do you thing Leyland has re-treads on his truck ? Doubt it.

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Big AL: That was just what I read, he has allegedly been working out and throwing so 2-3 weeks isnt outofthe realm of possibility for a RP.

  6. B.o.B says:
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    Axford should be a Brain Freeze, or at least way down as the Donkeycorn list. Also wouldn’t consider Janssen or Grilli Brain Freezes…they have the job securely locked up and have good K rates (especially Grilli). But that’s just my opinion

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @B.o.B: axford is def moving down. Was written before he took a dump on everyone’s era and whip

  7. Frank Lynch says:
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    Hey buddy how are you!! I’m sorry but this will be alot of players but i don’t know any other way of doing it. This is my baseball lineup. Can you please rate it for me please??
    1st prince fielder
    2nd jose altuve
    3rd Ryan zimmerman
    SS jose reyes
    C matt wieters
    OF Andrew MCcuthen
    OF Matt holliday
    OF carlos Beltran
    Starlin castro
    carl crawford
    bret gardner
    josh reddick
    alfanso soriano
    mark Teixera
    SP Cole Hammels
    SP Mat Latos
    Roy Halladay
    jeff samardzija
    brett anderson
    phil hughes
    Wei-Win Chen
    RP j.j. putz
    RP greg holland

    • Steve Baker says:
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      @Frank Lynch: is this a 6 team league?

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Steve Baker: very decent team, but it has to be a keeper or 10 team or less.

      • Rye Rye says:
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        @Steve Baker:

        That’s gotta be a 4 team league. NO WAY!

  8. Brian says:
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    What makes Frieri a brain freeze? His ratios are fantastic. His k’s are strong and overcompensate for his slight wildness. The only thing is when Madsen comes back, but if Frieri is a top 5 closer, which is easily possible, it is very doubtful he will lose his job.

    • Brian says:
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      and what are you thoughts on Romo being so low? Good team, nasty stuff.

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Brian: Frieri could be a top 5 closer if the angels do what we think they will, but Madson is and will be back eventually which kills his value for later. I have never been a huge fan of Romo, and his injury history and Bochy in ST training was quoted as saying he would limit his back to back appearances and SF plays alot of close games so Casilla, Affeldt etc will get a fair handful of saves.

    • Spyre says:
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      @Brian: I agree, I think Frieri is great. I owned him all of last year and he was amazing…. His whip was low and he’s got a great k-rate… he had one short bad spell late in the season but tightened up again right after (2 games, 2 losses)

      BUT
      In April 2012 Scocia pulled Jorden Walden from the role (who was great as closer in 2011) after like 1 blown save. People worry about Scosia mixing things up again this year following 1 bad outing

  9. The Guru

    The Guru says:
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    Will Mariano ever get a chance to actually save a game? Them Yanks look DOA.

    I’m still holding out hope the Tigers sign Willie Hernandez to complete the cluster @$#%!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @The Guru: As a Yankee fan its looking bleak. I like when Willie changed his name from Guillermo and went by Willie foreign translations are fun.

      • The Guru

        The Guru says:
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        Pettite looking good tonight.

        Would Axford qualify as a salad tosser?

  10. Wake Up says:
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    Grilli is a Donkeycorn…he has the wool cap

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Wake Up: Ha. He does have a nice mange of hair going

  11. Combo says:
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    In a holds league, I own K. Jansen, Cook, Mujica, McGee. Drop any for Santiago Cassilla? I primarily want holds, not vulture saves.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Combo: Hold for now. If and when Jansen takes over for League then go fishing

  12. NoonTime says:
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    Chris Davis

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @NoonTime: yea crazy

  13. Snake Hips says:
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    Is Valverde a must add then?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Snake Hips: Depends on league and team needs, but I would venture to say that he is or is being added in every league

  14. Giant Gigantes says:
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    Romo and Frieri should be way up there, they are definitely at least the croutons on a $12 salad

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Giant Gigantes: I see them maybe as carrot shreds, croutons and bacon bits are precious salad items.

  15. In both my 14-team leagues Henderson is gone and Valverde is not available because he’s not on the 25-man roster yet. Who are your top three or so choices among these could-be closers? Thornton, Rosenthal, Pestano, Melancon, and Bailey?

    And what’s your take on what went wrong with Valverde last year? And is there much chance it can be fixed? I’m trying to gauge how seriously to pursue him once he’s added to the roster.

    From my end, I’d really love for him to fall apart in Toledo and for Rondon to find his way, or for Detroit to trade for someone line Marshall or Broxton or Gregerson.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Enrique: Rosenthal, Pestano, and then everyone else needs a big something to happen. Valverde is to put in nicely fat and getting older so attrition and relying to much on a fastball that is way too straight. I would love the Tigers to trade for Gregerson.

  16. Keith

    tomscuba2004 says:
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    These rankings are an initial cut and paste job. Cm’on Smokey bro, at least put some effort in it for us.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @tomscuba2004: Not completely, I agreed alot with Grey rankings from 3 weeks ago and what has happened since then besides a few injuries and Aroldis getting his job back. Next week’s rankings will show the changes as more games situations and replacements will occur.

  17. Bourne says:
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    I dropped Veras for Valverde in one league. I didn’t want to drop a SP and I do have Chisek, Perkins, Parnell and Holland. (5 RP/P spots available and H2H so maximizing saves, with bonuses to Ks and ERA/WHIP.) Do you think Valverde ends up better than Veras? Do you think that was the right play?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Bourne: I would rather bet on Valverde being better. If the astros could actually hit the ball and score runs I would be worried. Veras may get one save chance a week, which isn’t great.

  18. gareth says:
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    I dropped hellickson and picked up valverde as I’m really not sold on hellboy (grey has put me off him) and there are guys like wandy, buchholz, hammel and garcia on the wire.

    Bizarrely though, I now have 6 closers. Street, betancourt, frieri, parnell, league and valverde.

    My starters are gio, felix, haren, lincecum, burnett and cahill. I would like to package a closer with a starter to get an upgrade. Lincecum and parnell net me a top 25 pitcher for example?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @gareth: Never been a fan of HellBoy so he was extra on your staff anyways. The trade may work for a team with Axford or Motte that is nervous. Think lower top 25 Ian Kennedy type guys.

  19. TheBravesWearPrado says:
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    Brain Freezes should just be renamed the Marmols.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @TheBravesWearPrado: Carlos is the true definition of a whip-tard

  20. Bill says:
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    I honestly thought Al Alburquerque was a made up name.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Bill: I would of went for Stan Moose Jaw personally.

    • Rye Rye says:
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      @Bill:

      I honestly thought he should be their closer for real.

  21. Keith says:
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    3 latinos and some coke…..you gotta be crappin me hahahhahahahahha

  22. Mike says:
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    Tigers down 8 to 2. Porcello had a 95 mph fastball in preseason, today it was 92 and by the fifth inning it was 89. 21 strikeouts and no walks in preason, 2 strikeouts and two walks today. I will be dropping him.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Mike: Porcello is that store that sold cool artsy stuff, and as a kid you just shouldn’t ever touch anything. Only reason he is cool to me is he is from about 5 miles from where i live.

      • Rye Rye says:
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        @Smokey:

        Smokey is this site Michigan mostly? I live in Jackson area of Michigan. I used to live in the Detroit Tigers of Pontiac
        area

    • Bourne says:
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      @Mike: he was pitching 95 to start spring training because he wanted to win a job. Then he started pitching with finesse instead and did win it. He has to keep the ball down to prevent long balls

    • Rye Rye says:
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      @Mike:

      I drafted him too. I might wait though. They got a few big shots off of him and not much else. He’s having problems with the second and third time through the order. He’s not a guy that can just throw the fb right over the plate and get away with it. When will they and he figure that out?

      My only other options to add if I drop are: Jimenez, Chacin, Stults…and not much else right now.

  23. Scott says:
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    My league has “Net Saves + Net Holds” as a category. Any setup men that you’d recommend? Not worried about them getting the closer role. Just keeping low ERA/WHIP and enough innings.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Scott: Any top hold guy that is unowned, tough to know without names.

      • Scott says:
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        @Smokey:
        Sean Marshall
        Ryan Cook
        Andrew Bailey
        Joaquin Benoit

        I couldn’t find a good holds list anywhere on Razz so I’m working from the middle relief column in the war room.

  24. uncdrew says:
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    I know nothing about anything, but Valverde will end the year with saves. I’m not sure of the exact number, but somewhere between 0 and 40. Sounds like an add to me.

    Seriously though, worth the add. He’s at least proven. I think Al-Al threw two “Juuuuust a bit outside” pitches today, and no one else seems to be stepping up. Perhaps Dotel, who hasn’t had a try yet.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @uncdrew: Agree. He is about as legitimate as anyone else there. Leyland likes trust, like when he strikes a match there will be fire.

    • Rye Rye says:
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      @uncdrew:

      No reason they don’t trade for someone elses seventh or eigth inning good reliever and let him close. Tigers bring back Valverde then it’s silly.

  25. Bob says:
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    Died @ “3 Latinos and some Coke”. Good stuff.

    I’m trying to get another closer in my league. I think they are going to be very helpful with ratios and winning Ks in a H2H league with 7 max starts a week. QS K ERA WHIP KBB SV

    I now have Perkins with Motte DLd.
    I’ve rostered Dotel and Rosenthal.
    On waivers are Pestano, Al Al, Santos, Cook, Benoit, Uehara, Bailey, Melancon, others…

    Do I have the right guys stashed?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Bob: I prefer Pestano over Dotel. But if your looking just for saves stay put for now.

      • Bob says:
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        @Smokey: Thanks for the input. I’m going to go with Pestano for Dotel.

  26. Steve says:
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    Hey Smokey –

    I know it’s early but have you spied any possible Holds guys with SP eligibility yet? Or are Garret Richards and Brian Duensing the best of a crappy bunch?

    Makes me hanker for the days when Kuo had SP by his name…

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Steve: Got a few more, Hector Rondon, Chris Narveson. Jeff Niemann lost out on a rotation spot also so he may get some good situational love.

      • Steve says:
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        @Smokey: Oh, forgot about Smyly. Do you see him getting some Holds?

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Steve: more of a long guy, 6th starter. Minimal if any value right now. Rondon is actually an interesting arm if he can stay healthy he was a top prospect 4 years ago before multiple arm injuries.

  27. Be The Ball says:
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    What order would you rank these potential stashes: Madson, Rosenthal, Henderson, Valverde?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Be The Ball: Well Madson has DL so that helps. Would have them Henderson Rosenthal and Valverde right now. In 2 weeks Valverde will be all hyped up if not owned everywhere.

      • Be The Ball says:
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        @Smokey:

        So Madson above the others? I only have one DL spot and am already using it. Henderson JUST got picked up so I’m really thinking either Madson or Rosenthal.

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Be The Ball: depends on who is in that DL spot, but yea above the others for me. Who would you drop?

          • Be The Ball says:
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            @Smokey:

            Have Madson right now so it’s really a matter of whether I drop him for Rosenthal. Been wrestling with whether to go with: elite skills who will close if Boggs stumbles vs. PROBABLY the closer coming off TJ surgery (who just had a minor setback) unless Frieri is just killing it. I’m tempted by Rosenthal’s speed. I’m stashing Beachy in my DL spot.

  28. Frank Lynch says:
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    na its a 10 team h2h points

  29. SweatyDangle says:
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    Hey everyone,
    Got Boggs and don’t desperately need him (4th closer), rather play upside. Drop him for Rosenthal, Jim Henderson (and the Muppets), or Valverde? 10 team mixed

      • SweatyDangle says:
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        @Smokey: You think he has a shot long term, what’s the best guess at Madson return, and if he returns actually re-inheriting the role?

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @SweatyDangle: Well the news on Motte isn’t great, in fact it’s pretty much no news so he is a ways away from throwing. Boggs has the gig now so there is that. Madson will/should get the job back as Scioscia is a wack-tard when using reliability in the bullpen, figure mid may for a Madson return.

  30. Frank Lynch says:
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    Hey whats up man!!! Is that a good team for a 10 team?? I know about baseball but this is my first doing fantasy baseball

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Frank Lynch: Yup you done well, buy yourself a coke and some pop rocks and let the fun begin.

  31. Tehol Beddict says:
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    marmol was pretty impressive today

  32. Yu Dickey says:
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    Goldshmidt for Chris Davis and Harvey in a standard 5 X 5 yahoo roto league? Other starters i have rostered, Greinke, Sale, Morrow, Zimmerman, Jamie Garcia and Edwin Jackson.

    My other eligible first basemen(also have to fill an 1F spot) are Craig and Berkman

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Yu Dickey: it’s fair

  33. tommy duke says:
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    What’s up with rex brothers? I see you have belisle. Is rex a candidate to take over for betancourt when he gets moved? Detroit should ask colorado for that guy.

  34. Tom the bod says:
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    @smokey

    Hahaha, drug cartel. Good shit.

  35. Arc Angel says:
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    Why so low on Frieri? When I see the names in the last tier his doesn’t feel like it belongs- unless of course you’re convinced Madson is going to get the job.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Arc Angel: if and when he gets back the possibility exists. Scioscia is a loon with that stuff. A couple of great weeks from Frieri and he will move up in the next tier the. Be stagnant when Madson will be about ready.

  36. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Nice article El Fumado. Love these closer posts. Wish I jumped on Henderson a little sooner. The guy with Axford in my league already scooped him up the second he let up that homer to Fowler on Monday.

    Quick question for ya: Would you rather stash Mujica or Melancon? I’ve got Mujica but considering picking up Melancon and dropping Muji.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Shake N Bacon: thanks. Mujica for now. I wanna see Grilli get some adversity first.

  37. deezpac says:
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    what am i missing with Frieri, his ratios look good but he’s ranked below Marmol? i don’t see Frieri pitch all that much but he can’t be worse than Carlos can he???

  38. jayhay says:
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    Hey, 14tm H2H, Perkins just hit the wire (dropped in unbalance trade). I’ve got Betancourt, Rosenthal, Henderson (unfortunately, this is not a holds league).
    Spend up my #1 waiver priority to get Perkins (and drop who?) or chill cause it’s saves & closers and shit is on the horizon.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @jayhay: I like Perkins a lot I would grab him i would drop Rosenthal.

  39. dnono says:
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    I play in a 7/7 H2H league, where K/BB and Holds are cats. From my draft, I ended up loaded with RPs and essentially am committed to punting Ws and Ks. Any solid SP eligible arms in the bullpens worthy of pickup as we have 3 SP slots and I would like to maximize my number of arms available daily.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @dnono: I tried to come up with some names that are in the pen that have SP eligibility and the names arent pretty; Duensing Hector Rondon Niemann, Narveson, Drew Smyly are the top names.

  40. sportcourt says:
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    I’m currently working with Soriano, Romo, and Axford as my closers. I’m slightly worried about Axford. Should I move some pieces to get a closer? Or should I pick up someone like Brandon League who is currently sitting on waivers…

    My team:

    C Posey
    1B Prince
    2B Uggla
    3B Panda
    SS Rollins
    IF Ryan Howard, Matt Carpenter
    OF Ellsbury, Cruz, Morse, Chris Davis,
    UTIL Hooliday, Markakis
    Bench LaRoche, Swisher, Simmons

    SP Felix, CC, Tommy Hanson, Lohse, Price, Halladay

    Thanks!

    • Eng says:
      (link)

      @sportcourt: Drop LaRoche (or Swish or Simmons or Carpenter) and grab League asap. How is he out there on waivers?

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