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To answer your first question, no, I am not dead.  Secondly, sorry to disappoint you.  As we count down the days to draft and when pitchers/catchers report, it’s a virtual ‘pins and needles’ fest for some of the closer battles that could be looming.  Some of these battles are going to be very interesting, ’cause battles are awesome and make fools of everyone.  Let’s dive into some of those battles, shall we? The Cubs and their smoke-show of a bullpen is first and foremost. Jose Veras looks to be the guy, until Pedro Strop‘s me-mah gets all the free paella for every manager named Sveum.  The Orioles still really don’t have a closer, and until free agency is kaput, Tommy Hunter is the guy. And the other one to keep an eye on is Colorado… I mean my name is Smokey… so I am firmly entrenched in the bumper crop going on there.  LaTroy Hawkins has been called the “closer” for now.  I have a feeling that the Rockies, at some point, get all nepotistic and gives the job to Rex Brothers. The last situation I would monitor is the effectiveness and trust level that Pittsburgh has with Grilli, who is getting back into the saddle.  Mark Melancon is arguably the first non-definite closer for me that is draft worthy over some guys who are low on this list that have the job.  So stay tuned conclusionary fans, it’s early and things are always a changin’.  Like last year, I will be doing an off-week Holds post to keep all things relievers up to date.

 

$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, David Carpenter, Luis Avilan)

2. Aroldis Chapman - (J.J. Hoover, Sean Marshall, Sam LeCure)

3. Kenley Jansen - (Brian Wilson, Chris Perez, Paco Rodriguez)

4. Greg Holland – (Luke Hochevar, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins)

5. Trevor Rosenthal – (Seth Maness, Kevin Seigrist, Jason Motte)

6. Koji Uehara – (Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa)

7. Joe Nathan – (Bruce Rondon, Joba Chamberlain, Ian Krol)

8. Glen Perkins – (Jared Burton, Caleb Theibar, Michael Tonkin)

9. Sergio Romo – (Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, George Kontos)

 

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.

10. Grant Balfour – (Heath Bell, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee)

11. Casey Janssen – (Sergio Santos, Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil)

12. David Robertson – (Shawn Kelley, Matt Thornton)

13.Ernesto Frieri – (Joe Smith, Dane de la Rosa)

14. Jim Johnson – (Ryan Cook, Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson)

15. Rafael Soriano – (Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen)

16. Jonathon Papelbon – (Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lincoln)

17. Jason Grilli – (Mark Melancon, Tony Watson, Vin Mazzaro)

18. Steve Cishek – (A.J. Ramos, Mike Dunn, Carter Capps)

19. Addison Reed – (J.J. Putz, Brad Zielger, David Hernandez)

20. Jim Henderson – (Brandon Kintzler, Rob Wooten)

21. Huston Street – (Joaquin Benoit, Dale Thayer)

 

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. John Axford - (Cody Allen, Vinnie Pestano)

23. Neftali Feliz - (Tanner Scheppers, Joakim Soria)

24. Tommy Hunter – (Darren O’Day, Ryan Webb, Brad Brach)

25.Bobby Parnell – (Gonzalez Germen, Victor Black, Scott Rice)

26. Nate Jones – (Matt Lindstrom, Daniel Webb, Ronald Belisario)

27. Danny Farquhar – (Tom Wilhelmsen, Yoervis Medina)

28.LaTroy Hawkins – (Rex Brothers, Adam Ottavino, Matt Belisle)

29. Jose Veras – (Pedro Strop, James Russell, Blake Parker)

30. Jesse Crain – (Josh Fields, Chad Qualls)

From Around The Web

  1. Count de Monetball says:
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    The Smokey Man LIVES!!!!

  2. KC says:
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    Has Feliz been given the job in TX? I thought Soria was knocking on the door…

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @KC: from a January perspective ibthink it’s Feliz’s job right now. Soria is def at the door picking up his save prom date. Sans boutaneer.

    • Fireball Feliz says:
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      @KC:

      Wash wants to go with Feliz, but I wouldn’t call it a lock. I think something along the lines of “It’s his job to lose” was said

  3. titan says:
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    Thanks Smokey!

    Looking forward to the first “bullpen report”.

    Who would your top 5-10 non-closers be for (Holds, Whip & K/9)?

    Mine is a 12 team, Weekly HTH, 6×6 (W, S , Holds, ERA, WHIP, K/9)

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @titan: Melancon Brothers Scheppers Mujica Clippard right now but things will def shake up as we get closer to real fake baseball.

  4. Aubrey Plaza's Pillow says:
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    glad you’re back. i couldn’t get an answer from other guys for months as to whether or not you would be.

  5. The Dude says:
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    9 Salads?

    I feel like you’ve lost sight of Grey’s vision for a $12 salad ($15 these days – inflation!). My personal interpretation of the $12 salad was that you don’t want to pay for it (on draft day at least). Beyond the top 3 (and a hype-tastic Robertson, who mysteriously is not a salad), everyone else should be somewhat attainable in a standard draft and thus, in my view, should be Asses with Horns.

    • Fungazi says:
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      @The Dude: @The Dude: Those guys after the top 3 will probably be in the low – mid 100’s where there’s other valuable players that could be picked. How many of them were drafted there last year? Booyakasha!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @The Dude: 12 salads is just a synonym for me. The guys in that category are elite in regards to that they have the job, secure in it and batting injury should be reliable Rp1 all year.

      • Sean says:
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        @Smokey: Yeah, so you’re missing the point. $12 salads are supposed to be the guys you don’t draft because they will be too high. The Donkeycorns are the steady guys who can be drafted in the middle rounds.

  6. Hingle McCringleberry says:
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    Yoervis Medina – through some oddball waiver rules in my league, he is carried over onto my 2014 roster right now. This is getting pretty deep-league style this early, but do you think he’s worth holding for, ahem, holds or more? Or should I cut him and use the roster spot for someone else?

  7. FBV says:
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    Love the discount on Reed this year…he gets 35 Saves and 65 Ks as Arizona wins the West.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @FBV: Def great value there. Just worry about Gibby’s short leash and he loves him some Zeigler.

  8. Mookie says:
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    keep A. Chapman at $8 or D. Robertson at $5?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Mookie: Chapman. But funny look at Robertsons stats compared to Aroldis. Minus saves obviously. Pretty similar

  9. matt says:
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    Chapman because that’s my last name. No seriously it’s not even close. Aroldis is a beast

  10. Jon says:
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    I have 18 keepers. Plan to keep 12 bats (to fill out all of my starting spots) and 6 pitchers. Would you do 5 starters or is there room for a closer like Kenley? I’m apt to throw him back and get cheaper saves, even though Kenley is elite.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Jon: make room for Kenley

  11. sideshow says:
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    Not sure why you are so down on Danny Farquhar w K #s. Also, Bud Norris could close in Balt. I think it makes sense & is worth noting.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @sideshow: love Farquhar not down on him besides his ranking. Great numbers, and excellent draft value right now. Just track record and I think Seattle signs Rodney. Norris was downright awful after the trade to the AL. Era was over 8 and his whip doesn’t fit as a closer type to me.

    • Fireball Feliz says:
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      @sideshow:

      I bet Tommy gets the job with O’day being next in line

  12. goodfold2 says:
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    is this ranking for these guys right? 6X6 with holds. carpenter/qualls/lincoln/vincent or do wooten and gonzalez move ahead of some of these guys? also, what about wil smith, it appears he is in long relief right now. i need to fill up my roster with RP and at least 1 more starter in 30 man deep as shit dynasty league and our free agent bidding is about to begin. If we have 100 million total budget, and I have 25 million left (some of which will be used for hitters, which are bid on the week before the pitchers, and also probably want to leave myself with 10 million or so, as least) what is a decent bid for the best of those available guys above? Our minimum bid is 400 K. Grey says around 1 million for non-closer RP is about right. Just finding another opinion on this. First time in this league (took over team on Dec 3rd). Sucks we have to do this bidding this far before training camp.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @goodfold2: looks right to me. I like Wooten as a deep sleeper this year. Not sure which Gonzo, mike? I’m in a similar league, same mins and max. Rp go for anywhere from 600k to 1.5 depending on desperation or retardation factors of other owners. So bid but bid wisely if a guy is worth a little more than do it. Rosters that deep you have to go for a guy when you have the chance because waivers are basically non-existent most likely. Good luck. Let me know how it works out.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Smokey: germen (wonder if he’s a stepkid of one of those old nazi’s hiding in latin america?) gonzo

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @goodfold2: Ahh ok. German has some appeal with Wooten. I would want a more established guy first than sprinkle in with one or 2 sleepers like Vincent, Wooten and Germen.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          @goodfold2: we actually have a long list of guys that likely won’t be bid on, AND guys like wooten/g.gonzalez can’t be bid on due to still being minor (under 5o innings) guys. They can be waivered (for league minimum salary) once season starts. Grey pretty much said same thing about bid size for these guys (also 1.5 mil for K.johnson and 1 mil for Mercer, the BEST 2 MI/CI guys available, unless you count rollins as better, some twit will pay him 5 million). I’m worried I won’t get 2 of those guys I ranked at 1 Mil each, due to guys like Deduno even got bid up to 6 million. Another problem is our bids aren’t done properly, instead of only having to pay the smallest winning bid (i.e. if i bid up to 2 million I pay 2 million, even if there were no other bids, it’s asinine). So i pretty much have to bid the max i’ll go, and then either pay it, or not get the guy.

  13. Smokey

    Smokey says:
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    I’d avoid Rollins and go smaller with the guys you listed. Well try for at least one you have to gamble and spend if MR is a position of need, and hope that someone doesn’t pull a Deduno.

  14. 2 Giant rings says:
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    In my deep league I like to draft closers who have only one clear cut handcuff, so I can draft both players and be sure I have all the saves from that team all year even if my closer fails. Do you see some situations that have a clear and obvious number 2 closer? Thanks

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @2 Giant rings: SD, Boston, Pitt and Colorado all seem to have a just in case saves set up guy.

  15. Czernobog says:
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    Seems harsh on Crain. Coming off injury and playing for a bad team, sure. But his actual numbers have been very good for the last couple of years, not the sort of meltdowns or high-3 era you see from other brain freezes.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Czernobog: he plays for 60 win team, that’s rebuilding and will be most likely relieving on another team by July. Numbers are great from Crain, shoulder woes are def a worry but on the ‘Stros are arguable the worst team in baseball. And the counting stats just won’t be there as compared to others.

  16. Robby D says:
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    Given the rankings that are coming out now, and my league’s history of following the ESPN rankings, is it worth keeping guys like Iwakuma or Bailey if I have to keep 6 given their ADP’s are in the 80’s 90’s?

    For example. 10 team keeper league H2H.

    I have Tulo, Cargo, Stanton, Craig, Zobrist, Cespedes, Bailey, Matt Moore, Iwakuma, Bruce.

    I was leaning towards Tulo, Stanton, Cargo, Bruce, Iwakuma and then maybe dealing a guy, but is Iwakuma worth keeping if I know I’ll be able to get him in the first or second round?

    Should I just go with Cespedes or Zobrist instead, or I have the option to deal Craig for another keeper level hitter in Ian Desmond and net a higher draft pick. What would you do if no one else in your league follows razzball or some other more advanced rankings?

    I could bypass all pitchers and get Cobb in the 9th round given his ADP is 90 something.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Robby D: Given your hitters I would just concentrate on best abil hitter in first rd and then 5-6 rds of pitching in a row. A team with tulo Stanton craig Bruce and Cespedes is a damn good start. Just need another CI type and ur good to go.

      • Robby D says:
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        @Smokey: I also have Cargo (Colorado version) in there as well, so I like what you’re saying. Even though I really like Bailey and Iwakuma, I know I could not keep them and still get them in the first two rounds if I wanted. Or I could take a guy like Wil Myers in the 1st (read 7th round) and still get guys like Cobb and Sanchez within the next two rounds probably.

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @Robby D: Cargo def is a keeper then over Cespedes. Draft top bat and all pitching there out. Team should be legit.

  17. tyler says:
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    drew storen,,, any value there?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @tyler: Some but he has been rumored to be traded every year. This one Iincluded. Would be a great get for a te that is put of retread options or rebuilding and willing to let him show what he once had. Will be a lower second upper third tier type MR for holds with possibility of more if he gets out of wash finally.

  18. L'ville Jim says:
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    Thanks Rockies front office for cock blocking my guy Brothers, picked him up in a trade early last year and was counting on him closing this season. But they have to go and sign Methuselah and hand him the job.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @L’ville Jim: agreed. I was hoping Brothers would be the lead dog. Think he still has a ton of value and is in that group of RP that should be drafted in every league just for ratios/second chance saves. LaTroy can’t pitch everyday or can he.

  19. danny almonte says:
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    in a deep draft, saves+holds is a category, RP is pretty picked over. looking at O’Day or Avilan?

    • danny almonte says:
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      @danny almonte: or zeigler/putz too

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @danny almonte: Zeigler, O’Day, putz then Avilan. I will have a holds post up next week so check back if you can wait that long.

  20. Matthew says:
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    San Diego’s Bullpen looks strong eh?

    Marlins fan here!!! Haha

    Thanks Smokey!!!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Matthew: 2 decent options at the end always makes it look shiny

  21. AdamH says:
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    Great stuff Smokey!

    Any chance you have a few names of some good rookies that are likely to earn reliever spots right out of spring training this year?

    Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @AdamH: Daniel Webb withe White sox, Vic Black mets. Rob Wooten milw. Micheal Tonkin twins. That should get you started at least.

  22. Alex says:
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    Hola, what percent chance you give Cody Allen to take over for Axford?

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