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I’m not going to lie. It’s hard to make up ground in the standings this late in the season.  Your fantasy baseball trading deadline has probably passed, so you’re left with playing hot hands off of waivers.  You need to make sure you don’t hold until guys just for their names.  In June or even July, I wouldn’t tell you to lose, say, Jermaine Dye for Matt LaPorta or Andy Marte, but it’s a whole new ballgame in September.  There’s only so much your top players can even do in one month.  For instance, Carlos Lee hasn’t had a month of more than 5 homers all year.  If you really don’t need homers and you’re dying for steals, playing Carlos Lee over, say, Andrew McCutchen isn’t going to get you anywhere.

This goes even more so for Head-to-Head leagues.  If you’re heading into the playoffs, or are in the last week of the regular season, it’s really time to put allegiances aside.  H2H leagues are won in the last few weeks, so pitching match-ups and most recent starts need to be looked at for everyone.  I wouldn’t ever tell you to play, say, Ryan Rowland-Smith over James Shields, but in an H2H league in September, it’s the kind of switch off that you may need to look at.  Trust me, it’s a lot better to win with Ryan Rowland-Smith than it is to lose because your opponent grabbed him.  As the season progresses, risk needs to be managed, not feared.  In September, throw your business management cliches out the window and go for the win.

Lastly, there’s also the fantasy baseball strategy of screwing your opponent before they can screw you.  If you know your opponent needs to start three pitchers to overtake you and there’s ten potential candidates for them to pick up, grab the top three options before they can.  I.e., force their hand.  Push them to pick up some schmohawks like Mitchell Boggs, Craig Stammen and Brian Moehler.  As every hitting coach, who’s worth his money will tell you, make Craig Stammen beat you.

From Around The Web

  1. Royo says:
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    @Grey: I suppose it makes sense to pay for the certainty but too much certainty makes me uncertain! I just have this nagging feeling that Vazquez is going to throw up a 3.5 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP next year while pitching 167 innings and striking out 170. And it isn’t like we’re comparing Pineiro to Vazquez. Wandy will probably strike out 190 or so this year. Admission: I hate pitchers. Especially coming off big years.

  2. Mike says:
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    Spot start Zach Duke tomorrow? I am in desperate need of wins.

  3. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Royo: All fair points and agreed to a certain respect.

    @Mike: It’s risky, but not awful.

  4. steamer says:
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    Great points! Is it time to dump Huff then? Available replacements are Cantu, Peralta, C. Davis, Butler.

  5. buschfan51 says:
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    I was leading in saves in my league so I traded a couple closers. Now Kevin Gregg has killed me and I’m losing ground quick. Who would be the top 2 or 3 non-closers you would pick up if you had room that might get some garbage saves when the closer isn’t available? Or anyone you predict will takeover a job?

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @buschfan51: Downs, Frasor, Chris Perez, Zavada, Guzman…

  7. nmdunkel says:
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    Let’s not forget how damn good it feels to drop those underachieving name-brand players right now, either.

    I dropped Alexis Rios yesterday in a H2H for Felix Pie, and I felt like a freshly paroled Soledad brother. I want to cry in happiness right now just thinking about it. Possibilities are endless. Rotating schmohawks is in, watchya done for me lately is in, O-Rank is waaaayy out.

  8. Tom_Emanski says:
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    Good points Grey.

    Would you start Tim Hudson. I’m short on SPs as it is and I risk losing counting stats like W and K.

    Also, which 4 would you pick out of Markakis, Willingham, Cruz, Rajai, and CarGo.

  9. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @nmdunkel: Ha! O-Rank *is* out. And it feels so nice.

    @Tom_Emanski: Which 4 would I pick for what? To drop? Willingham. I’d go with Hudson.

  10. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @nmdunkel: This is so true. I can’t wait to drop Dye’s ass.

  11. Tom_Emanski says:
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    Sorry, which 4 to start at OF and UTIL for the playoffs based on overall production, no specific categories.

  12. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Grey: p.s. which SP would you drop to activate David Wright?

    Gallardo, C-Bills, Oswalt, Hudson, Hanson, Gavin Floyd?

  13. spencer says:
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    Kevin Correia Trevor Cahill Homer Bailey Brad Penny

    pick 2 please

  14. spencer says:
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    oh and baron, imo drop hudson

  15. Tarasco's Secret Stash says:
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    @ Baron: Hudson. Could be decent, but he’s back awful fast from TJ surgery and has always been a better real pitcher than fantasy pitcher even at his best. I’d let someone else experiment with him.

    If my homeboy George of the Rose is still kicking around the wire in your league, he makes for the kind of good matchup potential guy down the stretch Grey was talking about. His 6 scheduled September starts: Metropolitans tonight, Arizona at home (who he owns – career 1.88 ERA in 43.0 IP), @ PETCO, @ San Fran, SD at home, Milwaukee.

  16. vinko says:
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    Spot start Padilla tonight, or is it unwise?

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @vinko: I’d try to avoid it.

  18. spencer says:
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    You’d start Penny even though he’s at Citizens Bank ?

    sorry for asking so many questions, it’s just this is crunch time and i’m 5 games out.

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @spencer: I wouldn’t start him there, I thought you were asking for the reminder of the year. I’d start Correia and Bailey vs. the Pirates.

  20. spencer says:
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    ohhhhh

    thanks grey

    and thank you for your help all season long i’ll def tell all my friends about the site when the seasons over

  21. spencer says:
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    i can’t belive i’m asking another question but

    is beckett a must start tomorrow? scherzer? billingsley?

    Beckett has been beyond weak.

  22. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @spencer: No problem, I’d start the two NL West pitchers and bench Beckett if ERA and WHIP are really important. If you need Ks, I’d go with Beckett.

  23. spencer says:
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    i think what i’m going to do is see how Clayton Richard does tonight, and if he pitches a stellar game, (ERA under 2.5) then i’m going to start Beckett b/c my opponent has Matt Cain and Felix Hernandez, two aces that can get the K’s and ERA.

    let’s hope richard has a good night.

  24. Royo says:
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    @spencer: To go with my post-lunch conversion to an anti-Gomer, I like Beckett to have a huge game tomorrow. I’ll check back with sample size on my face tomorrow morning.

    @Grey: Question: in an OBP league, rank the following clones for next year: Choo, Werth, N.Cruz. I can only keep two. They’re all the exact same price. Do Choo’s ratios keep him in the running?

  25. Razzin says:
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    Heads up. Kung Fu Panda out of the lineup tonight.

  26. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Royo: I’d still go Cruz and Werth.

    @Razzin: Thanks for the heads up!

  27. spencer says:
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    laporta droppable to pick up bailey for tomorrow? i’d pick Matt back up tomorrow morning, and then drop bailey. or i could do the same w/ niemann.

    thanks grey

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @spencer: I’d lose LaPorta.

  29. Royo says:
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    Do they get Razzball in Canadaland? If so, I’m really sorry about John McDonald’s career .587 OPS at 3B for your Jays today.

  30. royce! says:
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    Does anyone know how the Rangers plan to deal with McCarthy’s return? Are they going with a six pitcher rotation, or moving someone to the bullpen? I’d like to pick up Nippert for next week, but only if he’s going to get 2 starts.

  31. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Grey: of all the teams to get him,tampa bay gets sean rodriquez,i dont see any playing time there either

  32. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Royo: We have a few Canadian commenters.

    @royce!: Nippert’s in line right now for a 2 start week, that could change at this time of the year.

    @AL KOHOLIC: Agreed, maybe next year.

  33. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    nelson cruz 29-18 in only 104 games this year,nice,better enjoy,someone will grab him top 20 next year

  34. TheGreatVeto says:
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    @Grey: I have Thome and Fox on my bench. Who should I drop first? Or dump both? I play in a H2H so I don’t really have a desperate need, I am just looking for an upgrade to my bench for the playoffs.

    Here are some free-agent fodder I am considering: re-pick up Matt Laporta or CarGo (the good one), Vernon Wells, Jorge Cantu, Carlos Guillen, Elijah Dukes, Colby Rasmus, or maybe Maybin?

    Thanks

  35. Royo says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: The .260/.340 kind of hurts in AVG/OBP leagues. Hurts in like a stubbed toe kind of way. You’re still glad you have the box of gold that you just kicked.

  36. Steve says:
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    In case you haven’t heard, after it completely failed to satisfy anyone yesterday (it left everyone feeling totally empty), the Votto is off the menu today.

  37. Tom_Emanski says:
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    Would you drop Cust for either Pie, Maybin or Stubbs?

  38. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tom_Emanski: Stubbs if you need steals, otherwise I’d hold for a few more days.

  39. Grey, is Hawpe in the same boat as Dye re: “what have you done for me lately?” I need a bit of power and Hawpe’s not producing, even at Coors. I think it’s time to drop him for the hot hand. I bet Gomes out-HRs him the rest of the way.

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @VanHammersly: If you just need power, I could see making that switch. Keep in mind, the Rockies have a pretty favorable schedule in September.

  41. beisbol says:
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    Grey, not only do I have Dye, but I also have Rios and Soriano! 3 guys who fit the criteria of today’s post. Yeah it’s been a painful season to say the least. I’m still in the playoff hunt for my h2h though, so do I dare drop all 3?

    Mostly need avg (no surprise)/rbi/stl and some power wouldn’t hurt. I’m looking at LaPorta, Rajai Davis, CarGo, Pie as possible replacements. Any others I should be targeting and who are the top 3 candidates I should end up taking when I get the cajones to drop a combo of Dye-Rios-Soriano.

  42. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @beisbol: I’d lose Rios and Dye for Davis and CarGo. I’d like to see how Soriano reacts to the cortisone shot. He might come back blazing like Upton in the playoffs last year.

  43. peter says:
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    Robot Jones, powered by Energizer.

    Borbon isn’t starting EITHER side of today’s double-header. If he doesn’t start tomorrow he’s going to the curb.

  44. zombie says:
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    Sizemore surgery prior to the end of season. Just kayin’.
    That hopefully means DL* so us in Keeper leagues can preserve him & not lose a roster spot;…correct?

  45. paulzone says:
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    i couldn’t move anyone by the tread deadline…which pitcher would drop out of this bunch. i suppose the least losses that i get the better…

    haren, weaver, beckett, billingsley…

    weaver gets the fewest gidp which is another category i need to stay strong in.

    thoughts…

  46. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @paulzone: You have to drop someone? If so, Weaver.

  47. paulzone says:
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    i do if i ever want to activate justin upton from the dl. i’d love to just drop bourne but dont want some donkey picking him up and catching me in steals.

  48. paulzone says:
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    maybe i drop beckham and play the month w/o a shortstop…he isn’t helping my avg and obp much. any ss out there, waiver wire wise that could shine in august?

  49. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @paulzone: No ides who’s on your waivers for SSs.

  50. paulzone says:
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    barmes, guzman, hardy, andrus, izturis, theriot….

    izturis looks best with that 405 obp…

    whatcha think?

  51. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    josh goes yard,bout time,

  52. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @paulzone: Izturis is fine. I don’t see how he has a .405 OBP though.

  53. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: Wow, is he still playing? What happened to him? I didn’t even think he’d be this bad.

  54. Steve says:
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    @paulzone: Becklham looks kinda shiny in September so far ;-)

  55. paulzone says:
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    i had it sorted for the last month only, izturis has 405 obp for the last month 359 on the year…

  56. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Grey: josh with another,then davis,my teams making a great run here late in the RCL offensively,but my stud sp`s peavy hamells and bedard hurt me,just seemed every spot starter i put in got smashed,im still trying to get to 3rd place from 8th a week ago.

  57. Royo says:
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    Very surprisingly, Todd Helton has worked his way into the top 12 first basemen in OBP leagues. I have him scoring better than Berkman and Votto, even with the 14 homers. He went for $15 in my 20 team league. He isn’t too far behind Adrian Gonzalez as far as total value. Who knew?

  58. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: Keep on creeping!

    @Royo: Not that surprising, Helton always plays better in OBP leagues. And Dunn.

  59. spencer says:
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    let’s go Clayton Richard!

  60. Steve says:
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    @spencer: I’m with you, bro. Let’s see some more run support, though.

  61. penpen says:
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    drop Grady for Carlos Gonz? man I wish they’d just shut him down already…

  62. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @penpen: id grab gonzalez one way or another

  63. penpen says:
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    drop Shields for Zito?

    Scary: their season long stats are near-identical; oh Shields you big disappointer

  64. penpen says:
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    @penpen: strangely Danks is also almost exactly the same

  65. penpen says:
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    /Stark

  66. spencer says:
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    solid start for the clayton

  67. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @penpen: I’d go with Shields over Zito.

  68. DrEasy says:
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    Stubbs over Eric Young? At least Stubbs is getting PT.

  69. DrEasy says:
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    Ibanez definitely fits the profile of today’s post. I picked him up for the midseason league, and he’s done absolutely nothing: 5HR, .213 AVG.

  70. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @DrEasy: Go with Stubbs.

  71. DrEasy says:
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    Finally: should I start Buchholz at Tampa in a couple of days? Thanks!

  72. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @DrEasy: I wouldn’t if you need a good WHIP or ERA.

  73. peter says:
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    Spot starter tomorrow: Porcello vs Cle or Bailey vs Pit? Or neither, but D. Holland already screwed me this week so I don’t have much to lose.

  74. DrEasy says:
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    I have a 4.35 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP (don’t ask, I got Hochevar’d and more generally roofied all season long in this league) and sitting near last in both categories, surely Buchholz can do better than that? There’s virtually no innings cap in this league, so I’m figuring I might as well take some risks at this point.

  75. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @peter: Bailey if nothing to lose.

  76. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @DrEasy: Gotcha, yeah, start him.

  77. DrEasy says:
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    Yusmeiro of late: a mirage, or the real shizz?

  78. peter says:
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    @Grey: That’s right, with nothing left to lose, I might as well jump into bed with some rookie nookie. And I don’t care what happens. The battery in my Robot Jones is still working, so there’s at least some satisfaction in that.

  79. Nathan says:
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    Stupid Michael Young and his hamstring. Thinking about options at 1B/3B if he’s out. Butler, LaPorta, Guillen, A. Huff, Luke Scott, Loney, Barmes, Rolen?

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your columns day in and day out. Thanks!

  80. big o says:
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    @Grey:
    hopefully this is posted late enough in the evening that not many will see that i’m about to blow some serious smoke up your razz .

    a) though i disagree with the language and opinion of many of your commenters , (and lord knows the spelling is often-times a-tro-shiss) ,
    you provide a site that is free of censorship .
    this allows for the free-flow of thought , and makes us all feel quite comfortable here .
    b) because of this , your loyal readers are motivated to bring to the site up-to-the-minute news and developments , from which we all benefit .
    c)
    d) passion … you have your guthries , and i , my blalocks .
    shakespeare said …. (pp) ..”do we not bleed ?”
    and from this bleeding , i have learned from you .
    e) many will write to advise , “you should pick-up player X because for the past 2 months he has been hot” …. (big whoop on the old news , dude) .
    you , sir , are a fore-thinker . and while detractors may say that you do throw a lot of shizz …. a great deal of it does stick to the side of the barn .
    you have an uncanny ability to see potential player trends before they occur ….. and this is of true value .
    f) lots of sites charge a fee for their opinion/services .
    you hardly even hint that this is a “donations” destination .
    e) i will continue to send you small amounts of money , whenever i can .
    not only because it makes me feel better ,
    but because i’d hate to think of the void in my daily life , should you ever decide to stop , for reasons that might be purely financial .
    f) sometimes i get a hair across my azz , ‘cuz you decide to go out on friday or saturday nights for dinner or to get laid , or whatever .
    but then i get to thinking about how some of these guys seemingly want you to make every line-up decision for them , and are more concerned about the results rather than the process .
    and then i try and look at it from your perspective , and think that you must be some kind of saint .
    g) so there it is …. grey = sometimes savant …. sometimes drunken saint .

  81. TheGreatVeto says:
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    @big o: werd

  82. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Nathan: LaPorta, thanks!

    @big o: drunken saint — Ha! Thanks for the kind words, O. I benefit from people telling me when a closer has been injured or a player is called up/traded too, so I appreciate everyone’s up-to-the-minute news too.

  83. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Grey: mr jones hits another,glad i stuck with him,he`s gotta be a $5 keeper doesnt he,power ave steals good obp

  84. Mr. P says:
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    Gordon Beckham is causing my otherwise stacked lineup no end of headaches. The infield is full (A-Rod and Rollins at his eligable positions) – and four outfielders competing for 3 spots and the Util spot (Bourne, Cruz, Manny, hot Franceour)… I keep on randomly benching one of Beckham/Cruz or Franc. And thus I keep benching great games.

    Life’s tough when you’re in 3rd, with 1st within sight…

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