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Honestly, I can’t remember the last time a Yankee felt like a sleeper to me.  Well, maybe last year with Aaron Hicks, but that became a playing time issue by the time we got to March.  It’s also not every day I point out a 1st baseman sleeper.  I don’t like punting corner infidels and punting a 1st baseman is especially treacherous.  By the by, treacherous there is a negative even though it sounds like a word that would be positive in a rap song.  You want big-time production from your 1st baseman, and you should be looking for the same from your corner man.  For unstints, I like to take a 1st baseman in the 1st or 2nd rounds and don’t mind grabbing a 2nd one and my corner man before I’m out of the top 100 overall.  Do you want Rizzo vs. the guy trying to piece together Chris Carter and Belt?  Yes, yes, yes.  I want Rizzo over the guy taking Abreu, even if that means having Lindor vs. Altuve.  1st base is sneaky scarce this year.  We got middle infielders coming out of ears like potatoes on the guy that never uses a Q-Tip.  By the by, you should be listening to the new Tribe album, though I’m waiting for someone to Soundcloud-up a new Tribe album with Jairobi spliced out.  Therefore, ergo, vis-a-vis, there’s a case to be made for a sleeper 1st baseman, and specifically Greg Bird.  So, what can we expect from Greg Bird for 2017 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?

You know when a young girl is trying to hop into a swinging jump rope?  Well, instead of a young girl imagine it’s “torn labrum” trying to time the rope and the rope is the 1st paragraph.  I was trying to fit it in, but it was running long so here we are.  Greg Bird missed 2016 with a torn labrum.  This isn’t good.  It’s not the end as it might be for a pitcher.  Hitters can come back from torn labrums and often do.  Sometimes it takes longer than a year, sometimes it doesn’t.  If there was no torn labrum, Bird wouldn’t be a sleeper.  He likely would’ve replaced Te(i)x in May and had 25 homers last year.  Remember, Bird hit 11 homers in 2015 in only 46 games, after killing pitchers with his power all through the minors.  On the good side of torn labrums, prior to thinking homeschooling meant bringing his son around the major leagues with him, Adam LaRoche hit 33 homers a season after a torn labrum.  That was actually his career high in power.  On the bad side, Matt Kemp hit six homers in 73 games following his torn labrum and Rihanna was like, “I need an ella ella umbrella to block Kemp from seeing me.”  So, what can we expect from Bird?  I don’t think anyone knows due to the labrum.  Though, without the torn labrum, Bird would’ve been a solid bet to overperform and hit 30 HRs.  So, you gotta ask yourself, punk, do you feel lucky?  Well, do you?  Actually, it’s not about luck, it’s about opportunity costs, and Bird’s got just about nil, which sounds like a Nazi uncle.  “Honey, we don’t talk about your uncle, Nil.”  You can draft Bird in the last round of almost all drafts and hope he LaRoches his comeback.  Steamer likes his prospects giving him 16 homers in only 295 ABs, which is about 23 homers in 420 ABs.  For 2017, I’ll give Greg Bird the projections of 59/24/69/.257/2 in 412 ABs with a ton more power upside.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Whaddup, foot

      • foot says:
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        Hey Grey! Let me take this opportunity to thank you for the wonderful website and great advice. Best wishes for the New Year!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Thanks, foot! Happy New Year!

  1. Schwab says:
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    Hey Grey,

    Keeper question. 8 Team H2H point based league. Each team keeps 10. I need 10 from this list:
    Goldschmidt, Machado, Story, Sano, JD Martinez, Hosmer, Moncada, Kluber, Lester, Taijuan Walker, Giolito, King Felix, Strasburg, Aaron Sanchez, Snell & Glasnow. Which 6 do you drop?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Schwab: Goldschmidt, Machado, Story, JD Martinez, Hosmer, Moncada, Kluber, Lester, Strasburg, Sano

      • Schwab says:
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        Was just offered Rizzo/Correa/Bregman for Goldy/Machado in this league. I do already have Story at SS. Hold?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Goldy side

  2. Clint says:
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    Any bearing yet on where you’ll be in regards to Michael Brantley this season? Feels like a really great buy-low to me after sitting out most of last year waiting for this shoulder to finally heal.

    Also, are we moist again on Jorge Soler now that he’s secured a spot w/full play time in KC or are we moving on?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Clint: I haven’t looked at OFs yet, but I can’t imagine Jan. Grey will have anything that great to say about Brantley… I do like Soler, I went over him already when he was traded… Top right, search Soler

      • Clint says:
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        @Grey:
        Sorry, I guess I didn’t phrase the Soler question correctly, my bad: will he be one of your sleepers this season or has he lost enough luster in the move he’s just a guy now to you? Your trade blurb seemed to indicate more of ‘a guy’ to me when I previously read it, that’s all.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I like Soler, I’m drafting him, unlike JFOH, I doubt he’s drafted very high, the shine is off him

    • Big Odio says:
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      @Clint: I have a few issues with Soler that make him the equivalent of playing roulette. Most of his hype has been centered around his 24 game cup of coffee he had in 2014 and his high rank on prospect lists. On the bad side his batted ball profile is all over the place the last two years and it’s really hard to predict which guy we will get. He hit lots of balls in the air last season which is good for power but he’s moving to one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the AL. He’s improved his walk right every year which is good but also is making contact less than 70% of the time which is bad and when coupled with his high swinging strike percentage won’t be a high average hitter. Think .260ish with 25ish homers in 600 AB’s. One thing that sticks in the back of my mind is something my former colleague the Big Magoo said about KC. They hate home runs. They like small ball, line drive hitting, move the runner over approaches. He’s worth a flyer but I wouldn’t pay up to get him. I have a feeling that he will get over drafted while at the same time I feel a new home will be good for him. Hes literally a roulette ball, I have no idea where he will land.

      • Robert says:
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        @Big Odio:

        “Most of his hype has been centered around his 24 game cup of coffee he had in 2014 and his high rank on prospect lists.”

        His high ranking on prospect list isn’t because he looks good in a dress. It’s also based on past performance. 20 HR in 86 games between the minors and his cup of coffee is more than just a 24 game stint. Yeah he looked good in that stint, but he looked better on his way up that year.

        It’s also weird to complain about his walk rate and him moving to a team that stresses small ball and then complain about contact rate. Will he suffer in power and make more contact, or strike out more as he swings for the fences? You can’t make both arguments at the same time. He’s developed a better eye at 23-24 while still being mostly a platoon player. A lot of his issues seem like they would also be helped with a regular spot, which he is definitely getting. As a former Cub, he could be inflated at least in my league with 3 Cubs fan managers, but 20 HR at .260 isn’t bad for a guy who will probably be going around 200 or lower especially since 20 isn’t the ceiling. If hype pushes him up 50 spots then we have a problem, but he has a lot of upside if he stays at 200ish. Rotochamp has him ranked ironically, right behind Greg Bird… at 216. We’ve come full circle.

        Also, still figuratively a roulette ball, not literally.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Robert: He does look pretty good in a dress, just saying. Keith Law has a thing for a well filled out tunic.

        • Big Odio says:
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          @Robert: I prefer literally, you’ve never seen human roulette? Totally missing out

          There wasn’t really an argument for or against, just stating points that he can go either way and its hard to know what player you are getting. Putting a lot of stock in what they did in the minors is a fools errand once they have reached the bigs. It’s how they perform after 500 or so at bats which he is at.

          Oh, BTW, when you are going to be the smart guy nit picking nancy who uses quotations when someone says something it’s best to not say this “It’s also weird to complain about his walk rate” in reference to this “He’s improved his walk right every year which is good”. It really hurts the argument to mis-quote.

  3. Ritchie Ritch says:
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    Great write up! Love the sleeper posts!
    What do you think about Donaldson for Marte and Freeman? Which side do you like? Is it close?

  4. Mikey Mike says:
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    Grey,

    Which trade would you rather do:

    Marte and Freeman for Donaldson

    Or

    Springer and Freeman for Goldy

    Thanks!

    • Mikey Mike says:
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      @Mikey Mike: And where do you think Freeman ends up in ranks this year? Top 20? Top 15?

      Thanks

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Mikey Mike: Rankings come out in January…. Springer and Marte sides, they’re close

  5. Copperhead Road says:
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    Keeper question based on your comment about needing a top 1b:
    10 team, $260 league, 40 roster spots which are usally prospects and round robin no cost picks
    I have Myers at $4 and HanRam at $6. I also have Goldschmidt at $43. My question is do you think Myers and/or HanRam is enough or should I spring for Goldy? If I keep him I’d keep the other 2 as Corner and Utility.
    I have Betts, Machado, T Turner, JDMart and a few other decent hitters and need lots of pitching. Also, there will be limited other 1B choices at the draft.
    Thanks for your help.

  6. Big Odio says:
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    Finding a fist base sleeper is like being a pre-Internet 16 year old trying to find the G spot. It’s not happening. When was the last time you had a first base sleeper? I can’t even think of one.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Goldy, his first year he broke out, but was more like drafted in 7th returned 1st round

      • Copperhead Road says:
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        @Grey: I’d include Myers last year but I don’t know if you officially dubbed him a sleeper. I do remember keeping him based on what you said though and he had a heck of a year.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, Myers isn’t a bad call… There are 1B sleepers… Last year: Trumbo, Santana, Carter, Turner, Reed

          • Big Odio says:
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            @Grey: reed? You are forgetting one of the best from last year and a guy that I called in he pre season. Mike “My Mom Has Pepperoni Nips” Napoli….but yeah it’s not easy to call them. Carter was great but no one was on his nuts in the pre season

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Yeah, Napoli too… There were some 1B sleepers… Getting them was another matter

              • Big Odio says:
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                @Grey: there are always guys that do it but I think calling them is the hardest part. Nobody drafted trumbo to play 1st. He was a 3rd outfielder who happens to have 1st base eligibility. Maybe it’s me, it usually is, but I see lots of players as what they play and not eligibility because that can change every year. Too many keeper dynasty leagues spins my dome that way.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Whether they were drafted to play a different position doesn’t matter… If a guy had 1B eligibility and was sleeper, then 1B sleeper

                  • Big Odio says:
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                    @Grey: my point is that they are rare to find in pre season posts. Same as 3rd. Or maybe it just feels that way. I’m not arguing with you btw.

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yeah, I know what you mean… I’m not saying I knew these guys would do well either, but they could’ve been sleepers

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Reed was a sleeper everyone wanted, that he didn’t work out doesn’t mean he wasn’t a sleeper

              • Big Odio says:
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                @Grey: that’s all rudys propoganda with reed. I blame rudy!

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  Nah, lots of people liked Reed

                  • Big Odio says:
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                    @Grey: I’m going to stick with its all Rudy’s fault. I like it that way

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Yeah, I’m fine with blaming him too… *shakes fist* Rudy!

                    • Big Odio says:
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                      Funny, every time I see a reference to Moby I get angry

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Why?

                    • Big Odio says:
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                      Because Rudy looks like Moby

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Meh, I don’t see that

                • Copperhead Road says:
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                  @Big Odio: Castellonas was a 3b sleeper last year that would have workd out if he hadn’t missed time.

                  • Ralph Lifshitz

                    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                    @Copperhead Road: Villar, Jose Ramirez, Lamb….was Longo a 3rd base sleeper sort of?

                    • Copperhead Road says:
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                      @Ralph Lifshitz: Almost have to count him since his year last year was so out of he ordinary. Nobody saw Villar.

      • Big Odio says:
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        @Grey: first full year or call up year? I can’t remember. I remember your little graph diagram thingy you made

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Grey: I still love you for that. You hit on Max that year too.

        What’s happened since? :0)

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I hit on everyone every year… wanna be the champ, you best come for the champ!

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Grey: woooooooooooooooooo

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              *struts, pushes back mullet, struts some more*

              • Ralph Lifshitz

                Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                @Grey: He claims he banged Halle Berry back in the mid-90’s post David Justice.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  He’s been banging dames from Dorothy Stratten to Lohan

  7. Zeus says:
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    The new tribe is good and I wonder about that spliced version. Would the make Jairobi Jar Jar Binks?

    Back at it now grey. Reading through the previous posts. I always need a couple of months off of baseball after the WS

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Jairobi Jairobi Binks?

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Grey: Jair Jair Jurrjens Binks

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Throwback!

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Grey: Lesson never trust a Jair.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
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              Also, never trust a dingo as a babysitter

              • Ralph Lifshitz

                Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                @Grey: Awful stereotype, I know some good dingos. They’re like pitbulls, all about how you train them.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
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                  You dingo apologist?

                  • Ralph Lifshitz

                    Ralph Lifshitz says:
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                    @Grey: Dingo truther

                    • Grey

                      Grey says:
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                      Haha, you love the truther tag!

  8. Robert says:
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    I’m seeing early rankings on Votto in the top 15. Right now in a 10 team league with 4 keepers, I’m locked on having Bryant, Arenado, Betts, and my 4th as of now is Votto. I’m somewhat afraid of the inevitable decline, but the next best options I have are Upton, Syndergaard, or Polanco. Would you hold one more year on Votto? it would be nice to have the corners locked up though before we even start the draft.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I’m pretty iffy on Votto, but you don’t have a guy that would replace him from that list

    • Big Odio says:
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      @Robert: Thor would be my guy considering how shallow the league is. But unlike mister mustachio I like to have an ace. Especially when hes free. You also get the insight in knowing what your league values. If they keep a lot of pitchers you probably want thor and if they heavily value bats then you want votto.

      • Robert says:
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        @Big Odio:

        I understand what you are saying on the ace, but every year “known” pitchers are kept and I’m able to put together a great staff from young guns because my league loves safe known quantities. Given the depth of pitching in a 10 team league I rarely keep any pitchers. I traded Arrieta last year because I was able to get Bryant out of that deal. The last time I kept a pitcher was Kluber after his Cy Young year and I know it’s bias, but that always left a bad taste in my mouth and pitching is a lot easier to replace.

        If I do keep Votto, I may end up taking a flier on a guy like Bird as a result just to have him for his upside late. I do love Thor though and he anchored my staff (no pun intended) last year. But he did go around the 8th or 9th round, so I feel there are always pitchers you can get later that will rise to aces. I guess I’ll have to wait to see pitcher rankings and how easy it will be to rob the kitty again.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Robert: If Arrieta netted you Bryant what would Thor get you? Might be another wrinkle to your keeper conundrum. Both great options, Thor obviously has age on his side, but much more injury risk.

          Somewhat unrelated, but Votto not playing in the WBC is a good thing.

        • Big Odio says:
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          @Robert: Could you package Thor and Votto to get an upgrade? High risk arms always have their drawbacks. It sounds like Votto is the keep that you flip in season to get younger. I love playing against people that over value proven records while at the same time I love playing against people that over value youth. /sounds like you know their weaknesses and that will be your greatest asset.

          • Ralph Lifshitz

            Ralph Lifshitz says:
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            @Big Odio: “sounds like you know their weaknesses and that will be your greatest asset”

            Who are you Sun Tzu?

            • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:
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              @Ralph Lifshitz: Hahaha

            • Big Odio says:
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              @Ralph Lifshitz: the Art of War is my jammy jam

  9. Mike says:
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    Dynasty OBP

    Rizzo, Kip

    or

    Moncada, Votto, Darvish

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Rizzo side

  10. JP says:
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    Question mostly for Ralph, if he’s listening, but would welcome anyone’s thoughts. I’ve got several (probably too many) 1B prospects on my minor league roster, so I’m looking to drop one or two to make room for the first year player’s draft next week. How would you rank these luminaries?
    Rowdy Tellez, Trey Mancini, and Rhys Hoskins.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Mancini, Tellez, but I’d ask Ralph in his post

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @JP: Tellez for sure and Mancini and Hoskins is close. I’m not as worried about Reading inflation w/ Hoskins as I am w/ Cozens. Mancini’s major issue is playing time. If I knew he’d get 400 at bats this year I’d go Mancini. I don’t understand the Orioles plan wth him.

  11. JP says:
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    Thank you, gentlemen. As always, your advice is invaluable.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      No problem, I’d go with Ralph’s answer, FWIW

  12. What's a Drexl? says:
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    woah, site’s back, how long was it out.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Was it out?

      • What's a Drexl? says:
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        @Grey: for at least about 30 minutes right before my message above. tried 3 computers.

        • What's a Drexl? says:
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          @What’s a Drexl?: went out yet again, came back, in chrome just a white screen shows up, in firefox a green screen saying some issue with “razzball not being grounded (or something like that) by godaddy” or some such. every other time before today when i’ve seen site goes out it goes to some type of error message in chrome; not this time.

          • What's a Drexl? says:
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            @What’s a Drexl?: even weirder, now the football part is still out, but baseball/hockey are fine.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Still? I haven’t had any problems at all…

  13. Ante GALIC says:
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    Grey!!!

    Loved the article. Lots of stream of consciousness therein!

    a. Last round sounds good with a LaRoche finish like the happy end at the massage parlor! By the by, in Canada we have two French-speaking cultures – the one in Quebec and the eastern provinces and the one spoken elsewhere. In Sudbury we have a small francophone community. Why is this relevant for fantasy baseball? Well, thanks for asking. In Sudbury, the name Larouche is pronounced Laroche! No jokes!

    b. Am in CDG Paris airport again. Going home for 3 nights before we travel to Punta Cana (or PC as my wife affectionately calls it now, we’ll see if that affection remains after our trip).

    c. Have a wonderful celebration to bring in the new year! Some guy told me a cool way to bring it in. Once a year it’s good to de-tox so, his plan…On new year’s eve get a bottle of hard liquor (like 40 ounces will do) and drink it all yourself. You get shit-faced and plastered all in one. But the after effect will be a trip to the Porcelain God . It’s the gas that comes out after you puke that contains the toxins. So, Frank Voila! Instant de-tox! Oh, if life’s other problems couldn’t be so simple to solve.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Travel safe and happy new year!

  14. regan says:
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    And he can take a walk. .343OBP in 157ab last year. Nice sleeper in OBP leagues.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Agreed

  15. Iron Sheik says:
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    Great article…BIRD is DA WORD! Any thoughts on other animal…MOOSE? Need to know if I hold or drop? Returning from a BUM knee like BUM who want to wrastle me for a shot at title! Cameraman ZOOM IN!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Prolly drop, Shiekie

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