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Back in early November, I said, “Gregg, Cubs Closer?”  Well, remove the question mark and call me Nostradumbass.  It’s not surprising at all to me that Marmol’s not going to be the closer to start the season.  There’s no reason in debating whether Piniella made the right decision.  Of course he didn’t.  Joking.  There’s points for both sides.  As I said the other day, do you wanna lose the game in the 8th or the 9th?  Either way, all you should concern yourself with is who is getting the saves.  The pickle here is Marmol is actually worth owning even if he only gets 5-10 saves all year.  So if you drafted Marmol, I’d hold him just to pad your pitching stats.  If you have Gregg, nice late pick in your draft.  You probably just fell into 35 saves.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Brandon Morrow – Says he’s the closer.  And so it is.  You know what?  Every single one of you sitting around reading this blog for the last month could’ve stepped up and said you’d be the closer for the Mariners.  But what did you do?  You watered down the ketchup, made sure everyone’s coffee was hot and passive-aggressively stuck broken glass under your eighteen-year-old boss’s car tires.  You had to know with the top option being Miguel Batista that the job could’ve been yours.  Now march into your job and tell them you’re the new fry cook.  You got hot oil skillz!  Morrow’ll be fine as the closer if he can get/stay healthy.  Not sure what they’re going to do with Chad Cordero.  Maybe they can turn him into the starter Morrow should’ve been.

Jeff Clement – In a disappointing move, Clement was sent down.  You know where he went wrong?  He should’ve told the Mariners he was their catcher.  Guess Mattel can sponsor that Kenji doll night now.  Mommy, why doesn’t Kenji have a….THAT’S HIS ATHLETIC SUPPORTER!

Carlos Villanueva – As I mentioned in our fantasy baseball forums, Villanueva will fill-in for Trevor Hoffman.  Is Villanueva the best guy for the job?  Who knows?  Doesn’t matter.  SAGNOF.   Ours is not to reason why, ours is to pickup up the replacement closer and hope he keeps the job, unless of course you have Hoffman too.  You got to remember to Handcuff the Hoff!

Brett Gardner – Named opening day center fielder for the Yanks.  Back in November, I sowed the Gardner.

Matt Lindstrom – Appears to be on track to open the season.  Unless you have a pressing need somewhere, I’d hold Nunez for now.

Hanley Ramirez – Hit a HR.  Sore shoulder better?  You make the call!  Or not.

Chris Carter – Might get a shot to be a reserve outfielder for the Sawx.  The Red Sox were missing that Sci-Fi edge in the outfield since Manny left.

Troy Glaus – Rehab from shoulder surgery isn’t going so well.  Word is he might not make it back in late April/early May after all.  Bet they are regretting that Rolen for Glaus trade now!

Joe Mauer – Expected to miss the first month of the season.  The bad back must be from carrying the dwindling pennant hopes of Twins fans.  Let’s hope Liriano doesn’t strain his elbow picking up some of the slack.

Justin Duchscherer – Having elbow surgery.  Supposed to be out a month.  I forget what I said and I don’t feel like looking it up, but I think I pegged him for 5 starts this year.  Duchscherer’s elbow problems may have been exacerbated by autograph-seeking fans this spring.  You gotta stop at J.D., man!

Kelvim Escobar – I keep mentioning this guy, but in the last league I drafted I was able to snag him with like the 345th pick.  Um, he should be going before that.  When healthy (which he’s nearing), he’s good.

Chris Young – It’s a hard knock life being a 6’10” pitcher.  More strain in throwing the ball down, bigger target to comebackers, lack of selection in Big & Tall shops, etc.  He’s been rather bad in Spring Training.  Perhaps it’s time to recognize that a pitcher can only go so far with a sub-90 MPH fastball and a unique propensity for fly ball outs.  Hopefully, he’ll come around and be solid, at least in Petco.

Mark Teahen – A positive reflection of the Royal roster is that there are less open spots to stash the mediocrity of Mark Teahen.  Last stop – 2nd base!  From a fantasy perspective, that’s not half bad.  Just 40% bad.

John Smoltz – He was due back June 1st but he’s ahead of schedule.  Now they are saying perhaps mid-May.  If you’ve got 2 DL slots in your league, might as well stash him in one.

Taylor Teagarden – Officially backing up Salty.  I think he can still get 300 ABs and contribute.  When asked why Saltamacchia over Teagarden, Texas brass explained, “Salty’s name goes to 12!”

Jeremy Guthrie – Opening Day starter for the Orioles.  Now if they can figure out a way for it to rain four out of five days, they should be fine.

Dontrelle Willis – On DL with anxiety disorder.  He’s been Greinke’d!  Maybe he just needs a Miguel Olivo hug.  Maybe he’ll go the Ankiel route.  You know, Willis was a very good hitter in the NL.  There’s got to be a Razzball glossary term for a hitter trapped in a pitcher’s body.  How about… Redesignated Hitters.

From Around The Web

  1. Steve says:
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    Drop Nunez for Escobar? Arse-end of my rotation is Wandy, Guthrie and Wang while my ‘closers’ are Qualls, F-Cord, Pervical, Motte, Sherrill and my cousin Brandon.

  2. Steve says:
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    Or will Nunez set up Lindstrom?

  3. Doug Ault says:
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    Rolen and Glaus are neck n neck in the gimpfest, nobody is happy on either side of that deal.

  4. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    These closer battles are easier to call than some might think. There are three important factors: Perception, perception, perception. To wit:

    CHI: Gregg is in, because Lou Piniella is the kind of manager that likes someone with “a closer mentality.” i.e. the guy who got lots of saves last year even though he’s a middling reliever. i.e. Gregg

    SEA: Morrow. See Papelbon ’06. “I want to be a starter. No, wait.”

    COL: Street. How do I know? Here’s the press conference:

    Option a) “Dear Rockies fans, we just traded our MVP-calibre franchise player for an OF prospect, a fourth starter and a middle reliever.”

    Option b) “Dear Rockies fans, we just traded our MVP-calibre franchise player for an OF prospect, a fourth starter and OUR NEW CLOSER.”

    Bonus: When introducing Street as new closer, you avoid having to say, “We’ve picked our new closer, and it’s the guy from last year who last the job mid-season. Rock on!”

    Also: Fantasy “experts” (not the ones here! They are experts sans ironic quotes) love to clamor for the young flamethrower to get the closer’s job, and pout when he does not. See Zumaya, Joel. See Arredondo, Jose. See every bit of advice on Yahoo! for the last three years. If fantasy “experts” actually managed teams, Stephen Strasbourg would be closing for in the bigs RIGHT NOW.

  5. sean says:
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    In my draft last night, I passed on David Price when he was available in the 18th round of a ten-teamer. I figured this was about fair market value for him. What’s your take?

  6. sean says:
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    How do you manage Guthrie once he’s part of your staff. Do you play the matchups? I’m not sure that I want to run him out there every start when 40% of them are against NYY, BOS, and TB…

    Last year he finished with 190.2 IP and a 3.63 IP, but his stats against the big 3 in the AL East were pretty rough:

    TBR: 21.1 IP, 6.33 ERA
    BOS: 24 IP, 4.12 ERA
    NYY: 20 IP, 4.00 ERA

    Would I be better off going with a NL guy than spot starting Guthrie?

  7. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    You touted Gardner for the steals he might rack up at the top of the order. What is the impact in the 9 hole?

  8. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    You touted Gardner’s steals at top of the order. What is impact from the 9 hole? Where does he stand in relation to Maybin?

  9. See, I would call Hoffman’s handcuff the Handcoff. But that’s how I roll.

  10. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    I though it would be appropriate to re-mention Emilio Bonificio. It’s a part of the reworking of my Dallas McPherson 12 step program.

    Step One: Admit you are powerless over Emilio.

    He’s now the opening day 3B for the Marlins and will likely leadoff. Holy SAGNOF!

  11. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Fman99: HANDCOFF! I LOVE THIS!

    I believe you just created another Razzball Glossary term.

  12. Nick says:
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    With BJ Upton out for the first week on the DL would you put in T Hunter or Ibanez in his place? Weekly line-up format…

  13. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Baron, you have my attention. I was quick to discount Gregg. I am learning you are someone to listen to. What do you project for him this year?

  14. Christopher says:
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    OK, if we’re talking SAGNOF, who do you want: Bartlett or Gardner?

  15. Christopher says:
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    OK, make the choices: Bartlett, Gardner or Bonificio?

  16. b00sh says:
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    Now that Morrow is closing ill be needing a starter…who should i pick up out of the following…Doug Davis, John Garland, Anibal Sanchez, Dave Bush

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Go for Escobar. He will set him up though.

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Ha! Nice. Don’t forgot this one:

    “Tigers fans we’d like to introduce you to your new closer, Brandon Lyon.”
    “Huh? Don’t we have guys to do that already.”
    “You want Todd Jones back?”
    “Yay, Lyon!”

    @sean: Sounds like it.

    @sean: Well, the Rays one is obviously terrible. But a 4 against the Yankees and Sawx is about what you should expect from a 5th to 6th fantasy starter, it’s not like you took him in round 4.

    @Simply Fred: Same steals, less runs?

    Gardner v. Maybin — Interesting question. Gardner has a good OBP, but he also plays somewhere he has to produce immediately and often or he will be replaced. So Maybin has better job security and is higher ranked.

    @IowaCubs: Could I have a link to that. If true, he’s suddenly a first rounder in the FRL.

    @Nick: Ibanez

    @Christopher: Bartlett has better position eligibility and job security. Gardner has more upside. I’d probably go for Gardner only because the other option is so yawnstipating.

    @b00sh: Bush, Sanchez, punt.

  18. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Huh, FRL?

  19. agarthered says:
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    @Grey thinking about dropping kawakami and getting Escobar (Then stashing him on dl), good move? I know you’re not big on kawakami, but Tim Dierkes has me all hot over him haha.

    Also thinking after putting Escobar on Dl then picking up Ray. My closers are Bell, Motte, and Morrow right now.

  20. Just Another Steve says:
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    Chris Carter and Sci-Fi? Do you mean the dreaded Syfy?

  21. agarthered says:
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    @Grey also theres Wang, and Carmona on my waivers, im not huge on either, but Wang could get me wins. Do I pick up Wang instead of Ray?

  22. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Grey: Okay, maybe it’s not set in stone yet, though here’s a hint: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/palmbeach/marlinsblog/entries/2009/03/28/emilio_bonifacio_leading_off.html?cxntfid=blogs_florida_marlins

    The money quote: “A lineup with Bonifacio, Maybin and Hanley Ramirez gives the Marlins a speed component, which the team hopes will compensate for an expected drop in home runs.”

    FYI– Buster Olney thinks he’ll be batting 8th with Maybin and Baker batting 1-2, though Gonzalez has been hinting that he’ll bat leadoff, so take it for what it’s worth.

    SAGNOF!

    @Simply Fred: FRL = Fantasy Razzball League… the league where you try to pick the worst players possible.

    In real leagues, though, he could become Chone Figgins if he gets the starting job at 3B and leads off.

  23. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @IowaCubs: Emilio Bonifacio — wasn’t he the guy in the Godfather who knifed Luca Brazi through the hand?

    BUT SERIOUSLY… I thought Maybin was leading off. Maybin! The poor man*’s
    Jacoby Ellsbury! I need to be able to hope that Maybin ’09 will be Hanley ’06. Or thereabouts. Gimme some hope, IowaCubbies.

    @Fman99: Also love. Seconding the love.

    @Simply Fred: Gregg seemed a safe bet this year, because if he wasn’t going to close, why acquire him? Which is why I grabbed him in the 19th, or roughly 8 rounds after someone took Marmol. Oops!

    That said, what do I project? Like Grey says, he could save 35 games. He’s definitely worth picking up now if somehow he’s still floating around out there.

    But remember, he saved 29 last year for the Marlins — and blew 9 saves. That’s not good. And he’s not exactly a flamethrower with eye-popping stuff. On a lot of teams, he’d be a secondary middleman. Plus, he’s got Marmol breathing down his neck. And he’s pitching for a team that’s supposed to win 100 games. So how many games can he blow before they do a switcheroo? I’m guessing the answer is not 9.

    If he struggles early, he could be this year’s Eric Gagne. If not, he could be this year’s Kevin Gregg.

    *In this scenario, I am the poor man.

  24. You negelcted to note the Zimmermann as Nat 5th starter weekend announcement. Much value there? He’ll be Zimmmnn Ruled with a Max 150 inning count; + he’s a Nat. Should a 10 team League owner consider rostering Kelvim, Parra, Wandy, Jimenez or maybe even Ray NOW, and avoid the rookie with restrictions playing on a bad team?

  25. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @IowaCubs: Cool, thanks!

    @zombie: Wasn’t neglect, I wrote a whole post about him about a week ago. I like Wandy, Parra, Zimmermann then Kelvim, in that order.

  26. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    I have Qualls, Frankie, Devine, Motte. Drop any of these for Gregg?

  27. agarthered says:
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    @Grey Parra over Escobar? I am heavy on K’s with Gallardo, Vasquez, Randy Johnson, Joba, Myers, and Meche.

    In what order would you take the following, especially considering I already have K’s. Wang, Carmona, Escobar, and Parra?

  28. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Simply Fred: How tight is your league? Qualls, Frankie and Motte are all pretty ensconced, and three closers is usually enough to compete.

    That said, if it were me, I’d drop Devine for Gregg. Can never have enough dirty, dirty saves, and you can always trade one away later.

  29. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @agarthered: Wang, Carmona, Escobar then Parra.

  30. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Baron, try not to throw up. I am in a points league. It’s familiar. Have won 25-team league two of last four years but still trying to reach the pinnacle. Probably due to make the big leap to real fanatasy drafts next year. I know I am an oddball on this site, but this is the only place to talk informed fantasy. Enough.

    SAGNOF is key to my strategy in my game as well. I have four RP slots to fill. All players are available at their posted values. TOP RP Rodriguez costs 3320. Qualls,1880;Frankie,1570;Motte,1000(ain’t it great!);Devine,1500;Gregg,2120(didn’t realize he was that much of a bump until I just checked). Will have to see if I can fit him in. Thanks for putting up with me.

  31. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Simply Fred: I have no beef with points leagues. (I’ve never played in one, though.) But how does this work? Do you have a draft? Where you pick players and use up your alloted points?

    That seems to make it even more imperative to stick with junky (read: cheap) closers, reap the 30 cheap saves, and use your precious points on powerful bats.

  32. Hogleg says:
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    Dontrelle Willis = DHitcher

  33. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Hogleg: RuPitcher? Transgamer? Uncle Charlene?

  34. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Baron:you asked.CDM Budget Baseball.
    Hitters:TB+(SBX2)+R+RBI+BB
    Pitchers:(WX10)+(SVX10)+IP+K
    2 starting position players and 1 bench each position;6 OF and 2 DH(usually extra 1B or OF), 3 bench for Of and DH
    6 SP, 4 RP, 4 total bench pitchers
    Only 14 “buys” for the total season, so durability is prime.

  35. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    No, draft. All players have a cost. Total team not to exceed 60,000.

  36. Josh says:
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    Fowler is making a big push to make the team. the Rox had among the worst OF defenses in the majors last year, and Fowler is obviously a stud defensively. I think I also read that Seth Smith is hurting. I’m assuming if Fowler stays with the team, he’ll play most days. How do you see this situation playing out? I’m especially interested in this as the owner of 3 Ryan Spilborghi.

  37. Josh says:
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    My bad, it was Greg Smith that’s hurting, not Seth. So I’m guessing Fowler making the team would cost Spilborghs a job.

  38. Kinda random but what do you think about Carlos Guillen?

    I have him at 1b/3b on a team light on power. Is he someone worth keeping around, or should I look to trade.

  39. James says:
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    Ethier hitting 4th now in the Dodgers lineup. When did this happen?

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Josh: You have Spilborghi, huh? Sounds like an Italian race car. I love Fowler. He was in the Outfielders to target post. I think he could make the opening day roster, but I’m not sure he gets a full-time job. But then that would mean they hold back his progress. It’s an interesting question, but I don’t think Spilborghs would be effected, maybe Smith.

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @bpasinko: I don’t like him. My furor can be read numerous places on the site. Just search for him on the top left.

    @James: I wrote a whole post about this. Search Kemp on the top left, you’ll find it. I don’t think it stays like that forever anyway. May be gone by May.

  42. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Simply Fred: Ahhh! Looks too much like math! Hurts my eyes!

    So I assume this means multiple teams can buy the same player and own him simultaneously?

    If that is true, you need to wean yourself off and start with the hard stuff, pronto.

  43. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Josh: Common…OBP/SLG/AVG this spring

    Fowler .358/.450/.317 (sbs 6 out of 8)
    Spilborghs .441/.780/.360 (sbs 6 out of 8)

    Are you joking?

  44. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Grey: How much do you love Fowler? Like, more than Maybin?

  45. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Baron: You are right, of course! Too late in the game for this year. I will be prepared for next year.

  46. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    Josh: Have you read something somewhere that indicates Rox not following through with plan for Spilborghs to leadoff?

  47. @Grey: I was about to quote your nice projections for Guillen and shove it in your face, but realized it’s the rankings that matter. You ranked him 170th overall, outside the top 20 of 1b, and 18th 3b. When he gets OF he’ll be a great 1b/3b/of utility guy, but I see now, not someone I want starting at a corner spot. thanks.

  48. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @bpasinko: ID RATHER TAKE A CHANCE WITH A YOUGER GUY WITH MORE UPSIDE,,DONT KNOW WHO`S AVALILABLE IN YOUR LEAGUE BUT,IF YOU NEED POWER SURELY SOMEONE WITH POTENTIAL FOR MORE POWER NUMBERS AND PROBABLY GAMES PLAYED THAN GLLEN,,BUT HE IS SAFE FOR HIS 285-15-70-10

  49. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Maybin has playing time assured. I like Fowler a lot (future 30/30), but for this year and in a non-keeper I want Maybin.

  50. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @bpasinko: He just has no upside and his numbers resemble a middle infielder. It’s a drain having that in your lineup in a power production spot.

  51. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Josh:This from MLB Rox site, May 29:
    “Rockies believe Smith can bat second”
    Fowler will not be starting, most likely back to AAA

  52. In regard to your 1B/3B Guillen line of questioning, off last season you had Jorge Cantu rated higher @ 1B than most pundits. With your endorsement, I drafted him a little earlier than his average ADP for 1B/3B and felt immediate regret. With higher upside corners like Konerko, Blalock, Kouz, and A. LaRoche (3B) available, has time altered your rankings at all & would you make a switch? Any 1B/3B sleeper suggestions?

  53. Josh says:
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    @Simply Fred: how is that quote, in any way, the final word on Fowler? that looks like classic ST noise to me.

  54. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Josh: I apologize. Too brazen of me. It is all still unfold. Simply, I will be surprised if Fowler jumps over Smith or Spilborghs for a starting spot. But, I have been surprised many times. Respect to you.

  55. papasmurf says:
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    Any thoughts on Clay Buchholz? Masterson is now pegged to be a reliever, and it’s down to Buch and Penny. Hallelujah.

  56. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @papasmurf: Buchholz will get bumped and I see little value in him outside of AL-Onlys right now. What about Smoltz? Penny’s going to get first call.

  57. Colin says:
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    Nice reference to X-Files with Chris Carter lol.

    I grabbed Villanueva late for holds, this was good news for me so now I have 4 closers going into the first week! Hoffman’s age looks to be catching up to him and that changeup can’t save him forever. Hopefully I lucked out and get double digits saves from Carlos.

  58. Colin says:
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    Grey, what have you heard about Fowler? They sent down Gonzo and Murton now. Is it a straight battle for CF now with Spillz and Fowler? I can’t imagine they would use him as a reserve OF and hamper his development.

    These are the 6 on my bench in my NL only keeper league:

    Upton
    Rasmus
    Zimmerman
    Hanson
    Jurrjens
    Marshall

    Obviously Upton is going nowhere, but I like the upside of the other 5 players…do you think any of them are worth dropping to take a shot at Fowler? If I grab him now, I can keep him at $1 for 4 straight seasons.

  59. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Colin: Drop Marshall for him.

  60. Colin says:
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    I was thinking the same thing…thanks Grey I can’t thank you enough for all the advice the past few weeks.

  61. jollie fingers says:
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    GREY: you’ve probs answered this already somewhere in one of these threads, but given the choice of Spilborghs or Daniel Murphy who would you pick up? i need a backup/upgrade for Matsui in OF. My other best choices are Luke Scott and Kubel.

  62. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @jollie fingers: Tomato-tomahto. Try Murphy. Great username, btw.

  63. jollie fingers says:
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    thanks. its a step up from Derek’s Jeter et. al.

  64. qbot says:
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    I have Qualls, Bell and Hanrahan. Should I drop any for Gregg? I mean, he’ll definitely get more opportunities for saves than at least Bell and Hanrahan so I’m debating it

  65. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @qbot: I want all of them, but I wouldn’t drop any for Gregg.

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