You, “So, Grey, I appreciate a well-coiffed mustache as much as the next straight man, but are you trying to tell me Luis Valbuena isn’t a virtual lock at 3rd base?” Crazy shizz, right? The Cubs made the right move and went with Mike Olt to at least platoon at 3rd base. Here’s what I kinda said in the past, “Don’t you love when New Yorkers say the expression, “I got your _____ right here!” Coming out of the right taxi driver’s mouth, it’s like a cello being played by Yo-Yo Ma. Sometimes it can get confusing when you are actually trying to tell someone you’ve located something. Like, “I got your cellphone right here!” Probably sounds like you’re being an a-hole. Well, in that vein, take a a scruffy taxi driver’s voice, throw it through two packs a cigarettes a day for 20 years and give me a little, ‘I got your loyalty to Luis Valbuena right here!'” And that’s me kinda quoting me! I wrote that nonsense in 2012 when he was on the Rangers and behind Michael Young. That’s how long this whole Mike Olt saga has been going on. I received straight C’s in math, but I’m gonna try to count Olt’s post-hype hypeness. Okay, ready? Good. He’s a post-post-post-post-post-post-POST-post-hype prospect. Whew. I hope I didn’t put the italics ‘post’ where the capped ‘post’ was supposed to go. Olt was supposed to break out two years ago. Supposed to be a Chris Davis clone. Last year, Olt was in a backwards spiral of epic proportions. He hit .168 in 152 plate appearances at the Cubs Triple-A affiliate, but he had something wrong with his eyes. His eyes are fixed and he has other strengths. Strength being one of them. He can hit the ball a country mile (which is further than a city mile due to a lack of public transportation). He also has a decent enough glove. It’s a Rawlings. It’s a tanned leather. He will platoon in the early going, but, at this point, there is absolutely no reason to hold him back if he can hit. He won’t put up a great average, but there is a chance here for 30 homers if he can get the at-bats. 30-homer 3rd basemen don’t fall off the wagon every day, unless it’s an overcrowded wagon specifically labeled, “30-Homer 3rd Basemen.” Oh, and I’ve moved him up in my top 400. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for fantasy baseball:
Clayton Kershaw – Scratched from his Sunday start due to an inflamed back muscle. YAY! I mean, oh, J.B. Shucks, that stinks, I hope he’s okay….DAH! I can’t hide my glee that a guy I would never draft could be hurt. I sure hope this doesn’t come back to bite me in the form of bad karma, like a player I own everywhere getting hurt. *sees news on Jean Segura* Why do you test my will to live, Fantasy Baseball Overlord? Have I not made you proud with my facial grooming? My sleeper picks? Was it my love for Brad Miller? Did that bother you? Please answer before my neighbors call the cops because I’m screaming these questions out my window. As for Kershaw, it sounds pretty minor. Lowercase yay.
Yasiel Puig – Mattingly held a team meeting to address Puig’s behavior. Sources say the last straw for Mattingly was when Puig drew a mustache on his face with pine tar and did a sing-songy voice saying, “Ooh, my wife beat me up so bad. I am Don Mattingly.”
Jean Segura – Soreness in his shoulder has put Opening Day in question. I’m staying strong with my Segura love. It’s too late to backtrack. I won’t do that to you. I did lower my projections for him slightly and dropped him about ten spots in my top 400 if you still haven’t drafted. Now let’s form a prayer octagon for those of us who have drafted him already.
Francisco Liriano – Cleared to start on Opening Day and said his groin felt good. Obviously he’s not married.
Johnny Cueto – Will start on Opening Day. The Reds figure the sooner they can get him injured, the sooner they can get him rehabbing.
Devin Mesoraco – Had a successful batting practice session. Or sesh if he was smoking a doobie.
Bryon Buxton – Sprained wrist and will miss a few weeks because the Twins can’t have anything nice.
Alex Presley – Astros claimed him from waivers after the Twins released him. This is like when you put your very poor condition Brigitte Nielsen action figure from Rocky IV on eBay and someone actually gives you fifty cents for it.
Josh Rutledge – Optioned to the minors. I have his address if anyone wants to write him to offer support or to ask him if we were sleeping together and that’s why I still liked him this year after the huge disappointment last year.
Doug Fister – Lat strain will knock him out for a few weeks. Ugh, the irony of a Fister getting knocked out is so ripe it makes me want to bite into it and let the juices drip down my chin and onto my shirt. Yes, it stinks that what was once a small tier of pitchers I didn’t want in the top 40 starters has grown to a handful with Fister (pun point!).
Archie Bradley – Optioned to the minors. Bradley will be back sometime in the summer, assuming the Diamondbacks don’t trade him for a utility infielder.
Jon Niese – Went four innings in a minor league game. Niese pitched well, but the hitters said they were battling really long shadows.
Jose Valverde – As speculated here after inferring shizz from other sources, Valverde could see some save chances in April because Terry Collins doesn’t want to use Bobby Parnell two days in a row. Maybe if Parnell started going by Bob and put on his big boy pants, he could.
Edwin Encarnacion – His forearm is fine after taking a pitch off it. That’s a sigh of relief from everyone who drafted him this year. We’ve still yet to lose a 1st or 2nd rounder. Okay, I was about to delete that for fear of jinxing myself. Please let my guys be healthy.
Jose Reyes – Will play shortstop in an exhibition game in Montreal. Did Loria move the team again?
Chris Young – The Mariners signed him to potentially work his way into their rotation at some point and to get stuff off of high shelves.
Robbie Grossman – Will bat 2nd this year for the Astros. I think there might have just been confusion when the Astros manager was filling out his lineup card. He saw Altuve then everyone else and said, “Gross, man,” and the reporters misunderstood.
Salvador Perez – Was pulled after taking a pitch off his helmet. He’s fine. He has his abuelita on his shoulder watching over him.
Nolan Reimold – Will start the year on the DL. I’m guessing he’s not injured, but the O’s didn’t want to figure out how to get him at-bats so took the chicken route. That’s right, I called you chicken!
Joe Saunders – Won a spot in the Rangers rotation. The Rangers agreed to put Saunders in the rotation if he agreed to get injured very early on.
Robbie Ross – Likely 5th starter for the Rangers. I knew the Rangers could find another bullpen arm to inexplicably stretch out and ruin. Ross has been impressive in middle innings in his career — 8+ K-rate, under 3 BB/9 last year and a 2.62 ERA in 127 1/3 IP in his career. But, before we start giving each other a reach around or the female equivalent for the four girl readers, Ross has never thrown more than three innings in any major league game. Sure, in AL-Only leagues, you need to do what you can, but right now I’d wait and see in most mixed leagues.
Scott Baker – Signed with the Rangers. I’m reminded of the poem by Emily Dickinson, “Hope is the thing with feathers, That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all until you’ve signed Scott Baker.”
Tanner Scheppers – Has never started a major league game and was named the Opening Day starter for the Rangers. The Rangers don’t have many options, and Ron Washington loved the Abbott & Costello-type routine Tanner did with him. Tanner says, “Who’s Tanner?” Then Ron says, “I am.” Then Tanner says, “No, I am.” And then they back and forth for five minutes. Also, Tanner will be in this afternoon’s Buy/Sell — yes, it’s back.
Yu Darvish – He has no structural damage with his neck and should be able to return to the Rangers rotation shortly. That’s too bad, I was waiting to see who the Rangers went to next for their rotation. They could use a healthy dose of Barry Zito! The scary thing is, Tommy Hanson was released by the Rangers. That’s like getting kicked out of bed by a prostitute.
Alexi Ogando – Ron Washington said Ogando, a starter for the Rangers as of a week ago, and Neal Cotts will be Soria’s primary setup man with Feliz in the minors. Anyone else get the sense that Ron Washington changes his mind every other day and has a hard time focusing his attention? I wonder why.
Joe Blanton – Angels released him, eating the $8.5 million owed to him. That’s an afternoon snack for Arte Moreno.
Bobby Abreu – Phillies released him. He was released several times last year, once from an MLB team. So it’s not always an unhappy ending for Abreu.
Ed Lucas – Named to the Marlins team in the morning to replace Furcal, but then in the afternoon Lucas was hit by a pitch that broke his hand when the opposing pitcher heard someone in the stands yelling a misquoted movie line, “Throw it at Lucas!” Now, Donovan Solano will play 2nd base. Solano offers nothing but a warm body and a few steals for NL-Only leagues.
Carlos Carrasco – Won the 5th starter job in Cleveland. Is it me or do you feel like any day now he’s going to announce his real name is something like Pinche de la Muertes? Eh, maybe it’s me.
Dustin McGowan – Named the 5th starter in Toronto. When announcing the news, John Gibbons put on an instrumental Kansas “Dust In the Wind” 8-track.
Dylan Bundy – Threw from a half-mound. That sounds like something from Game of Thrones. “Sire, he does not know what he says, he’s a half-mound.”