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One day the Devil challenged the Big Man upstairs to a baseball game.

Smiling, God proclaimed, “You don’t have a chance. I have Babe Ruth. I have Ted Williams. I have Stan the Man. All the greatest players are up here.”

“Yes”, snickered the Devil, “but I have Ty Cobb and all the umpires.”

Advantage Beelzebub. *lightning strike/thunderclap*

No need to get all Faustian here. No need to go down to the crossroads. And forget about trying to pull a Johnny Favorite on Louis Cyphre. That doesn’t end well and I got a thing about chickens. Gaining an advantage in Fantasy Baseball is the easiest way to keep your team out of fantasy Hell. The best ways to gain an advantage? Embrace Razzball as your bible, chant the podcast theme song, sacrifice your Luis Tiant bobblehead at the altar of the Stream-o-Nator and become the pope of the waiver wire. Being able to shrewdly find that player who throws a miracle pitch for a Cy Young Award (RA Dickey) or the May prospect that becomes the Rookie of the Year (Mike Trout is an Angel) will be the difference between hoisting the holy fantasy grail high above your head while “Spirit in the Sky” plays in the background or being tied to the bed and hurling pea soup all over Father Karras. Now kindly undo these straps.
It’s time to Jam it or Cram it.

Jam or Cram: Denard Span, OF, Washington Nationals

Opening Rank: Razzball #228, Yahoo #280
Current Rank: Yahoo #162, ESPN #138
Availability: He’s available in about 60% of leagues.
The Gist: If you were one of those that drafted Ichiro, Michael Bourn or Brett Gardner 100 spots higher, you may want to take a serious look at Span. And by “may”, I mean stop your manscaping and clear a roster spot for him now. Men are supposed to have hair down there. Span sat out a few games this week along with Bryce Harper when the flu hit the Nationals’ Clubhouse. After his mom’s grilled cheese and tomato soup, plus a Pedialyte IV connected directly into the brainstem, Span is back in the leadoff spot for a potent Nationals lineup. Span has never hit more than 10 HR in a season, but I expect him to put up better numbers with the Nats this year than his 2010 season in Minnesota where he scored 85 runs and swiped 26 bases.
Key Stats: Span reached base in 15 of his first 30 plate appearances to start the season.
April Don’t Mean $@&#: Span is hitting .313 with 9 R, 0 HR, 5 RBI and 3 SB
A gooey factoid for ya: The Nats have used over 30 different leadoff hitters since they defected from Canada in 2005. Skipper Davey Johnson used five different guys there last year alone.
The X-File: If Span can stay healthy he will excel in this lineup. I like the potential for 95 R and 25 SB. In a related story, my old high school guidance counselor said he liked my potential for completely wasting my potential. I’ll drink to that. Cheers, Mr. Wiggler.

Now you decide: Jam it or Cram it?

For our next jam or cram let’s say you are a Jose Reyes fan and after tearing his jersey from your chest and vowing to never grow a King Tut beard again, you finally get around to finding a replacement at your shortstop position. That’s when you discover the SS position is a barren wasteland filled with guys named Marwin. I am pretty sure Grey mentioned a certain Josh Rutledge here a few times but you chose to ignore the ‘stache. And you had such potential.

Jam it or Cram it: Brandon Crawford, SS, San Francisco Giants

Opening Rank: Razzball had him outside the top 400. Yahoo threw a dart and hit on #333
Current Rank: Yahoo #55, ESPN #62
Availability: He’s out there in about 70% of leagues.
The Gist: Here’s what it says on Brandon Crawford’s Twitter page, “I can’t hear the critics talkin’ over the applause.” Now, I don’t follow Brandon on Twitter, but I just had to check to see if he is an actual person. He is. And apparently he’s a real baseball player too. Crawford is off to an applause filled start: .328 AV, .415 OBP, .561 SLG and .977 OPS. If you are hurting at SS, jam B-Craw (that’s what he asked me to call him when we tweet each other late at night) into your lineup and reap the rewards before the eventual cool down. Right now Crawford is hitting for average and showing some never-before-seen power. He has 3 HR through the first 18 games. In his previous 208 games he had just 7. What’s the difference? 4 of course.
Key Stats: Crawford is on pace for a .330/30/70 season. And I’m on pace to win Survivor: Caramoan because I haven’t showered in 3 weeks. Hold on, I’m going to tweet that to B-Craw. He loves self-deprecating humor.
April Don’t Mean $@&#: Crawford is hitting .328 with 12 R, 3 HR and 7 RBI.
A gooey factoid for ya: Crawford joined Bobby Bonds and Brian Dallimore as the only Giants players whose first career hit was a grand slam. Brian Dallimore? Wasn’t he the sheriff in “First Blood”?
The X-File: Brandon Crawford may be your answer at shortstop until your HanRam/Jeter/Reyes wobbles back on the field. Crawford is riding high right now, hitting in 13 of his last 15 games. Enjoy it while you can. As the good Dr. Thompson once said, “buy the ticket, take the ride”. Just know when to get off. Me thinks the applause ends soon.

Now you decide: Jam it or Cram?

*Bonus Tracks* Jam it or Cram it SP’s for the week:
Jose Quintana vs. CLE, Jam
Tim Hudson vs. COL, Cram
Ryan Dempster vs. HOU, Jam
James McDonald vs. PHI, Cram

Results From Last Week:
AJ Griffin SP: ND, 2 ER, 4 BB, 8 K. I made a case for starting Absinthe Julius. Not a bad start. Don’t like those walks, but I’ll take the 2 ER and the K’s. Jam
Note to self: Open Absinthe Julius at local mall.
Brandon Moss 1B/OF: Hit .125 with 3 RBI for the week. I said to keep an eye on the family situation. Sure enough, Moss was on daddy leave for most of the week. Cram
Omar Infante 2B: Had one hit for the week. Jim Leyland was seen licking his nicotine patch repeatedly. Cram

As far as the SP picks last week, I hit on Tommy Milone (jam), Barry Zito (cram) and Jon Niese (cram). I missed on JA Happ who gave up 5 runs and took the loss. And got an “I’ll take it” performance from Shelby Miller who took the loss despite only giving up 2 runs with 6 K.

Check out the new Razzball Podcast with Nick and us Razzballers every Tuesday and look for my daily Jam it or Cram it on Twitter @TheGuruGS

As a longtime New Englander and lifelong Red Sox fan just a quick thought on the events in Boston last week: Remarkable job by law enforcement, medical and rescue personnel and the resilient people of Boston. During such a tragic time for so many, it was refreshing to see the outpouring of support from around the US and at Major League Ballparks. Let’s hope we never have to hear “Sweet Caroline” at Yankee Stadium again.

From Around The Web

  1. Jack Full of Hate says:
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    you lost me at the chant of the podcast theme song, maybe if it was a hip hop track then we got something there, i’m holding out. I don’t have a luis tiant bobblehead, will a bobby grich do?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Grich will do.

      Thanks for suggesting a daily jam or cram.

      • Jack Full of Hate says:
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        @The Guru: you’re welcome, always try to help the razz, whats your twitter handle?

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
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          @TheGuruGS
          Are you in the twittersphere yet?

          • Jack Full of Hate says:
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            @The Guru: just starting to tip in the toes, I’m a technophobe, so its been a rough transition, but i had to get a new phone for work and its easier to do that….. oh how I miss my flip phone,it doubled as a bottle opener and a fist pack.

            • The Guru

              The Guru says:
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              Ha! I miss 8-tracks and Zima.

              • Jack Full of Hate says:
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                @The Guru: 8 tracks and Zima? I think you got your decades crossed. All that meditation is getting your wires crossed of the reality past, I think it would be 8 tracks and Olympia Gold and Zima and the Guru’s for lover”s mix tape……you know you made a lot of mix tapes

                • The Guru

                  The Guru says:
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                  8-tracks and Schlitz for everyone. To all my friends!

                  • Jack Full of Hate says:
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                    @The Guru: the cosmos are back in alignment

                    I’m following you on Twitter now

                    • The Guru

                      The Guru says:
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                      Thanks Jack. 6 pack of Zima headed your way.

                  • Jack Full of Hate says:
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                    @The Guru: oooh, I’m going to grab me some Boone’s and Cisco and it will be high school all over again

                    • Drongo McReddickbeard says:
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                      I enjoyed that exchange.

                  • Rob says:
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                    @The Guru: Barfly reference- I love it!

  2. Mariner Mike says:
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    estrada and hammels or quintana and corbin which two do you think?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Estrada and Hammels ROS. Quintana is looking like a good pick up though.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      I am assuming you meant Jason Hammel.

  3. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    hmm…

    i give up ryu and frazier, i get price.

    frazier is my util guy and has 1B/3B eligibility. i have goldschmidt at 1B, longoria at 3B, and machado on the bench for 3B and swisher at my other UTIL spot with 1B eligbility.

    i lost greinke (thanks carlos), but have a staff of wainwright anchoring my staff and ryu, fister, shelby miller, detwiler, chacin, quintana, cingrani, and wandwagon that i can play matchups with.

    first glance says do the deal, but maybe it’s grey in my head, but i don’t see anything in frazier’s numbers that screams regression is coming (except for a bit in the power dept, but he should still hit ~30 bombs even if he regresses to last season’s ISO). we keep 5 guys, but no round or salary penalties, just your straight up 5 best guys.

    • ThePoonTycoon says:
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      @ThePoonTycoon: sorry about the rambling, but what’s your opinion on the deal?

      • The Guru

        The Guru says:
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        No prob. Lots of upside of your staff.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      I would keep Ryu and Frazier and use SON like Hell. Have I mentioned my mancrush on Frazier? It’s Grey/Rutledge size.

      • ThePoonTycoon says:
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        @The Guru: thanks, that’s what i was kinda leaning towards, but needed verification. i think my staff can weather the storm until greinke is back.

  4. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Do you like Span over Domonic Brown in a roto league?

    Speaking of past Jam It and Cram It contestants, who do you like more ROS – AJ Griffin or Jon Niese? When I watch Niese pitch, it seems like his control is an issue. Maybe he just has mechanics issues to work through this April. I think he did the same thing last year.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      I’m a fan of Span and Spam. Like the amount of runs he’ll provide.

      You’re right about Niese. Looks kind of funky, but he was terrible last spring too with a ERA over 6. I have him on a few teams and think he will be more like the second half of last year Jon than start of this year Jonathon.

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        Span and Spam both provide plenty of runs.

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
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          You got it!

      • Shake N Bacon says:
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        @The Guru: Cool, thanks for the reply. Yeah Niese is my 4th pitcher so I’m gonna just spot start him against really good matchups until he gets his stuff dialed in. I think I’m going to swap out Brown for Span.

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
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          I concur.

  5. ThePoonTycoon says:
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    new offer, same team as above.

    i get price, i give bruce.

    i’d slot swisher into the OF spot and 1 of rizzo, machado, and berkman into the UTIL spot vacated by swisher. (weekly lineups, so i’m not as opposed to bench bats with the upside of rizzo and machado, or even berkman if he stays healthy)

    thoughts?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      You look good with Wainwright as your ace. Personally I never give up an everyday bat like Bruce for Price.

  6. Darcy Butler says:
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    He’s a god, he’s a man, he’s a ghost, he’s a guru

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      A lady that likes baseball AND Nick Cave?! By any chance do you like Zima, too?

      • Darcy Butler says:
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        @The Guru: I only drink it when I’m in Japan. I’m usually a Sam Adams girl.

        • Drongo McReddickbeard says:
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          OK, I liked that exchange too.

  7. Shake N Bacon says:
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    Which side of this trade do you like better?

    I give:
    McCutchen
    Hosmer
    Jesus Montero

    for

    Prince Fielder
    Jay Bruce
    Miguel Montero

    My other OFs are J-Up and Giancarlo. My current 1B consist of Hosmer and Chris Carter. Typically I like to get the best player out of the deal (McCutchen) but my 1B is weak right now and I have Aoki and then Span is on the waiver wire, so I could play those guys until Bruce gets going.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      As much as I like your Michael Caine avatar, I could not give up the #3 pick in that deal. Can you grab Mark Reynolds or Chris Johnson off waivers for 1B?

      • Shake N Bacon says:
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        @The Guru: Both taken already. Here are some 1B options on the waiver wire:

        Yonder Alonso
        Brandon Moss
        Kendrys Morales
        Jason Giambi
        Kyle Blanks
        Mitch Moreland

        Kinda bleak. So are the catchers on the wire.

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
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          I like Moss out of that bunch. I can not bring myself…to..trade…Dread Pirate.

  8. Bourne says:
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    I am hoping Span is a good player all year. I grabbed him after three days of hitless Lind to start the season. Been a lot better than that so I already won! The only problem with Jam Its are the log Jams they cause of good players with hot ones available to grab too.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Good call on grabbing Span early and good point on log jams. However, I am a chronic rosterbator.

  9. Weeza says:
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    B-Craw or JJ Hardy as an injury replacement?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      For now it’s B-Craw. I think I’d take a guy named Marwin before Jimmy Jam right now.

  10. TooShort says:
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    Had Reyes go down for the squad last week. Got offered Rutledge for Youkilis. Worth it?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Hi TooShort, make that deal now! Thanks for writing.

  11. Chilly Cheese Dog says:
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    Vernon Wells or Daniel Nava

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      They are about equal, but I’d take Wells over Nava. Nava is in a sort of platoon right now.

  12. Steve R says:
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    Waiver wire SP – Quintana or Villaneuva? Or is there somebody else I should target? Thanks in advance.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Hey Steve, I am streaming Quintana against the Indians for sure this week. Whats the rest of your staff look like?

      • Steve R says:
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        @The Guru: Thanks for the quick reply- Price, Moore, Harvey, Samardjiza, Niese, Fernandez, J. Johnson… 12 team league, Standard besides QS replacing W, and adding IP as a category. I have an extra spot with Hill on the DL.

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
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          I might consider dropping Johnson and grabbing Quintana and Villaneuva.

          • Steve R says:
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            @The Guru: Cool. I hate to give up on Josh Johnson but looks like he is damaged goods at this point, huh? Also, my league has an N/A slot too. Do you know of any prospects coming up soon that are worth stashing there?

            • The Guru

              The Guru says:
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              Not a Johnson fan, especially in the AL. Check out Scott Evans for prospects. He really knows his stuff. Rendon was just called up and I like. Expecting Myers will get the call soon as well.

  13. Gareth says:
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    I’m thinking of dropping Seager as Lawrie is now back from the DL. Seager would stay on my Bench anyway as my offense is very strong AND I have A-ram due back at the end of the month.

    I have 5 closers and the weakest is Parnell. I can live with having just 4 (Frieri, Betancourt, Street, League).

    The Free agent pool is looking appealing right now. Someone just dropped Brandon Morrow and another guy got rid of Marco Estrada this week (Panic Drops?).

    Anyway – Would you drop Seager and Parnell for Morrow and Estrada?

    I’m thinking yes but I only have the 7th Waiver claim spot, so I may miss out on Morrow.

    Should I drop Seager for Estrada straight up then waiver drop Parnell for Morrow? That way if I miss out on Morrow I still have that extra closer to try to trade as Seagers value is low right now. There are no other closers on the wire with the exception of Mujica. Someone picked up Bailey today.

    What would you do?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Hey Gareth, yeah sounds like some panic drops. Drop Seager for Estrada and put that waiver in for Morrow. Good plan. Glad you came up with it.

  14. Banders says:
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    Which side would you rather have?

    Tulo, Stanton and Howard

    or

    Kemp, Starlin, and A. Craig

  15. The Guru

    The Guru says:
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    Kind of a risk/reward with the first 3. But I like risky business. Seriously though, Giancarlo side. He is about to go on a tear. At least I hope so. He’s on 3 of my teams.

  16. Gareth says:
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    How do you like Vogelsong for week 4 – Arizona Home, San Diego Away?

    I could add him for the two starts for Parnell, then use Vogelsong immediately for the waiver claim, AND I still get Vogelsongs 2 starts?

    What do you reckon? Or go with the other plan?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      I like that plan. Yeah. I think the SON may agree as well.

  17. chunk says:
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    been ridin with Bcraw at MI with great results, but 3 days in a row now with nothing to show for it. Wondering if it’s time to cram him and grab Didi who is off to a flaming start? Another day like tonight and Didi will start flying off waivers

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      I like the B-Craw match up this week. Give him another game or two.

  18. Jason says:
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    Hey man great read. I have Braun but I think I may move him. The deal would be Braun marte and Jose Fernandez for Felix heyward and Altuve.

    I gotta take that right?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Thanks Jason but I am on the Braun side of that one.

      • Jason says:
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        @The Guru: really?

        That’s interesting. I thought I had a slam dunk here. May e in a vacuum but this move allows me to move zobrist to SS and adds Felix to verlander stras Moore minor iwakuma and bailey.

        Please explain your opinion.

        • The Guru

          The Guru says:
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          I can’t see giving up an MVP and a possible 20/20 in Marte for a slumping Heyward, a 2B no better than you have now and another ace. Your pitching is fine. Keep those bats.

          • Jason says:
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            @The Guru: fair enough. It’s a H2H 10 tm league. You can never have too much pitching. Abd yes Altuve may be just as good as zobrist but I also have asdrubel Cabrera clogging me up. I like heyward as a replacement bat for Braun. Granted he won’t come close to replicating Braun this year but we do get to keep 5. Your feelings aside do you think it is an even deal ?

            • The Guru

              The Guru says:
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              Pitching and defense win in real baseball. In fantasy the bats win. You have Stras and Verlander. Have you tried plugging your team into the online war room just to see how your stats might end up looking?

              • Jason says:
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                @The Guru: I haven’t but will. Ill do both roster possibilities. Curious to see.

                • The Guru

                  The Guru says:
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                  Let me know. I am curious.

  19. Brendan says:
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    Should I drop Franklin Gutierrez, Travis Hafner, or Josh Reddick to pick up Span? Or stick with what I have? I need runs.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Drop the big Fragu. Or wait a day and see if he ends up on the DL. Reports are he strained his groin. Either way he won’t help you for awhile.

  20. sul says:
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    Thoughts on receiving matt moore and giving up Jennings in a 10 team keeper?
    My OF is Cargo, Stanton, Heyward, Marte, and Gordon
    Pitching is The Shark, Kershaw, Milone, Ryu, The Freak, Niese, and Detwiler.
    Or do I play that waiver wire? (I’m 1st in R & SB and 7th in Whip, K, & ERA.

    • sul says:
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      @sul: play the waiver wire for pitching that is…

      • The Guru

        The Guru says:
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        With that outfield it sounds like a fair trade. Good luck.

        • Fratstar says:
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          @The Guru:

          I gotta ask….who the hell is The Shark? It’s killing me here smalls

          • The Guru

            The Guru says:
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            Jeff Samardzija was nicknamed “the shark” by his Notre Dame teammates because he once bit a sorority sister in a kiddie pool…allegedly. The preceding gooey factoid may not be completely true.

  21. ferris says:
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    do you think harvey is a sell in nl-only for a premier but perhaps slumping bat (like a stanton or kemp)?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      I think if you can sell high for a top 10 bat I’d do it. Good call.

  22. Rags says:
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    NL-only, 2 catcher, OBP league. Ryan Hanigan was mercifully put down, I mean, put on the DL. No bench, so if you own them, they start. Dioner Navarro and Humberto Quintero are the best options on the wire. Is Navarro worth rostering, or better to roll with injured Hanigan putting up blanks and not have navarro hurting me in my second catcher spot?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Ouch! If those are your best options, Navarro it is based simply on his guitar work in Janes Addiction.

  23. Tom Thumb says:
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    I just got offered Miggy/Frazier/Heyward for my Longo/Butler/BJ Upton. This is a keeper with OBP and XBH. Thoughts?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Miggy side. Heyward will end up better than Upton. And I have a mancrush on Frazier. Have you heard?

      • Tom Thumb says:
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        @The Guru: I think I might have gotten that feeling ha!

  24. Marti says:
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    Werth or Ike this week?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Trying so hard to like Ike and hating myself for it. It’s not werth it. Your answer was given in a sort of riddle.

  25. Mariner Mike says:
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    keep kendrys morales or pick up vernon wells have many first baseman butler,encarcion, and cuddyer thank you

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Enjoy this Wells while it lasts. What happened to the real Vernon Wells? Maybe its the pinstripes. Had 2 HR and 3 RBI this week.

  26. poundsand says:
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    Span or Crisp?

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Crisp

  27. Moose Out Front says:
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    Nice article. Span is a pickup I’ve been needing to make but it’s hard reading razzball and knowing all of the good players. No more room.

    2 questions and I’ll hang up and listen:
    Dropping Tommy Hanson for one of: Hughes, Gee, K.Kendrick. Like Hughes talent, but feel better with a NL guy. Which of these 4 for ROS? 6x6H2H league that counts losses.

    Feeling god with Segura at SS for ROS. Does that make Espinosa a drop? Need to be able to churn that last bench spot and can’t be carrying 2 SS’s. Thanks for your help.

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Thanks Moose. I am rolling with Kendrick here. Was hoping more out of Gee but not seeing it.

      Drop Espinosa. I was in the same spot with Segura. Feeling good about it now. Maybe lose sleep later, but the meds will help.

      • Moose Out Front says:
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        @The Guru: I really appreciate the help. I hate to drop anyone premature, but Espinosa’s ceiling just isn’t that high anyway. Should have waited on Rutledge.

  28. Matt says:
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    Denard Span or Seth Smith, which would you pick up?

    Stats in my league are H/R/HR/RBI/SB/TB/OBP/AVG

    • The Guru

      The Guru says:
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      Span is going to have a real shot at 100 runs and over 20 steals but no power.

Comments are closed.