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Between smoke breaks, Jim Leyland anointed Fernando Rodney the opening day closer. This sounds like when you were a kid and you tried to pulled something like, “Pops, you said not to put on my bathing suit until after lunch so I went into the pool in my dungarees.”  Leyland is saying Rodney is the opening day closer, then on April 7th he’ll call on Lyon to close a game.  In other words, this is still a coin flip.  I’m holding onto Brandon Lyon in every league I own him (which is a few actually).  I’m also picking up Rodney on the teams where I have room.  Later, Chad Cordero!  Don’t drop anyone that worthwhile for either of these schmohawks, but saves are saves and if someone’s getting them, they should be owned.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Rick Porcello – Big day in Motown.  The Tigers named Porcello their number five starter.  Porcello is easily my favorite Tigers starter.  Let’s see how highly we should consider that a compliment… Galarraga?  Blah.  Verlander?  Bleh.  Miner?  Blech.  Robertson?  Belch.  Jackson, Bonderman and Willis?  Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 Detroit Tigers pitching staff.   Porcello is worth a flier in AL-Only leagues and deep mixed leagues.  He’s very raw so you should expect some speed bumps, but sometimes hitters are so unfamiliar with a pitcher that the pitcher can catch them off guard for a month or two.

Troy Glaus – After a setback, he’ll be out until at least June.  Punt!

David Freese – He should be owned already in NL-Only leagues.  He’s the kind of player that can become mixed league worthy real fast.  So if you’re hurting at 3rd or Corner, I’d pick him up just to see if he can carry on his numbers from Triple-A where he hit .306 with 26 HRs.

Mark Teahen – We now bring you our Royals segment of the program.  Hey!  Don’t switch the channel!  Teahen’s bringing his yawnstipating offense to 2nd base where it’s almost digestible.  Stay tuned!

Sidney Ponson – Won the 4th (!) spot in the Royals rotation.   Yeah, the Royals are totally this year’s Rays.  If last year’s Rays had Eric Hinske pitching for them.

Scott Richmond – Named Jays 5th starter.  Look away, baby, look away.

Josh Outman – Named 5th– Oh, who cares?

Homer Bailey – Seems to have finally turned the corner.  Might make a splash this year as a mid-season callup.

Matt Joyce – Made the Rays out of spring, but once Upton returns he’s going to have a hard time working his way into the Kapler/Gross platoon.  Seriously, there’s not a bit of irony in that.

Jeremy Guthrie – Has looked real rusty so far.  He gets the Sawx, Yanks and Rays out of the gate, so if I’m owning him, I’m probably not starting him.

Ben Francisco – Not that we should put much stock into spring numbers, but Francisco has been doing it and doing it and doing it well.  Now if he’ll steal some bases like he did in the minors, we could have a potential breakout.

Chris Shelton – Batted .460 in spring and was sent to the minors.  Wait, he has a good ten more days in him!

Joe Saunders – Dead arm.  As opposed to what he had before which was what?  A live arm?  Please.

Chris Getz – Will bat 2nd.  DWWise is leading off.  Somebody tell Ozzie he’s holding his lineup card upside down.

From Around The Web

  1. Bob says:
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    Damn you Clint Hurdle and Jim Leyland. I have to make a decision on Rodney tonight and it would be nice to know if Manny Corpas is a crappy closer or not before I sacrifice a roster spot to pick him up.

  2. PWNightmare says:
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    I’d like to see a little Ryan Perry (or KYLE PERRY as ESPN has him listed three time on their website). BTW, I predict a jump in sales of Don’t Stop Believin’ in South Detroit.

    “Top pitching prospects Rick Porcello and Kyle Perry found out Wednesday they made the opening-day roster. Porcello, selected in the first round of the 2007 draft, and Perry, Detroit’s first-round pick last year, haven’t pitched above Class A.”

    Thanks, ESPN. I’m rushing to pick up KYLE PERRY.

  3. JR says:
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    I take solace in the fact that those Razzball owners who missed out on Horacio Ramirez have a consolation prize in Sir Sidney.

    My last 2B-punting question: I going my mocks right now. If it comes down to Weeks versus Felipe, which way do I go? I’m leaning toward Felipe. Does that mean I’m learning?

  4. PWNightmare says:
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    @JR: Well, how do you feel about a .240 avg?

  5. I really like Rodney as an above-average closing option this season. He should be a nice pickup for those in need of saves.

  6. Doug Ault says:
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    @Forrest : Beware of closers with two first names

  7. Doug Ault says:
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    cept Nathan of course ;-)

  8. Emporers Monkey says:
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    King Felix has been shelled in last two spring starts. Im starting to feel a bit of hesitation starting him opening day against the Twins. Its either him or Kuroda in SD. What you think, is Hiroki the man?

  9. fireorlime says:
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    @Emporers Monkey: Only if you’re eating crazy pie. Slap yourself and remember that spring training statistics are next to meaningless except when it comes to job battles. Keep Felix.

  10. Nick says:
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    I’m steering clear of Rodney after his pathetic 2008 season

  11. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    grey,ive been watching francisco this spring also,5 sb`s,,you guys are good,i usually like handcuffing my questionable starts players with west coast players,later starting times gives ample time to change lineup,still wishing Glavine would go down and take 1 for the team,but when your throwing 75 mph,its hard to hurt yourself like sid finch did yesterday

  12. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Bob: My money is on Street. Warning: This is a hunch. This is only a hunch.

    @Forrest: Fernando, is that you? Come on now — no lurking.

    @PWNightmare: What happened to the Tigers? Weren’t they supposed to win 120 games last year? Now they’ve shanghaied their AA starting staff for use in the major leagues?

    Didn’t they do this to Bonderman already — bring him up when he was, like, 20, and let him get his can smacked around for year after year? That didn’t work out so well.

    My whole Razz pitching staff is built around Ponson, which is difficult to do. Because when you have to build around Ponson, you really have to build AROUND Ponson. Because he’s fat.

  13. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    yeah last years tigers,verlander went for $30,unemployed sheff(i bought)stunk and renteria was awfull

  14. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    BREAKING! STREET OVER CORPAS! BREAKING!

    From Rotoworld:

    A source told the Denver Post’s Troy Renck that Huston Street has captured the Rockies’ closing job over Manny Corpas.

    Manager Clint Hurdle is expected to make it official Thursday afternoon. Corpas has allowed just one run this spring, but has also shown a significant drop in velocity. He’s averaging just 89 mph on his sinker. Street hasn’t required more than 12 pitches to retire the side in his last nine appearances. After a slow start, he has clearly shown that he’s the better bet in the ninth inning.

    I don’t know — he requires 12 pitches to retire the side? What is he, Dice-K? “Here’s my fastball. Now my curve. Now my slurve. Now my gyro-pitch. Now the reverse gyro. Now the gyro-change. Now the gyro-step-ball-change. Now the knuckleball. Now the ball-knuckle. Just you wait, batter. I got three more pitches you ain’t even seen yet!”

  15. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    ADDITIONAL SAVES-WHORE BULLETIN…. ADDITIONAL SAVES-WHORE BULLETIN…

    Brian Wilson hasn’t pitched in an exhibition game in eight days because of an infected middle finger and is in danger of missing the season opener.

    The Giants don’t get going until Tuesday, so time is on his side, but he’ll need to jump back into live action pretty soon. Wilson has thrown 10 scoreless innings this spring with a 9/4 K/BB ratio. Jeremy Affeldt would probably fill in if Wilson isn’t ready.

    Just when you thought the whoring was over, they drag you back in! It’s Saves Whore II: The Whorening.

    Grey, steel yourself for the “Affeldt over Blank?” barrage.

  16. mikey boy324 says:
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    who would you rather have hanrahan or street?

  17. Tony says:
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    so should i handcuff lyons with rodney….? I’d have to drop NUNEZ i think…. ughhhh why the hell would a team pay Lyons $4 million dollars and NOT use him as the closer, why the EFFFFFF would you get him and pay him that much if he’s not going to close!!!!!!

  18. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Street. You called it dood. Here is your complimentary Razzball bathrobe.

  19. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    I wish Yahoo would place the DL tag on players like Escobar and Lackey so that I could add guys like Rodney and Affeldt. Anyone have any idea when they add the DL tag to players?

  20. Tony says:
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    @IowaCubs: No joke… they put a dang DTD thing on if they have a hang nail, but a guy is known to be out until mid may or whenever and they can’t get on that?

  21. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Possible Grey headline on Affeldt/Wilson:

    “Affeldt to Wilson: I’ve got your Middle Reliever Right Here”

  22. Pops says:
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    Hey Grey,

    Porcello or Zimmermann to fill out a pitching staff in a deep ten team mixed league ?

  23. Colin says:
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    Hey Grey, I’m bleeding at 3rd base until Sandoval qualifies in the 10th game. I have Andy Laroche there for now, he’s guaranteed to start. Platoon is Larussa’s middle name, so would you still recommend Freese over Laroche?

  24. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Tony: Drop Nunez for Rodney.

    @Tony: I’ve never played with ESPN before. What does that DTD thing mean? I have to say, so far the Yahoo! interface is much superior, in terms of intuitiveness — like Apple-over-Windows superior.

    @IowaCubs: I was hoping for the Official Razzball Assless Chaps.

    @Pops: Isn’t “deep ten-team mixed league” an oxymoron? How deep can it be? It’s ten teams. Not deep enough, methinks, to justify adding a Nats prospect nor a Tigers rookie, at least without a real-season looksie. Think Bonderman, people!

    @Colin: For ten games I’d stick with LaRoche. Or you could check out our Flavor of the Week, Bonifacio! You can really taste the Facio!

    Does he qualify at 3B? For short-stint players, I like guys who can rack up counting stats like steals. Laroche could easily hang ten days of blah-tastic on you.

    p.s. Colin, are you in Yahoo!? If you are, you should be using Sandoval at C, no questions asked.

    One schmo in my league drafted Sandoval hella early, like 10th round — and is using him at 1B, because he also has Soto. Dude! You could have had Votto! I guess I should whisper that, Soto Votto-style.

  25. Pops says:
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    @IowaCubs: We have to wait until the teams offically put them on the DL, they don’t have to finalize their rosters until the 1st day of the season.

  26. Affeldt or Howry? And who do you like to caddy for F-Cord if he’s dinged in Cincy? Weathers or Burton?

    I grabbed Weathers when Cordero started pooing the mound. Would you cut him to grab Affeldt?

    I’m such a saves whore.

  27. Colin says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Baron, we moved to ESPN this year. They offer better service and live scoring for FREE! It was a no brainer considering Yahoo! takes forever to add players to their database as well. Of course that being said Yahoo! has Sandoval at C, 1B and 3rd, while ESPN has him at 1B only if you can believe. You wouldn’t believe the E-mail war I had with their support department. I tried explaining to them that Sandoval started 13 games at 1B and 12 at 3rd, so he should get both at least. But of course this fell upon deaf ears, or blind eyes in this case.

    LoL as for the Schmo that drafted him early….he didn’t have to, but he will be nicely rewarded! I think this kid will destroy NL pitching this year! He’s as pure a hitter as they come. Now if only they wouldn’t bat him behind Monsieur Pied-Lourd. (that’s Mr. Heavy-Foot in French!)

  28. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    Scott Baker to the DL. And another member of the Rudy Gamble Prophecies (risky pitchers) bites the dust.

  29. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    that`ll bite a few in the rear,rudy told us,i wanted nolasko bad,but feared this to him also,

  30. Pops says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Considerably deeper than a documentary on the Grand Canyon or The Olsen Twins.

  31. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Colin: Yahoo! is a bit crazy with the position-qualifications. I like Sandoval anywhere, but he’s a lot better if you can fit him at C. But he should reward you this year.

    I keep hoping Yahoo! will expand their player database, given this is complaint 1 through 9 in the Top Ten Complaints Fans Have About Yahoo!

  32. cubbies299 says:
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    @IowaCubs: You guys think Scott Baker’s buy low right now? OR just plain low? Also, I’m looking at Koji Uehara’s japan statline. Pretty similar to Kuroda’s (Koji has epic control but slightly worse K numbers). The strikeouts are mediocre, but he could be useful down the same vein that just about every Twins pitcher is somewhat useful.

    Also, how the hell does Brad Evans find work as a fantasy analyst? His pages are, on average, 3 paragraphs of content to every 5 mind-numbingly inapplicable aside paragraphs (comparing Chris Carpenter to Erin Brockovich? Really?). And he’s probably one of the highest paid fantasy analysts. Honestly, I can only imagine his boss, “Hey, Brad. Good piece on how you compare 99% owned Miguel Cabrera to a kielbasa sausage. Keep up the good work. Oh, and Behrens! Can you fluff Brad if he starts getting sweepy again?”

    Unbelievable.

  33. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Grey: I hate to say it (for the sake of the careers of those fine pitchers), but I’m rooting for Rudy to be right so that I don’t regret not drafting Nolasco and the rest.

  34. Eric W says:
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    keep a eye on Boston today. Penny is making the his final start of the season and if he stumbles clay bucholtz will probably snag the 5th starter spot. And the way he has pitched this spring it looks like he might be ready to deliver on all the hype.

  35. TomJ says:
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    Yes, Guthrie has looked terrible. He looked like he was throwing batting practice in his last spring game. With his straight batting practice fastballs, and his slow arching curves that settled very nicely just above the batter’s waist, it was not a pretty sight. While I’ve always that he was a strikeout pitch away from a breakout, it won’t be happening anytime soon. Truth be told, his April could be brutal.

  36. Matt says:
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    I have Sandoval at C in a Yahoo league. Some dude drafted Wieters in the 9th round and dropped him the other day. I picked him up (despite using my waiver priority on Flopez the day before). What kind of value should I be looking for with a trade of Wieters or Sandoval? I’d probably wait to shop them until Wieters is called up.

  37. rich says:
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    Yahoo League, Sandoval as catcher, Miggy at 1b, Aramis at 3b, Votto at Util, I am short on Closers.

    Drop Ianetta to grab another closer? If yes, Ziegler, Rodney, or Street? Or drop Figgins for any of the above 3 closers? I have read Grey’s thoughts on Figgins, but position eligibility (3b and 2b) as well as steals and run (Anaheim offense , Figgins batting 1rst) make him somewhat desirable.

    Damn, I can’t believe I am making this many moves before they even throw one pitch!

  38. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    i know its only spring games,but whats up with kemp being caught stealing 5 times with 3 sb`s??he worked out with a track coach in offseason,,im not freakin out yet but this isnt what id expect to see,,

  39. Juice says:
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    @Grey: Which closer would you start Week 1: Percival (@Bos, @Bos, @Bos, @Bal, @Bal) or F. Francisco (Cle, Cle, Cle, @Det, @Det)

  40. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    figgins eligibility at 2nd in yahoo?if so he`s worth keeping but drop ianetta for street or zieg,rodney only if desperate,if all these rp`s are available it must be a shallow league and 2 catchers arent needed,or worth much to trade

  41. Juice says:
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    @Grey (Part II): H2H Points League…Is Colby Rasmus making the major league roster? I have him tucked into my tight little minor league slot and have Brandon Wood on the bench. With Wood going to minors who would you rather have in that slot?

  42. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eric W: Let me guess, you’re a Sawx fan.

    @TomJ: Agreed.

    @Matt: Assuming you can hold out until Wieters is called up, you could get a very solid hitter/pitcher for him. I imagine Wainwright quality pitcher or a 2nd tier outfielder.

    @rich: Drop Iannetta for Ziegler. I’d want to own all three closers though.

    @AL KOHOLIC: I blame Edwin Moses.

    @Juice: Francisco — Rasmus

  43. Ross says:
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    I’m trying to sell high on my closers to get some sweet value from morons in the league. prince, ludwick, soria for wright bruce and mike gonzolez is on the table. what do you guys think??

  44. Frank Rizzo says:
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    How much stock should we put into Josh Field’s ridiculous numbers in spring training? .443 BA and a .493 OBP.

  45. NoonTime says:
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    @Ross: I think it sucks for you that you are in a league of morons.

  46. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Ross: I want the Wright side.

    @Frank Rizzo: Eh, he’s a .250 hitter so not much stock in those numbers. He’s in a good position to hit some home runs though.

  47. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Ross: Wright is better than Prince, and Ludwick/Bruce and Soria/Gonzo is more or less a wash*. I’d rather be on the side getting Wright, though it’s not exactly a hornswoggle of a deal.

    *Yes, yes, I know Soria is much better than Gonzo, but they’re just saves, people. They’re just saves.

  48. logs says:
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    I’m in a 10-team, mixed Yahoo league. One guy has four catchers.
    c – Martin
    utl – Soto
    bn – Sandoval
    bn – Navarro
    The same guy has Sheets.

  49. sean says:
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    @grey: i see everyone in my leagues scrambling to make useless moves before the start of the season (ie: dropping litsch for lannan, dropping garrett anderson for crapolanco). any advice as to how to spend the last few days before the frenzy begins, so that i can avoid over-analyzing my team(s)…

  50. royce! says:
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    I’m high on Greene…seems La Russa is as well, might bat him 4th or 5th. http://tiny.cc/rTSLq

    I know that not much stock should be placed in ST #s, but he’s got like 3 K’s. He must be doing something different. Are the Cards’ ST facilities near those of the O’s? Maybe he got into Adam Jones’ stash…

  51. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Frank Rizzo: I usually give ST stats as much credence as I’d give any two week hot-streak during the season. Is he swinging the bat well? Yes. Has he turned into George Brett? Prolly not.

    I use ST stats to choose between late-round fliers (or as a factor at least) but not to reassess an entire off-season’s worth of strategizing.

  52. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @sean: Don’t make those kind of moves.

    Why are people making offensive swaps BEFORE THE SEASON STARTS? Unless you look at your team and realize “Drat! I totally forgot to draft a second baseman!” or “Holy smokes! My entire OF got sent to AAA!” there’s not much point in swapping one benchwarmer for another.

    People’s is just antsy, I guess.

  53. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @royce!: How would you like to be a pitcher facing Pujols — with Khalil Greene on deck? I would be tossing four balls then thanking my lucky stars.

  54. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @logs: So it’s a nine team league.

    @sean: Read a book? I wouldn’t do anything but shuffle potential closers at this point, unless someone is glaring for an upgrade.

    @royce!: I agree with Baron. Greene’s been pretty awful his entire career but he has power. Maybe he hits 25 HRs with a .250 average this year instead of .230. If he comes out of the gate hitting .300 in April, I’ll be telling you to trade him in May.

    EDIT: Typo. Word.

  55. Frank Rizzo says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: I wouldn’t change anything I did based on ST numbers, I was just wondering out loud about Fields. His 2007 numbers don’t suck.

    Speaking of ST numbers, my 1B Ryan Howard just punched out his 10th HR of the spring. Rock solid lead pipe lock of the year……Howard = 2009 MVP. 110/59/150/.287…..Woooohoooo!

  56. NoonTime says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: to win the side bet for most transactions of course! Or I don’t know… do a large number of league transactions boost the competitive factor of the league…. Hello Taco Bell I am coming for you!

  57. brad says:
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    @sean: Yeah, I understand making speculative moves who new info comes out, I picked up Daniel Murphy in two leagues when it became clear he would likely bat 2nd. And I picked up Burriss in my deepest league (where I have Andrus at SS already) now I’ve got two lottery tickets instead of one! But there’s no reason to make the kind of moves you described.

    That said, there’s no real reason not to drop Litsch for Lannan or Garrett for Flacido, unless there’s a cap on moves or you happen to drop a guy who comes out of the gate white-hot and gets picked up by someone else. The chances of that happening are about the same as picking someone up who comes out white-hot. I say go ahead and drop scrubs for scrubs if you want. Or don’t. Either way.

  58. agarthered says:
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    Howard hit’s his 10th jack of ST, if he get’s off to a fast start, he could have some scary numbers by season’s end.

  59. Euroalien says:
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    12 team 5 x 5 Keeper League – Is Mike Lowell an upgrade over either Stewart or Mora at 3B? If so do I drop one to pick up Lowell?

    Based on projected numbers I am going to need some help in Avg and SBs…… Any thoughts on the following guys…… Brett Gardner, Travis Snider, Carlos Gomez, Randy Winn, Todd Helton and David Freese. How would you rank them? Thanks

  60. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    @Frank Rizzo: rizzo i hope so!just traded for him and i need it

  61. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Euroalien: Drop Mora for Lowell.

    I like them Gardner, Gomez, Winn, Helton, Freese, Snider.

  62. jsp2014 says:
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    Dickerson just got dropped in an OBP league I’m in. Do you think he’s worth dropping Rasmus for? With Lyon/Rodney clogging up my roster, I have no one else to drop.

  63. Colin says:
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    Grey – for my 10 day rental, would you go with Feliz or Laroche?

  64. Colin says:
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    Thanks Grey.

  65. SP says:
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    Grey, is there a place I can find a list of all the platoons in the majors?

  66. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SP: My brain? Not sure.

  67. SP says:
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    Wait nevermind, that’s only through May 4 of last year. Useless.

  68. Steve says:
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    @AL KOHOLIC: Didn’t Howard have a great spring last year too?

    My ulcer from his first three months has only just gone away…

  69. BigFatHippo says:
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    @Steve: I would rather see Howard hitting line drives to all fields in ST, rather than jacks.

    Favorable weather in Florida leads to unfavorable swings in Philly, Colorado, Washington, etc. in April.

  70. Sabs says:
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    @SP: Try MLBDepthCharts.com, it’s fairly new and I’ve found it to be a really helpful resource so far. I’ve been meaning to recommend the site to you folks if you haven’t stumbled across it yet, but SP asked so there you have it.

  71. Sabs says:
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    And no I don’t write for it (just realized how Billy Mays-esque I just sounded — Unbelievable!).

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