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Losing Gary Sheffield from your fantasy baseball team is about the best thing that could’ve happened to you if you owned him. This isn’t really a big fantasy story as far as Sheff goes.  He was a decrepit ex-roider.  (He was a great hitter to watch in his prime and it’s sad when great players devolve into nomadic, expensive NVORPS (negligible value over replacement players).  For every neat and tidy retirement like Ripken and Gwynn, there seems to be at least three like this.) The best thing that could happen is he ends his career at 499 homers.  Instant karma’s gonna get you.  What this does do is open up a spot for someone else.  As I said in the comments yesterday, “The Thames runs through it.”  Damn, I’m pithy.  I’m like Charles Nelson Reilly on The Match Game pithy.  RIP, C N R, you were one of a kind… Until me.  Marcus Thames is a source of 20 – 25 HRs and a .240 average.  Not bad for AL-only but not remarcusable.  He usually only plays against lefties, so I’m not sure if Sheff’s departure gives him that many more ABs.  He’s a masher to watch.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Joey Devine – Now Aching Joey Devine is off to see Dr. Freeze.  Ugh.  This never turns out well.  Casilla is Ziegler’s handcuff for the time being.

Scott Lewis – Gave up 10 runs in less than 4 innings.  As I said last week when he got the starting job, you don’t really want him.

Justin Duchscherer – Surgery went well.  A stitch without a hitch!  (Alliteration in lieu of wit.)  He’ll be back by June.  Wake me when I care.

Emmanuel Burriss – Webster won the 2nd base job!  The cherubby 2B stole 51 SB in a minor league season and SAGNOF is better at MI than OF.

David Murphy – As I said in my fantasy baseball 300, platoon this doode with Byrd.

Alexi Casilla – Why does every starting MI in the AL Central have a Russian first name?  The Tigers need Edgar back to round out the Perestroika.  Casilla’s hitting over .400 in spring training and he stole 50 SBS at A/AA in 2006 then 11 in a short stint with the Twins in 2007.  But he only stole 7 last year in 385 ABs with the Twins.  At MI, it doesn’t really matter if you need steals.

Alexei Ramirez – Fellow comrade was back in the lineup and again in the eight hole.  Diamonds are from Sierra Leone and Ozzie’s from Mars.  I’m not going to stress this yet, but if it continues into the season, Ozzie and I will be having words.

Russell Branyan – Having a nice spring.  When Branyan grows up, he wants to be Jack Cust.

Huston Street – Announced he’ll find out by Thursday if he’s the closer.  I think he gets over that last… *pinkie to mouth* Hurdle.

Ryan Braun – Left the game yesterday with a bruised thumb.  X-rays turned up negative.  I hear that means it’s positive.  Not sure why they can’t just say that.

Dexter Fowler – Made the club.  Keepers and NL-Only’ers rejoice.

Gaby Sanchez – He (she?) was optioned to The Big Easy.  The opening for Bonifacio appears to widen.

Jeff Keppinger – Big trade came in off the wire yesterday.  Keppinger to the Astros.  Now that’s how to build a team up after losing Ausmus.  We were rooting for Bill Bialystock from Houston’s Double-A affiliate in Corpus Christi to get promoted and platoon with Blum.  Now that’s a platoon that can produce!

Geoff Blum – Seems pretty puzzled that he’s in the running for opening day 3rd baseman, saying “There’s an outside chance. I’m not going to believe it until I see my name in the lineup or they give me the OK…”  Geoff added, “I can’t believe my wife has sex with me.  I don’t believe she’s going to let me until I have it halfway in.”

From Around The Web

  1. ep says:
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    Grey,
    He’s a starter now, but what kind of value does Burriss have?
    The Giants don’t have anything around him offensively.

  2. agarthered says:
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    I’ll join you in having words with Ozzie, if sexy alexei seriously bats 8th..

  3. Nick says:
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    Sorry to bring up more closer posts but thats the only area that needs my attention…I have Jenks, Motte, Hanrahan & Devine. Should I just dump Devine in my 10team league for either Downs, Nunez or Corpas? With BJ Upton filling my DL spot for the first week I don’t have room for Devine. I like Downs alot right now, especially since Yahoo has moved him into the closer role under the Blue Jays research

  4. Nick says:
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    I mean I guess I could hold off on dropping Devine…I know what your thinking, he might come back as A’s primary closer while Downs is just a filler

  5. fireorlime says:
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    Those of us in deeper mixed leagues who were Sheffielded now have the option of grabbing either Thames or Fowler. I’m leaning towards Thames because, hey, the devil you know, right? I’m also not convinced that Fowler is going to play more than once or twice a week.

  6. fireorlime says:
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    @Nick: I wouldn’t dump Devine until we learn exactly what’s going to happen to his elbow.

  7. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    What’s happening in Baltimore? If Corpas perchance gets the closer’s job, drop Ray for him?

  8. BSA says:
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    Is that all that is up with Braun? Not that Spring training has a lot of value when looking at 162 games but ya know, they are saying that Joba is fine also.

  9. ABell says:
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    hey would a Pujols and Scott baker return be worth giving up Johan and Markakis?
    I gotta have the poo-holes… wait…

  10. cockyphoenix says:
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    I picked up Duchscherer and Rowand while I was making a sandwich during one draft. Yuck. I’d actually put in a waiver claim to drop Duchpsadhfpoisah before seeing that the surgery found nothing but a bone spur. I guess I’ll hold on to him through the DL stint at least. But in the meantime, would you prefer Kenshin Kawakami or James McDonald?

    And in an OBP lead, I got offered Pat Burrell for John Danks. Danks is my 6th pitcher… I have both Ichiro and Spliborghs starting in that league. I think this is a go

  11. Frank Rizzo says:
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    As a Tiger fan I rejoice to see Sheff leaving, yet lament because the guy we thought was a genius – Dombrowski – has made some terrible moves that’s put the club in a serious financial bind (Sheffield, Willis). Thames is a fan favorite who showed last year he can get hot and put up decent HR numbers. He’s going to be sharing time though because the Tigers have so many young guys that they want to get involved….Larish, Raburn, Clevelen. Thames will probably get decent playing time in LF and at DH but he’s not an everyday guy now.

    I know, I know, a ball off the thumb can hurt like hell, and it’s only preseason, but Braun (my 1st rounder) is an injury waiting to happen and the Brewers handle him with kid gloves. **scared**

  12. Frank Rizzo says:
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    @ABell: I don’t know if that’s a good move for your team because I don’t know your roster ABell.

  13. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @ABell: I vote no. That’s too steep a price. You’re getting a first-rounder and a 15th rounder and giving up a second-rounder and a third-rounder. Don’t be blinded by the poo-hole.

    @Frank Rizzo: How quickly Dombro’s Tigers went from a potential AL-scorching, 1000-run-scoring dynasty in the making (at least in Steve Phillip’s eyes) to a wobbling, aged squad with holes all over the diamond. Take this as a lesson, Yankees: Old clubs age fast.

  14. Tony B. says:
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    Posted this in the forum but also wanna get some of the blog commentors opinions…

    I am crazy to think Helton can post:

    .305 AVG .875 OPS 82 Runs 83 RBI’s 17 HR’s 91 BB’s in 2009???

    I’m highly tempted to drop Butler for him and use him as my backup 1B to D. Lee. Guy seems healthy for first time in over 2-3 years…

  15. Travis says:
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    @Grey: What kind of value is Fowler? A 20th rounder? What is the earliest you would grab him in a keeper league?

  16. Frank Rizzo says:
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    I don’t vote no blindly for ABell until seeing his roster. If he’s already got solid pitching and plenty of OF, I could see scenarios where I’d take that trade getting Pujols and Baker in return. Yes Markakis is good, but I think we’ve seen his best and he’s not a special talent like Pujols. Pujols can win championships by himself.

  17. ABell says:
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    My OF is stacked (Beltran, Victorino, Dunn, Manny and Markakis) for 3OF spots and a Ut, but I would probably try to turn someone around for a good 2nd starter, probably Adrian Gonzales. Right now the staff is Johan, Cain, Vazquez, Harang, Wang, and Maine. I’ve got Beltre in for ARod and MI is weak. I was just trying to figure out how to get Albert cuz i’m a cards fan, but i don’t wanna overpay. this should probably go in the forum, oops. preciate the input fellas.

  18. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    Bialystock and Blum? You’re one of a fn kind.

  19. Frank Rizzo says:
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    @ABell: I probably wouldn’t do that trade based on your pitching staff and how important Johan probably is to it. I’m not sure how you ended up with that much OF. Do you have anyone worth a crap on your IF? Looks like you spent your 1st 6 rounds of your draft on Johan, Arod, and 4 OF’s. Is this a keeper league? Is it a 6 team league? Inquiring minds want to know.

  20. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @ABell: With that OF, Markakis is definitely expendable. But with your pitching I’d be hesitant to unload Santana.

    I think you’re right that a better plan is flip Markakis or AGonzo straight up for a second-tier starter like C-Bills or Shields.

    Or you could offer AGonzo and Markakis for Pujols. I’d sign off on that deal.

  21. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @IowaCubs: I’m still stinging that I didn’t get Blum in Razzball. In fact, half my RazzTeam has been sent to the minors (Frandsen, Liz, etc.)

    I don’t know if that means it was a bad draft, or a good one.

  22. ABell says:
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    @Frank Rizzo. haha, its a 12 team H2H, where we keep 7 guys. i’ve had ARod for 4 years now, and invested in some young guys wisely and turned em into johan. Not really sure how i ended up with that OF stable. traded Hawpe to a pissed off boston fan for MAnny right after our Feb draft (highway robbery). kept Johan, markakis, beltran, dunn, victorino, soto, and ARod. AGonz was my first pick (8th round). my MI is peralta and kendrick.

  23. sean says:
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    Great call on punting McPherson — the Fish waived him today. The opening for Bonifacio widens… until they move Cantu to third and Gabriella Sabbatini steps in at first.

  24. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Ooh, it’s a painful league to be a part of, though I was quite proud of myself for picking up Scott Lewis yesterday. Too bad that wasn’t a regular season game.

    I just picked up Horatio Ramirez to round out my rotation. My ill-fated and non-researched first round pick, Brian Bannister isn’t going to make the rotation.

    I can’t belive I’m spending time doing this.

  25. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @sean: Oh man… I think Bonaficio’s Razzball FRL league value just went to top five pick status.

  26. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    My instincts tell me to pick up Bonificio right away and drop Kotchman in a real league. I figure it’s a filler until Yahoo opens up DL slots, then I might be able to pick him back up. Thoughts?

  27. Christopher says:
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    Brilliant!!!! Giving us a “The Producers” reference is simply brilliant…now, can you work in “Springtime for Hitler” while wearing your Ferrell-esque lederhosen???

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @ep: Can steal 40 given 500 ABs.

    @Nick: Hold tight for now.

    @fireorlime: Sure, go Thames.

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Nah, I’d hold Ray.

    @ABell: It’s not good.

    @Tony B.: Those numbers don’t seem that crazy. I’d still want Butler’s upside, but I could see either.

    @Travis: In a keeper? I have him already. So the earliest is September of ’08. I’d like at him in the 15th of a keeper. He’s worth reaching for. If the Rockies are bringing him up, their not going to stunt his growth.

    @sean: Ha!

    @IowaCubs: If you need steals, go Bonifacio.

    @Baron Von Vulturewins: Look up Alfredo Simon.

  29. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Grey: That’s what I’m thinking anyway. What about dropping Kubel instead of Kotchman?

  30. kevin says:
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    So I love that there seems to be much more focus on projections this year, even compared to last year. Must keep you ‘perts pretty busy.

    However, I wish they were updated somtimes. Most were done months ago before ST. I know some are updated with certain closers and rookies, but what about guys who tear through ST? Are you in the “ST numbers don’t mean anything” camp?

    So Grey – have any of your projections changed on guys like, hmmmm, JJ Hardy? Choo? Nelson Cruz? Victorino?

    Also – people mention the forums. Could you link to that – I don’t see it.

  31. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    @Grey: Why do you have to ruin my fun? Yesterday it was Volstad, and today it’s Kubel. That’s just mean, man.

  32. BSA says:
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    @kevin: Hey Kevin, buttonon top left next to “shop”.

    Keep your eye on daily updates. Grey and the crew are dead ringers for what is going on, regardless of ST.

  33. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @kevin: Projections for 99% of guys don’t change in spring training. Because Hardy hits .330 in the spring, he’s not suddenly a .330 hitter. The guys who do change are noted in the daily spring training updates. The forums are on the top of the page between rankings and shop.

  34. The Dude says:
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    Classic Sheffield quote:

    “Jim (Leyland) said, ‘We’re going to go with versatility.’ When he said that word I thought to myself, ‘I’m probably the most athletic guy on this team.’ But they’re entitled to their opinion,” Sheffield said.

  35. IowaCubs

    IowaCubs says:
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    My farting around on Bonificio left me looking at the transactions page only to see one of my leaguemates already snag him. Frak.

  36. Zebo says:
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    @Grey: Drop Gardner for Bonifacio? My 2B and SS are Alexei Ramirez and Asdrubal Cabrera. Someone got to Alexi Casilla before me. is Asdrubal Cabrera pretty much a 5/10 guy?

  37. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Zebo: Grab Bonifacio over Asdrubal.

  38. sean says:
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    Is Joyce an AL-only guy with Pat the Bat in town? I’ve been reading some good things about him as a cheap power source.

    “I want to see more of Matt,” Maddon said. “I think he looks exceptional at the plate right now. I’m really becoming enamored with his swing, actually. We’ve got see him on defense.”

    “From my perspective, I like the approach a lot,” Maddon said of Joyce at the plate. “I like the bat speed; I like the hand action. He’s going to be a special hitter.”

    “Right now he’d probably hit sixth or seventh,” Maddon said in a lengthy commentary on the Tampa native before the Rays’ 11-2 spring win against the Reds. “But as he gets older and if things were to continue to evolve, he could definitely move up in the batting order.

    “But, I mean, this guy has some kind of potential with the bat.”

  39. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: I think he’s relegated to the bench at best, but he can squeeze into the outfield with some hitting. I’d take an AL-Only flier on him if you have room.

  40. Zebo says:
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    @Grey: what about Bonifacio vs. Burriss?

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Zebo: Burriss

  42. kevin says:
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    Sherrill just got dropped (and Scott Downs). My only droppable guy is Wandy.
    My SP and RP situations are both stable. I also have Ray. Keep Wandy?

  43. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @kevin: Ugh, those guys shouldn’t be dropped. Think you gotta hold tight.

  44. kevin says:
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    I agree. My one bench guy is N Cruz, and he’s not getting dropped.

    My only other option to drop is JP Howell. Doesn’t get a lot of love (owned in 5% of ESPN leagues), but for my league which also counts holds and k/9, he’s oddly valuable (got a player rater of 6.7 last year (more than Sherill – he scores in 4 of 7 stats), plus I’m a sucker for putting an RP in an SP slot.
    The only reason I can come up with to drop Howell is that I bet he won’t get picked up if I drop him. If I get Sherill though, I’ll have to pick and choose which RP to bench every day, and that’s a coin toss most days.

  45. Bob says:
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    Rotoworld reports:

    Tiger manager Jim Leyland announced Wednesday that Fernando Rodney will open the season as the team’s closer.
    Well, sort of. “Does that mean he’s going to come in every time? I don’t know that,” Leyland said. “I wouldn’t make a big deal that I named Fernando Rodney the closer, because I really haven’t. But he’s going to close that first game, hopefully.” If anything, he’s the best bet to snag saves while Brandon Lyon figures out his control issues.

    So, Devine or Rodney?

  46. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @kevin: I’d hold tight.

    @Bob: Thanks for the heads up! I’d go Rodney.

  47. Bob says:
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    @Grey: Thank you.

  48. sean says:
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    Leyland just said he’d give the ball to Rodney in a save situation, the Detroit News reports…

  49. Bob says:
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    So, Rodney or Corpas?

  50. sean says:
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    Damn, scooped lol

  51. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Bob: Rodney

  52. Frank Rizzo says:
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    I’m just speaking as a Tiger fan, but I’d stay the hell away from anything in their bullpen.

    Grey……did you give your projections on Burriss? Is he useful in mixed leagues? I’m intriqued b/c of the SB’s and the fact that Yahoo has him 2B/SS eligible. Also, any idea where he’ll bat in the lineup?

  53. Bob says:
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    @Grey: So, if you had Corpas and Devine, who would you drop to pick up Rodney? Sorry to keep bugging you about this, but I’m giving up my #3 waiver wire priority to do this, per your advice in previous post.

  54. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    Grey: Ray or Rodney?

  55. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Frank Rizzo: To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I gave those projections. But I’d say 25 steals and a .270 average. He’s not very interesting outside of his speed.

    @Bob: Can you wait until later today when Hurdle makes Street official? If not, drop Devine.

  56. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Grey: Thank you. That’s what I figured, and lordy lord, I do not want to go near Rodney.

  57. Bob says:
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    @Grey: Rodney’s was waived and he’s going to be claim eligible tonight, so I have to put in the claim before I go to sleep. I thought Hurdle was going to announce tomorrow, so I thought I had to make the choice today.

  58. sean says:
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    @Bob: a save today is worth more than the prospect of a save tomorrow. there will always be someone to pick up later on to get cheap saves instead of pining for corpas and devine. it’s about compiling the best stats, after all…

  59. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Bob: He said by tomorrow, I’m hoping by tonight. Hold tight.

  60. Bob says:
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    @Grey and Sean: Thanks. The life of a crappy closer pursuer is a lonely one, so it’s good to have company on the quest.

  61. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Bob: Reminder: Rodney was terrible in this role last year. Plus, I have to believe that, if the Tigers had any institutional confidence in Rodney at closer, they never would have gone out and gotten Lyons.

    I feel like this might be crusty ol’ Jim Leyland lighting a “Hey, don’t take this shizz for granted” fire under Lyon as much as anything else. I bet if Lyon strings three good set-up outings together in April, he’s back in as closer. Maybe even fewer.

    In a related story, the Tigers bullpen is a hot mess.

  62. Steve says:
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    Cousin Brandon’s the one I feel sorry for.

  63. SP says:
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    Grey, what stat categories do you recommend for an 18 team mixed H-H league?

    I have R, HR, RBI, SB, AVG, OPS, W, SV, K, HLD, ERA, WHIP

    and

    C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, Util, SP, SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, DL, DL

    Should I add OBP, take out one SP, or something else? I don’t want it to get too deep because there are barely 18 fantasy-worthy 2B, SS, and RPs.

  64. Doc says:
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    With Fowler in the mix what is Spilborgh’s value now?

  65. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SP: I think it looks fine. Personally, I’d go without OPS and HLDs, but it’s more of a personal preference.

    @Doc: He loses some value, but not much right now. He’s definitely become riskier to see ABs. I still think he gets to 400 ABs and is more or less as valuable as before. He’s 5th OF fantasy 12 team mixed worthy right now.

  66. sean says:
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    And right on queue, Bonifacio leaves today’s game with a hand injury…

  67. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: I think Wes Helms was behind this.

  68. SP says:
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    Do you like any other categories in their place? K/BB kinda steps on Ks and WHIP and QS is pretty stupid. I’m not a fan of HLD either but I had to balance it out batting and pitching categories. Do you not like OPS because it’s redundant or because it favors the boppers too much? What about OBP instead of OPS?

  69. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SP: I think they all step on one another that’s why I like 5×5, but you have the best two additions if you’re going that way.

  70. Bob says:
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    @BVV: Part of trafficking in crappy closers is that they’re indeed, well, for lack of a better word, crappy. It’s becomes a question of how much you’re willing to inflame your WHIP and ERA in order to get a few cheap saves. Fortunately, I managed to use a nice early draft pick to acquire a wonderful set-up man. Meet Carlos Marmol. My bad. If I had been smarter, I wouldn’t have needed to think about Rodney, etc.

  71. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @Bob: Oh, don’t worry — I’m so deep into crappy closers I have to wear hip waders. If you’re desperate, Rodney’s definitely worth a flyer.

    The good news is that crappy closers, because they don’t contribute many IPs, actually don’t hurt your overall ERA or WHIP all that dramatically, as some random genius pointed out here:

    http://razzball.com/the-case-for-junky-closers/

    Marmol may yet close for the Cubs, though I have to root against him, as a Gregg owner. If you’re really hard up, I’d investigate picking up or trading for Chris Ray. I like him a lot this year, and right now he’s not pencilled in as the O’s closer. But I think he’ll grab the job before long.

  72. JR says:
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    @BVV: And Sherrill almost pulled an anti-Morrow by saying, “You know what, I don’t care if I’m not the closer.” Um, what? OK.

  73. Bob says:
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    @BVV: One phenomenon I’ve observed is that once someone has acquired a crappy closer off the waiver wire, it suddenly takes an offer of a 4th-6th rounder to pry them from the newly minted roster. In this league, Gregg and Ray are already gone and over-priced. I’ve found the best thing to do is simply wait for the next crappy closer. Soria has looked bad the last couple of outings. Sore arm? Hello, Kyle Farnsworth!!

  74. Juice says:
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    @Grey: H2H Points League. Add Pedro to my bench while dropping the newly minored B. Wood? Over and Out.

  75. Juice says:
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    @Grey: Also, is Chris Davis a huge upgrade over Encarnacion, Edwin that I should accept a trade to inquire Davis for Troy Percival? I really like Davis but don’t wanna trade away a closer (big ticket in our league) if I am just getting another Edwin.

  76. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Juice: re: Pedro – Go for it.

    Get Davis.

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