Oh, how we are going to miss Mariano Rivera. I’ve never owned him, but always wished I did. Personally, I’m a Yankee hater, but I always enjoyed watching him work his ninth inning magic like a smooth pick up artist. So now we are left without one of the greatest closers to ever play the game and a permanent fixture on the $12 salad menu. But like all things fantasy, we must move on and start prepping for next season by keeping our minds sharp and our cheat sheets easily accessible. The great mix up called free agency and the winter meetings are just a stones throw away and will hopefully give us some clarity into what comes next.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The week was going swimmingly, with inflatable swim muscles, I may add, then Kevin Gregg showed up and said “Oh, I thought everyone wore these glasses now.” I don’t trust Kevin for 2 reasons, closers come and closers go (Kyuji is coming back) so add that into your closer entree like a good splash of adobo. The second reason is he has two first names, I’m sorry, it’s a phobia of mine ever since I went to school with a kid named Ferris Ferris. No I didn’t stutter, that’s a true story. Next we move to Boston, where Joe-L is returning from the DL; John Farrell has said what is typical, we will see what happens. My 2 cents is that Bailey keeps it until he falters or Hanrahan whines enough to make a stink. If I could call Joel, this is how the convo would go. Sup Joel. Who is this? Then I would hang up and not answer when he star 69’s me. I do that cause I don’t like people messin’ around on my phone. Lastly this week, I have moved Jim Johnson, minus his cult following, into the top tier. He has shown me enough to warrant a bump up. The games he pitches in are showing the confidence that Buck has in him, like a great illegitimate dad would in his Maury Povich type son. The bump over Papelbon is based purely on stats and accumulation right now, Paps just isn’t seeing the chances that some other closers are seeing and that inevitably hurts my feelings and his stats/value. Enjoy the week as if you were listening to the soundtrack from Rocky 4, what could get better than that.? If you said that talking robot Pauly got, then we are on the same page my friend.

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It’s the first week of the season and there is really only one question as we enter the first week of fantasy SAGNOF-ville. What in the name of Brian Boitano are the Tigers doing with the closer situation. Well I liken it to a drug cartel, 3 Latinos and some coke, with some equal distribution until someone gets too big for their britches and knocks everyone else off. I like a good even mix of Al-Al, Benoit, Dotel and Coke to all get some run based on the situation and it being too early for Leyland to cash in his Marlboro miles for that new kayak. So with the first post of my inauguration, I am starting from scratch and the rankings start with this post so no fancy pluses or minuses until the next post. I will also try and alternate between closers and Holds guys for my weekly posts.

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Trying to find reliable relievers, especially closers, is like trying to catch squirrels with a hula hoop. Nobody wants to overpay or worse yet end up with a dud who kills your ratios and is always in danger of losing the gig. I’ll be rooting around on the waiver wire or in the final rounds of the draft this year for my saves so I’m not going to be the one to tell you to draft closers early or even at all. This is more about identifying three relievers who will be undervalued this year due to an injury or poor performance in 2012, but who will help fantasy teams either in saves, solid ratios, or strikeout numbers. We’ll start out with a no-brainer and work our way down to a sleeper.

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The title of this post was nearly, “F*ck Luis Cruz.” If that guy gets in the way of my last round draft pick of Dee Gordon, I’m gonna be none too happy! Or is that “I’m gonna be some unhappy?” While Hanley Ramirez is out with a thumb injury, I want Dee Gordon to play for a month and for the Dodgers to say they won’t play Luis Cruz. I homophoned you! If anyone out there drafted Hanley already, I want to see your faces. Push them against your computer monitors or your handheld mobile devices. You are traitors to Razzball. I said specifically — or pacifically if you’re on a boat off the coast of California — not to draft Hanley. Word for word, “I’m done with Hanley until we see a return to his previous glory.” I didn’t even bury the lede. That’s the first freakin’ sentence of my Hanley blurb on the top 20 shortstops for 2013 fantasy baseball. I hope Hanley’s out for 3 months, returns to hit 7 homers with 12 steals and someone drafts him in the 3rd round of 2014, too. Know why? Because no matter how many times I tell people to ignore position scarcity, they don’t listen. You need to jam a cotton swab in your noggin like Lena Dunham and clean out your wax. (BTW, season two of Girls — meandering, pointless, adjective. Biggest drop in quality from season one to season two for a TV show since Heroes.) The Dodgers are saying Hanley could be out anywhere from two weeks to ten weeks. If you drafted him, you don’t read this so I’m talking to all the people who didn’t draft him. Send an email to the Hanley drafters. Subject: Trade Offer. Body of email: Any interest in trading for Yunel Escobar? I’ll take Paul Goldschmidt. Click send. Now unfriend them on Facebook. Done. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2013 fantasy baseball:

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Chris Perez has been shut down for 3-4 weeks. The Indians are saying it’s due to a shoulder strain. Seems pretty coincidental that Chris Perez rocks a mullet and there’s a guy with a “business on top, party in the back” haircut on The Amazing Race this season. I’m calling BS. “Yeah, what’s up?” Sorry, didn’t mean to actually call BS. “Cool, now you’re wasting my time. I’m gonna call myself on you!” So with Perez out, a giant gaping hole opens in Cleveland, and I don’t mean when Drew Carey is eating. Vinnie Pestano should take over the closer role in the mean’s while. Unfortunately (depending on how you’re looking at it), Perez went down so early that he could return as soon as the first or second week of the season. That means you need to draft Perez and Pestano. My advice is to wait two seconds after someone drafts Perez then take Pestano. This will be real cute in auctions. They’ll either have to spend $15-ish to have both Indian closers or they’ll be stuck without one. If I could only draft one, I’d take a late flyer on Pestano. As with most things SAGNOF-related, there’s no sure thing in the bullpens and the cheaper way to get saves is always the most preferable. Anyway, here’s all the closers for fantasy baseball:

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As you read in the title, this is the second installment of the bullpen check-up. Today we look at the American League. (The National League middle relievers post is there, and Grey’s Closer Look.) The options seem to be less as compared to the NL, but quality is still abundant. So enjoy my targets for Holds in the American league. As per the NL post the Peeping Tom’s are guys that you want to watch from a far, but don’t get caught looking too long because it’s the clinker for you or in actuality a miss on the waiver wire.

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Ryan Madson hit the DL and some Bastardo took over, Broxton is a bastardo and Guerra is getting saves since Kuo can’t watch Lifetime without crying — assuming there are Dodger saves, Rauch was named the closer and Frank2 started getting all the saves, Lyon is out for the season and Melancon looks terrible, La Russa changed closers three times since you started reading this run-on sentence, Jordan Walden has been taking pointers from Fernando Rodney and Kevin Gregg actually moved up the ranks.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The horrid season for Shin-Soo Choo continues.  He’s probably wishing he just went the Bob Feller-Inglorious Basterd route and did his required military time this year in his home country.  Kevin Correia said, “We could’ve used him.”  Now when Choo gets blotto he can’t even hitchhike home from one side of the road.  Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?