Say it’s not so News Report! News Report, “I’m sorry, Grey, your handsomeness and mustache make me want to lie to you, but Edwin Encarnacion is probably being shut down for the year.” Is it because anything I did? “No, you’ve gone above and beyond anything I could’ve hoped for. Thanks for the $10 marathon donation too. A real mensch, you are!” I could’ve done without the second reminder to donate on Facebook. “Can we discuss this privately?” So, players are dropping like flies. Not those African tsetse flies that have been known to live for six months after they burrow into your skull. They’re dropping like fruit flies near your backyard bug zapper. In most leagues, I’d lose Encarnacion immediately. Blue Jays Manager said Edwin’s probably done for the year, and even if he returns, he’s dealing with a sore wrist, which is, ya know, not good for hitting. Comatose Blue Jays Fan, “At least he’ll be ready for the playoffs! Right?” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The news is good, Allen Craig is in a walking boot and on crutches. Yay! Sorry, I should’ve said the news was good for people who don’t own Allen Craig. *smacks forehead with palm of hand* Geez, I’m such a huckleberry! So, this means the new Cardinals first baseman is… Please, open door number one! Actually, all I see is his elbow. Could you open door number two, as well? Hmm, still missing his right side. Go ahead and open door number three, too. There he is… Matt Adams! I’ve teased Adams a lot about his girth and that ain’t right, even if right and girth are anagrams. Adams isn’t out of shape…if watermelon is a shape! The zaftig Madams will be playing first for as long as Craig can’t and I’d grab Adams in all leagues where I needed power. He could hit five homers the rest of the way if Craig stays sidelined until the playoffs. As of right now, there’s no word on how much time Craig will need. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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King Hodor of the House of Hodor. First of his Hodor. Long may he Hodor.

At this point, there appear to be more trades occurring after the July 31st deadline. In fact, just yesterday, Mike Morse was acquired by the Orioles, Jason Kubel was acquired by the Indians, and, as you may or may not have realized yet, John Axford and his, well, what ever you call the things he grows on his face, has been acquired by Ozark nation. Which, if you don’t know the area, is known for abandoned El Caminos and the second highest murder rate in the nation, next to Detroit. Err, Detroit, the RoboCop version. What’s the fantasy impact? I’m sure glad I just asked myself that question. Mike Morse’s situation changes a bit, a better hitting environment and a better lineup could lead to some stat boosting. Jason Kubel, well, he remains the same. Insignificant. Frankly, I don’t even understand the move, since the Indians are already paying for a player (cough, Mark Reynolds, cough) that’s doing better right now, yet plays for the Yankees. Ballsy strategy if you ask me. And then there’s John Axford. I’ll be honest, since I lie all the time I guess, the impact here is not much, if anything. But I do like Axford drinking the same water those other Cardinal pitchers are drinking, and would not be surprised if his situation improves next year. So keep a look out. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday…

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Danny Farquhar earned the save on Saturday and Sunday for the Mariners. The first two of his career. I guess the whole 5+ ERA didn’t scare off acting manager Robby Thompson or he has no idea who he’s signaling from the bullpen. I’m guessing the latter here, if latter means he’s a moron. Thompson is managing while Eric Wedge recovers from a mild stroke that he suffered while trying to follow Robby Thompson home from the stadium one night. Eric Wedge, “Why are you going left with your right turn signal?! You can’t make a left on red! Oh, you’re going right? Then why are you signaling left?! I’m coming Elizabeth!” Lord Farquhar is the closer now, so obviously you own him, but who knows what Thompson’s doing. He could signal for a ball girl next. I do look forward to when the Mariners fans get a cheering section for Farquhar together. They can dress up like giant penises and name themselves, the Farqwits. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Welcome back, two-start hoarders. The awful weather this April has made things a bit more challenging, as two-starters keep getting bumped from one week to the next. The coming week has a seven-game slate for most clubs, and obviously we’re hoping for fewer postponed contests, but keep in mind that Tuesday’s two-starters could easily slide into the two-start slot for week 5.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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And the Tigerettes sang, “He was talked up as closer, but now he’s sent down… Da Bruce Rondon gone, Da Bruce Rondon… Somebody told me he made Leyland frown… Da Bruce Rondon gone, da Bruce Rondon… Yeah, he sucked in spring… Yes, his stats would sting… But now my team’s saves are boned… Da Bruce Rondon gone, Da Bruce Rondon…” As Randy Jackson would say, we got ourselves a pitchy competition, dawg! *sips from Pepsi cup, looks at Mariah for approval, fixes silver chain, sucks in gut under sweater that he’s wearing with no undershirt which makes it look really itchy, laughs at some Nicki Minaj nonsense, says to Seacrest, “I don’t know, we’ll have to see what America thinks” and smiles* So, Bruce Rondon was sent down and now the Tigers closer job is Hollywood Week. Auditions are down to Al Al’etc, Santa K, New Mexiclosero, Al Al, Coke Is It, Coke Is So 80’s Octavio Dotel Is It, Alquin Cokel, Octaquin BenCokel and Philquin Alburcoke. And that’s only four guys! Hang tight, guys and four girl readers, it’s a closerousel. Lots of possible outcomes here. All four guys could do well in a committee and Leyland utilizes it the whole year. Two guys do well and we get a portmanteau closer, let’s call it a SAGNOFtaur. Three guys could do well, let’s call that, The Three StoogeNOF. Another possibility: as we know from the past with Leyland’s ‘Set it and Forget It’ lineup card management, he likes to stick with one thing. So one guy takes the job by mid-April and holds it for the majority of the year. This is the best possibility for all involved. I think that’s also what happens. Leyland’s got cigarettes to smoke, he doesn’t have time to be walking to the mound to change pitchers! So who from Octavio Dotel, Al Alburquerque, Joaquin Benoit and Phil Coke does he go with? As the prude brothel’s sign announces, therein lies the rub. Al Al’etc is a monster for Ks, he’s my first option because he could provide solid value while the job is being decided. Then, I like Dotel. He reduced his walks last year and kept his Ks. He also has some closer experience. Next up: Joaquin Benoit. He was very successful last year in middle relief, but he can’t go on back-to-back days or stay healthy. Finally, Phil Coke. I wouldn’t grab him outside of AL-Only leagues. Big strike against him: he’s a lefty. In his favor: he closed games in the playoffs last year. It’s a shituation of epicloser proportions. Oh, and I wouldn’t grab more than one guy. I’d take a gamble on one guy, form a prayer rectangular and hope it works out. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday for fantasy baseball:

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Here’s a scenario: You are the burger flipper manager at your local burger flipping place. Someone comes to you and says Ryan Braun, your best burger flipping employee, is injecting his meat with HGH. That’s why they’re tasting so good, yells one of your other employees. You don’t want to believe Ryan is doing this. His burgers are soooooooo delicious. All of your customers love them. Kowtowing to your other employees and the media, you decide to taste test his burgers. Sadly, they do taste test positive for HGH. You have no solution other than to suspend him. This is gonna hurt business. When, by sheer luck, it turns out your taste testers sampled his burgers after they were delivered to their house from FedEx and the soooooooo delicious burger wasn’t tasted in the restaurant. Ryan’s attorneys rejoice. Ryan says, “I told you my burgers were clean” and you shrug. You’re just glad your best burger flipper can keep making you those soooooooo delicious burgers. Then…THEN someone comes along and says they found a note scribbled in the dumpster that says Ryan is ordering HGH to inject into his soooooooo delicious burgers. You look at that note and say, “Okay, we’ll keep an eye on things,” and go back to serving those soooooooo delicious burgers that everyone likes. Well, damn me and my deliciously Horsey sauce argument about chain of custody and Biogenesis as a ‘consultant.’ There’s no way Ryan Braun is being suspended for this Biogenesis nonsense. It’s ridiculous. Can we move on? Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for 2013 fantasy baseball:

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Gird your loins – we’re currently navigating positions battles in each division. Today I’m talking about the AL West, which gains the Astros this year, if anyone considers them something you gain. Every other team in the division should stand to benefit from the move. Maybe I’ve already beat them into the ground, especially with my review of worst pitching staffs in 2012, but they really could have a season for the ages (of a fallen empire). Across the state, the Rangers should continue to be a powerhouse, despite Ron Washington’s “leadership.” Meanwhile, the Angels look like the terminator, although, once their non-Trout core ages a little more, maybe they’ll be merely human. Today’s empires, tomorrow’s ashes – am I right? I don’t want to say anything bad about the Mariners other than this sentence implying that I have something bad to say about them. Ah yes, and I’m required by the union of baseball writers to have a token mention of the A’s. There you go. Anyway, here’s some of the position battles to watch in the AL West:

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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (26) | 2011 (28) | 2010 (12) | 2009 (3) | 2008 (27)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB:  [94-68] AL West
AAA:  [86-58] Pacific Coast League — Sacramento
AA:  [64-74] Texas League — Midland
A+:  [56-84] California League — Stockton
A:  [67-72] Midwest League — Burlington (Beloit beginning 2013)
A(ss):  [33-43] New York-Penn League — Vermont

Arizona Fall League PlayersPhoenix Desert Dogs
Gary Daley (RHP); Brett Hunter (RHP); James Simmons (RHP); Max Stassi (C); Grant Green (OF)

Graduated Prospects of Note
Jarrod Parker (RHP); A.J. Please, blog, may I have some more?

Please, blog, may I have some more?