You know the guy that was going to draft Nelson Cruz in your league because he just had a career year? The guy that drafted Chris Davis last year, Buster Posey the year before and Mitzi Gaynor in his 50’s pinup league back in 1953? That guy is the Mariners. (In fairness to that doode, Mitzi had a hell of a follow-up in ’54. Va Va Va Va Va Va — How many Va’s is that — Voom!) Nelson Cruz stayed healthy one other year, besides last year. He hit the most home runs of his career last year. He had the most RBIs, runs, strikeouts and will be 35 years old in 2015. So, of course, the Mariners give him a huge deal. Baseball team management is a peculiar thing. (By the by, I can’t say the word ‘peculiar.’ It sounds like I’m trying to pronounce the word for film in Spanish.) What seems obvious to the everyday person must not be obvious to baseball management. It would be fun to test this out in other areas of life. “Okay, baseball management, I’m going to bring you to the corner of the street. When the light turns green, cross the street.” Insert Batman-style sound effect. Only they’re doing it with nearly $60 million dollars. Well, ours isn’t to wonder why, ours is to figure out the fantasy value when a player changes environs. (Environs? Coolest word to write. Least cool word to say aloud.) Up until Cruz actually passed 27 homers last year, I had him pegged for 27 homers, because, well, that’s how many home runs he always hits, give or take a handful. Last year, he had big hands — that’s what she said! Huh? — but that was contingent on one big number that he had never reached before: 678. As in how many ABs he had last year. If a player has a pattern of getting injured and has a healthy year at 34 years old, I don’t buy that his health concerns are a thing of history. Call me a fool! (Not to my face.) In the past two years, his steals have dropped to the five-steal range, so he is essentially power. He has hideous numbers in Safeco for his career, but I don’t buy into that mattering because when he was in Safeco prior he was facing Mariners pitching and he was playing in an away game (sleeping in a hotel, chasing tail amongst visitor hoochie, etc.). Safeco isn’t going to do him any favors, but he can homer anywhere if healthy. That’s the stick in my craw. For 2015, I’ll give him 475 ABs and the projections of 71/26/85/.262/5. Decent, but almost surely overrated for this year, and don’t call me Shirley. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The rain cooperated to let Derek Jeter play his final game at Yankee Stadium. Thank God, the Yankees needed the tarp for Suzyn Waldman. The Yankees presented Jeter with a replica of the Yankee Stadium on-deck circle. He is going to put it outside his house and instead of pine tar rags and donuts there will be lingerie and gift baskets. I don’t really care for his final lap around Fenway. I do agree with Olbermann that I think he should have bowed out of playing in Fenway. With that said (reversal time!), sometimes stars get grooved pitches on their final retirement jaunt. I grabbed Jeter two days ago in my leagues just in case that happens, and so far, so good. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Rusney Castillo is expected to join the Sawx on Tuesday. Whoa, did you see that? There was a rainbow going over the world and when I said that it turned red. I wonder if that’s because he’s Cuban. Oh, it’s probably because the Red Sox paid to sponsor the rainbow. That makes more sense. I didn’t think Mother Nature would sell rainbow naming rights, but there ya go. Someone’s gotta pay for the sun; the world we live in. So, Rusney’s getting a little taste of how’s your father with the Red Sox, but I don’t think he’ll A) Play every day. B) Be much a factor this year. C) There’s no C. Now, for 2015 fantasy baseball, well, there we’re gonna have to talk for a sec. Sorry, I know you’re late to be moral support at your wife’s surgery, but she can wait. Here’s what Prospect Mike said about him previously, “The one tool that is not in question is (Rusney’s) speed. A 30+ steal season from Castillo is a possibility as soon as 2015. The power is still up in the air. Some have tagged him more as an 8-12 homer type guy while others have said 15 or maybe even 20 homers could be in the cards. With any player, we get lots of comps thrown around. Two of the comps I’ve heard the most are Shane Victorino and Rajai Davis. Honestly, the Davis comp makes the most sense to me. The one that makes the least sense is Grey, he’s just a buffoon.” Hey, what’s that all about? To me, the Rajai comparison feels heavy on the speed; Victorino seems a better equivalent, but, honestly, there’s a ton of unknown here. He could be anywhere from a 7 HR/20 SB fourth outfielder to a 20 HR/40 SB superstar. Victorino feels about right — 12 homers, 30 steals. The more I read that he only had 66 steals in 1097 plate appearances in Cuba, I wonder if the hype machine hasn’t taken Rusney and thrown him into the spin cycle, making him more than he is. Shizzton of risk either way you slice the cake, and, brucely, I love cake, so I hope you’re sharing. For this year, I’d take a flyer if I could platoon him. For 2015, I’d take the risk for something special, but don’t expect more than Victorino. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ryan Braun revealed he doesn’t have a thumb issue, he has a whole hand issue. Unfortch, he’s also proving to have a ‘can’t stay on the field without steroids’ issue, which is the result of a ‘steroids has broken down his ability to stay healthy’ issue that’s brought up a ‘is he really trying to get on the field’ issue that all came about when he was ‘wearing scrubs, watching his wife spit out a kid and his wife was squeezing his hand too tightly’ issue that leaves the issue, ‘will he return and do anything this season?’ Basically, Braun’s got more men’s health issues than Ricky Martin. Whether or not you drop him or just bench him comes down to who you have to replace him, but, in September, he’s hitting .200 with zero homers, and he hit .240 in August with four homers, so chances are good you can find someone better than him for the final two and a half weeks. This will definitely muddy waters on if Braun is a mannish boy or what to expect from him in 2015 fantasy baseball. Unless Lame-Ass-Busta Excuses is a category in your league, then Braun has it on lock. (Also, applies if the category is spelled Lame-Ass-Buster Excuses or simply Lame Excuses.) Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Alright Head-to-Headers and Weekly League players. This is more than likely the most important week of your season. You’re either kicking off the first round of playoff match-ups or you’re grinding out the last week trying to get that ever elusive playoff birth. Not to worry my peeps, the Legendary Lifshitz is back and ready to drop some two start pitcher science on y’all. In fact I’ll be taking over as your captain from here on out and into 2015. That’s right! I’m your 2015 Two Start Huckleberry! Think of me as the top prospect getting called up for roster expansions with an eye on the starting job next year. You know like Xander Bogaerts but less of a disappointment. Unless you’re my third grade teacher Ms. Schultz. Then I’m more of a disappointment. What can I say the women had high hopes.

As for the roster of Double dippers, it’s not bad. Lots of good streamers and ton of middle of the road options. I’ll try and focus a little more on the arms with lower ownership levels, knowing those are the guys you’ll be looking to for the extra counting stats to put you over the top. This is one of the most fun times to be a fantasy baseball manager. This is for those digging through the wavier wire looking for that streamer to get you into the dance, or that spot starter to help you lock down that swing category to get you into the next round of the playoffs, or even the roto owner looking to capitalize on the less savvy owners who hit their innings limits this week. May you use this as your guide good sirs! Unless you’re in a league with me, then I hope all your pitchers get shelled. Sorry but I’m in it to win it no matter the cost!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Adam Wainwright went 6 IP, 3 ER, 9 baserunners, 5 Ks as he was out-dueled by Jeff Locke (7 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 8 baserunners, 3 Ks). Wainwright being out-dueled seems to be the norm lately. In August, his ERA is 5.17 and he says he’s going through a ‘dead arm’ phase. Ways that a dead arm could help (in no particular order): tricking a zombie while playing dead, making your other arm feel more alive, doorstop, can’t pick up a bill because your wallet is in the dead arm pocket, screaming out “Sorry, dead arm!” when cutting off people while driving and making your Bernie Lean more believable. Ways that a dead arm won’t help: pitching. Verlander’s arm must be so dead that necrophiliac stray dogs try to constantly hump it. You have to hold onto Wainwright and hope he comes out of it, but obviously this was not what you wanted to hear. By the by, Rudy tells me after he learned his wife was preggers with twins he went through a ‘dead penis’ phase. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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I’m just curious: Do Colorado pitchers stink because half of their games are played in the equivalent of the Space Stadium in “Triple Play 2001”, or do they stink because no one wants to pitch there, so the Rockies just end up with the garbage juice at the bottom of the pitching scrap heap? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. Either way, the poor, battered Rockies pitchers will get out of Coors next week and into some fun in the sun in San Diego for a series that is the definitive fantasy baseball crossing of the streams: [Jay’s Note: Don’t cross the streams.] Offensive-minded team with horrendous pitchers that play in a batter’s park visit a pitching-minded team with absolutely zero offense in their pitcher’s park.

So what does this mean for fantasy purposes, and specifically Two-Startapalooza purposes?

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You know when Shin-Soo Choo (2-for-4, 2 runs and his 10th homer) is hitting homers there’s a Dong Party going on. Dong Party is also my lead single off my album, “Who Let In All These Guys?” The CD cover had me dressed like a sailor, begrudgingly hoisting a man for a keg stand. None of this is ringing a bell? That’s weird, but it did perform better in Asia than here. Choo hadn’t homered since July 4th and only has 4 homers since May 22nd and is hitting .238. Can we say bust? If you can’t, you might want to see a speech therapist. Also joining the Dong Party was J.P. Arencibia (3-for-5, 4 RBIs and his 7th homer). That Arencibia is one spicy meatball! You know what one meatball said to another meatball? What’s up, metaball? What? No good? Okay, I won’t submit it to Highlights. Arencibia has 4 homers in the last eleven games, and has been known to go on a dong run. For those of you who just found us today Googling “dong run.” We won’t judge you here. Next up, for the Dong Party was Robinson Crusoe. He’s got a novel idea. It’s about a shipwrecking. Quite the yarn! Chirinos (3-for-5, 3 runs and two homers) has 11 homers on the year, and I’ve enjoyed owning him in a few two-catcher leagues, but he’s hitting .237 and I wouldn’t get too excited, especially not while you’re at a Dong Party. Finally, arriving at the Dong Party with a homer in the first inning was Adrian Beltre (1-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs and his 16th homer). Getting a bangfizzle at a Dong Party is such a bummer. By the by, Such A Bummer was my follow-up single. Tell me if you want the Sound Cloud link. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The Cardinals traded for one of the most unreliable starters this year, Justin Masterson and his 5.51 ERA. Ouch. The Cardinals fell asleep and the Indians drew a shaft and balls on their forehead. People are snickering at you, Cardinals, because you have a shaft and balls on your head. Unless it’s a non-Leaning Tower of Pisa that is partially obscuring a tractor trailer so all we’re seeing is its giant wheels. Then, it’s a lovely scenic landscape, but you still got had. This saves the Brewers a lot of trouble because I heard they were going to trade for Masterson and then ‘accidentally’ leave him behind on their next road trip to St. Louis. No reason to obfuscate, my dear Milwaukee friends. Masterson gets a slight uptick in value just going to the NL, but he needs to prove he’s healthy and able to throw a Quality Start before I’d start him anywhere. So, he’s gone from a Waiver Wire guy, to an On My Bench Until He Shows Something guy. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Now that I’m married Jimmy Carter’s line, “I’ve looked on a lot of women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times.” Really stands out to me. I don’t necessarily want to think about Jimmy Carter in lust, or even contemplating lust. The thing he doesn’t say is if he wasn’t married, he’d be lusting too. Men are men, and Jimmy Carter is no different. Jimmy Carter is one tightly wound ball of lust, and probably hooked Clinton up with Lewinsky. Jimmy Carter is a pimp! If Jimmy Carter was president in the 2000’s, he probably would’ve had Outkast to the White House and would’ve been like, “What’s colder than our relations with the Middle East? Ice cold!” In that similar vein, I lust after rookie pitchers. They are so dang sexy prior to actually pitching in the major leagues. Jimmy Nelson is just another. I like him a lot, and glad to see Marco Estrada was replaced by him. From Nelson, could see a 9+ K/9 and a middling walk rate. Due to the walk rate, that has ballooned at times, he could be absolute death — like games of 5 IP, 6 ER death. He could also run over the NL with games of 6 IP, 8 Ks. I’d grab him in all leagues for the upside, but be wary of the downside. As Jimmy Carter also once said, “You can do what you have to do, and sometimes you can do it even better than you think you can. Speaking of can, that’s where I like to stick my peanuts. I said PEANUTS!” Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?