Well, I guess enough was enough in Detroit.  It’s always nice to waltz around with a security blanket like Linus, and have the ability to add a closer to back-up a closer that is making 10 mil a year.  Joakim Soria walks into the room dressed like Lloyd Christmas and is all tops and tails.  Great starting pitching and an actual winning team that he can back up.  For the Rangers this year, he had 17 saves for a 40 win club.  Turn that around, and he went from being on a 21-games-under-.500-team to a 14-games-over one.  His only problem is that he is flirting at the Sadie Hawkins dance with the date that Brad Ausmus brought, and Nathan has a some pull there.  My take is it’s not going to be long before the settle in on “The Mexicutioner”.  So I have them ranked mid-table until the dust settles and we see what’s what. I mean, all Soria has to do is show some kind of consistency, and boom, you have a top-8 closer for the rest of the year.  You can think what you want, but Detroit is a 90 win team all day and a bag of chips tomorrow, however that expression goes…  In Texas, Neal Cotts and Neftali Feliz as of now look like the two heads of the class for minimal save value in Arlington.   So the closer-thon to cure save depravity has begun, adjust your rosters, operaters are standing buy to take your recent waiver wire donations.

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Joaquin Benoit (+23%) was the most added player this week after Huston Street was traded to the Angels. Benoit was scooped up by those looking for saves obviously, but he’s a decent pitcher all around. Can he be trusted going forward? The big question isn’t whether we should pick up Benoit. That’s a no-brainer in the short term. No, the big question is will he actually remain with the Padres as their closer or will he be shipped out at the deadline to a contending team in need of bullpen help. I do not have the answer to that particular question, sorry. Teams like the Indians, Tigers, and Pirates (among others) have been linked to trade talks with the Padres regarding Benoit. Should he head somewhere and close it’s no big deal, but if he lands somewhere in a different role, it could kill some or even all of the saves value that makes him attractive target right now. To sum up, he’s a treasure if you need some cheap saves, but he could quickly turn to trash depending on how things shake out over the next two weeks and quite frankly, how many saves is he really going to rack up with the worst offense in baseball anyway? Here are this week’s other big adds and drops in 2014 fantasy baseball…

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OH-WA-AH-AH-AH! Woah, sorry about that. A little rough for a Saturday morning for you? Well what can I say but toughen up, kiddos. There’s only a little over 60 games left on the season for you to tell your significant others that you’re scouring the waiver wire for decent players at 12:30 AM on a Tuesday morning with that ‘Brown Chicken Brown Cow’ sound in the background playing on your computer and no, you’re not listening to Trace Adkins. You don’t like country and you don’t even know who that is. But you do know who Jason Kipnis is…was that a segue? I’m not even sure. If it was, it was a little weak at best but it’s done and now we’re here so lets get down to the goods of it all. Kip – I can call him that since I have a friend from OH with whom I’m bros with; that’s how these things work – hit 2 bombs from the lead off spot for the Tribe on Friday, finishing the night 2/5 with 4 RBIs and 2 runs. And here’s me telling you to sell on dat chit. He’s had a little hotty toddy, we likes to party July, hitting near .300 with 2 said HRs and 5 stolen bases but let us not forget what he has done for his career in the second half. He loses about 20 points of average, about .040% on Slugging and even finds a way to steal less down the stretch. Obviously, past doesn’t always dictate the future. I mean, look at people who get married a second a third time. The percentages staying together get better right? *Looks at percentages*…oh. History is just not on the side of Kipnis being a second half savior for you and I’d make a move if I can still get a price return on him close to what you had to draft him for. In other news from the All-Star break return to our 2014 Fantasy Baseball season…oooh, on the TLC tip! Just a friendly reminder that myself and some other cool cats (I think Mike might be a Toyger) do this thing called DraftKings for you all every day of the week. That last link takes you away to Daily Fantasy land care of our VIP card but this link shows you all the content we’ve been providing to help you get the game down while you’re with us. BTW, didn’t bring up Mike just cuz. I’m swinging for Dan Pants today because apparently he’s pantsless or something. I told him just to change his name to Dan Assless Chaps for the day but he declined. That said, I’m gonna be away from the good ‘ole ‘puter for the day but Mike will be fielding all your burning questions. No, not those questions. If it burns down there, go see a doctor. Mike is just a cool cat and cats aren’t doctors. Duh. But enough chicanery, let’s really get back to this show…

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The Save Vulture is no ordinary animal. Or Jordanian animal, as my autocorrect wanted me to write. The Save Vulture doesn’t need much sunlight. The Save Vulture doesn’t need water in its purest form; it can distill water from cola, in a process called sodasynthesis. The Save Vulture is strictly a meat eater. It’s even been known to remove vegetables that are in the proximity of meat it plans on devouring. The one thing it considers a vegetable is a potato and that’s in chip form, which it consumes daily. The Save Vulture is not a social animal, but it does have close ties to its mother. Sometimes staying in the nest for 35 to 40 years. Once it leaves the nest, it usually latches onto a partner that nurtures it like a mother would. The Save Vulture doesn’t work much, except six months a year when it’s scrolling through a fantasy waiver wire for potential closers. The Save Vulture’s most active time is the last two weeks of July when closers could change teams, thus making a new reliever a closer. The Save Vulture preys on the weakness of others who lose their closer. This year, one of the most likely targets for The Save Vulture is Ken Giles with Jonathan Papelbon likely being traded. The Save Vulture is also flying over Huston Street, waiting to swoop in on Joaquin Benoit‘s carcass. Do you think The Save Vulture isn’t looking at Neftali Feliz if Joakim Soria is traded? You must be Joakim. Some desperate Save Vultures are talking about Koji Uehara being traded and Edward Mujica taking over. Not to be confused with Huston Street, but Chad Qualls on a Houston St. could go to a contender and Jesse Crain or Tony Sipp or Josh Fields or Jose Veras or Craig Biggio in a bad wig would step in. Could LaTroy Hawkins get moved? You bet your white Blackmon! In that case, Adam Ottavino or Rex Brothers would step in. The Save Vulture is even monitoring Matt Lindstrom‘s rehab, knowing if he’s healthy in the next few weeks, he could take over again. The Save Vulture doesn’t bathe itself, unless you count spilled soda, but it is the most diligent about stealing closers this time of year, I suggest you do the same. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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In school they teach, or try to teach, in most of our cases for the ADHD crowd, the essentials of a good curriculum. Reading, Writing and arithmetic. We can apply that to the closer situation in Arizona.  Addison Reed is the closer, but for how much longer?, is the key conundrum. He see’s the writing on the wall, but he also has the backing of his manager throughout the season (and again on Tuesday), and has since blown 2 more saves. Though the way the D-Backs are going, would it be optimal for them to ground an asset, or a “sort of asset” now, and then try and go a different direction later via trade?  Cuz let’s be honest, they aren’t going anywhere, and have capable arms in the majors and minors to jump in if necessary.  Now the math part, well that is why we do fantasy baseball, it’s all about the numbers.  Which, in Addison’s case, really sounds like a totally hot chicks name, prolly drives a Jeep Wrangler, wears her dad’s old jeans as cut-offs, basically a goer if you catch my drift.  [Jay's Note: I really don't.] Where was I and why am I all sweaty?  Oh…numbers.  Reed’s K’s are up and walks are down from his career numbers… but but but Smokey, those are good things.  Right?  Well, technically yes, but when luck runs out you go to Zig-Zags, and by that, I mean Brad Ziegler, (the next guy up in the event of  a change). Yes, even with the escape-goat win on Wednesday.  I mean, Addison has done really nothing wrong besides blow 5 games, and sometimes looks about as hittable as Rihanna.  So sit on Addison, but cushion the blow with B-Rad, and for dynasty lookers, take a look at Jake Barrett.  Let’s see what other geniuses of truth happened in the last week or two.

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The job in Tampa isn’t as pretty as it used to be, as the team is super underachieving, and not in a superhero-footed pajamas kinda way. Joe Maddon looks like he needs an executive parachute, even though he is a hoot to listen to during an interview. I think he is waiting for someone to jump and run with the job. Jake McGee, Joel Peralta or even the artist formally known as Leo Nunez may be the most obvious and experienced options, but I have another one for ya: Kirby Yates.  I didn’t make that up. He reminds me of what Jim Henderson did two years ago with the Brewers. Career journeyman, decent, but nothing stands out about his minor league numbers… then boom. K -ates in the minors are above 12 for the last 3 seasons, and he has over 50 saves during that same time.  Tampa is the place to rehab relievers, and Korean War shrapnel wounds, so crazier things have happened.  Kyle Farnsworth, Fernando Rodney, Troy Percival, Danys Baez, Lance Carter, Al Reyes…. you get the point. The rule with closers is: It’s better to be first then not at all. So if time and space are in alignment and Rod Serling is already taken, pounce. Stick around, it’s a good week to speculate on saves and save-nots.

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There is something to be said about doing your job, and then saying “good job but the regular guy is back, and he’s taking your job back.”  Mark Melancon filled in swimmingly for the injured Jason Grilli and his line is better than most closers in the F-tier of my rankings.  To his dismay, Grilli is back, and is being eased back into his role.  Is it fair? Probably.  Does it suck for Melancon stat vultures? Most definitely. Going back exactly one year, when Melancon became a fantasy stalwart on our rosters, he has an ERA under 2, 25 Saves and 17 Holds.  That’s all after Grilli went down last year. Besides the K factor, which is in Grilli’s favor, Melancon is basically being grounded for getting only an A- in English class… but but but it’s still and A!, I’m sure he’s muttering.  But, I’m rooting for Grilli, dat journeyman done good, saved all those kids from dat thang. Whatever that thing was. You know the story. No? Well make one up, tell your friends it happened, and let’s start a rumor. So good luck Jason Grilli, just make sure to look both ways when you cross the street. Oh, we totally forgot about your 3 BS in April. Cause you’re back here forever.  Subliminal message: Hold onto Melancon.

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This whole opening will be devoted to Trevor Rosenthal.  Why?  Because you are being put on notice, a notice to cease and desist your sucktitude.  Watching you makes me wanna renew my prescription card to the herbal  remedy place.  The stats are yuck, take your K’s and jump around as he huffs and puffs and blows your WHIP house down. I wanna take a moment and send this note just for Trevor.

Trevor… Hey what’s up man. I don’t know you, don’t know if you read Razzball, but you should, because we are like the Danity Kane of Fantasy Baseball.  Take a look over your shoulder my friend, you see that beard having flame thrower getting prepped in the minors?  Yeah, that’s basically Wally Pipp coming back, but in this case he will be called Jason Motte.  Now, Jason is a level-headed bloke, he stabbed someone in 3rd grade for stealing his apple sauce at snack time, and though all charges were dropped and wall-ball was played after… he is coming. Like the Balrog that Gandalf had to beat up…  You have been warned homie. Oh, and say hello to your mother for me.

So if you are reading this and have a DL spot,or a wasted spot you wanna spec on for a week or two, now is the time.  What’s the worst that can happen? Well, he comes back and shats the bed on your bench, but who cares? That’s like doing it on someone else’s bed, and they have a maid.  Stick around for some tid-bits or bits of tid for the guy who wears a helmet and reads this column.

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If you cheated and looked ahead before reading, shame on you! But, for those who didn’t, I am attaching my cart to Francisco Rodriguez. Not only has he done nothing wrong (which seems impossible for closers nowadays), but looks in no danger of getting the rug ripped out from under him. The team is winning, the bullpen is toight like a tiger, and Jimbo Hendo looks to be doing a swell job as second fiddle. Not only would I marry K-rod right now, he can also fart in my dinner… tonight. (Ed. Note– Protip: I wait until at least the second date before letting farts in my food.) I mean what he is doing is pretty remarkable– most saves in April, EVER. It reminds me of the good times when I played the jug in the band The Dixie Cups. For a barely drafted guy who wasn’t even the teams first choice for saves… and to also be giving your team a saves boost for basically nothing, you should wanna carry his luggage. So keep reading to see what other closer goodies I got for ya… or just skip to the comments and tell me something awesome.

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Sonny Gray – aka “The Oxymornic Forecast” – stormed through Texas with a 3-hit shutout (6 K’s) that netted him his 4th win and an ERA/WHIP of 1.76/1.14. Not bad for a 16-year old if you ask me. Is he getting a little lucky? Yes he is, question I just asked myself. But he certainly looks like (at least) a top 25 SP right now and has the benefit of a nice home park. Makes me wish I had him on one of my eleventy teams (why don’t you like him Steamer?)

Anyway, the other oxymoronic Grey asked me to pinch-hit as he was going to a ‘one-man show’ tonight. Hoping that isn’t code for renting a hotel room by himself and running up adult movie charges on the Razzball corporate card.

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