The Braves had the 5th best ERA last year in the major leagues. That’s with a down year by Mike Minor, and injuries to Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen. Their runs scored were second to last in the majors. Only the Padres’ offense was worse. So, naturally, they trade away Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins, who had a sub-5 K/9 in High-A last year. Oh…*pounds out a chicken cutlet, fills it with spinach and ricotta cheese, rolls it up, ties it with twine, bakes it on 450 for 18-22 minutes, pulls it out and breathes in the aroma* …kay. That’s the Chicken Florentine pause. Practiced by many, only able to be pulled off by a few. I rarely pull out the Chicken Florentine pause, but trading a top hitting prospect that is only 25 years old, when your team is hurting for offense, is straight up baffling with a pickleback. Are the Braves trying to bring the entire organization down to Fredi’s level of intelligence? Did Fredi tell management that they had too many top of the order hitters (they have none) and they needed another arm (they don’t)? Are the Braves trying to get featured in the third sequel to Major League? I got questions, y’all! From a fantasy perspective, Heyward’s value goes up simply because the Cardinals are a better offensive team. Like someone doing yoga, Heyward will now be surrounded by Matts, Carpenter and Holliday. What will Heyward produce? Go ask the Sphinx. One year he looks like a 30-homer hitter, another year he looks like a middle infielder with 20 steal speed. He could be anywhere from a 15-homer guy to a 30-homer guy. The 20 steals, now in two of five seasons, looks possible, until you see he has a year of only 2 steals. His .271 average last year is around his career average (.262), so that seems repeatable, until you see his .227 average in 2011. At some point, he could have a 30-homer, 20-steal top 20 fantasy season, but to say it’s definitely coming is you lying to yourself. You already lie to yourself in other areas of your life, let’s not start with Heyward too. For 2015, I’ll give him the projections of 91/20/75/.274/15. Anyway, here’s some more offseason moves for 2015 fantasy baseball:

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I read a press release that Universal had greenlit the new buddy cop movie, Ham and Moobs, but I thought it was the usual PR stunt. When I heard they cast Kirsten Dunst as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who would be helping take Josh Willingham from loner without a job in Minnesota to new heights in Kansas City, where she would be sneaking him onto a plane to go — surprise! — parachuting and slipping him into a cage of alligators to get over his fear of being eaten alive, I was hooked! That Dunst girl will annoy the pants off you! So, The Other White Meat moves to KC, and I hear the Royals made the trade simply by pressing this button. This doesn’t hurt Wilingham’s value, but it doesn’t necessarily help it either. He’ll be the majority shareholder of the Royals DH slot and could be good for a little pop here and there, but not worth owning in most mixed leagues unless he’s hot. This does open the way for Kennys Vargas to remain the Twins DH and I’m a big fan of his. Both of his. All the Kennys you got. Every one of them. Okay then. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Psyche! Before I get into today’s post, I have some news. The Guru vanished. No idea where he went. One moment he was on the Razzball tour, next moment he was talking to a group of bears dressed as swimsuit models luring him into their car. You also catch more Gurus with honey, apparently. I await the A. A. Milne book with Guru in the Pooh gang. Any the hoo! The Football RCL signups are still underway, but if you joined one of Guru’s leagues, you need to sign up for a new football league. Repeat, there will be no Guru leagues; he got in a Hyundai filled with masquerading bears. Anyway II, the roundup:

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Like a good Jewish boy, Brad Ausmus said to his Bubbie, “Bubbie, I love sulfites, nitrates and pig a**holes, but every time I see a Nathan’s, I get the runs. Bubbie, do you have a remedy?” His Bubbie lowered her knitting and said, “You need to get a goddamn decent closer!” And so it was done. Unfortunately, due to being wracked with guilt (or possibly due to a rather hard knock on the head), Ausmus couldn’t pull the trigger and said Nathan will remain the closer. Oh. WHAT?! The Rangers traded Joakim Soria to the Tigers because Joe Nathan is making Detroit look even lousier. I can’t imagine Soria remains the set-up man for very long, since Nathan owns a 5.89 ERA and has looked completely lost for the better part of the season. For now, I’d hold both of them. Over in Texas, I have a rooting interest in Neal Cotts getting saves, because I own him and not Neftali Feliz. If I had my druthers, and knew what the hell druthers were — hmm, maybe then I do have druthers — I would grab Neftali first. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Tanaka, Pineda, ooh, I’m gonna take you. To Sabathia, Kuroda, ooh, I wanna own you. K-Rob, oh hold up now, I don’t want Sabathia and I don’t care if I ruined the song. So, Michael Pineda will be the Yanks 5th starter, at least out of Spring Training. Damn you, qualifier! I don’t think the rest of the league will hit the stuffing out of Pineda (quinceanera pun for the win!), but I do think the Yankees will have have to limit Pineda’s innings at some point. He can’t return from serious surgery and throw 200 IP this year. I’m not adjusting Pineda in my rankings. He’s in the “Lottery ticket” tier and he will remain there, but you don’t need to wear overalls over to the Wawa to scratch him off and win. Anyway, here’s what else I saw in Spring Training for 2014 fantasy baseball:

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I love the Aussie people; they have goofy words for a barbecue and even goofier animals — koalas and kangaroos? Is Australia animated? Those things are goofy! Why not just get a duck-billed platypus and anteater and call it a day, you wacky-animal-having country! How about baseball there? Did all the fans in attendance win a Bowie knife if a player hit a home run into the big marsupial pouch? Did Crocodile Dundee throw out the first pitch? Did the batters hit with a fraternity hazing paddle? I don’t know, because it was at four in the morning! Selig really needs to stop doing this to Opening Day. The players will be exhausted from traveling and won’t be able to get their usual reps in during the spring. The first pitch of the season should be at a time when 7-year-old North American boys and girls can watch it. Not at 4 AM EST. What if the first game went extra innings or someone got hurt? Can they just call up someone from the minors for the next game? No, so then you’ll have a team playing short. Do these stunts in December as a goodwill trip. Don’t make major league baseball teams into the Harlem Globetrotters for a regular season game. Eh, whatevs, baseball is back, who cares if it comes with a big helping of Vegemite. Anyway, here’s what else I saw for fantasy baseball:

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Jose Bautista left yesterday’s game as Jose hip got amiss and he hit the DL. In his place will be Anthony Gose and Kevin Pillar, who’s good friends with Jason Paritek and Kevin Poukilis, but even Pillar can’t stand Jonathan Ppappelbon. Pillar said, “He’s a pancing fool!” In the minors this year, Pillar had nine homers and 23 steals while maintaining a .300+ average. He profiles as a fourth outfielder, but you never know when someone gets hot. He hasn’t yet though. Meanwhile, Gose is good if you have the need…the need for speed! Or so says Maverick. Gose stole 70+ bases some years in the minors. No, that’s not a misprint. Unfortch, he never heard that anonymous credo, you can’t steal first. Together, they’re interesting from a Jays’ perspective. Together, not so much from a fantasy one, unless one steals the job (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, duck, duck, Gose!). In AL-Only leagues, I’d grab the Pillar and wait until someone says, “Hey, you making sure the Parthenon doesn’t fall?” In deep mixed leagues, I’d grab Gose if you’re desperate for steals. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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First, Erasmo returns for our rookie nookie needs, then Adam Eaton is called up to see if owning rookies can be better than Viagra. They can. I asked your grandpa. What? We talk. Adam Eaton has that built in ability to…Ugh, I just started singing Invisible Touch in my head. Phil Collins, wherever you are, you’ve polluted my mind! I love Adam Eaton like a brother I never had and never wanted, but would hang out with if I had time between telling Mom that he was wearing her clothes and doing a runway show in the living room. Eaton has 30-ish steal speed and 10-15 homer power over the course of a full season. Well, that full season went out the window with his injury, and now there’s a Native American crying because someone littered with Adam Eaton’s full season. In a half a season, he could still have a huge one. A Starling Marte-type half wouldn’t completely surprise me. That would be the absolute best case scenario. More likely, he’ll get 4-7 homers and 12-15 steals and be primed for a huge breakout next year. I’d still grab him in every single league because he’s got something you just can’t trust. Something mysterious. And now I’m falling, falling for him! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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This is me jumping on the Yasiel Puig bandwagon. Well, technically, I don’t jump. I float. Why? Wait, are you asking why I float or why I’m getting on the bandwagon? It’s pretty obvious why I float, so I’m going to assume you want to know why I’m on that there wagon. For the free web hits of course. There is a certain amount of Puigmania going on pretty much everywhere in the known universe, and especially on Uranus. Every time he comes up to bat, a samurai rescues seven kittens from that one ninja dude who cuts off their heads when someone masturbates. But this former Cuban outfielder represents an important case study in both his perceived value and his actual value. As always, we’ll be exploring these concepts. That is, after all, the normal Bear/Bull treatment. And based on the Puigmania, I sense that everyone is chomping at the bits about what to do with this guy, if anything. I promise the fact he’s already referred to as ManBearPuig will have no bearing on my decision. Maybe.

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Imagine the Freaky Friday scenario with Grey or Rudy. One minute you’re a happy-go-lucky fantasy player who enjoys the occasional buffoonery, the next your spouting out catch phrases and terms to replace common English. I would’ve had my headshot in the paper for saving that kitten if I wasn’t such a SAGNOF! I wish I was a good father to my niños but unfortunately I’m just a HodgePadre…

Fortunately for this Friday, all you have to do to switch places with Rudy as the best fantasy analyst alive, is beat him in another awesome contest from our friends at DraftKings. The contest is for this Friday’s night games, but you can ENTER NOW with the winner getting a ticket into the their $100,000 MLB Spring Fling where the #1 spot gets $20,000! That’s a $100 value and entries are only $5 and you can enter up to two times for this one, with spots 2-10 winning $5.00. As always, this is RAZZBALL EXCLUSIVE so there’s only 50 spots open with 3 filled already, so you gotta sign up fast!

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Wow, assembling this week’s list of players made me dizzy with enthusiasm. No. I’m lying. To help write this post, I have a hired a shadow writer sorta speak. Readership meet my shadow writer — Vodka. Vodka, meet readership. What did you say? Drink more? Silly you. You’re already empty! Let’s get this thing started before I get prescribed anti-depressants.

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