The deadline will have past by the time you’re reading this, so I’m sorry that I can’t meet or exceed all those expectations. What I can do is give you the in’s and out’s of middle relief. Wait, why did everyone just get up and leave? There is punch and pie at the end! So is everyone else confused on what to do with Will Smith?… yeah, me too.  He’s been getting beat up lately needs a vacation. Smith leads the league in appearances, is the leader in appearances with the lead by a non-closer (41), and has pitched an amazing 17 times on consecutive days. He has rewarded you with 19( albeit painful) NSVH, but his recent implosions may lead me to think there could be a better option for the time being. His BB/9 over the last 30 screams bad news, (P.S., it’s in the seven’s). I mean, I know the 24 Holds this year is all good and looks like a Canal St. watch, but if you have someone that just reads stats and doesn’t read between the lines of fantasy too well, see if they give you a name you like better. My best advice is pull a Judas Priest and run for the hills. Stay tuned for some charts and fun words and sentences that lead to abbreviated paragraphs. Good luck in the week to come.

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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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Welcome to the unofficial second half of the fantasy baseball season. If you’re reading this, I tip my dirty turban in your general direction, because that means despite half your roster being on the DL you’re still in the hunt for all the cash, bragging rights, glory and glory holes that is a fake baseball championship. If you’re reading this because you thought this was a Ben Wa ball site, let me be the first to apologize and welcome you to the Razzball Lounge. I’m sure we have some of those balls around here somewhere. Tehol? This is the place we almost award winning fantasy scribes come to pour over the numbers a little and pour out the scotch a lot more. Bellying up to the bar in his Montreal Expos Gary Carter throwback we find resident Razzball Radio on the TV host Nick C-A-P-O-Z-Z-I.  “I’ll trade a Razzball 32 in 32 in 32 ticket for one more Labatts and two of those Slim Jims.” Over at the juke box is the Razzball editor-in-kimchee Jay(Wrong) dropping quarters and lip syncing to Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up” for the seventh time. “Hey guys, I drafted Joaquin Benoit in the third round. Who’s the expert now?” *bottle smashes above head* Duct taped to the bar stool is rookie writer Ralph Lifshitz. Feel free to draw this on his face with a Sharpie. “Hazing is a crime ya know!” Silence, rook! Staggering out of the ladies room with his latest conquest is the one and only Tehol Beddict. “Why the long faces gang? I’ve been in last place since April.” And won’t you join your-humble-yet-not-quite-sober Guru here at the pool table. *adjusts turban, closes eye, banks cue ball off three rails, sinks eight ball, lights smoke, sets beard on fire* Shut off that damned boy band crap and put on some Motorhead. It’s time to play the game. It’s time to jam it or cram it.

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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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Ahh, I remember the Midway, it was fun it was like an air show but instead of crashes there were bullets.  I was just informed by Jay that statement is both wrong and wrong.  Moving on as graceful as Martha Graham.  So  I was actually thankful for a few days off, unhappy I didn’t make the all-star team, but I’m told that poor vocabulary and lack of knowledge of the home row keys are not determining stats that merit all-stardom.  Holds are fun, I don’t care what you say, if that makes me a loser for rooting for a fake stat, then I’m a loser.  This guys help your team though even if you don’t play in a Holds or NSVH league.  I am being serious.  I am the Will I am Tell of the loogy business.  Let’s check out my four up and four down for the closers in the second half, and stay around after that for some set-up news and blues.

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Sell George Springer? Are you mad, man? You’re not Joan, that’s for sure. You could be Bertram Cooper, because you are dead to me. I know, it’s blasphemy of the highest order. Springer, for Chris Cooper in Lone Star’s sake, is on the cover of Sports Illustrated! Of course, that’s assuming anyone actually sees a cover of anything. Are there magazines anymore? That’s a question for Stephen Hawking’s Speak ‘n Spell! That would be a great trick question for an alien. True or false, the smartest man on the planet uses a toy for a 5-year-old to speak. Guarantee that I’d trip up Andrelton Simmons with that question. Any the hoo! Springer is striking out like an insane man. If he continues on this rate, he may not hit above .200. For serious. He’s making Adam Dunn look selective. Since 2000, he has the 15th worst K-rate. Only two guys hit above .259 in that time frame with that bad of a K-rate, and one of them needed a .404 BABIP (that means he was lucky). Most guys averaged around .220. I don’t doubt Springer will be great. Maybe even as soon as next year, but he needs to make some serious adjustments, and, with him on the cover of a magazine(!), he’s getting so much pub that you can sell him for a lot more than he’s actually worth. Anyway, here’s some more players to Buy or Sell this week in fantasy baseball:

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I know bad raps can make a career… I mean Shaq made his secondary career off of them, but Joel Peralta is really getting one.  Everyone loves change, and the whole shiny new toy factor associated with bullpens, but I’m here to learn you something about guys that have been drafted, dropped, and then added and dropped twice over this year.  The Tampa Bay bullpen, and starters for that matter, are just bad this year. But, in the last 30 days, Peralta has lowered his ERA by 3-and-half runs.  That’s not exactly easy, especially on a team 15-plus games below .500. Also, he has more K’s, same ERA, and more Holds than the now more-coveted  Jake McGee during the last 30 days. Better pitcher all year, McGee, better lately? Peralta (but he burned us, so we give him the finger).  Just me giving my two cents.  I mean fluctuation, and “oooh that guy looks good in macrame shorts” are a blinding factor for rostering fringe bullpen guys.  Stick around for some cool bullet points shaped like baseballs… neat.

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Everyone knows about the top prospects getting called up. The Singleton’s, Tavares’, and Springer’s get all the pub, as they should.  Hitters that actually hit the ball only need to be successful 3 out of 10 times, and they are considered fantastic… even all-stars.  Now a pitcher gets 3 out of 10 wins, he’s a bum of the highest order, like a bum that can’t play an instrument, but has a puppy for sympathy change.  We all know that guy.  So the rookie RP getting called up around this time may stick with their respective teams, and they may not.  The three in particular I am referring to are Cam Bedrosian, Shae Simmons and Corey Knebel.  Bedrosian’s numbers in the minors are crazy unimaginable, and he could find himself in a great situation once he gains the trust of the bullpen-opath in Scoiscia.  The latter two are prolly not really factors, just yet as Simmons is blocked by the current GOAT at the position, and Knebel, albeit the first 2013 draft pick to make the majors, is going to be a bit-player until next year unfold’s.  I just wanted to point out that bullpen only-guys that get promoted need some love, it’s not like they smell like that musically challenged, puppy wielding guy from previous.  These adds are more of a deeper league or keeper league adds now, though I have speculated on Bedrosian in a 16-teamer with a deeper bench.

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If I am correct on my predictions, the NL pennant race will be a fun one.  I see three teams with playoff potential, and a fourth that is just shy of it.  Sorry San Diego fans, this isn’t your year. [Ed. Note -- JERK!]  Good news though, the Chinese calendar says it is going to be the year of the Tony Gwynn soon. [Ed. Note -- I take it back. Sorta.] (You can check out the AL West Spring Training Preview here, the AL Central Spring Training Preview here and the NL East Spring Training Preview here.)

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