The Mariner bullpen has basically been that round-up ride at your local carnival.  It doesn’t look that bad until it totally messes with your vertigo and you end up spewing up kettle corn and other assorted goods for two hours there after.  Last year, the Mariners bullpen had a 2.60 ERA, good for tops in the MLB.  They also saved 51 games to only 11 blown saves.  They were all comfy and coozy like footed pajamas last year, and basically everyone could rely on the decent value of return from drafting Fernando Rodney.  Then the year changes to five and the ship went askew.  Their bullpen ERA is over 4.30 and are on pace to accumulate 45 saves, and, to date, have already blown 18 saves (behind only three other teams for worst).  So let’s just run down the year so far: Rodney was the closer, then he wasn’t the closer, Carson Smith took over, and now it seems as though they are reverting back to 2012 in hopes that Tom Wilhelmsen can right the ship of battered and injured bullpen dreams.  Stick around for some tid-bits and bullpen ranks…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

SAGNOF just keeps finding ways to stay absurd.  Tom Wilhelmsen, Jean Machi, John Axford = good.  Carson Smith, Junichi Tazawa…. even Greg Holland = bad.  If all you care about are saves there’s been a wealth of options available.  Realistically, I think chasing saves with bad closers can be a losing proposition.  What do the first three (the so called “good”) have in common aside from taking over as the closer?  How about WHIPs greater than 1.40.  These players need to come with a warning label.  “Implosion likely to occur.”  I mean, it only took Edward Mujica about a week to implode and he was arguably better than any of these three.  Axford and Wilhelmsen look like brothers from different mothers with their K:BB ratios at 1.75 and 1.91 respectively.  Anything below 2.50 is really bad for a closer.  Unless you’re Brad Ziegler.  Then it’s okay.  (I need a “no sarcasm” alert for that one).  Here’s the lowdown on the closer situations that will make you want to scream.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After the first two homer-game, I was like, “Yo, Grey, stop twirling your mustache and trying to squeeze into your Z. Cavariccis from high school and check out Travis Shaw.”  And I did.  Only, I wasn’t that impressed.  He had five homers in 77 games in Triple-A.  Then, a week or so later, he had his 2nd two-homer game and I was like, “Yo, Sir Hairlip-A-Lot, those Zubaz look awful on you, and maybe you look at Shaw’s numbers again.”  And I did.  His ‘big’ year in Double-A saw him hit 16 homers with a .221 average and again I came away yawnstipated; must be he’s showing some Maas appeal.  Then, yesterday, he went 4-for-4 with two runs and is hitting .371 in 22 games, and I was like, “Yo, Fantasy Master Lothario, just let Cougs clean out your closet for you and really delve into Shaw’s numbers!”  No, I don’t know what delve means but it sounds smart when I’m talking to myself.  I’ve said it before, but Shaw feels exactly like a Maas appeal-type player.  I bet after September he never even plays regularly on the Sawx again.  But now suddenly you’re worried about the future?  You weren’t when you were writing to the National Institute of Health about having nacho cheese classified as a vegetable.  Get a 401K and grab Shaw until he stops hitting.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

After blowing his fifth save Thursday night, giving up three walks and two runs in the ninth, John Axford has now blown four save chances in his past five appearances. Colorado Rockies Manager Walt Weiss said Friday that John Axford would be removed from the closer role. But from the looks of the quote, it sounds like Axford could potentially gain the job back, especially if the replacement candidates don’t prove to be worthy. Rafael Betancourt, Tommy Kahnle and Justin Miller are the three possibly unworthy candidates, and names you should consider adding if you are searching for saves. Rafael Betancourt would seem like the obvious choice if not for his 4.88 ERA. He does have that much sought after closer-experience, though. Kahnle, on the other hand, is rocking a much nicer 2.96 ERA, and a 1.80 ERA for the month of July and seems like a more suitable candidate. Justin Miller has the best numbers of the bunch (0.90 ERA, 0.60 WHIP in just 10 IP), but also holds the least experience. The situation will certainly be worth monitoring over the next few days, but one thing is for sure, you probably won’t really be happy owning any one of these guys. However, if you need saves I’d add Betancourt, Kahle and Miller in that order until we see how this shakes out.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

You know they say, every Blue Jay fan has his Price, and every dog has his day and what does the cat say? Me-ouch. Is that a well-known idiom? Sounds like something Pol Pot would’ve said. “You look like a clown because you’ve applied too much Khmer rouge. Now what does the cat say? ‘Me-ouch!'” That was Pol Pot at his most disarmingly charming. You ever look at pictures of dictators and think to yourself, “He looks like a total tool. What kind of a-holes followed this guy?” Any hoo! David Price was acquired by the Blue Jays for Daniel Norris (who I’ll get to in a moment). The Blue Jays GM, Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t believe he gutted the farm system to deliver Price and/or Tulo. No more than, say, a Greek farmer needs to gut a lamb to make shawarma. As they say on the lamb farm, sacrifices need to be made. I don’t think this changes a thing about Price’s value. Comerica was actually more offense-friendly this year, and the Blue Jays will provide more run support, but Price is essentially the same pitcher whether he’s in Toronto, New York or Boston, in Philly, Miami or Houston; in Detroit or– Is this a Kid Rock song I’m singing? Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

All the fantasy world was hoping that Jonathan Papelbon would be traded to a team without a reliable closer.  Instead, he goes to a team and kicks in the door swinging with the “I make more money than you” swagger that only comes with wearing Jordache jeans. And then he takes Drew Storen‘s job.  From a relief pitcher standpoint, Papelbon jumps from the worst save-driven team to top 10 overall.  The Phillies generated only 26 save opportunities to the date of his trade.  The Nationals were a far better team, and their record says so with 43 save opportunities.  The Nationals have also had a lead 32 more times than the Phillies, so Storen isn’t a completely wasted roster spot. If you got skunked by this, you need to keep him rostered.  He will still get the off-day save chances, and should pitch in a ton of high-leverage situations based on the bullpen shape of the Nationals, which isn’t a blue ribbon. Papelbon immediately jumps to elite status for me because of his history, and the whole contending team thing. He will easily double his saves total (in less games) to date, which stands at 17.  On the flip side of this trade, it opens up the gates to wunderkid Ken Giles to close in the land of steaks covered in cheese.  Giles immediate value is that of a closer, but with the Phil’s, he’s going to basically have a worse representation of what Papelbon had, but he still has moderate save appeal.  I can see him getting 10 saves the rest of the way.  This is posting a day before the deadline, so things could be in flux. And make sure to check out Ralph and myself over on Razzball Soccer, as the FPL is in full go.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Late last night, Troy Tulowitzki was traded to the Blue Jays. Both hammys, his quads, his obliques, his elbow tendons, both groins. Why does he have two groins again? Maybe we don’t need to know. The Rockies getting rid of Tulo makes me think of when a kid is dropped off at the airport to fly alone. A flight attendant walks with the kid, trying to make conversation, waits with them at the gate, helps them into their seat, watches after them on the flight, escorts them off the plane and walks them to their uncle. Once the Rockies representative handed Tulo off to his uncle, Alex Anthopoulos, the Rockies representative went into the bathroom, did a line of blow and dialed the Rockies, “We got rid of him!!!” The Blue Jays longed to have a shortstop with two good legs. Sadly, they traded Jose Reyes to the Rockies, so now they still have a shortstop with one good leg, unless the deal includes Reyes leaving behind a hammy. Obviously, leaving Coors isn’t going to help anyone, but Tulo’s big problem has always been his health. If he stays healthy, the Blue Jays aren’t exactly the Kalamazoo Fightin’ Zebras playing in Petco. The lineup around him will be better, and he’ll get to face a junkload of terrible pitchers in the AL East. As for Reyes, he might not be long in Colorado, and if he is, then he gets a boost in value, until the Mile High air creeps into his hammys and does its worst. Reyes could now get back those extra five homers that seem to have disappeared from his usual batting line. Also, in this deal, LaTroy Hawkins went to the Jays. He was the flight attendant in the above scenario. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

So with the festivities of All-Stardom concluding, thus comes the second half.  It’s an inevitable thing, you eat half a cookie the other half remains.  So this week I am going to run down a list of the closers for the remainder of season.  So sorry for not doing salads with donkeys this week, I felt this was more noteworthy since we are about two weeks from the trade deadline in real and fake baseball life (in some leagues).  The closer rankings that I came up with will be based off of a few things: saves (no durrr), team success, likely hood to remain a closer, and peripheral stats.  So we lump all those together and we get the ROS STSLRCPS.  Which basically looks like a pretty good scrabble deck.  Bare with me, it’s a busy time of year, and for those in the know, Fantasy Soccer is live and in full effect.  Go check it out, it’s fantasy baseball with an accent.  So now onto the closer ranks for the rest of the 2015 campaign…

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Dude’s on fire. No. Need better! He is a high-speed torrent download of a yule log burning. Need better! He is Smokey the Bear at a Porno for Pyros concert, wearing earbuds and listening to Firestarter by Prodigy. Need better still! He’s a pyrotechnician smacking a sparkler out of your hand and giving you instead the detonator for the Statue of Liberty’s 4th of July celebration fireworks. Yesterday, Mitch Moreland went 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and his 13th and 14th homers, and now has five homers in four games and six homers in six games. I already told you yesterday that Moreland has been better than Brandon Belt, Lucas Duda and Brandon Moss, and some other corner infidels, according to our Player Rater. That’s on the year, not in the last week. In the last week, Moreland’s been better than everyone. Let’s take a hootie-hoo at who Moreland has more homers than on the year: Prince Fielder, Beltre (not close), Adam Jones, Big Papi, Tommy Tomstein, Freeman, Yoenis, Billy McDugal, Kris Bryant, Tulo, McClutchin and Sandoval. Sure, some of those guys I only named to rub salt in my own wounds — I hate you, Sandoval! — and other guys I mentioned don’t even exist, but Mitch don’t kill my vibe for the better part of the season now, and, if he’s available, I’d grab him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Donaldson pulling a Jeter? Shades of Armando Galarraga on a play at first in a perfect game? John Gibbons looking like he’s sucking on a lemon but really he just happened to glimpse Brett Cecil? The eighth was thick with humidity. The tension was buzzing from a few bugs that made their way inside the domed stadium as Marco Estrada went for a perfect game. Unfortunately, Donaldson diving into the stands to make the first out in the 8th, when the announcers said he was “pulling a Jeter,” didn’t stop the infield hit on the very next batter when Logan Forsythe just barely beat it out to first. To misquote that previous sentence, it would be the first time a pulling Jeter had to beat it out. Marco ended the game with 8 2/3 IP, 0 ER, 2 hits, zero walks and 10 Ks. He’s now allowed three hits in his previous two starts (over 15 2/3 IP). Estrada’s main peccadillo — or ponchadillo, as might be the case with Estrada — is he allows a shizzton of homers and he pitches his home games in Toronto. He’s recently looked untouchable, and I’d stay with the theme and not touch him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?