As spring training takes off, we, the wonderful people of Razzball, thought it would be a good idea to look into some intra-team rivalries.  What positions are a lock?  What positions are being fought over?  What positions will they hire me to fill-in for (second base Blue Jays, I’m looking at you)? Find out as the start of this series will focus on NL East…

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At the time of this writing, there’s a tentative trade in place, one that would send Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers in exchange for a few prospects, including the heavy hitting 1B/3B, Mike Olt. Olt has long been a trade candidate — he’s an MLB-ready third baseman, but he’s thoroughly blocked by Adrian Beltre — and I’m surprised he wasn’t moved last season when his value was higher. Still, he’s a good fit for the Cubs and he’s been hitting quite well over the past month at Triple-A. The deal seems to make sense for both clubs, but this sort of tentative trade is never a sure-thing, as Cubs fans can attest. There’s a decent chance that this one will be off the table by the time this post runs. And if that’s the case, then Garza is scheduled for two starts next week. He’s listed below along with all the others going twice.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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Looking back on the unofficial first half of the fantasy baseball season can be a lot of fun, unless of course you are in dead last, in which case it’s about as much fun as watching your auntie’s cat play with its new Cat’s Meow toy while you eat stale Circus Peanuts. In any event, the gods of SAGNOF have not been as kind to us thus far in 2013, and it shows in the numbers. The total number of steals in the league, 1524, is the lowest it’s been since 2006. In addition, there are only 21 players with 15 or more steals at this point in the season. That’s also the lowest it’s been since 2006. It feels even lower given that just last year there were 28 players with 15+ steals at the break and 30 the year before that. This all means that players who steal 30 bags or more are a little harder to come by, and it’s no sure thing that each fantasy team will have one or two guys that can carry them in steals like in years past. It also means that having a guy like Ben Revere break his foot and lose his season is a much bigger blow to our fantasy squads (mine included) than it used to be. So what do we do if we lost a guy like Revere or missed out on a Jacoby Ellsbury or Everth Cabrera type? If you read my column regularly, you know I’m a big fan of playing the match-ups when it comes to steals, and seizing the opportunity to eke them out whenever possible against teams that are weak against the run. After all, just because steals are down in general, it doesn’t change the fact that they still make up 20% of our offensive points in most leagues.

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The Marlins parted ways with Ricky Nolasco on Saturday. He was the longest-tenured Marlin. That’s about the same length as a Gary Busey train of thought. Nolasco was also their highest paid player, which on the Marlins is like being the highest paid paperboy. Jeffrey Loria was sad to see Nolasco go, because as the highest paid player he also had in his contract that he had to dust Loria’s artwork. Loria said, “Adeiny Hechavarria is nimble on the field, but how is he with a 700-foot, post-modern statue of unicorn vomit?” Nolasco was more than usable in Miami, with his only big drawback being his inability to win on a club that put swindling nearby residents before winning. On the Dodgers, Nolasco no longer has that issue. He’s a solid #4 fantasy starter with a 7+ K-rate, 2 walk rate and 3.70 xFIP. I’d pick him up in all mixed leagues. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Homer Bailey threw his second career no-hitter, and it was the first time a player who looked identical to Christian Bale has thrown the last two no-hitters in the major leagues. Johnny Vander Meer’s family is currently drawing bat ears on old photos of Johnny to try and contest that record. Nolan Ryan was the last non-Balehead to throw the majors back-to-back no-hitters in 1974 and ’75, but the coincidences don’t end there! Back then the only live action Batman was Adam West, and Nolan was pitching as far West as you can go in California and Joe West called Ryan’s fifth no-hitter and Kanye West wasn’t born yet but Jesus was and that’s who Kanye thinks he is. It’s a small word after all, which is played at Disneyland and that’s in Anaheim where Nolan played. My brain is bugging out! Bailey seems like he’s a one-game-a-year pitcher, but he’s been terrific all year. He’s in the top ten for FIP and has the 4th best K-rate in that group. That’s not a 2nd or third fantasy starter; that’s an ace, over-the-internet friend. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Did someone call Glenn Frey? Cuz the H is O. When the news hit, I was on the toilet, which reminded me of that famous Lawrence Taylor quote when he said, “My life is in the toilet and no one is flushing.” Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez‘s lives are in that same proverbial toilet; hopefully they avoid sleeping with an underage prostitute. “Baby, you ever see me break Theismann’s leg?” “The Theismann Trophy? Wow, isn’t that bronze?” “Joe Theismann, woman!” “Woman? I’m 16.” That’s an audio recording of LT in the hotel room. So, the world is ablaze with ESPN’s report that a suspension is forthcoming for Braun, A-Rod, Yasmani Grandal, Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera, amongst notable fantasy names. Gio Gonzalez isn’t in danger because he makes people write down shizz in invisible ink. “I bought this pen from the back of comic book, forgoing the 3-D glasses.” That’s Gio at the steroid reception desk. By the by, how buff was the lady taking calls at Biogenesis and how bad did A-Rod hit on her? I got questions, y’all! If Ryan Braun is suspended, the repercussions will obviously be huge for your fantasy team. However, Braun looks like he’s already battling something — the Jewish guilt? P to the erhaps. If you’re doing well in your league with the Braun that you have, chances are you can rotate through hot schmotatoes in shallower mixed leagues to give you his production. If A-Rod is suspended? Well, no one cares outside of the buff receptionist. EverCab could also send people scrambling for steals on waivers, while Cruz and Jhonny are replaceable in most mixed leagues. On the bright side, Braun’s lawyers will probably fight this for at least a month or two, and they’ve won before over what mail carrier someone used, so you never know. On the brighter side, the publishers of the Jewish Sports Hero Pamphlet can hold off on an expansion for a while. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Those of you who read my prospect content know that I’m a big fan of Michael Wacha, that I’ve been touting him as a fantasy-relevant prospect since before he was drafted last June. Now that may sound like I’m tooting my own horn a bit, but I’m really not — I tout a lot of prospects, and plenty of them performed poorly upon first arrival in the bigs, making me look quite dumb. I’m looking at you, Kevin Gausman. See, stuff, pedigree, velocity… each of those variables is superseded by command at the big league level. Not many people would grade Wacha’s pure stuff on par with Gausman’s, but Gausman has struggled spotting the fastball and it’s gotten him in trouble early in his MLB career. Wacha, instead, is the one attracting all the hype, disappearing from waivers with haste. Not to discount his repertoire — he has two plus pitches and a good third one with plus potential — but his early success is mostly to do with the fact he hit his spots. Well… and also that he faced the Royals. All rookie pitchers should be so lucky to debut versus KC. Wacha goes twice this week.

As always, probable pitchers are subject to change. For a look at all fantasy baseball streamers, click that link.

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The other day Don Mattingly said something like this, “When your closer can’t close, but you need games closed and you have a closer in name and a non-closer closer, who’s your closer? The guy who’s closing games? I don’t know. I’m seriously asking. I would think it’s the guy you call closer, but we call Brandon League the closer and he can’t close, so the closer must the guy we don’t call closer but can close games named, Kenley Jansen. Warmer… Warmer… No, now you’re getting colder. Go back the other way.” Kenley Jansen got the save. YAY!…But…BOO!…It was on the tail end of an 8 2/3 IP, 11 Ks, 6 baserunners stunning performance by Clayton Kershaw, so it wasn’t a stereotypical save. I would’ve preferred to see a standard “closer enters to start the 9th inning” save before telling people to drop League. I’d hold both for now, but a new era (not the hats) may be upon us. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Razzball Nation!

DraftKings is back with another RAZZBALL EXCLUSIVE Play with Rudy [and Nick] contest going on this Friday.  Just like last week, there’s a cap of only 40 entries (2 per person), and with an entry fee of only $5 and a chance to win $20,000 it’s got more fantasy upside than Nick on the North Pole with a compass.  Wait what happens on the North Pole with a compass?  Nick, you live like a mile from there right?

The winner gets entry into DraftKings huge $100,000 MLB Spring Fling were the top winner gets that large chunk of $20 grand cheddar.  You could cover like a million Packers fans’ heads with that.  Spots 2-10 get $5 back so there’s a great shot at winning!  Since this is a RAZZBALL EXCLUSIVE contest, it’s not as difficult to win and you don’t have to hit on every guy (unlike Tehol at a Wednesday photo shoot).  Last week’s winning team rolled with big plays like Peavy, Cashner, and Rizzo (who put up a 40 burger), but got a goose egg from Brandon Laird (coulda probably afforded Betancourt!) and disappointing games from Josh Hamilton and Carlos Gonzalez.  Rudy finished 6th, so he’s still beating most of you guys, bring him down!

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Sure, these aren’t your slightly older brother’s Yankees. Even Mel Hall would roll over in his Aryan cellmate’s arms if you were to compare these Yankees with the early-90′s Yankees. Still… Again and this time put a little sting on it… STILL! Mr. DeMille, Matt Moore looks ready for his close-up as he announced, “I am big. It’s the other pitchers that got small.” The Yankees can usually take a walk, and Moore’s on the wild side when the guys and four girl readers go, ‘Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo.’ Yesterday, Moore only gave up two hits and three walks through eight innings while chipping in nine Ks. His season ERA now sits at 1.04. Sure, that’s gonna come up a bit, but I ranked him 16th overall for all starters for a reason. That reason is his stuff is nasty. Nasty as in good not nasty as in bad with that bad not being bad bad, he’s good bad. Kapeesh? Looking for a pitcher then can give you 200 Ks and a 2-something ERA then look at Strasburg. Looking for a guy that can get you the same amount of Ks and a low-three ERA, but will come a lot cheaper in a trade? That’s all the Moore reason. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?