Jonathan Villar dished out a big old helping of steals this past week, and I wouldn’t expect anything different after not including him in my last few posts – D’oh! Fact is, prior to this week’s little splurge, Villar had gone from August 13th to September 5th with only 1 stolen base and 3 caught stealing. I couldn’t justify recommending him as a reliable source of stolen bases while he was in the midst of that kind of steals drought, especially at a critical point in the season like this. I’m changing my tune though after watching him steal 4 bases and chip in a homer to boot. He’s got the speed and last week is probably a good sign that the steals slump from August is officially over. He now has 17 steals in just 44 games and despite being caught 7 times already, he’s a player who should be worth a roll of the dice over the last two weeks of the season even with a tough match-up against the Reds to start the week. A lot of other owners have already jumped on board, as his ownership at the four letter word jumped 40%. If he’s already gone in your league, here are a few other options for steals that may be available on your wire:

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Oh fantasy baseball. You’re such a bitch. Jacoby Ellsbury and his league leading 52 stolen bases are going to take a seat for a while. While this is bad news for Red Sox fans, it’s even worse news for fantasy players who are in the midst of a title chase or head to head playoff match-ups. Grey covered this in the lede this morning but it’s worth mentioning here as well given that our focus is steals and Jacoby represents a huge loss in that category for his owners. Luckily, there are still some players who might be available in your league that can help in the steals department. Quick, before anybody else fractures their feet, let’s take a look at who’s out there for some SAGNOF this week:

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I have a love/hate relationship with Labor Day. On one hand, I have to say goodbye to all of my white pants and seersucker sportcoats. I’m also not a big football guy, so it pains me to see my baseball mates quietly drift off into the world of fantasy football. There’s also a lot to love, though. It’s a day off from work if you’re lucky. It’s also the start of some really exciting pennant chase baseball. And last but not least, we have the expansion of MLB rosters. September gives us a chance to see some fresh faces and possibly some future stars. While none of them are likely to make a huge fantasy impact, there are a few players who have come up that could help in the steals category. Billy Hamilton is the most obvious name. He’s the guy you want if you’re going to gamble on a September call-up. There are some other names, however, that are worth a look in very deep leagues or NL/AL-only leagues. Guys like Jose Ramirez in Cleveland, Dee Gordon in LA, and Jim Adduci in Texas all have speed to offer. Like Hamilton, they’re not going to see regular playing time, so while they are fun to mix and match, they aren’t players that I would rush to add to my roster. Hamilton is the exception to the rule. His speed warrants a look even if he’s relegated to pinch-running most nights. Here are some of the best bets for stolen bases this week in fantasy baseball:

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First Heyward, and now Brandon Beachy is headed to see Dr. Freeze. This is the worst back-to-back days in Atlanta since Sherman burnt Atlanta and then Home Depot decided to push back their grand opening by 100 years. If the Braves keep going like this, TBS might have to show repeats of The George Lopez Show. NOOOOOOOO!!! The caps were for emphasis, you know, in case it was lost on anyone. The last pitcher to see Dr. James Andrews and pitch again within 6 months was Lee Majors during a Battle of the Network Stars tourney, but he was bionic. I’d put five internet dollars on Beachy missing the season, but I’d hold him for now. This would obviously clear up the confusion in the rotation between Alex Wood, Paul Maholm and Kris Medlen. Or Alis Moodlen, for short, though that sounds like a guitarist for Deep Purple. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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The White Sox traded Jake Peavy to the Red Sox not long ago — perhaps you remember it. The three-team swap sent Peavy to Boston, Jose Iglesias to Detroit, and a handful of lower levels prospects to Chicago. It also sent 22-year-old outfielder, Avisail Garcia, to the Southsiders. In the aftermath of the trade, I rushed to add Garcia wherever I could, working under the assumption that Alex Rios would also be moved before the trade deadline, which would create an immediate opportunity for Avisail. Well, it took about ten days longer than I anticipated, but Rios is now playing for Texas, and Garcia is now a regular in Chicago. If you’ve been paying attention to my ramblings, you already know that I’m a big fan of Avisail. He has the tools to help across the board in the fantasy game, and high-impact potential in HR, AVG, and RBI categories. Garcia is still a little raw, and his approach needs some refinement, but I’m thrilled to see him finally getting an opportunity to play everyday in the bigs. If you’re in need of outfield help, I absolutely endorse adding him in mixed formats.

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Fact: Ron Washington is a giver.

MLBtraderumors found a reason to stay significant post-trade deadline yesterday, and now it’s official — Alex Rios has been traded to the Rangers for Leury Garcia. Who? Basically. (To be fair, he does have some speed, but the hit tool is a bit lacking. So close, yet Profar. HUUUUR.) You can check on the complete, gory details here. But don’t complain about the lack of gore. So, what’s the fantasy impact here? No, silly, I’m not asking you. Unless you know the answer, then by all means, go for it. You can’t tell, but I waited a good five minutes. Thanks for nothing. Allow me. While U.S. Cellular Field can be homer happy, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is right behind in offensive park factors. I do prefer the Texas lineup, so a boost in projected runs and RBI’s may occur. Grey projected a 37/10/30/.284/14 line for him in the second half, and while Rios has gotten off to a slow start, these are still achievable numbers if going into a playoff situation can get some of those juices flowing. Or there might not be any juices. I am unaware of Rios’ juice levels. But let’s hope its cranberry. Because that’s my favorite juice. Honestly, it’s just really hard to tell if a player is going to pull a CC Sabathia or Ryan Ludwick. Overall though, I don’t see a huge change in the dynamic, but there’s certainly nothing to complain about. Here’s what else I noticed yesterday…

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