This is the best time of the year, next to when Shark Week is on TV.  All the movement in real baseball sends a ripple throughout the fantasy universe and in most position player cases, the player is owned to the moon or already a contributor.  Not so much in the realm of baseball’s forgotten warriors: the setup men.  As teams scramble for bullpen help, it creates an everlasting (not really forever) waterfall effect that resonates to the new and old team.  Take for example the Yankees/White Sox trade it has created job questions for five separate relievers: Betances, Robertson, Kahnle, Clippard and Swarzak.  Now with all the hype surrounding trade rumors, it is best to identify the team who gets the bullpen help first, than the trading team second.  Because the trading team usually is where the goodies are at.  Anthony Swarzak looks to be the biggest beneficiary in the setup options, and yes, Clippard will be closing, but Swarzak will be there when Clippard gets dealt again whether it’s before or after the non-waiver trade deadline.  So to summarize here, be speculative but not crazy.  Pay attention to the reliever deals in place and realize that some pitchers get moved down a few pegs, but on the reflexive, some move up. Have at some juicy reliever tidbits, Cheers!.

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This week, Dr. Easy and I (he’s the Rudy, with the stats and the puns; I’m the Grey, with the high-pitched giggle and the puns) continue our Adventures with the Razzball Season-to-Date Player Rater (STD PR), looking for players who are rated higher than you may think they are — or lower than you think they would be — in an attempt to help you with waiver wire pick-ups, trade targets and DFS plays. We’ll look at a couple of position players but focus mostly on non-closing, non-handcuff relief pitchers, to try to get an idea of where their value lies for a roto team.

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Yesterday, J.D. Martinez was traded to the Diamondbacks for Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King, a package that has been described by me as a .280, 40-homer hitter for Okay, Who Cares and So What.  My visions of Yasmany Tomas returning and helping my NL-Only team went from “Hello, what’s your name, Pamela Sue?” to “No, my name is Pamela and I’m suing you for sexual harassment.”  The ol’ 180 in the pants.  Well, I’ll save the rest of my moans and/or groans for my shrink, since this is great news for Just Dong.  That should be a 90 degree turn in the pants for Just Dong owners.  Has he ever hit in Chase Field?  Doesn’t matter, he’s about to love it.  Outside of Coors and Miller, there’s no place I’d rather my player move for hitting and between-inning dips in a hot tub.  (The Coors and Miller hot tubs are gnarly, by the way.  “Did you say swell?”  “No, I said swill.”) For FAAB, I’d go aggressively after Just Dong like he was the last guy to move to the NL, even if he might not be.  He’s a 35-homer guy in Comerica.  In Chase, he could be the equivalent to a 45-homer guy over the final ten weeks.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Well, the All-Star break happened and now here I sit.  Only three games of data to expunge my sort of genius onto the masses… that’s like the Gettysburg Address stopping at “four score and seven”. So with limited research, I gotta get creative with words.  Like, have you checked out Fantasy Soccer, yeah… it’s that oddly shaped ball at the top of this page.  Don’t play? Well you should.  So onto the number seven with bacon.  Also known as the KC stealer.  Over the past 15 games that oddly enough dates back when we were still celebrating fireworks and stuff, Whit Merrifield leads the majors in steals with 7.  Big deal, 7 whole steals!  Well, the steals bandwagon has lost some steam this year with Billy not doing consistent Billy things and Trea doing game-ready stuff at Chuck E. Cheese’s, but strangely enough he still needs an adult with him.  Curse you baby-faced guys!  Whit isn’t just a dead stick as he has revitalized the Royals line-up, as they have an unbelievable record since his insertion into the leadoff spot.  It’s not George Springer-type good, but for SAGNOF, we take what we can get.  Currently owned in half of the ESPN leagues, which means that he is owned in every RCL league (basically), so kudos for all of us that are paying attention.  But on the happenstance that he isn’t owned, go grab him, do it gently though, he pees when he gets nervous.

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I tried to get Grey going to start the podcast again, but he didn’t take the bait this time. He was too excited over his brand new podcast microphone. I wasn’t sure if I noticed a difference during the show, but listening back, I think he might be clearer. You guys can be the judge of that. We then get right into the blockbuster Jose Quintana trade, and how much this changes his fantasy value, if at all. We discuss Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle heading to Washington, Madison Bumgarner’s return, and Johnny Cueto’s blisters. At the midway point of the show, we bring on Razzball’s own Mike Maher to talk about a few interesting hitters on his Top 100 Hitters post this week, including Marwin Gonzalez, Kyle Seager, Tommy Pham, Chris Taylor, and Keon Broxton. Finally, Grey and I gush over the insanely high quality of RotoWear.com’s t-shirts, and thank Kenny for hooking the Razzball community up with 15% off by entering promo code “SAGNOF.” It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Podcast:

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Matt Grace picked up his 2nd save in as many games on Saturday for the Nationals, and Ben Zobrist’s wife started to work on a song titled, “Saving Grace,” and requested Ben’s trade to Washington.  Then, first thing on Sunday, the Nats traded for Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle, and Saving Grace became a B-side for “Halleberrylujah, A Catwoman Licks Herself (Rated PG).”  When asked if the trade makes his team better, the Nats’ GM said, “That’s right,” and, “I’m Mike Rizzo.”  Picture this:  Dusty and Rizzo looking at a book called, “Baseball Strategy.”  Rizzo looks at Dusty, and Dusty says, “I got the baseball part,” and Rizzo nods his head.  Finally, Rizzo chimes in, “I don’t know the 2nd word and I don’t think it’s worth investigating.”  Dusty agrees, and that’s the Nationals.  So, who will close between Madson and Doolittle?  Your guess = my guess.  I’d want to say Madson, but it could be either, both or neither as they trade for David Robertson or someone else.  By the time the calendar turns to August, the Nationals might have five closers from teams not in the pennant chase.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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Just when the ship couldn’t sink any lower, the Giants lost their closer for the second time this year.  When it happens once, sure… twice?  I have my doubts. Mark Melancon hit the DL with more arm ailments and received a PRP injection in his arm.  No, a PRP injection isn’t something that you search for on your go-to-p0rn site of choice.  It is never a good thing, especially for a scuffling team like the Giants.  They have already had attempts at the closer with Derek law, Hunter Strickland/ and now re-tread candidate Sam Dyson is thrown into the fray.  I mean, I am no Nostradamus here, but it doesn’t look good.  It’s almost like that 2:00 AM special when you stare across the bar and try to decide if it’s better then going home alone and revisiting that PRP search on that website of choice.  We saw earlier this year that Dyson is not to be trusted, granted that saves are saves are saves, but at what cost?  An inflated ERA and 1-2 save chances a week… maybe.  Hunter Strickland got the first save, but only because Dyson was plucked from the bullpen in 4-of-the-last-5. For a team that struggles to score runs, can’t keep the ball in the yard from a starting pitcher standpoint, and a bullpen with tons of failed attempts at a closer, the benefit just isn’t there.  So if you must, the order as of right now is: Dyson, Strickland, then Kontos.  But for a team with only 16 saves to show on the season, the chase is more exciting than the ownership.  Enough about the city of Rice-A-Roni, and onto the week in Holds and such!

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What if we’re all living inside a Boston masshole’s dream?  This is Inception, and we all fell asleep sometime after Tom Brady was drafted, but before the Patriots won their first Super Bowl.  Then, due to some plantains you ate before you went to sleep, the Red Sox grabbed David Ortiz from Minnesota for nothing, and you got a kidney stone and were peeing blood but it all came out on Curt Schilling’s sock, and the Red Sox won the World Series, and then, because you fell asleep to The Apprentice, Trump became president, and now Andrew Benintendi goes 5-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI, hitting .347.  This has to be possible, doesn’t it?  What if our world is like Herman’s Head, but we’re inside Prospector Ralph’s head?  Is Somalia in a famine because Prospector Ralph is too worried about Rick Porcello and forgot to eat?  Eat, Ralph!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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I’m not a woman.
I’m not a man.
I am something that you refer to as Fantasy Master Lothario.
I’ll never beat you (except in fantasy, that is my pledge).
I’ll never lie (except about how much I once liked Josh Rutledge).
And you’re evil but unless Rougned Odor disappoints I’ll forgive you!
Cause baseball will start 4 2!

*takes a long inhale* Can you smell the freshly cut grass?  No, because it’s still freezing in half the country?  Where’s your climate change now, Al Gore?!  I’m so hyped up about Opening Day, I’m slangin’ bean pies like Ice Cube and picking up and dropping catchers for s’s and g’s!  *goes to my Yahoo fantasy team page*

All right, so I guess I’m not making changes to my Yahoo team on this glorious of splendiferous days.  This day that is more beautiful than Giancarlo’s tukis.  This day that is the most frou-frou of all catchpennies!  Okay, I think my thesaurus steered me wrong on that last one.  On a sappy level, this was a weird offseason, and I’m glad to put the real world in my rearview mirror for six glorious months, and worry about nothing but winning as many fantasy baseball leagues as I can, and helping everyone along the way.  Now who was it again that had Greg Bird (0-for-4, but batted third; yes, you should own him) ranked higher than everyone else?!  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Raisel Iglesias slipped in the shower and hurt his elbow and hip, which could cause him to miss Opening Day.  This has to be the nastiest Reds locker room incident since Aaron Harang dropped the soap and fell on Dick Pole while showering.  Previously, Harang had only slipped on a banana peel, ya know, a by-product of being The Harangutan.  The 2nd nastiest Reds locker room incident happened when Johnny Cueto swept Bronson Arroyo’s leg and he fell into Dick Pole.  Now that I think about it, all Reds locker room incidents involved Dick Pole.  So, Church’s elbow and hip sound like they will be fine, but Drew Storen, Michael Lorenzen and Tony Cingrani, likely in that order, could sneak into the closer’s role, and steal the job, since I get the feeling Reds manager, Bryan Price, doesn’t really want Raisel in the closer role indefinitely.  This will likely be a shituation where Raisel, Storen and others share 30 saves, say, 17 saves for Raisel, 9 for Storen and the rest for others.  I’ve updated my fantasy baseball rankings, namely the top 500.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?