The first four names in the Cubs’ lineup will be Fowler, Castro, Rizzo and Soler, then it will be O, Brother Where Art Thou Upside with fantasy owners being men of constant sorrow.  Maybe Kris Bryant does come up in the middle of April with a lei around his neck made from gold-leafed, big-booty’d Renaissance women.   I have a strong suspicion that it’s going to be more like a lei of Mona Lisa smiles.  “Yay, he hit a home run!”  Dot dot dot.  “He’s gone 1-for-4 with an RBI in the last five games.  I guess that’s okay.”  Dot dot dot.  “He’s hitting .250?  Hmm…”  Dot dot dot.  “Yay, another home run!”  Let’s do this comparison (this just isn’t for our podcast host, JB, either).  Prime Aramis Ramirez or Kris Bryant this year?  Prime Aramis easily.  That’s 27 HRs, .290 average.  This year’s Aramis Ramirez and Kris Bryant?  I’d say Bryant, but I don’t think it’s a slam dunk (to use another JB metaphor; ya know, he writes about fantasy basketball for us).  Could Bryant give 25 HRs and a .260 average?  Yes.  Could Aramis?  Yes.  Would I draft Bryant first?   Oh, God, yes, I’m just saying that Bryant being the 2nd coming of Jesus Trout Schmidt Timberlake Jackson, the Third might be a year off.  At some point, I do expect to want to suck the Thetans out of Bryant’s body, I’m just not sure it will be this year.  I mention this now because Bryant was reassigned to the minor league camp yesterday.  Then, further down the Super Awesome Cubs Sexy Upside Team, you have Javier Baez also sent down, which was slightly shocking to me.  I figured they’d let him start the year in the majors, even if he was going to be a hacking mess.  The Cubs likely figured it was best to save his swings and misses for the summer when it gets humid.  The Whiffy City starring Javier Baez will be opening in Iowa, and I’ve updated my top 20 2nd basemen (and the top 20 shortstops).  This news also means Arismendy Alcantara has a clearer path to playing time on the infield with only Tommy La Stelllllllla standing in his way.  Move your fat L’s, Tommy!  I moved up Arismendy in that same 2nd basemen ranking, but I don’t think Arismendy is yet a 500-AB everyday option.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw in spring training for fantasy baseball:

Drew Storen – Left yesterday’s game with a blister on his big toe.  His big toe should be fine.  Excuse me, his slightly-bigger-than-normal toe.

Anthony Rendon – Headed to see Dr. James Andrews about his knee.  Well, he should be able to throw sliders again with his foot in 12 to 16 months.  Can I stand in the examination room while Rendon is checked to make sure Dr. Freeze doesn’t try to put a hand on Rendon’s foot?  I’m starting to get the feeling that there’s something the Nats aren’t telling us.  This is sounding less and less like a minor MCL sprain.  Or at least not minor.  I continue to move Rendon down in my rankings and now he’s out of the top 20.  Actually, it’s now a top 19.  I need an emoji with clenched fists banging a table.  Stat!

Denard Span – Aiming for an early-to-mid May return.  “Geez, Werth, Span, Storen, Rendon, Janssen…You guys should take better care of yourselves.”  That’s Ryan Zimmerman feeling particularly hypocritical.

Reed JohnsonNats signed him.  Ever wanna call him Reedy Johnson and picture him with a mullet and pockmarks?  No?  Okay, it’s just me.  Sounds like a whatever move by the Nats, but this could be trouble for Michael Taylor’s playing time once Werth returns.  Don’t tread on my April sleeper!

Carlos Martinez – Named the Cards’ fifth starter.  Woo-hoo!  Shizz is finally coming up roses for the Fantasy Master Lothario!  (Remind me of this enthusiasm after he gives up six earned and five walks in his first start.)

Justin Verlander – May start year on DL.  If you drafted him, a sigh of relief is the reaction you’re looking for to this news.

Alex TorresMets acquired him for bullpen help.  This might be the best move the Mets have done since 1988 when they replaced the clubhouse powder-my-nose bowl with confectioner’s sugar.    For those in Holds leagues, take note, Torres is t/nasty.  I could even see him getting some starts at some point this year since the Mets really want to trade Gee while Niese is an aggressive sneeze away from the DL.

Blake Swihart – As I supposed yesterday, he’s headed to Triple-A to start the year.  And that’s me supposing me!  The Red Sox will turn their catcher slot to Ryan Hanigan and some backup combo of Humberto Quintero and Sandy Leon, who was recently acquired and brings no fantasy significance, but he does have a YouTube channel that features the short, A Fistful of Sand Dollars.

Koji Uehara – Expected to start the year on the DL, which sounds awful, but the DL stint will likely be backdated and he’ll be with the club by the 2nd week of the season.  The saves in the meanwhile will go to the last of the Mujicas.

Wil Myers – Could play some first base this year.   I’d put the over/under at 3 games played at first.  First game to get Maybin a start, second game to bench Yonder, and third game Maybin’s hurt.

Brad Boxberger – On Sunday, Kevin Cash said Boxberger would be the closer.  Now, Cash is saying it’s a closer-by-committee with Jepsen, Balfour, Frieri and Boxberger.  Hit it, Method Man, Cash ruins everything around fantasy!  The only guy that has actually looked like a closer this spring is Boxberger, so he’s still the only guy I’d own outside of AL-Only leagues, and Jepsen would be second.

Carlos Rodon – Will start the year in the minors.  He’ll be back sometime in June/July at which time I will yell from your rooftop to pick him up.  Until then, I will be on your rooftop starting a garden.  You’re welcome.

J.J. Hardy – Shut down for ten days.  Everth Cabrera is starting to feel like the Dee Gordon pick from last year.  You know, you make the pick in the last rounds and you end up getting 40 steals out of nowhere.  Well, not out of nowhere, out of EverCab and his number one single, Heartspark Stealsign.

Eddie Butler – Left yesterday’s game with shoulder fatigue.   Butler said, “I’m happy to get away from the club for a little bit.  The Ask Jeeves cracks were getting old.”

Luis Valbuena – Will get the bulk of the 3rd base playing time with Matt Dominguez being sent to the minors.  Valbuena is the kind of guy that will be on and off waivers in leagues shallower than 15-team mixed and is around a 15-homer, .240 average guy.  Elsewhere, Dominguez just gulped, as he played charades with his family while they tried to guess where he’s going after the Astros release him.  C’mon, Matty Jr., he’s saying he’s headed to the Yakult Swallows!

 
  1. Colonel Angus says:
    (link)

    I’ve been keeping tabs on Valbuena and others because I’m not in love with my MI situation. Currently it sits at Castro, Alcantara and Aybar. This is the weakest part of my team and it’s a 12 team league. However….Valbuena, Gyorko, Evercab, Jace Peterson, Scooter, Devon Travis, Brad Miller and Joe Panik all still reside in waiver wire limbo. Our teams carry a SS, 2B and MI player. How are you making your MI better (supposing this is your squad)? Also, I was offered Baez for Olivera. How’s that sound?

      • Colonel Angus says:
        (link)

        @Wake Up: Who should I part with to pick up Valbuena?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @Colonel Angus: Aybar for Jace for upside, you’re prolly better off holding for now… That trade doesn’t sound good

    • TJ says:
      (link)

      @Colonel Angus:

      Drafted in an 8 team, 5×5 league. The season will have crazy stats and while I don’t know if I drafted the best possible team. It looks lovely to me. Let’s rosterbate together (if you’re into that…)

      C – Arnaud
      C – Grandal
      1B – Rizzo
      2B – Wong
      3B – Arenado
      SS – Bogaerts
      1B/3B – Pujols
      2B/SS – Dannys
      OF – Giancarlo
      OF – JUpton
      OF – Puig
      OF – Harper
      OF – CarGo
      Util – Ortiz
      Util – Ozuna
      BN – Soler
      BN – Pederson

      SP – Gray
      SP – Arrieta
      SP – Iwakuma
      SP – Carrasco
      SP – Fiers
      RP – Allen
      RP – Perkins
      RP – Benoit
      RP – K-Rod

  2. Seph Meier says:
    (link)

    Time to pick my keepers before Saturday draft. Just made trade of my excess for Edwin!
    Need help with last keeper.
    11 teams 10×10 weekly roto
    Start 2 of all if positions c, 1b, Ss, 2b, 3b, 5- of, 6 sp, 5 rp
    Scoring cats: PA, r, hr, rbi, avg, obp, slg, Nsb, errs, bb/k
    IP, net wins, era, whip, pslg, k/9, cg, so, rapp,net saves

    Keepers (keep forever) :
    1. Edwin 2. Goldschmidt 3. Reyes 4. Arenado 5. OZUNA 6. Avisail 7. Braun 8. Grienke 9. Kluber 10. Arrietta 11. DeGrom

    Can choose from. Kinsler, dee Gordon, Alex Gordon, Matt shoemaker

    I was leaning dee but if I kept a guy like a. Gordon can draft more sagnof late as rbi and HR can be tough to come by. Do you like that strategy with this team?

  3. Mr. Tibbs says:
    (link)

    Sound move by Cash to keep Frieri and Balfour in the mix. It’s not like they were raging dumpster fires or anything last season.

    • Cram It says:
      (link)

      @Mr. Tibbs: What Wake said

      • JeF With 1 F says:
        (link)

        @Cram It: What Cram said about what Wake said….thats what she said

  4. Shin-Soo Choo Choo says:
    (link)

    6×6 H2H keeper league with holds and two NA slots. I need to drop or trade offense for pitching.

    1) If Tomas goes to the minors, which of any of these three is the drop from my two slots? Please rank Salazar, Buxton, Tomas

    2) Mujica or Torres in the long term for holds? For saves?

    Thanks in advance.

  5. AL KOHOLIC says:
    (link)

    the closer situation is already a mess around the league,it usually waits a few weeks after the season starts

    • Grey

      Grey says:
      (link)

      @AL KOHOLIC: Actually seems better than usual, maybe I’m misremembering though, hardened after years of chasing saves

      • Hawk says:
        (link)

        @Grey:

        Nope, you’re right. Same point for the last couple years have been CLOSER-PACALYPSE!

      • goodfold2 says:
        (link)

        @Grey: it’s better, there’s no 5 Latinos and some Coke running around so far.

  6. Vacation says:
    (link)

    Gray,

    Shelby Miller or Carlos Martinez for my last starter?

    • Vacation says:
      (link)

      @Vacation: Sorry, I know its Grey, not Gray. I will now proceed to write that 100 times on a blackboard a la Bart Simpson.

      • Cram It says:
        (link)

        @Vacation: What Wake said

        • JeF With 1 F says:
          (link)

          @Cram It: What Cram said about what Wake said….Thats what she said

  7. Professor Chaos says:
    (link)

    Grey, not related to fantasy baseball, but thanks for the heads up with The Returned. That show is fantastic.

      • Mrs.Featherbottom says:
        (link)

        You guys are talking about Les Resevants, right? I started watching because of Mogwai, continued because it is too dope.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
          (link)

          Yeah, it’s one of the best shows on Netflix, amazing

          • Mrs.Featherbottom says:
            (link)

            @Grey: Have you seen Danger 5? It’ll teach you how to make the perfect Carlos Sultana.

            • Grey

              Grey says:
              (link)

              Never heard of it

              • Mrs.Featherbottom says:
                (link)

                @Grey: Well I will go ahead and recommend it then, as I feel like you will enjoy it with your sense of humor.

                • Grey

                  Grey says:
                  (link)

                  Thanks, I’ll check it out!

  8. LT says:
    (link)

    Trade question, h2h 10 teamer. Start positions, 5 OF, MI, CI. Arenado, D. Santana, McHugh for Kinsler, Machado, Anibal? Would you do the deal if they countered same trade without the pitchers? I would get Arenado. Thanks

    • Cram It says:
      (link)

      @LT: What Wake said.

      • mauledbypandas says:
        (link)

        @Cram It: i sense a trend

    • JeF With 1 F says:
      (link)

      @LT: Ok thats enough

      • JeF With 1 F says:
        (link)

        @JeF With 1 F: Thats what she said

  9. Streaming Leake says:
    (link)

    Terdoslavich got an injection for a sore wrist. How long can the Braves wait before dropping Terd?

  10. Jay buhner says:
    (link)

    Hey Grey. Tomm I have the 6th overall pic in my 7x 7 head to head keeper league. Due to keepers the best available players to me unless someone goes totally off the grid with the first 5 picks would be Adam jones, tulo, Harper, puig, Donaldson. I know your ranking on these guys but wondering if I should consider not taking jones since this league has both average and obp as categories, the latter which gives jones a bump down. The other hitting categories other than avg and obp are runs, hr, RBI, stolen based, and total bases. I’m Usually a big Adam jones fan like yourself but didn’t realize how low his obp is compared to some of the other top hitters. As an aside my hitting keepers are arenado and Abreu. Appreciate your thoughts on this.

  11. jef says:
    (link)

    last spot nl n only 8 team keeper league.
    Pick one:
    mccutchem 39
    Taylor 1
    bailey 1
    Morneau 16

    Keepers thus far can keep 8
    wong, rendon, Polanco, chapman, kimbrel, cueto,
    Rizzo

    • Tony says:
      (link)

      @jef: unless there’s some odd penalty? Cutch is the no brainier? Especially in an 8 team NL only? That’s like a 16 teamer normal draft…. I’d keep the elite talent of Cutch

    • JeF With 1 F says:
      (link)

      @jef: Cutch…dont disrespect the 1 F with that silly question

  12. Dave F says:
    (link)

    Would you still hold Salazar over a Carlos Martinez/Hahn/Shane Greene type?

  13. Drshameandrews says:
    (link)

    Grey, I asked this last night but didn’t get a “try and trade” or hold response.

    I really think jumping off the rendon ship may be worth it. We’re still not baking into the fact that even if ‘healthy’, what if he’s just not that good this year. So much can go wrong with this guy at this point the risk is too much.. These were some of the trades I was considering. I’m only targeting owners in my league who likely don’t know about the James Andrews visit yet

    i need pitching. i’d just stream 2nd/3rd base all year. dear god let him be ok.

    would you take any and all of these trades? im going to start out asking for a lot hoping they dont know. dirty but it is what it is:

    which pitcher should i pair with rendon to get one in return: quintana, paxton, hughes, shoemaker, degrom, shields… quintana?

    rendon for neil walker/jordan zimmerman

    rendon/insert pitcher here/justin upton/ alex gordon FOR alex wood/kolten wong/ pablo sandoval/carlos gonzalez

    rendon/francsico rodgriquez for aroldis/grienke/neil walker

    rendon/james shields for dee gordon/alex wood

    rendon for …. does it matter. this is so depressing my draft was last night

    • @Drshameandrews:

      Here’s the tbing: as soon as you start shopping those deals, your prospective trade partners are going to get all clicky with the names and the updates and the news and the James Andrews.

      And then they’ll know, even if they don’t know now.

      Plus, that’s kinda bad karma bad juju sneaky to knowingly deal a hurt guy to an unsuspecting slob. The fantasy gods often have ways of smiting you for such things.

      Starting to think Rendon’s knee is you being smited for a prior transgression…

      stand pat – if Rendon is 100% for 85% of the year he’ll have been worth holding.

      My $.02

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
        (link)

        @Lucky Dog: yeah, it’s called winning. really bad result to grab edges.

  14. Drshameandrews says:
    (link)

    I kinda like the big one getting Wong/Alex wood/ Carlos Gonzales back… Figure it’s fair since cargo isn’t exactly the model for healrh