This post won’t be much about bullpens this week, unfortunately.  So for those of you that are greedy for fantasy bullpen goodness, this life is not up your alley. This post is more about a goodbye. That goodbye is from me to all the avid Razzball readers and followers. This is my final post across all formats on this site as I retire from writing. It has been nine years and close to 900 posts since Grey picked me up from my last day at the “College of Fantasy Baseball”, which he jokes is in Charleston, South Carolina. Funny part of that whole story line is I actually went to COC.  Funny part of irony is the irony itself!  So thank you Grey for giving me a chance to wax poetic in a style of my own for as long as I have, cheers. To the friends I have made here along the way… you know who you are and you have my number.  And a special thanks to the most important of all fantasy people, you, the readers. Especially the Razzball readers, because you are all cut from a different cloth. Sharpest, smartest bunch of nerds I have ever had the company of being in an imaginary room with. So I leave you with the finality of the bullpen reports, something I myself took pride in bringing you.  Thanks for everything Razz-verse!  I’ll be around and about on Twitter if you need me @FPL_MMOP so feel free to say hi or send me nudes.  So here it is folks, the haves and the holds from me for the last time.  The pleasure has been all mine. Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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Just for reference, as I was out and about, the “cult” classic by Lisa Lisa was on.  Now you can admit it or you can lie about it, but if you hear this song on in the privacy of your own aloneness, and you turn the radio up.  I’m sorry but it’s true.  If not, it is completely just me and I have some severe music intangible listening ability that is slightly off.  Where was I?  Bullpens you say, bullpens I say.  The first real bullpen post after the trade deadline is always a tough tell.  The good contending teams basically stack up the depth of their pens and make the most unique and usable reliever an after thought, or a “questionable” own in holds leagues.  I hate that this happens, because you roll along all season with a set it and forget it holds option and poof, they go to a contender and now are fourth fiddle.  And nobody remembers the fourth fiddler in the Charlie Daniels’ band.  If you do, climb out the basement and stare at the sun awhile, you two have missed each other’s company.  So if you are sitting on names that changed to a contender that are now tertiary in line for a hold, move on.  Grab a first-chair guy maybe on a lesser team, or even from that guys old team.  This time of the year, if trying to capitalize on the utmost hold capabilities, there can be no allegiances.  No saluting your past accumulation and move on.  I am adding in a chart this week that shows holds and chances for the last 30 days to lessen the load on your research ability.  After all it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, why not stay and hang out with Smokey?

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

The trading deadline is days away and the roles they are a changing.  In comes one out goes the other.  Closers losing value left and right while the waiver wire warriors of the world are circling like buzzards for the SAGNOF scrap heaps. The latest in the foray of closers to go is Joakim Soria, now a Brewer.  The White Sox closer role is likely to go to Jace Fry or Juan Minaya.  Not an awesome situation or a good predicament to be in, but a closer is a closer.  The SAGNOF model should be: “Leave no good save behind”.   Similarly, the Orioles traded Zach Britton to the Evil Empire, Brad Brach assumes the role there for the time being or until he gets traded for assets that the Orioles can ruin.  The trade winds and finalized deals don’t help the set-up man either, as key components to the back-end game have been replaced by acquired talent.  This is life for the ever building bullpen foundation of playoff contending teams.  Build from the back, because the girth of talent that exists in the starters just isn’t there. So if you are currently zonked from losing a closer that no longer has a professional job of closing, it is time to speculate where speculating looks speculative.  Look at guys on the secondary for teams that are rumored to be wheelin’ and dealin’.  The Rangers, Nationals, Twins, Rays, Tigers, and to a lesser degree maybe the Cardinals… Be ahead of the curve instead of being caught looking at Uncle Charlie.  Closer news is fluid this time of year, and by the time this gets posted there could be 2-3 more trades that make me look even dumber than I already do.  More after the jump, with success stories and diminishing returns.  Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

You know what is fun this time of year?  The bullpen shuffle.  Whomever is closest to the computer or phone wins the waiver game in most cases.  Well… that’s now the case with the Padres with the trade of Brad Hand to the Indians.  The waiver wire is set ablaze for one Kirby Yates, but is he the guy forever, or the guy for now?  I am leaning that the trade door in San Diego is gonna revolve one more time and see Yates come out the other side a bullpen piece rather than a closing man.  Hand’s still a valuable commodity, granted he won’t be a full-time closer with the Tribe, but his peripherals and Cody Allen‘s shakiness as of late… will lead to a “sometimes” situation.  Hand is a hold in all leagues because he should get a shot for every third save or so with his new club.  Add in the K-rate over 13 and he has intrigue that only a dozen or so non-closers have. Back to Yates though, since this is the afternoon post and Grey has gone over it this morning and most likely will after this in his buy post, but Yates has value for now.  In fact, he’s had value for most of the year in holds leagues, with a 11+ K/9 and a ton of success in the setup game in the reliever farm known as the Whale’s Vagina. So why am I so hesitant to give him the go?  He is a journeyman reliever whose value is never going to be higher than right now, or in eight days with some saves to his name.  So if you swung and missed at the waiver wire add for saves with Yates, grab Craig Stammen for free and just wait.  Waiting is always a good thing, especially with a maybe-closer in the making, albeit one with not much quantity potential.  More bullpen goodies and post all star tidbits after the bump.  Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Welcome to the bi-monthly look at nose picking.  Nah, I am obviously talking about bullpens, because they usually come in second to the nose goblins anyways.  Lots of people always ask me: How do you shuffle between holds guys and get an effective return?  First off, if you wanna surf the waiver trend and stream the hell out of relievers for holds purposes, you gotta be aware that you can’t be afraid to let your ratios go to pot.  Not like move to Colorado and play Bohemian drums and stuff, just the trends that I have encountered and noticed is that with the quantity in holds there comes a slight tick to ERA and WHIP.  Not an awful turn of events, if you you have sufficient starters that hold down the metrics.  I don’t even know if metrics was the right word there, but I just saw a commercial for a tutoring service for kids… ummm, its summer.  So back to the picking a winner lede discussion…  When in doubt, pick a winner, four of the top-five hold accumulating teams are in first place.  Six out of the top-10.  I wish I can make the cliche statement that bullpens win games and have it be unique and quirky and new, but quality bullpens don’t not hurt your teams chance at winning. So if you are looking at streaming or even in the business for flip-flopping relievers in this high holy season of the All Star break, ask yourself two questions; how has he done over the last two weeks, and is his team scoring enough runs for the quantity?  Because any good reliever needs to be worth the squeeze.  And it doesn’t hurt to be a front-running team.  So choose wisely, and for all intents and purposes hit me up.  Never hurts to ask the guy who sleeps in bullpen pajamas.  More bits of tid after the jump, cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Tis that season!  Whether you are a football fan or not, and not that football fan…  Though the crew over on that football site do an amazing fantasy job.  So for the few of you that aren’t totally dizzy by my words of soccer, then let’s roll baseball into soccer and let the fantasy good times roll.  So for the next month the world, not ‘Mericas, will be casting its gaze on the beautiful game.  So while half the population is watching futbol, you can expand your bullpen horizons and deepen your reliever core.  The trade winds for relievers are already blowing and with just over a month to go before the trade deadline, grabbing the relievers that are secondary or even tertiary now (ones that won’t kill your rates) are all the rage with millennials AND baby boomers.  Situations to monitor and use to your advantage?  The Padres, Royals, and Tigers.  We all own the closer likes of Brad Hand, Kelvin Herrera, and Shane Greene.  But what are the ownership rights to Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates, Kevin McCarthy, and Joe Jimenez?  Way slimmer.  And combined like Voltron, their ownership for all four of those secondary relievers is less than one closer.  So basically free.  The key to mid-season closer acquisitions is being first.  Save that beloved FAAB kitty and be early rather than later.  So if you are looking at your roster, it was rhetorical… I know you are, get rid of that sixth SP or that bench bat that does nothing and play the reliever wait game.  Save now to help later.  Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Choosing the right closer is hard enough when there is only one to choose on draft day.  Tons of factors to guide your hand…  Jump forward 50-plus games and when the situation has multiple faces and not a ton of situations from which to choose: is it worth the squeeze?  The White Sox closer situation has gone from one, to a few, and back again multiple times this year, and now it has swung back to Joakim Soria after garnering the last two saves.  The conundrum here is that Nate Jones had gotten the previous three save chances.  Than if you scroll the calendar even farther, Jace Fry got a save and retread Bruce Rondon also factored in on one occasion in mid-May.  So with a team that only has 13 saves all year, better than only one other team, the Marlins (who are a complete and utter disaster for saves). So when chasing saves, and we all do it, even you, the guy who can’t make eye contact way in the back…  It is part of the FAAB chase and the most alluring I might add and frequent drain of funds. So with a team that has flip-flopped three times in 50 games, with 13 saves and on pace for a MLB bottom-three in save chances, is it worth the headache of this guy or that guy?  I wanna root for the Mexecutioner, and some guy named Nate, but they are basically like part-time lovers, and I would rather stream the spot with great counting stats that matter.  Soria’s K/9 is in the mid-10’s which is admirable, but on a game-to-game basis, the save chase comes down to volume, not the here and now.  Yes, Soria should be owned, and yes Jones should be owned.  But I am just bringing this up for your sake of saves hope.  If you can pair either one of them at the right time, obviously when they are on a hot streak of two saves in 10 days, do so and upgrade your save booty.  Advice over, bits of tid to follow.  Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Forget about raising the Jolly Roger, let’s just salvage the poor thing.  The closer there, Felipe Vazquez, or the artist formerly known as “One Inning Willy” is struggling.  Which sucks for me personally because I tabbed him and the suspended one preseason to be the valued goods in the ranks of relievers.  Welp, you can’t predict injury, criminal activity, or attrition.  Judging that one closer is bad compared to if one is good, the eye test always wins out.  But Vazquez has been bad, and with an injury asterisk.  Blowing 4 saves in the last 10 games is just bad karma regardless of if your name is Mariano or not.  Bad luck, sure.  Injured…?  More likely, which is bad.  The propensity for him to be a every day or two out of three closer may be changing within the near future, not only to ease his pain with the stress of pitching the ninth, but to get a second look at one of the viable arms that has the look on paper of a closer.  That triumvirate of Michael Feliz, Edgar Santana and Richard Rodriguez have pitched spotty the last few times out, but should be owned in deeper leagues where saves are like the Sahara.  Cuffing yourself, even though the news on Felipe has come back clean, is the best advice I can give as a bullpen junky.  Just in case is better than a dollar short.   Other bullpen and closer bits of tid on the way.  Cheers!

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Tap on the shoulder, now tap on the other shoulder.  Swords and knights yadda, yadda.  Pun joke and title inclusion over.  I could probably draw it out to upmost degree, but I’ll just end it and rip the bandaid off and jump into the welcome back Kotter bullpen of Philadelphia.  If the collective bullpen in Philly isn’t called the Sweathogs, they are doing something wrong.  The Vinnie Babarino that is emerging as the future leader is most definitely Seranthony Dominguez.  Dude set a record with hitless streaks to start the year for a rookie and is now the go to, end all be all holds guy for the Phillies.  His arsenal screams future closer, but Kapler’s fear of commitment and Neris owning pictures of some relative of his.  Dominguez is the guy, for now and for later.  With 5 holds and 1 save in his last 6 appearances, he is involved in almost every winning game the Phillies are.  He checks all the proverbial boxes that we have previously discussed when looking for a reliever to roster.  Plus he has the save appeal, which is similar to curb appeal, minus the fact that you don’t need shrubs or a Chinese maple tree to accent how dominant he has been. Holds for now, saves for later for the Sir of the Cheesesteak. Roster with confidence as his results are great, but be patient as Kapler is a mad scientist with his bullpen decision making skills.  Holds week brings the best out of all of us, because you play in a league with holds.  That’s why we are fake internet friends.

Please, blog, may I have some more?
   

Nothing is worse than owning a closer you drafted… you get comfortable and things are going well.  You’re sitting pretty, a dalmation on the beer cart.  Then poof!  The dreaded word that for fantasy players and save connaisseurs is worse than the “I’m pregnant” line; That word is a “group”, from singular to plural.  It isn’t fair.  These guys don’t know the hours of time we devote to drafting a team and then getting pimped to the waiver wire for the next dude up.  Well, that is where we are currently sitting with Atlanta and Philadelphia.  Adding more names to the donkeycorn factory at the end of the chart.  Joining the fray are now Tommy Hunter, A.J. Minter, Seranthony Dominguez, Dan Winkler, and a slew of other candidates that are all in bathrobes in a line by height down the hallway.  Save orgies are good for one thing and one thing only, diversifying the stat and keeping you closer to the leader by expanding the save universe.  But we all live in “a one man, one save” lifestyle like the Puritans.  So what do we make of all this mess, besides getting a waiver wire mop and roster as many as possible? Stay calm if you own the old closer.  There was a reason they had the job initially, and they are still in the running.  Dropping a potential save candidate to the wire is never a good idea, unless you are upgrading and getting a better save option that has the job outright.  This savey save advice is keen when you are middle of the pack, but if you are chasing saves and falling behind by the day, trading for one of a higher caliber is the tact to go.  Let us see what else is happening in the end game of fantasy…

Please, blog, may I have some more?