Everyone loves rookie nookie. Male upperclassmen scout the incoming class of freshmen girls like a hungry pride of lions stalking an oblivious herd of wildebeest and then pounce when the first opportunity presents itself. Fantasy baseball owners are the same way. They’re predators who stalk their prospect prey until call-ups are announced, and then the feeding frenzy on the waiver wire begins. This week’s prized target is Addison Russell (+66.4%), the new jewel of the Chicago Cubs minor league system ever since Kris Bryant was promoted just a couple of weeks ago. Due to the recent injury to Tommy La Stella and the early struggles of Arismendy Alcantara, Russell got the big league call and many a race to the waiver wire ensued. After all, young middle infielders with power and speed who possess ceilings as high and beautiful as the Sistine Chapel don’t come along every day. Those in redraft formats might want to take a cold shower though. Entering yesterday’s play (22 PA), Russell was sporting a .136/.136/.227 triple slash and had yet to draw a walk except for a dozen back to the dugout (54.5% K%) thus far. His plate discipline numbers make this approach look effective. Small sample size to be sure, but Steamer isn’t terribly optimistic as far as his ROS projections go: 35/9/38/10/.235 in 362 PA. Hang onto Russell for the upside if you have him, but don’t expect a fantasy superstar this season. Those who own him in dynasty leagues can party like it’s 1999. Or roughly 2025. You know what I mean. Here are a couple of this week’s other big adds and drops in fantasy baseball:

Chris Young – 45.8% owned (+ 42.5%)

Looks like Krispie’s career has come full circle. From 2007 to 2011 with the Diamondbacks, he was essentially a George Springer type of player, averaging 23 HRs, 20 SBs, and a .240 batting average due to his propensity to strikeout (career 22.5% K%). Since 2012, Young’s per season production fell to 12 HRs, 9 SBs, and a .217 BA. In the early stages of this season, he’s experienced a rebirth, producing a .320/.382/.660 triple slash with 4 homers in his first 17 games (56 PA). His K% is down to 17.9% and his .340 ISO is the 5th best in baseball among players who have made at least 50 plate appearances. Has the old Krispie returned? Well, he hasn’t even attempted a steal yet and his .333 BABIP (.273 career) and 15% LD% (18.6% career; 20.8% MLB average in ’14) suggest that a batting average correction could be just around the corner. His average fly ball distance of 272.15 feet ranks just 114th among all qualified players this season as well. This Krispie’s no treat. TRASH.

Steve Pearce – 37.3% owned (- 44.4%)

I had quite a little man crush on Pearce entering the 2015 season to be honest with you. Among all MLB players with a minimum of 300 PA last season, he was tied with Tulo for the 6th highest ISO (.263), had the 5th highest wOBA (.404), and produced the 6th best wRC+ (161) as well. He produced a .293/.373/.556 triple slash while launching 21 home runs and even chipping in 5 steals in just 383 PA, if you’re interested in more fantasy-relevant numbers. Toss in dual 1B/OF eligibility and an ADP outside of the top 200 and Pearce seemed like a no-brainer to queue up on draft day. How does he have just a .196/.288/.314 triple slash through 15 games? Nothing too alarming about his 10.2% BB% and 22.0% K% (10.4% and 19.8% respectively in ’14). LD% is up to 25.6% from 19.4% last season. Infield fly ball percentage is down to 6.7% from 9.2%. He’s always hit left-handed pitching better than right-handed throughout most of his career, but that hasn’t been the case thus far this season (.654 OPS vs RHP; .464 OPS vs LHP). What gives? Pearce’s flukishly low .216 BABIP sticks out like a sore thumb. Considering his tendency to pull the vast majority of his batted balls (even more so than usual this season), I’m not convinced that number will rebound all the way to his 2014 level (.322), but something in the .285-.290 range seems reasonable, which would improve his overall production considerably. Unfortunately, Baltimore’s corner outfield and DH spots are very crowded, with Alejandro De Aza, Travis Snider, Jimmy Paredes, Delmon Young, and David Lough all competing for at-bats. Pearce’s slow start has caused him to start only two out of the Orioles last eight games. While I remain hopeful for a turnaround, a player can’t produce if he’s not on the field. TRASH.

 
  1. TJ says:
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    Hanley v Bautista, who do you like better for the rest of the year? Hanley is hot as hell, but has the injury history to worry about. Bautista has been bad to start, and might also be dealing with a shoulder issue…

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @TJ: I’d take Hanley there. There’s not much separating the two players when healthy (10-12 more homers for Bautista, higher average and a few more steals for Hanley), and Hanley’s the only one who is healthy right now. Bautista’s shoulder is a concern.

    • NJ All Day says:
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      @TJ: Joey Bats. he’s just heating up!

  2. Tom says:
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    Are they going to stop sitting Morneau v LHP? Who do you like out of A. Garcia, Fowler & Morneau ROS in an OBP league?

    Let’s say for a minute that by some miracle Guerrero gets 90% playing time somewhere. Which of the following combinations would yield the best overall 5 category results in an OBP league:
    1) Guerrero + Fowler
    2) Garcia + Kipnis
    3) Morneau + Kipnis?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Tom: Option #1 is the strongest if Guerrero earns an everyday job, but #2 is probably the best option right now even though Garcia and Kipnis aren’t particularly strong OBP players. Morneau sits against LHP.

  3. Kyle says:
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    Start 3 of 4

    Souza vs Whitley
    Longo vs Whitley
    Soler vs Locke
    Blackmon vs Bradley

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Kyle: I’d sit Souza there. He hasn’t done much since he suffered the mysterious “forearm cramp” last week.

      • CMUTimmah says:
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        @Big Magoo: I’m going to roll with Souza then.. he’s just been waiting for you to bad mouth him a bit!

        I seem to sit him every day he produces…

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @CMUTimmah: I like Souza. Just don’t see a need to risk starting him over a strong option like those other three.

  4. Greyismyhero says:
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    Herrera or Russell ROS? Re-draft lg..Thanks

    • Greyismyhero says:
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      @Greyismyhero: That’s Odubel…

      • Big Magoo

        Big Magoo says:
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        @Greyismyhero: It depends if you’re looking for safety or upside. Herrera should hit for a better average and steal a few more bases. Russell will have better power numbers. I’d probably go with Russell for the upside.

  5. Don says:
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    A-Rod is available in my shallow mixed. Candidates to drop would be: Marisnick, Hahn, Shoemaker. What shall I do?

    • CMUTimmah says:
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      @Don: If the shoe fits (and you can spare pitching)…

    • Big Magoo says:
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      @Don: A-Rod over Hahn there. Hahn only managed 5 Ks across his first three starts and is still working his way back from a blister on his throwing hand.

  6. Jonathan says:
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    Betts vs. Elsbury the ROS

    • CMUTimmah says:
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      @Jonathan: Depends on what you’re looking for. Betts will provide more pop, but at a lower average.

      I would roll with Betts since he looks like a guy primed to be a star just when watching him (not a NY or BoSox fan, so unbiased opinion there). However, the Jackie Bradley call up might cut into some at bats for Betts.

      • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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        @CMUTimmah: bradley back down where he belongs.

    • Big Magoo says:
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      @Jonathan: Ellsbury for this year only. Very similar skill sets but Ells is a proven commodity.

  7. Clint says:
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    Tricky question: which is more valuable in an 8 team h2h keeper league-rostering a catcher (right now, big names like Wieters, Lucroy, & Gomes are all out there for me to choose from) or forgoing that in lieu of a streaming pitcher ROS? I could do both, but it’d mean dropping Shelby Miller to do it and he’s currently pitching better than any streamer options, no?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Clint: Do you mean as a backup catcher? I certainly wouldn’t punt the position, but all of those players (especially Lucroy) are worth stashing if you have the room. Miller is essentially a streamer in that format unless you consider him to be a top 40 SP (I don’t). It depends who’s available too. If pitchers like Smyly and Sanchez are available to stream, I’d play matchups with that spot.

  8. Matt says:
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    So it was probably a mistake dropping Travis for Russell

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Matt: There’s nothing wrong with rostering Russell, but I’d try to reacquire Travis if possible. He looks very good in the early going.

      • @Big Magoo: I started the season with Alex Guerrero as my 2B, but he wasn’t getting any playing time, so I picked up Travis. When I saw Russell was getting the call-up, I dropped Guerrero for him. I’ve been trying to stay patient with Russell, but we only have 4 keepers for next year. Someone in our league dropped Kolten Wong and I considered dropping Russell for him, but I like the ideal of a “lottery ticket”. Should I continue to hold?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @madden_curser: I’d take Wong over Russell. In a four keeper format, you wouldn’t be keeping Russell anyway. Wong is the superior option right now.

  9. Au Shizz Showers says:
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    last week i managed to package miguel castro and milli grilli-vanilli for kenley jansen, which seems like an obviously thumbs up move, especially considering castro has been hot garb for about 10 days now…AND throw in the fact i was just able to snag cecil who was recently dropped by another owner and re-named the closer earlier today. just wanted to pat myself on the back before i go to pleasure myself….carry on

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Au Shizz Showers: Wow. That’s an unbelievable deal for you. And TMI…

  10. Bob says:
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    Would you drop russell for Hechaverria 10 team h2h roto categories 6×6? extra category for hitters is K’s

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Bob: Nah, I’d stick with Russell there. He won’t continue to strikeout at this rate.

  11. Andre says:
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    Magoo,

    Great write up as always! I bought into Russell preseason and took him with the last pick in my draft. However with the way my season is going, his SS spot might be valuable despite the fact I’m in a keeper league. If I was to drop him, which SS do you believe in to be for real for the ROS? I have limited moves during season. 10 team, H2H categories are….H, HR, RBI, Runs, Walks, Steals and Avg.

    Cozart, Flores, Lowrie, A. Escobar, Hechavaria, or Iglesias.

    Which one are you making a move for? Also. Is Adeiny for real ? He’s second ranked behind Ramirez in my league but I don’t know his peripherals enough to tell if it’s legit.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Andre: Thanks, Andre! Depending on your keeper rules, I wouldn’t drop Russell outright in that format. There’s nothing in Hechavarria’s profile to suggest that he’s likely to breakout this season. I’d try to add Escobar though. He looks like a four category asset (H, Runs, SB, Avg).

      Do you have anyone else that you’d be able to drop?

      • Andre says:
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        @Big Magoo: I have 3 closers but one is Cishek, and I had been considering cutting bait (pun intended) with him once he blew the last one for the fish. I picked up Yimi Garcia for Save insurance/Wade Davis effect on my ERA and Whip.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Andre: I’d hold on Cishek for now and drop Garcia for Escobar. Jansen is due back in 2-3 weeks and Garcia pitched in the 8th inning the other day. Garcia looks really good though, so holding there would be fine too.

  12. The Great Knoche says:
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    Always my favorite article of the week. Sorry JFOH

    Strasburg/ Austin Jackson for Arenado/ Joc Pedersen.

    Fairish?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @The Great Knoche: Thanks! JFOH does good work. Arenado side there. It’s fairish. Depends on format though.

      • The Great Knoche says:
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        @Big Magoo: thanks. 12 team standard roto. Ended up with Kershaw/stras/Harvey and looking to upgrade bats a bit.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @The Great Knoche: Gotcha. That would be a good trade for you. Good luck!

  13. Harrison Ford in Air Force One says:
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    Would you trade Gregerson for Russell? Standard ESPN H2H–I’ll have to go SAGNOF. Also have Soria and KRod

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Harrison Ford in Air Force One: Yes, I would make that deal. Gregerson is a low price to pay for a lottery ticket like Russell.

  14. ItsaJesse says:
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    Dropping Jayson Werth in a 6 team all-categorie league that tracks team wins and defensive categories, sound about right?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @ItsaJesse: That sounds like a very unique format. Team wins? Does that mean that the quality of a player’s real life team is factored in?

      • ItsaJesse says:
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        @Big Magoo:

        Yeah… It tracks a players errors, assists, putouts, double plays, team wins…

        Werth has been so lousy so far and in a 6 team leauge I’m holding onto a lot of great players but I’m also rostering players like Werth, Longoria, Bautista, Beltre who seem to get injured every year. Dropping him would give me more flexibility for flyers like Fowler Fuld Soler Souza etc… Is my thinking right on that or should I wait and hope he does better?

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @ItsaJesse: No, you’re absolutely right. There’s no reason to hold onto Werth with players like that sitting on the wire.

          • ItsaJesse says:
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            @Big Magoo:

            Thanks boss!

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              @ItsaJesse: No problem

  15. TarmanGotHim says:
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    Jon Jay moved up to lead off…. Wong hits 8th

    Mattingly benches guys coming off monster games.

    I’m gonna send my resume to the Carinals and Dodgers front offices. Lol.

    • TarmanGotHim says:
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      @TarmanGotHim: Oh, and Hutchison is officially droppable correct? He’s destroying me right now in 3 leagues. Lol.

      • Big Magoo

        Big Magoo says:
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        @TarmanGotHim: Yeah, in 12 team mixed leagues or shallower, Hutchison is a streamer until he proves otherwise.

  16. Zeus says:
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    Just like freshmen girls, rookies look good but usually perform poorly before getting some more big league experience under their belt. Then sometimes you get ones who trained with their dads their whole lives and were rookies of the year like Trout. Oh wait wha?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Zeus: Haha. Gotta take the good with the bad sometimes…

  17. Jack says:
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    I read above that you were concerned about Bautista’s shoulder. In my 10 team OBP league I was thinking about proposing Fielder and Souza for Bautista. Fowler is the free agent I would pick up. Seems like Fielder is still a power risk and Souza is a rookie risk so there is risk on both sides. Should I propose this?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Jack: Sounds like a fair offer. Yeah, I’d try for Bautista there. Agree with Fielder being a power risk and Souza being a question mark over the long haul.

  18. Surfer dude says:
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    Hi Mr(Big) Magoo, in a 12 team H2H points league, which 2 would you rather have for the ROS…. Flores, Hechavaria, Iglesias, or Segura?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Surfer dude: Segura and Flores. I don’t think that Hechavarria’s hot start is sustainable, and Iglesias is likely to be well below average in power and counting stats.

  19. Wake Up says:
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    Oh man do I remember what you’re talking about about being a Frosh…felt like my Mom dangled and dropped me over the cheetah cage…couldn’t beat those big pussies away before their claws dug into my belt…forget cougars…we were the Cheetahs…and those senior girls really wore me out!

    Also, yes it looks like Russell is a little ways away to me too.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Wake Up: Haha. I know what you mean. I just wore my Big Johnson t-shirts and had to fight em off with a stick.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Wake Up: The Cubs were Locked in…

  20. Buddo Chezuski says:
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    Need to pick up a SS. Who should I choose?

    Cozart, W Flores, B Holt, Simmons, Crawford, Owings, B Miller, Galvis

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Buddo Chezuski: Depends on needs. Flores for power, Holt for everything else.

  21. J-FOH says:
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    wait where is my treasure? I read your column like a kid rummaging through a box of golden grahams looking his toy

  22. Big Magoo

    Big Magoo says:
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    Your treasure is the valuable fantasy info contained within. You’re welcome.

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Big Magoo: ok yoda

  23. Five-On-One says:
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    Off topic, but Strasburg or Arrieta ROS? Arrieta has pitched well as expected and Strasburg has been horrid in 3 of 4 starts. Correction coming or stay away?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Five-On-One: I love Arrieta, but I’d still go with Strasburg. His velocity is only slightly down (but nothing to be alarmed about), he’s still striking out a batter per inning, and he’s been unlucky so far (.403 BABIP and 63.1% LOB%). He’s a strong buy-low candidate or a hold if you already own him.

  24. Five-On-One says:
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    Also, I need to sit two of the following for the next week – CarGonz, Bruce, OZUNA, AlexGuerrero, Snider, JocP, Longo, Saunders – please advise. Snider and Saunders?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Five-On-One: Yup, Snider and Saunders are the players to sit. Snider isn’t playing everyday and Saunders hasn’t done anything since coming off of the DL.

  25. chucky says:
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    Drop Alonso for Pearce (1B) Deep roster, 14 team 6×6 OBP?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @chucky: Alonso has a higher floor, and Pearce a higher ceiling. In a 14 teamer, I’d probably go with Alonso.

  26. Martin says:
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    I offered a guy in my 12 team league Cueto for Cano. He accepted it so quickly that now I’ve got buyer’s remorse. Pitching seems about as deep this year as it was last year that I can justify loosing Cueto, but did I overpay?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Martin: You didn’t overpay. That’s a fair deal.

    • Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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      @Martin: don’t assume you are somehow wrong when a good deal gets accepted. Would you get an eye exam simply since you gave me $8 and i gave you $10 for it. No, you’d assume i’m stupid, not that there’s some issue with yourself.

  27. I only catch touchdowns says:
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    No you didn’t over pay!

Comments are closed.