Ah! My good and noble reader! It has been too long since last I regaled you with tales of my raising of an army for the RazzSlam!
Things are… not going well, I’m afraid.
With the injury to Austin Nola documented in my original missives, to the occasional negative-earning performance by Danny Jansen and the continued toiling on the farm of one Adley Rutschmann, I can on very few occasions secure scoring of any kind from both of my catcher positions. Which, given my unabashed and very public distaste for the role, brings me no shortage of rage.
I find myself, as of this writing, mired in 220th place, of 240 competitors. I do not intend, dear reader, to remain at such a mockable rank as this, and so I have turned my efforts to the mysterious legend that can save one and all from the fates of injury, demotion, and generally piss-poor performance.
Have you heard, then, of the legendary FAABidden Island?
Oh ho, you have? As the legend goes, there exists a place in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, hidden away, undiscoverable by sonar, marked on no map, where mercenaries reside, waiting for their next benefactor to appear and hire their services.
But I have found it! I have, and I will share what I have found with you, my dear and loyal reader. Below I have marked the way, and in addition, have profiled a handful of mercenaries who should be available for hire— at least, they remain unclaimed by any side in at least 90% of RazzSlam leagues— which will help you navigate the tricky, unforgiving waters around FAABidden Island.
Come with me now, won’t you?
Tyler Naquin, OF, CIN
Young Mr. Naquin has been having quite the fruitful early season! Having been drafted in precisely none of the RazzSlam leagues, this outfielder of the Redlegs of Cincinnati is hitting not just for power (5 HR, 14 RBI in 27 AB) but for average as well, posting a .333 mark to date. There isn’t a squad among any of the RazzSlam competitors that would go unrewarded for acquiring his skills, so be sure to bring your best and final when you make your approach. He’s not going to come cheap.
Yermin Mercedes, UT, CWS
There is, in some less-refined corners of the fantasy baseball world, a particular bias against the unhomed hitter, against the positionless player, the “UT,” as it were. But push such bigotries aside, dear reader, and I can assure you will be richer for it. This man, to which some so affectionately refer as “The Yerminator”, is the truth. While it is true his average, a blistering .556, is not something that can remain so afloat, it is just as true that his power is real and his place in the White Stockings lineup is as well. Spend wisely, but spend.
Akil Baddoo, OF, DET
If there is one thing baseball wants not for, it is players with names that shout to the heavens above, “I AM A BALL PLAYER.” Akil Baddoo is, in the humble opinion of this worldly, diffuse wordsmith, not such a name. It is, however, the righteous moniker of a warrior nonpareil. Mr. Baddoo has lived up to the power in his name, swiping a base in addition to multiple home runs and an average north of .310. It is not easy to find such well-rounded production out of any player, let alone one waiting for you on FAABidden Island. But like the other men on this list, dear reader, prepare to open thy pocketbook so, that the leather creases and pulls in ways heretofore unseen. Your competitors certainly will.
Jed Lowrie, 2B, OAK
A surprise addition to Oakland’s starting lineup after a solid spring campaign, the ageless Mr. Lowrie continues to impress. He may come cheaper than some of the players listed herein, but be forewarned: that is not without reason. While in jocularity just two sentences prior I referred to Lowrie as “ageless” he is, as a matter of plain fact, old. Before the next full moon he will celebrate his 37th trip around the sun, so a drop-off from his nearly-.300 average and 160 R/RBI pace should not only not surprise, it should be a factor in calculating your bid for his services.
And now, some gunslingers to add to your battalion:
Cesar Valdez, RP, BAL
As I write this, Mr. Valdez is probably still mentally recovering from his blow save over the weekend, but the fact remains that saves are monstrous difficult to procure. That he appears to have a position with the Birds of Baltimore that affords him the simple opportunity to earn saves means he must be rostered… and he was drafted nowhere throughout the RazzSlam universe. Pay up for saves, dear friends, or be left out in the cold.
Julian Merryweather, RP, TOR
Similarly unrostered and similarly employed, but, perhaps, with more staying power and a better arsenal than Mr. Valdez is young Mr. Merryweather. In just 4 innings to date, Merryweather has struck out 7 batters, allowed just one hit and one walk, and secured two saves. The price for his services will be high, as it should be when one considers both his skills and his position on the Bluebirds.
Corey Knebel, RP, LAD
“The defending champions,” I hear you yet say, “have a proven closer in one Kenley Jansen! Why are you recommending the services of his setup man?” … Oh, dear, naive reader, you should really keep up with the times. Mr. Knebel and his glorious knuckle curve have been doing the work, and while it is not yet a certainty that he will supplant the venerable Mr. Jansen, it is almost assured that if someone were to, it would be Corey Knebel. Yes, this is a speculative suggestion, but in a competition such as the RazzSlam with just two opportunities to enlist the services of new soldiers, one must speculate. And in this journalist’s opinion, that speculation will be well-rewarded in this case.
Wade Miley, SP, CIN
And what of the starting pitchers, then? Have you considered Wade Miley? I would be remiss if I did not make clear his wonderful first start came at the expense of the hapless Buccaneers, but still, 2 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts, securing the win, in just six innings of work is useful indeed. There was one RazzSlam league in which his services have already been claimed, but if you find him available, you should consider hiring him to help bolster your riflemen.
Lou Trivino, RP, OAK
And lastly, another speculative suggestion. While to date Mr. Trivino has not been called upon to save the ninth for the Oakland White Elephants, a few factors must be taken into consideration: that first, the Athletics have had very few needs to make such a call; second, the man who was to take those calls has found himself on the long-term injured list; third, the widely-held belief that one Jake Diekman will step into the role is perhaps far sillier than one might think at first blush. Trivino has been stellar so far, and Diekman’s place as one of just two southpaws in the Oakland relief corps could easily keep him out of the ninth, as he is called upon to quell the burning fire of the left-handed batsmen who threaten Oakland’s cause. Trivino, then, is likely to step into the role, and could be had for a paltry sum in the coming bidding war.
And there you have it, my goodly and dearest readers. I have led the way to FAABidden Island, and suggested several condottieri whose services you would do well to seek out once there.
When you speak of me, speak well.
Until next time,
— Bob Allison Chains