*takes long inhale* You smell that? It’s the glorious smell of actual baseball trades mixed with the mold in your mother’s basement! So, the Twins have more irons in the fire than Tigers Woods’s chimney. Since the Sonny Gray deal was self-contained, let’s start there. Sonny Gray was traded to the Twins. Reds have been rebuilding since their last playoff series win in 1995. “This mean Greene?” asks me and Dr. Seuss. First off (after that negging of the Reds), good on the Twins. Gray (him not me) was at the bottom of his perceived value last year after an unlucky year, and, well, you can read about all that at the top 60 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball. All that was standing between him and an uptick in value was less homers allowed, so what better place than the Hubert H. Homerfree Dome? Kinda bummed I haven’t drafted Gray in multiple leagues already. Where’s the self-love?! As for Hunter Greene, moved him up in top 100 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball, and updated the pitchers pairings tool. Didn’t change his projections because still don’t know how many innings he can throw, but he’s in good shape to see the rotation in the landmark case of sooner vs. later.

Then the busy Twins, sent Mitch Garver to the Rangers for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, more on him in a few. The Rangers just need to make deals, whether they’re good for them or not. During the lockout, the Rangers were pulling on their collar, sweating, screaming, “I need to make a deal, man!” They’re like Pookie from New Jack City and their crack pipe is MLB roster moves. Someone needs an intervention, and that someone’s name is Texas Rangers. Not to mention, I understand Israeli Diner-Falafel is less than desirable for fantasy, but he actually made sense on the Rangers. Have the Rangers heard they lost Josh Jung? The Rangers are like a team that doesn’t draft a 3rd baseman for 15 rounds, saying, “3rd base is deep.” At least if the Rangers were going to send away Israeli Diner-Falafel, they could’ve got back Elijah Colavito-Tabouli. With the trade for Mitch Garver, the Rangers realized Jonah Heim was Superbad. Jonah Heim was removed from the 2022 fantasy baseball rankings — Hey, Jonah Heim, Don’t Look Up your name in the rankings! The top 20 catchers for 2022 fantasy baseball was updated for Mitch Garver (due to a better lineup and worse catcher behind him). That rankings post was also briefly updated for Ryan Jeffers, but the Twins weren’t done.

Late Sunday night, the Twins, jacked up on sugar, sent the newly acquired Falafel and Josh Donaldson for Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela, and Ben Rortvedt. Finally, the Twins beat the Yankees. What’s truly hilarious is thinking about Josh Donaldson playing with Gerrit Cole. For a quick refresher:

That is so funny to me. Brian Cashman prolly called Gerrit Cole for his blessing, and was told, “Whatever makes us better,” then Cole hung up the phone and was like WHAT THE EVER-LOVING EFF?! Just classic, Yankees Baseball. So, Donaldson will be helped by Yankee Stadium, anyone would be, but I’m not sure 36-year-old calves get better under the hot lights of Broadway. Do they? I’m seriously asking. I’m not touching his ranking, but I did slightly up his projections in my top 20 3rd basemen for 2022 fantasy baseball.

Next up, Gio Urshela. Hearing from sources that Gio will play shortstop, which moves Jo-Po to 2B; Arraez to DH; Kirilloff to outfield and, would you look at that, Jose Miranda has an everyday job! You have the right to not remain silent about your enthusiasm for Miranda. Makes sense the Twins go this way, after investing so much in Sex in the Twin Cities shirts with Miranda’s face. Also, getting an everyday job is Gio Urshela. Unfortch, it’s in a worse lineup and park. So, I boosted Urshela’s at-bats, but lowered his stats in my top 20 shortstops for 2022 fantasy baseball.

Then, you have the catcher who is the nut-flush, Gary Sanchez. Not nut-flush as in the poker term, but as in he gets hit in the nuts, and his face goes flush. He’s very in touch with his Twins, so Gary will fit right in on his new team. If there’s one guy who can’t seemingly get any worse who could get worse, it’s Gary Sanchez. “Is there any bottom there?” Is a question that comes to mind with Sanchez. Maybe, outside of the lights of New York, he’ll thrive. I have my doubts. He was updated at the top 20 catchers. Also, updated in the catchers rankings was Kyle Higashioka, since he’s currently the Yankees’ #1 catcher, I’ve moved him up, but the Yankees might make more deals. I am looking forward to the Dodgers/Yanks World Series just for Will Smith and Gettin’ Higgy Wit It.

Okay, let’s stop putting off the motherland, Israel. That Falafel is going through teams quicker than a bowel. The top 20 shortstops for 2022 fantasy baseball were updated for Israeli Diner-Falafel, but not really. He’s a glove-first guy, and the Yankees aren’t done doing deals. Oh, and the top 20 1st basemen for 2022 fantasy baseball were updated for the Rangers’ newest 3rd baseman, Andy Ibanez. Not a bad 3rd baseman for the new-look $540 million Rangers. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this preseason for 2022 fantasy baseball:

PSYCHE! Before we get to the roundup of news, just wanted to say I signed up for one more, and my final NFBC Draft Champions league for the year. Draft starts tomorrow, but it’s a slow clock (2 hours), so you don’t need to be near your computer. It’s the usual, 50-round, 15-team, draft-and-hold (no waivers), so easier in-season management. Here’s the signup link; hope you join! Anyway II, the roundup:

Lucas Sims – Reds said he’s a little behind due to “elbow stuff.” For a pitcher, that’s like saying Betty White’s a little behind due to “being dead stuff.” Haven’t moved Sims yet in my top 500, and the Reds don’t really have a backup, so welcome to the Reds’ pen, The Shizzshow, Part 2: It’s Last Year Again.

Kyle Farmer – Dumb Bell is already dropping brain gems saying, “You look at what Kyle (Farmer) did last year, he’s coming in as the SS now. (Barrero) is going to force the issue.” It’s the first day of Spring Training and Dumb Bell already has his dumb finely tuned. For those unfamiliar, Barrero was an international free agent. The Reds are already paying him. Keeping him down is hilariously dumb.

Martin Perez – Signed with the Rangers. During the lockout, the Rangers were Pookie fiending to get money out their wallet. “Let us spend some money, please!” My favorite Martin is Lawerence, and I have no interest in Perez and his near-5 career ERA for fantasy.

Chris Bassitt – Traded to the Mets for JT Ginn and Adam Oller. Kinda cool that MLB went through a nasty labor dispute to come out on the other side and nothing’s changed as far as teams quitting before the season even starts. The A’s should just ask for their mail to be delivered to Vegas, last one out shut off the lights. What a jizzoke the shizzoke that’s going on in Oakland. A’s better go back to cardboard fans this year. No one else gonna be there. A’s are gonna have Bring Your Glove To The Park So You Can Play Outfield For Us Day. Call them the Oakland DisgrA’s. Any hoo! Bassitt in Citifield, riding the Starter #3 pony, sounds like a dream, and I’m glad I’ve already drafted him in a league or three. In the top 40 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball, I upped Bassitt’s projections a teensy bit, and Tylor Megill was removed from the top 100 starters. Like someone stuck in an elevator with Droopy Dog, Megill got had by a Bassitt.

Carlos Rodon – Signed with the Giants. Still don’t like Rodon. I’m sorry. Daddy sang bass, mommy sang tenor, and Grey sang, “Don’t draft injured pitchers.” If you like him, then congrats, you might lose some, but you just won one, because Rodon ended up in the best possible landing spot for him. Does San Fran fix him? Not sure why that would be. Googling “Rodon + Shoulder” and Google says, “Please narrow down your search.” So, go use Bing or don’t draft Rodon, your choice. I refuse to use Bing. For 2022, I’ll give Carlos Rodon projections of 8-4/3.67/1.17/154 in 115 IP. He was updated in the top 60 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball.

Carlos Martinez – Signed with the Giants. The San Francisco Giants are running something called The Reclamation Project out of their clubhouse. Carlos Martinez is the Wilmer Flores of pitchers. The Darin Ruf of Dogs. The Evan Longoria of Blehs. Chuck Martinez. No, literally, chuck him.

Nelson Cruz – Signed with the Nats. Nelson Cruz heads to Washington, reuniting with his Little League teammate, Joe Biden. He’s in the top 500 for 2022 fantasy baseball. Also, this blocks Yadiel Hernandez and Luis Garcia — no, the other Luis Garcia. Both were removed from the rankings.

Zack Wheeler – Experiencing shoulder soreness. This is terrible news. Not because I’m drafting him, but because others were happily drafting him in the top 25 overall. This is the kind of thing that is forgotten next year when I tell you about all the top starters who disappointed. Wheeler will get to the third week of Spring Training, need an IL stint for his shoulder, and everyone will drop him in their rankings. Yet, here I am telling you since January not to draft him. Leaving him alone for now in the top 20 starters, but only because I said not to draft him already.

Drew VerHagen – Signed with the Cards. Was the 1st post-lockout signing, and it was a doozy. After the VerHagen deal, a lot of dominos were bound to fall.

Jake Diekman – Signed by the Red Sox. Check out our Bullpen Chart updated as news happens by JKJ. So, Barnes and Diekman aren’t just a Provincetown bookstore, but are the Sawx 9th inning, in that order. Since Diekman is a lefty, gotta put him down for slightly fewer saves, but I could easily see this becoming a Diekman/Barnes scenario vs. the reverse. Top 500 for 2022 fantasy baseball was updated.

Yusei Kikuchi – Signed with the Jays. Bummer for the teams where I took a flyer hoping he’d end up in Metco. This is a nice move for real baseball. The Jays are Smart dot org.  For fantasy, Kikuchi’s become a 9+ K/9 guy with middling command. His homers per nine were also off the charts last year, and that was in Safeco. In Rogers Centre, he could be The Tragedy of MacDeath-by-homers. Don’t have him in 12-team drafting territory, and this doesn’t change that. Yusei does remain Lisa Loeb’s favorite player name. For 2022, I’ll give Yusei Kikuchi projections of 9-9/4.09/1.30/149 in 145 IP. He was updated in the top 100 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball. Also, sadly, Nate Pearson was lowered dramatically, and removed from my pitchers pairings tool. He is no longer a Pearson of interest.

Brad Boxberger – Signed with the Brewers. The evolution of the Brewers is complete, from Bamberger to Boxberger.

Kurt Suzuki – Signed with the Angels. There’s Seiya Suzuki and Kurt “I’ll be seein’ ya” Suzuki. If you only go with one Suzuki this draft season, I prefer Seiya, then the caboose on the train to “I Don’t Want”sville.

Roman Quinn – Signed by the Marlins. Solid landing spot for him since Roman Quinn sounds like a character’s name in the Miami-based, The Birdcage.

Niko Goodrum – Signed by the Astros. Dusty Baker was excited to hear his organization got this guy, saying, “Finally, something for my morning coffee.” For fantasy, I’m holding out hope Pena is the Astros’ shortstop and not adding in Goodrum, but I’m gonna be putting Goodrum in my morning coffee if he replaces Pena.

Steven Souza – Signed a minor league deal with the Mariners. Interesting, wonder if the Mariners are going to put out an instrumental CD.

Joe Kelly – Signed by the White Sox. If the White Sox make the World Series, they got their, “I loved him all season, what an inexplicably terrible time for a meltdown” guy.

Josh Harrison – Signed with the White Sox. So, I think I’m being dumb, but I removed Josh Harrison from my rankings. In our Hitter Projections, he’s down for 300-ish at-bats with 7 HRs and 5 SBs, and I nearly fell asleep typing that, and, most importantly, I don’t think he even gets that many at-bats. So, worst case scenario, I miss out on a guy who is yawnstipating. Best case scenario, my Andrew Vaughn/Gavin Sheets dreams are still alive.

Ronald Acuña Jr. – Trainers are saying they’re hopeful he’s back in May. Hmm, this is tricky. On our auction values, he’s ranked 4th missing three weeks of at-bats. For now, I’m keeping him 6th overall, but I might move him again. No lower than 10th overall, unless he has a setback.

Clayton Kershaw – Re-signed with the Dodgers. Here’s what I said the other day, “Not sure if it’s against HIPAA or something, but my in-law’s friends are staying at a hotel in Arizona where a bunch of Dodgers are also working out, and Kershaw is there. So, my guess is he’s re-signing with the Dodgers, does that mean he’s healthy? No, not really. Does extra time before the season mean he will be healthy? No. You want a headache? Draft an injured pitcher.” And that’s me quoting me! My Clayton Kershaw projections are 8-3/3.27/1.05/136 in 117 IP. He was updated in the top 60 starters for 2022 fantasy baseball.

Hanser Alberto – Signed with the Dodgers. Watch Dave Roberts turn him into Chris Taylor, Part II, as Hanser becomes a top 10 2B, SS and 3B, and gets 550 ABs. Though, if that happens, I will eat my hat. Luckily, I’m wearing a hat made of tortilla chips.

Andrelton Simmons – Signed with the Cubs. Could mean the Cubs are moving into a noodle-swinging Nico/Nick platoon. Could also mean a rotating Nico/Nick/Andrelton platoon. Unless. Dot dot dot. *turns head to the “everyday” DH, Clint Frazier, but no one is there.* Hey, where’s Frazier? *Frazier pokes his head out from behind a furnace, knows he’s been spotted* “Aw, c’mon, I finally got everyday at-bats!” So, Andrelton hit 3 homers and stole one base last year, hitting .223. Guess in how many games. Go ahead. Had to be an injury, right? It was in 131 games! I’m dying at how bad he is. So, I didn’t add him to my rankings. I did lower Nico Hoerner and Nick Madrigal in my top 20 2nd basemen for 2022 fantasy baseball because Andrelton clouds the picture. Andrelton: From the Clouds, to Clouding the Picture.

Steve Cishek – Signed with the Nats. Perfect landing spot for him, because his last name sounds like a Missy Elliott lyric from Gossip Folks, and they already have the Rainey (Supa Dupa Fly).

Alex Colome – Signed with the Rockies, and becomes the favorite for saves in Colorado. If you’re looking at Colome in your fantasy draft, I’d try Column B. He was added to the top 500 for 2022 fantasy baseball.

Jose Iglesias – Signed by the Rockies. Hey, Garrett Hampson, if you’re in line for playing time, STAY IN LINE. Even with Iglesias, the Rockies don’t have a prayer. He’s fine for average and light power and speed. He’s like the Israeli Diner-Falafel with extra PITA. That’s Pain In The Ass aka Bud Black. For 2022, Jose Igleias projections are 61/10/54/.278/7 in 489 ABs. Hampson was updated in the top 20 2nd basemen for 2022 fantasy baseball. Removed about 100 at-bats from him.