If you’ve been living under a rock allow us to bring you into the light of day. Spring training has been cancelled and Opening Day is delayed by at least two weeks. Cheating scandals aside, the only thing that has delayed play like this in the past 30 years is labor strife. In this fight Covid-19 is the 800 lb. gorilla and the league is nothing but a little grease spot under its paw. So this is no battle at all. Seriously, this is worse than Charlie vs Willy Wonka in 1976.

That being said, eventually, probably, hopefully, there will be baseball. And there are some battles of note out there. One in particular is who will be the Texas Rangers’ center fielder? It’s not as clear cut as you think.

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There are so few Renaissance men anymore. Mookie Betts is a Ted Williams lite. While Ted is canonized as the best hitter of all time, the best fighter pilot of all time, and the best fly fisherman of all time, Mookie is an excellent pro bowler in the offseason, including more than one 300 game on the PBT. He’s also a nice guy, an undercover philanthropist, and he’s about to ply his MVP talent in Chavez Ravine. He’s a WAR hero with a high batting average, 30 home run pop, and scores runs in bunches. Other than shift from Fenway Park to Dodgers Stadium, what is there to know? Let’s take a look.

 

The 2020 Razzball Commenter Leagues are now open! Free to join!

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Mookie looking like we all looked at the news. All the news.

With the recent blockbuster trade between the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins now null and void, what was supposed to be a week-long extravaganza of both real and fantasy analysis all around the interwebs has now turned into broken dreams (for Dodgers fans), confused relief (Twins fans), and a strange sense that all the middle fingers in all the universe raised all at once (MLB fans in the direction of Boston). But as one who goes left (max three times, or you know, it’s just the Daytona) when the world goes right, instead of talking about the trade, or if the Red Sox know what they’re doing or ever did, or about what a medical report reveals, I wanted to take a step back in time (twang it like Huey!) and highlight some of the most notable three-team trades that have taken place in the 21st-century (this one like Duck Dodgers!)…

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I think there’s a fairly evident reason it took Edwin Encarnacion a while to sign with a team.  Doode’s a leather-bound book with dust.  In the future, will a little boy sit down to hear a tale from his grandfather and the grandfather will blow dust off a Kindle?  “In the fall of 2016, I bought this Kindle from a garage sale.  What’s a garage sale, you ask.  It’s an informal market of used products that is held outside a house by where one stores their automobile.  What’s an automobile, you ask.”  Please, Grey, leave this metaphor alone!  You’re prolly right, Random Italicized Voice.  Speaking of grandfathers, this was overheard at the Christmas table yesterday:  My grandfather, “I took Viagra and only my nipples got hard.  Don’t think I got the pill all the way down.”  Any hoo!  Edwin’s ground ball ratio went up and his fly balls went down.  He still hits the ball hard, and, if he were 27 years old, none of his red flags would even be flags, they’d be red handkerchiefs for my white suit when I’m feeling especially Scarfacey.  His Ks went up, so he’s a .260 hitter now instead of a .270 hitter?  Big whoop.  I’m having a hard time being negative on Edwin, except he will be 34 years old.  Guys do excel in their mid-30s, but not as much as they don’t.  Am I excited about Edwin after he signed with the Indians?  Not particularly, but thinking he’s going to fall off, is you talking hunches and that only works if you’re making small talk with Quasimodo.  For Edwin’s 2017 projections, I’ll give him 88/36/105/.260/2 in 535 ABs.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2017 fantasy baseball:

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What’s more American than Memorial Day weekend? How about an ex-country singer-dating, gun-toting, Texan, a guy that looks like he puts a hot dog in the fly of his pants and goes up to female reporters and asks them if they’re hungry, a guy who we call Red State Jeter, a guy that looks like he has the rhythm of Mark Madsen, someone who has Ted Nugent’s special I’m-a-huntin’ phone number, a guy that Roger Clemens probably watches and thinks, “I wonder if he’ll have sex with my wife while I watch,” throwing a no-hitter? With a no-hitter on Memorial Day, Josh Beckett just took your ‘Murica and raised it back to its 1950’s ‘Murica when we were more obvious about our contempt for other nations. Though for our fantasy porpoises — hey, dolphins! — I gotta be honest, I’m a bit worried about him throwing 128 pitches, but his peripherals suggest a guy that if healthy can be a solid fantasy number three. He is not an ace now, so if suddenly people think that, feel free to shop him. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

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WHO ARE YOU BRUCE CHEN?! I demand answers immediately. I know, yesterday was just against the Marlins, so we can write off the 7 IP, 0 ER, 6 baserunners, 6 Ks game. But when I put into my supercomputer (that has a mustache too) that Chen has a 1.62 ERA in 72 1/3 IP, my supercomputer walks out the door…And it doesn’t even have legs! If you woke from a season-long coma and saw Chen’s ERA, you’re liable to have a sudden case of Toxic Shock Syndrome (I might be confusing diseases here). So, can the Chen man keep wokking and rolling like he’s Martin Yan? No way in this giant-lush-covered-in-water-thanks-to-Al-Gore planet. He’s not a sub-2 ERA pitcher. He’s barely a 4-ERA pitcher. As a sabermetrician altered license plate in New Hampshire reads, Regress or Die. Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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Manny Ramirez is no stranger to controversy removing him from the field, which makes it even stranger that controversy may end up putting him back on the field. The Rangers, who have Manny playing in their minor leagues, have been insistent that they have no need for Ramirez on their major league squad. However, that could change with Nelson Cruz accepting his 50 game suspension. I want to address a larger point in that over-the-hill sluggers are sometimes worth the gamble, even when they seem unlikely to produce. Yes, I’d take the same approach with Alex Rodriguez (Steamer projects a decent .258/.340/.438 line for him). I know it tends to be unpopular because they aren’t as exciting as younger players, but, depending on the size of your league, they still have value. If you have any doubts about a player being productive at an unlikely age, I’ll give you my Exhibit A: David Ortiz, who is likely well into his seventies. If Manny gets another chance in the majors, I wouldn’t expect Ortiz-like production, but something similar to Steamer’s A-Rod projection seems reasonable. That would be helpful at removing some of the weight from losing any fantasy baseball players to a suspension. Anyway here are some less controversial players I’m following in OPS leagues:

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There are several questionable farm systems in baseball, but the Chicago White Sox are certainly one that stands out. For years now, the Sox have maintained a firm MLB-first approach to player personnel. They’re a principled franchise that would rather allocate its baseball operations budget toward free agent signings and MLB extensions than toward draft spending. And when they do stumble upon a real-deal prospect, they usually like to trade him for a veteran dude, someone to help that playoff push. It’s a model that occasionally works — they won a World Series by it in 2005 — but it’s not one that’s built to sustain success. And now, in 2013, the White Sox are awful. They’re in total rebuild mode — everything is for sale. This is finally their opportunity to change direction, to try to build a system that cultivates and utilizes impact talent. They’ve already dealt Matt Thornton to Boston for Brandon Jacobs, an upside outfielder with a skill set that might be very useful in the fantasy game. Don’t stop there, Chicago. Tear it all down.

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Over the past few months we have jammed and crammed our way through players that have added some pop (Adam Lind, Raul Ibanez), some saves (Koji Uehara, Jose Veras) and some steals (Juan Pierre, Peter Bourjos) to our fake baseball rosters. Let’s forget my mention of Jackie Bradley Jr in week one okay? Thanks. But I have not always been a Razzballin’ Guru. In a former life I spent my working hours spinning the radio hits. Think Backstreet Boys and other boy band classics. *BBLLAARRGGHH!!* Just threw up in my mouth a little. The music may have sucked, but the payola was great! i.e. See The Guru’s swimming pool/pool table courtesy of Tower Records. However, most of my time on the dial revolved around rock radio. Think AC/DC, Metallica, Guns ‘n Roses and some occasional Motorhead. The problem was my share of program directors never appreciated my love for Pabst Blue Ribbon drinking, live sheep in the studio, the lesbian dating game or UFO guitar solos. All things I was fired for doing. To paraphrase Hunter S. Thompson, “radio is a shallow money trench where good men die like dogs.” But I’d still argue morning drinking builds character and one of the greatest guitar solos of all-time has to be the plank spanking in UFO’s “Rock Bottom” (check it out around the 3:30 mark). I’m sure Eddie Trunk would agree. This week let’s look at some jammer/crammers stuck to the underside of your waiver wire Chuck Taylor’s. They are the barely owned cast-offs, the red-headed step children, the “Lobster Boy-Alive” fantasy freaks of our baseball world. They will fit perfectly on my team. *cracks another Pabst* We have officially hit rock bottom. Time to jam it or cram it.

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