Roto Imbeciles

Editor's Corner

July 21, 2012: The more things change, the more they stay the same!
Over his last 25 games, the Pirates’ Andrew McCutchen is hitting .427 with 10 HR, 27 RBI, and an .885 slg %. McCutchen is putting together an MVP type season. He’s currently leading the NL with a .372 BA, 21 HR, 64 RBI, 62 R, 14 SB, and a 1.073 OPS. He’s the main reason why the perennial losing Pirates are only 1 game back of the Reds in the NL Central. The Pirates could make a move with Joey Votto out of the Reds’ line-up for the foreseeable future. John Axford and his 5.35/1.57 ERA/WHIP has been asked to move from his place of residence, the closer’s role. That request came from Brewers’ management. With no where else to go the Brewers are going with K-Rod, Francisco Rodriguez, to guide the ship in the ninth inning. Rodriguez holds the MLB record for SV’s with 62 back in 2008 with the Angels. He currently has 3 SV on the season (2 the past 2 games). K-Rod has fanned 39 batters in 41 2/3 innings this season and is capable of locking up each save opportunity given to him over the regular-season's final few months. The cynic in me wonders if the Brew Crew is just trying to boost K-Rod’s trade value around the deadline in 2 weeks. When Melky Cabrera hit .255 for the Braves in 458 AB in 2010 and was unceremoniously released by the club, many thought the days of everyday play for Melky could be over. But he dedicated himself to get in better shape in 2011 with KC and had a career high 201 hits in 658 AB (.305) with 18 HR, 87 RBI, 102 R, 20 SB, and an .811 OPS. Needing pitching, the Royals traded Cabrera to SF for LHP Jonathan Sanchez. That had to go down as the worst trade of the off-season. Sanchez was released by KC ton Tuesday with a 7.76/2.04 ERA/WHIP, 65 HA, and an unsightly 36/44 K/BB in 53 1/3 IP. Cabrera, meanwhile, is hitting .353 for SF with 8 HR, 45 BI, 55 R, 10 SB, and a .905 OPS. Talk about highway robbery!

July 15, 2012: Okay, so maybe the HR Derby is a waste of time!
I have to put this under the category of a day late (literally) and a dollar short. I did sit down to watch the HR derby and saw Beltran and part of Bautista's turn (the first 2 participants). Then my wife announces that we have to go to Shop Rite to buy stuff like cat litter, sandwich bags, and Snapple. I remarked that I was just going to blog on how Prince Fielder was going to win and the finals would be Fielder vs Bautista. Of course that never happened as I was at Shop Rite until around 9:45. After taking around 20 minutes to put stuff away, my wife wanted to watch an episode of the old Dick Van Dyke series, "Diagnosis Murder." I did pick up the local paper today to see that Fielder indeed won the finals vs Jose Bautista. And I don't expect anyone to believe that, it's just something I wanted to get off my chest. I do agree with the great bloggers of this site that the All Star outcome should have no jurisdiction over the World Series home field advantage. It definitely doesn't make me want to watch the game any more than usual which isn't much! At the moment, I'm feeling a little sorry for myself. And, yes indeed, Scott Baio was in the episode of Diagnosis Murder. He'll always be Chachi Arcola to me or Charles in Charge. Good episode where a mob hitwoman fakes amnesia so she can be at the hospital where a doctor needs to be killed. it's not for over-billing but for testifying against the mob boss. It's dangerous business but there's no follow-up about witness protection. That's probably where you'll find Robinson Cano as far as KC fans are concerned. Billy Butler? Last Thursday night, Mark Buehrle of the Marlins pitched 7 2/3 innings in a win over the Brewers. It was the 166th time since the start of 2003 that Buehrle has at least 7 IP in a start. The only 2 pitchers with more are Roy Halladay (204) and C.C Sabathia (188). Including the post-season, since 2003 the Yankees and Red Sox have met 182 times. Their record, as of the Friday night game, stands at 91-91. If you’re a Red Sox fan, you have to hope for at least 3 out of 4 in Beantown. I saw former major league pitcher and 283 game winner Jim “Kitty” Kaat on the MLB Network. He looks great for 73 years old and may get into the Hall of Fame one day with some say from the Veteran’s Committee. His work as a baseball announcer over the decades shouldn’t be overlooked either. Did I tell you that Kaat also won 16 Gold Gloves and has a 25 win season on his resume? 

June 28, 2012: I have to stop rostering guys and ruining their career!
I love the move by the White Sox to secure the services of Kevin Youkilis for 2 minor parts. Youk has been put right into the #2 spot in the Pale Hose order, in front of Konerko, the rejuvenated Dunn, and Rios. Youkilis has struggled through injuries this season, but he should be a big lift for a team which has an MLB worst .168 batting average and .467 OPS from the third base position this year. In his first 3 games for the Southsiders, Youk has 5 hits. Juan Pierre of the Phillies has been up over 7000 times in his major league career. On Saturday afternoon, Pierre hit his 17th career HR. The funny/strange part about that is that HR was the first 3 run HR of his long career, which is in its 13th season. Pierre has proven to be a fruitful buy for me in my $360-NL for $11. He’s been one of my only healthy offensive players and has hit over .320 with 27 R and 16 SB. And I’ll take the HR. That’s all strange about Pierre but what might be the odd-ball stat of 2012 is the fact that his teammate, Cliff Lee, is stuck on 0 wins this season. You read that right, zero, zilch, nil! In 84 2/3 IP, Lee is 0-4 with a 3.72/1.13 ERA/WHIP, 79 HA, and a very Lee-like 86/17 K/BB. Hard to believe that getting close to the All-Star break, Lee is still looking for that elusive first W. It may prove to be the last of his career. Roger Clemens was acquitted of perjury in a court of law on Monday. I think there would be a different outcome in the court of public opinion. Clemens over his long career was 354-184 in 4916 2/3 IP, a sensational 4672/1580 K/BB, 4185 HA, and a 3.12/1.17 ERA/WHIP. When he turned 30 in 1993, Clemens seemed to be entering a little bit of a decline in his career. In fact, in 4 seasons (1993-1996), Clemens only had 40 wins. The long time Boston Red Sox stalwart went to the Blue Jays and went 41-13 over the next 2 seasons and 2 of his record 7 Cy Youngs. From the ages of 33-42, Clemens only made less than 30 GS once (2002 when he made 29). Just looking at those numbers into his 30’s always raised a red flag to me. Plus he got so much bigger as his career went on! Clemens should have just come out, like Jason Giambi, A-Rod, and Pettitte, and admitted to the steroid use. It’s too late for Clemens to turn back now after all the denials but I would bet my life on the fact that Clemens was a cheat. My wife would be happy with that because she says that I’m worth more dead than alive anyway. If he had come out right away and admitted his mis-deeds, people would have almost forgotten by now. This is a country that gives second chances. But this whole mess has just gone on too long and I’m getting damn tired of seeing Clemens’ lawyer, Rusty Harden, and that shit-eating grin of his! The big test for both Clemens and Bonds will be when their names appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2013. I say that neither gets enough support the first time through!

June 9, 2012: In my experience, if it looks like shit and smells like shit, it usually is shit!
Norichika Aoki became the second Brewer rookie to hit 2 HR’s in a game on Thursday night, including a walk-off (Matt Mieske was the other). Who said Aoki couldn’t hit them over the wall? What was great was not only did Aoki get “pied” by Shawn Marcum and Nyjer Morgan, his translator did as well. He could be the first translator to be pied in MLB history. And it’s good to see that Morgan is good for something with the Brewers. We all love the guy in the major league clubhouse that’s in charge of the custard! The last time the LA Dodgers went into the City of Brotherly Love and swept a 4 game set, they were known as the Brooklyn Dodgers. That occurred in May, 1946 or 2 full years before the death of George Herman (Babe) Ruth. The Phillies have now lost 6 in a row. Aaron Harang got win #100 in the Dodger victory. The Phils are playing with no enthusiasm and the mistakes are mounting. You may actually see the club be sellers at the trade deadline. Just thinking back to 1997 in my real life when I worked at a restaurant/bar called City Central in Englewood. I worked an unbelievable 135 days in a row, 7 days a week, usually 14-16 hours a day and 6 or 7 hours on Sunday. I was the bar manager so my presence was usually paramount. Finally in November of that year the owners made me take a day off. And I also managed to play in a couple fantasy leagues. If anyone is a real fantasy player, they know that there are no days off in fantasy baseball. It's 7 days a week for 26 weeks. It's not like fantasy football which is once a week and checking on injuries from time to time! Why I mention all this is I just have come off working "only" 10 days in a row and am really feeling it. The body doesn't bounce back the way it used to. I would say that it's just age but it has been keeping me away from the site more than I wanted. I was surprised when I heard that Cliff Lee has the most double digit strike out games in the majors since the start of 2010. He got his 17th on Tuesday night vs the Dodgers in a losing effort. Jamie Moyer signed a deal with the Orioles after being released by the Rockies. Going from Coors Field to the AL-East, particularly Camden Yards is like going from the frying pan into the fire! I would advise to stay away unless there are 40 teams in your AL-only. But it does make a nice story. And, as you know, I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I will add that anyone that mentions Moyer as a Hall of Fame candidate doesn't know what the hell they're talking about! I know you all thought that going into the second week in June, Carlos Beltran would be leading the NL in HR's with 15. He made a nice pick in your fantasy drafts for 2012. I have to say that I'm as surprised as the next guy when Omar Quintanilla got his first RBI of the season for the Mets on Wednesday night. Yes, it was on a ground out. Hey, it doesn't have to be rocket science!

June 2, 2012: Early to bed, early to rise makes for a bad fantasy player!
On May 10, Colby Lewis gave up 5 hits in a loss to the Orioles. The problem was that all 5 hits he allowed were solo HR’s. After allowing three straight homers to start the bottom of the first, he retired 18 in a row, only to give up two more homers in the seventh. Those five homers were the only five hits he gave up, and he was just the fifth pitcher in big-league history to allow five homers without allowing any other hits. Also, his 12 strikeouts were three more than any pitcher had ever had in a five-HR game. Last Sunday afternoon, Mat Latos became only the 11th pitcher since 1918 to win a game in which he allowed 5 HR. All 5 HR were solo jobs and they were also the only 5 HA for Latos (becoming the 6th pitcher to do that). Losing pitcher Jamie Moyer gave up 4 HR to the Reds. On a day where the conditions were favorable for home runs at bandbox Great American Ballpark, Moyer didn't stand a chance. The loss drops him to 2-5, while the seven runs were a season high. He's allowed at least five runs in four of his past five starts, however, and is now sporting a brutal 5.70 ERA and 1.73 WHIP. If it’s all over for Moyer, he has nothing to be ashamed about. He has 269 career wins and it’s something he can share with his grandchildren. He may even have grandkids! Moyer, in fact, was released by the Rox on Wednesday. I'm the proud owner of James Loney in 2 NL-only. Either I'm a masochist or a crappy fantasy player. I like to think it's a little of both! Waiting for Loney to get going is kind of like waiting through the off-season for the baseball season to begin. It just seems like it will never happen. We all remember the promise that Loney bought with him to the show back in '07 when he belted a career high 15 HR and batted .331 in 344 AB. Loney has had his moments since, even surfacing as a semi-useful player on occasion. But something happened along the way and all those days of prosperity seem like a lifetime ago. Loney has been out of the starting line-up the past 2 games vs RHP. I love the nickname of Joel Zumaya, "Zoom Zoom." It always reminded me of a Citgo commercial. I find myself singing the few words of the long ago ad on occasion. But surely I digress. Zumaya's career looks to be over. He did manage 209 2/3 IP in the show with a 210/114 K/BB, 169 HA, and a 3.05/1.35 ERA/WHIP. Oddly enough, Zumaya had 1 SV for each major league season, 5 total. But his only healthy season was 2006 back when he was 21. Incidentally, Matt Guerrier has 1 SV in each of the past 6 seasons for 6 career SV's. That has to be a record and, if it isn't, it should be. Guerrier would have to pitch over 600 seasons to have a shot at Mariano Rivera's SV's record. Zumaya had not thrown a pitch since June 2010 after breaking his elbow while pitching for Detroit in a game at Target Field. He has never been better than in his rookie season with the Tigers, when he was a 21-year-old blast furnace who struck out 97 hitters in 83 IP and became one of the most feared setup men in the game. He did sign a contract with the Twins before this season which guaranteed him $400,000. He lasted 13 pitches into his first warm-up session. That comes out to $30,769 and change per pitch. To quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that!" 

May 26, 2012: How come life is never a bastard?
The Fresh Prince of Belair on the hill for KC? Well it was Will Smith in there vs the Yankees but this Smith is a 22 yr old LHP making his MLB debut on Wednesday night. I wouldn’t expect much yet as he was 1-3 at Triple-A this season in 51 2/3 IP with a 4.01/1.51 ERA/WHIP, 65 HA and a 37/13 K/BB. He was greeted by 2 HR’s from the Bombers, Granderson (14) and the first HR by A-Rod in 52 AB. There are openings right now in the Royal rotation but I wouldn’t expect much from Smith. By the by, I don’t know if we’ll ever see another 30 and 100 season from Rodriguez again. But for $30-mil/yr, the Yankees sure would like to see it! A-Rod did go on to hit a second HR in the game. Ernesto Frieri struck out the side in the 11th to earn a save Wednesday against the A's. Frieri has been awesome for the Angels, striking out 19 in 8 2/3 hitless IP to date. The team hasn't been generating many save chances, but Frieri stands to get most of what they do generate for now. Kevin Millwood blanked the Rangers for six innings in the Mariners' 5-3 victory on Wednesday. Millwood is working on a scoreless streak of 17 innings at the moment. Of course he’s been on the bench in my $260-NL during this period of prosperity. Along with Luke Hochevar who’s also been better. I either have to dump or get off the pot as far as those 2 are concerned. Hitters are hitting .069 vs Aroldis Chapman this season. When he’s not driving fast he’s also averaging 15.8 K’s/9 IP. What is Doug Fister doing wrong? Since the start of the 2011 season, Fister is third in ERA (behind Verlander and Weaver) yet has just an 11-15 record to show for it. He must think he’s back in Seattle. Carlos Lee has 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. His boys are named Carlos and Karlos and 1 of his girls is named Carla. El Cabajo also has a brother named Carlos. Do you detect a little bit of George Foreman here? Delmon Young's big brother, former major leaguer Dimitri (The Meat Hook) recently sold his baseball card collection and got over $400,000 for each of the '55 Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron cards. I knew I should have kept my old baseball cards! Hey, who knew? If you've been following my plight in the $360-NL I play in, you know that in the past 10 days I've been snake bit with injuries. And now news comes down that Emilio Bonifacio will be joining my long list of walking wounded. We, as fantasy players, get a little possessive of our guys and I'm no different. I feel like I've discovered Bonifacio. Yes, from Opening Day, April 6, 2009 when I was watching the Marlin/Pirate game with my son screaming at the great exploits of this fast man. Bonifacio went 4 for 5 with 4 R, 1 HR (an inside the park that could have been played better by Lastings Milledge), 2 RBI, and 3 SB. His first 5 games were something out of a Stephen King novel, 14 for 24 (.583), 5 RBI, 9 R, and 4 SB. Of course the reality was that Bonifacio wasn't as good as all that. He finished the month 11 for 69 (.159) with 2 SB, a 22/4 K/BB, 0 RBI, and 7 R. You have him on your fantasy roster for 1 reason and that's steals. He's amassed 20 of them on this young season, 20 consecutive and successful SB's. On #21 (a CS), he jammed his thumb and will be on the down-low for a few weeks. Now I find out he needs surgery and is out for 6 to 8 weeks. Tough guy to replace and, you know what? I never thought I'd say that!  

April 29, 2012: How does Jemile Weeks wash those dreads?
The Tigers released its longest tenured player on Thursday in the person of Brandon Inge. The Tigers will still be responsible for his $5.5 million salary and the $500,000 buyout on his $6 million club option for next season. The 34-year-old has spent his entire professional career with the Tigers, batting .234/.304/.387 with 140 homers and 589 RBI over 1408 major league games. The team has called up long time minor league slugger Brad Eldred who’s been en fuego at Triple-A. In 20 games, Eldred has 13 HR, 35 RBI, a .370 BA, 23 XBH, and a 1.457 OPS. He hasn’t been quite as successful in 3 cups of joe in the big time, the last coming with the Rockies in 2010. But wouldn't you know it, in his first AB for the Tigers vs the Yankees on Friday, Eldred hit his first career triple on a broken bat. It was actually played into a triple by Raul Ibanez. But after that bit of prosperity, Eldred is 1 for his last 12. Heath Bell blew his third save of the season Thursday, allowing two runs on one hit and four walks in a loss to the Mets. One of the Marlins big free agent signings this off-season, the club is paying him $27-mil over 9 yrs. So far the investment has gone over like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest! Bell has 3 losses and 3 blown saves to go along with 9.52/2.82 ERA/WHIP, 9 HA, and a 5/7 K/BB in 5 2/3 IP. $9-mil a season just doesn’t go as far as it used to! By the way, the Marlins sit in last place in the NL-East with a 7-11 record. The #4 overall pick in the 2011 draft by Baltimore, SP Dylan Bundy, is tearing it up in Class-A. He has yet to give up a hit in 13 IP with a 21/1 K/BB. He’s like a man among boys so far! It’s official, Michael Pineda has a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will go under the knife early next week. He will need 12 months of recovery time. Do you think the Yankees wish they can undo the trade that sent Jesus Montero to Seattle? The Yankees always have Andy Pettitte to fall back on in the next few weeks. The question there is how much does the quiet Texan have left in the tank? I can’t say I’m surprised that the Braves sent SP Jair Jurrjens to Triple-A on Tuesday. In 2011 the 25-year-old right-hander posted 2.96 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 23 starts in 2011 before going down with a knee injury for a second straight season. But his second half left a little something to be desired. For the season, Jurrjens only K’d 90 in 152 IP. The Braves avoided arbitration with him by signing the RHP from Curacao to a 1 yr/$5.5-mil deal. You know how I feel about these deals. The Mets inked Mike Pelfrey to a deal worth $5.6-mil. Pelfrey was put on the DL by the club on Tuesday with what could be a partially torn UCL. Pelfrey could be done for the season and may have thrown his last pitch as a NY Met. Pelf will always have his 2.27 ERA in 3 GS to talk about at the dinner table. What about the case of John Lannan who settled out of court for $5-mil from the Nats only to be dispatched to Triple-A to start the season. And to make matters worse, through Lannan’s first 3 GS at that level, he has a 7.50/2.25 ERA/WHIP, 21 HA, and a 6/6 K/BB in 12 IP. And Lannan had the nerve to ask the Nationals to trade him. I’m sure that the ballclub has tried to move him, to no avail. By the by, Jurrjens, the Braves Opening Day SP, has gifted the team with a 9.37/2.45 ERA/WHIP, 30 HA, and an 8/10 K/BB in 16 1/3 IP. I wish I can say that you get what you pay for but this problem in basebll goes much deeper than these shallow words. Diamondbacks optioned LHP Joe Paterson to Triple-A Reno. Paterson has surrendered 15 hits and 11 runs in just 2 2/3 innings this season. I checked into those numbers and there’s no mistake. Of course this is almost impossible to do. Even for John Lannan! Speaking of God-awful numbers, the Orioles released LHP Chris George on Tuesday. A one-time top prospect for the Royals, George hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2004. His major league record includes a 14-20 record in 237 IP, with a 6.48/1.66 ERA/WHIP, 300 HA, and a 99/95 K/BB. George has thrown 1502 1/3 innings in the minors with an 85-87 record, 4.70/1.49 ERA/WHIP, 1617 HA, and an 1103/622 K/BB. Maybe it’s time for Chris George to find something else to do with his life!  

April 17, 2012: Fame is a bitch and then you die!
Since getting his 3000th hit last summer, Derek Jeter is batting .342. In 10 games this season, Jeter already has 7 XBH, including 3 HR (2 leading off the game). He didn’t get his 7th XBH in 2011 until his 40th game. There were some earlier in the ’11 season that swore Jeter was done for. The early season calf injury and the quest for three grand didn’t help! He even spent a few days in the nether world with hitting coach Downs and came back ready for bear. Don’t stick the fork in Jeter just yet! It’s a little odd when I heard that Ruben Tejada is leading the NL with 6 doubles. Stephen Strasburg has the best breaking ball in the NL….. just saying. I’m hoping that his career can go the distance. A thought for mixed leaguers: if you need speed and he’s available (he shouldn’t be) go to your nearest lap top and put in for Jordan Schafer. He goes from first to third as fast as anyone in baseball. He just has to keep the marijuana at home! If I’m the Twins and paying Joe Mauer a king’s ransom, I would seriously consider moving the fences in at Target Field. In the first season at Target (2010), Mauer hit 9 HR in 510 AB. The year before he hit 28 in 523 AB. I thought that Albert Pujols signed in the AL for the next 10 seasons. But if I didn’t know any better, Omar Infante has morphed into Pujols. And he better as I own Infante in 2 NL-only and my mixed league auction league ($4). The Marlins second baseman extended his modest hitting streak to eight games on Sunday against the Astros. He also hit the first HR for a Marlin in their new park. Infante has gone 12 for 30 (.400) during his streak with 4 HR and 6 RBI. Infante has had a powerful start to the season and is tearing the cover off the ball for the Marlins. He is slugging .833 through nine games with nine runs scored. He’s also K’d just once in 35 AB (albeit he’s walked just once). Back in 2004, as a 22 year old with the Tigers, Infante had 16 HR and 13 SB but has never been able to approach either number. He did hit ,321 in 471 AB for the Braves in 2010 while making the NL All-Star team. In 579 AB in 2011, Infante only hit 7 HR. One thing I've noticed is no one goes from home to first faster than Emilio Bonifacio. Anything hit in the INF by him has a chance to be a hit. But, as my friend Pat says, what does he really do? I think at least he'll be good for 30 SB for whatever it's worth! One thing I'd like to get off my chest, who cares what Ozzie Guillen thinks? Isn't it our right to free speech? I will admit that what Guillen said was misguided and stupid. But I don't care what Guillen thinks of Castro (unless it's Juan Castro or even Jason Castro) or what the Latins think of Guillen. But Guillen is walking a fine line and better keep his trap shut or he'll be on the unemployment line! I’ll tell you what really sucks in fantasy baseball. Seeing your SP give up 7 ER on 8 HA in the first inning. Yes, Luke Hochevar had those numbers but ended up going 4 IP before being “knocked out” by a Carlos Santana line drive off the foot in the 4th inning. But we can always say, it was his time to leave. And it didn’t look good as the ball bounced all the way to first baseman Eric Hosmer. His final line was 4 IP, 7 ER, and 9 HA. Hopefully for Hochevar the foot isn’t fractured. But, all in all, it makes you want to throw up in your mouth. Especially after 8 shut out innings by Hiroki Kuroda, who I own in the same AL-only. Just for safety precautions, I benched Hochevar for the foreseeable future and activated the more useful (who isn't?) Hector Santiago. I didn’t realize that besides David “Big Papi” Ortiz and “Prince” Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano is the only other player in the majors that has ten straight 20 HR seasons. He just hasn’t really been the same since signing that 8 yr/$136-mil deal. The Cubs have been trying to unload their LF but would have to eat a significant bit of salary to make that a reality. By the way, Houston's Justin Maxwell has been up 4 times in his career with the bases loaded. He's hit 3 grand slams! I know, go figure.

April 13, 2012: This baseball season is flying by!
My sixth and final fantasy draft was completed last Saturday, the Ken Caminiti $260-NL. Caminiti was a former NL MVP who succumbed to steroid abuse way too early, following in the footsteps of John Matusek and Lyle Alzado. My fantasy team in this league came in kind of dead as well with keepers including Emilio Bonifacio ($10), Omar Infante ($5), Logan Morrison ($10), Tony Gwynn ($1), Jordan Schafer ($5), Cameron Maybin ($15), Dillon Gee ($5), Fernando Salas ($2), and Jonny Venters ($5). Adding a “super star” would be an improvement but I let the early SP’s like Halladay, Lincecum, and Gallardo go for what I felt were inflated prices. In fact the first player I purchased was an $18 Carlos Lee and inserted him at 1B. In this league, if a player gets traded to the AL, you get to keep his stats for the rest of the season. As I’ve said, I’ve always hated that rule but Lee is a candidate to be moved by the lowly Astros at the trade deadline. I went on a frenzy of spending for SP’s as I bought Madison Bumgarner ($26), Matt Latos ($22), and Gio Gonzalez ($20) in rapid succession. I filled my 3B slot with Placido Polanco ($6) and also bought his teammate Carlos Ruiz ($10). I filled my OF with Jason Heyward ($25) and added SP’s Ted Lilly ($11) and Chris Capuano ($5). I found out after I drafted him that Lilly is on the DL. I rounded out my “draft” with the last COR guy James Loney ($14) and the last MID in Marco Scutaro ($12). As I’ve said many times on this site, you always overpay for the last guy at a position. It’s better to go for the penultimate guy! Brett Myers for $10 is my closer and Wilin Rosario ($5) and Marlon Byrd ($8) were the last 2 players I bought. Then we go to the “lightning” round. In this league, owners will often call out 3 or 4 players when they’re up only to find those players were either taken, kept, or drafted. The reserve portion of my draft (15 players which took me a total of about 30 seconds to select) went like this: Geraldo Parra, Juan Uribe, Joe Blanton, George Kottaras, Freddy Galvis, Paul Maholm, Daniel Descalso, Eric Komatsu from the Cards, a Rule-5 guy that I like, Marco Estrada, Jeff Baker, Travis Buck, Brandon Wood, Kyle Weiland, Matt Treanor, and Gregor Blanco. I would have liked to draft more than 4 pitchers in this endeavor but it wasn’t to be. In fact, 4 of my SP’s pitched that day and all got killed. Yeah, like I was saying, my big 4 of Bumgarner, Latos, Capuano, and Gonzalez all stunk up the joint. These 4 sound like a law firm and, if they were indeed attorneys, I could almost excuse this blatant attempt at pitching! The 4 of them totaled 17 IP, with 16 ER (each gave up 4), 23 HA, and a 17/12 K/BB. The ERA/WHIP came out to 8.47/2.06 and I wanted to throw up in my mouth. It's very rare that Paul Maholm is the best pitcher on any fantasy staff. I can go with the idea that it can't get worse but you never know! I may give Juan Uribe a try on the hill as it just can't be any worse! 

April 10, 2012: I just want to be known as the greatest fantasy baseball player that ever lived!
I had my $260-AL draft on Thursday night. With guys coming out of NYC on the night before Good Friday, the draft started about an hour and 20 minutes late. I came into this draft with Casey Kotchman ($2), Eduardo Nunez ($5), Alejandro DeAza ($5), Brent Lillibridge ($2), Grant Balfour ($1), Luke Hochevar ($3), and my best keeper James Shields ($18). So, yes, I had a lot of work to do! The first 3 players called were Pujols, Fielder, and Adrian Gonzalez, all of who I let go for over $40. Teixeira then went for $35 and I hadn’t broken my cherry. The big pitchers that were available, Verlander, Sabathia, King Felix and Lester all went for at least $37. Verlander, in fact, went for just under $50. I still had $226 to spend and knew that I had to get on my horse. The first player I bought was Paul Konerko for $23. I followed that up by purchasing Adrian Beltre ($30) and Joe Mauer ($17). I still hadn’t bought a pitcher. I really wanted Ricky Romero but he went for $25 which was a little much for me. The owner that bought him said he would have gone to $30 on Romero. I wish I had that info a little earlier! I did buy Chris Perez and Jon Broxton back-to-back for $8 each prompting one owner to state that with Balfour, I had the 3 worst closers in the AL. That owner did buy Mariano Rivera earlier for $25. I mentioned to him that my 3 “closers” were $17 total and I wouldn’t trade them all for Mo. He just gave me a funny look. The next player I bought was a $16 Billy Butler, blocking up my utility spot. The guy next to me mentioned that Butler was overrated. I added Brett Gardner ($21) and Asdrubal Cabrera ($18) for speed when other owners had more money than me. The first SP I bought was Brandon Morrow ($23). I had to overpay there as I needed a SP and was hoping that Morrow could keep it in the strike zone in 2012. Morrow did have a fairly stout 203/69 K/BB in 2011. I added Hiroki Kuroda who surprisingly went for only $13. I back-filled my staff with Bartolo Colon ($4) and Rick Porcello ($8). I like Colon in Oakland with the massive foul territory and cavernous-like dimensions. The rest of my offense was Kelly Johnson ($15, I didn't have a 2B), Vernon Wells ($9), Stephen Vogt ($1), and Luke Scott ($3). I like the TB catcher Vogt, who I witnessed with my own eyes get 3 line drive hits vs the Yankees early this spring. But sometimes memory isn’t such a good thing! I was the first to complete my team and then became the auctioneer for the rest of the auction part of the draft. After the auction part of my $260-AL draft ended there’s a 15 round straight draft for your reserve team. Some of have called this the “lightning” round but it’s anything but fast and most owners are anything but straight! It’s where some owners, more often than not, call out names of players who were already taken. A third of the way through this marathon, an owner called out the name Matt Moore, who of course was kept by another owner. It was almost as bad as the year an owner called out a player only to find out he had drafted that player in the auction part of the draft. The first pick of this endeavor was Andy Pettitte, who I thought a great pick while others disagreed. I try to fill positions where I may need a back-up early in the season. Some owners like to draft minor leaguers but I like to take guys on the 25-man roster, for the most part. Of course, half these guys will be jettisoned from my team and replaced by FAAB. Each owner gets $100 to make pick-ups weekly but the minimum bid is $5 which I always felt was ludicrous (not the singer). My reserve draft went like this: Jamey Carroll, Ryan Sweeney, Kevin Millwood, Jesse Crain, who’s in the closer mix for the White Sox. Now I have the 4 worst closers in the AL, Vicente Padilla whose stuff always looks better than the results, Kosuke Fukudome, Nick Johnson, Hector Santiago, another Pale Hose closer possibility who we’ve been commenting about on the site, Hank Conger, Don Kelly, Carlos Villanueva, Brian Duensing, Alexi Amarista, who’s been profiled on the site, Taylor Teagarden, and Rick VandenHurk. This isn’t a good team I drafted but, when compared to last year’s model, this team is like the ’27 Yankees in comparison!


April 4, 2012: Just imagine, Kyle Lohse and Bob Feller in the same sentence!
My $360-NL draft is over. I got home after one in the morning and had to get up at 6:00 and go to work. So pardon me for rambling! Coming into the draft I did keep Morse ($15), Prado ($21), Infante ($11), Bonifacio ($9), Duda ($10), Werth ($24), Ramos ($6), Putz ($25), and Romo ($6). I went a little COR heavy because of the dearth of 1B in the NL this year. I could have kept 10 guys but went with these 9. My “borderline” guys were Geraldo Parra ($8) and Juan Nicasio ($10). Right until keepers were reported I considered both but let them return to the draft pool. It didn’t turn out fortuitous for me as both went for $19 to owners who saved their money a lot more than yours truly! Before the draft my plan was to apportion $120 (don’t forget the budget is $360) of my $233 toward Lee/Halladay and Aramis Ramirez. The first player bought up was Halladay and I was prepared to go into the low $70’s on him. But the bidding stopped at $67 and I was the last man standing! Cliff Lee went next for the same $67 and Zack Greinke went for the unheard of amount of $74. So I had $53 to spend on A-Ram. I knew a few others were hot for Ramirez as he was probably the best hitter available. When the dust settled I had bought him for $50.  Moved Prado to the OF. I went a log way without purchasing a player, which was a mistake. I didn’t want him but I had to get another player and settled for James Loney at $26 and moving Duda to the OF. I needed another SP as I came in with none and only had Halladay to show for my efforts. For some reason I like Ricky Nolasco and purchased him for $20. The next SP I bought was Chad Billingsley for $22. He wasn’t very good last season with a 4.21/1.45 ERA/WHIP. But he’s a season removed from a 3.57/1.28 and a 171/69 K/BB. I’m just asking for something in between those 2 seasons. He’s just 27 years old and pitches in a great park. I back-filled my staff with Bronson Arroyo ($6), Aaron Harang ($11), and Jake Westbrook ($3) and later added Francisco Rodriguez for a buck. I also added Juan Pierre ($11) to my offensive stable and, with little money to spend, I added Juan Uribe ($6), Laynce Nix ($1), Jerry Hairston ($1), and SF catcher Hector Sanchez ($1) who’s having a great spring. I don’t have much of anything but I do possess a little power, a tad less speed, a few SV’s and many eaten innings! But it should be fun. 

March 30, 2012: When you try to make something perfect, it gets worse!
It’s a shame for the Yankees and Joba Chamberlain, the one time heir-apparent to Mariano Rivera. But that now seems like a lifetime ago. I agree Greg that, even if Joba were able to come back, the Yankees let him walk being that he’s arbitration eligible. I don’t really know how he did this kind of damage on a trampoline, but it does sound a little odd! But I do wish Chamberlain a speedy recovery and more years of pitching (starting in 2013). Like Tinker to Evers to Chance, the saddest story ever told could be the one of Brien Taylor, the first overall pick by the Yankees in 1991, a quarter century after Steve Chilcott was selected #1 overall by the Mets over Reggie Jackson. Scott Boras called Taylor the greatest high school pitcher that he had ever seen in his life. In fact, in Taylor's senior year, he had a 213/28 K/BB in 88 IP and overall in his high school career, he was 29-6, a 1.25 ERA and 476 K's in 239 IP. Baseball America named Taylor the #2 prospect in baseball (behind Chipper Jones) before he had even thrown a pitch as a professional! He made his debut at Class-A in 1992 going 6-8, a 2.57 ERA, 187 K's and 121 HA in 161 IP. The kid was on his way! As a 21 year old at Double-A in 1993, Taylor was 13-7 with a 3.48/1.41 ERA/WHIP, a 150/102 K/BB and 127 HA in 163 IP. He did regress a bit but was at a young age for his level. Life, as Taylor knew it, ended for him on December 18, 1993, he suffered a dislocated left shoulder and torn labrum while defending his brother in a fight. Renowned surgeon, Dr. Frank Jobe, called the injury one of the worst he had ever seen but that he would be able to pitch again. He tried coming back in 1995 but, with the loss of 8 MPH on his fastball and not being able to throw his curve for strikes, Taylor was never the same again! For the next 4 seasons, mostly in Class-A ball, Taylor managed 41 games (28 GS), 108 2/3 P, 107 HA, an 86/175 K/BB, and a 10.85/2.60 ERA/WHIP. He tried a comeback in 2000 in the Cleveland system but gave up 11 R and 9 BB in 2 2/3 IP. It was over for the kid who, and probably a million times over, wished he had that December night in 1993 to do over again. Taylor has also been in and out of trouble over the years between failure to pay child support and possible drug trafficking involving cocaine and crack.

March 21, 2012: I left my train of thought at the station! 
I did read something mentioning Mike Pelfrey's contract isn't guaranteed, so the Mets could cut him and recover three-quarters of his $5.6875 million salary. It would be the right move for the cash starved Mets but I don’t see them doing that. If you go back a few months you’ll see that I called the signing of Pelfrey a terrible decision. John Lannan, at $5-mil, is starting to look underpaid in comparison! Instead, they’ll send him out there every fifth day to absorb punishment. I guess for just under $6-mil, I could go out there and get bombarded too. Maybe the Wilpons haven’t seen his spring numbers. Unfortunately, I have! In 9 2/3 IP, Pelfrey has given up 16 ER, 12 HA, a 4/6 K/BB, and a 14.90/2.28 ERA/WHIP. The Mets would be better off having top prospect Matt Harvey learn on the job. Pelfrey has had 2 decent seasons in even years (’08, ’10) and this happens to be an even year. But I still would cut bait. What’s telling is now that we’re getting down to the scrubinis in my mixed league draft, Pelfrey is still on the board. I was actually going to call his name out first in my $360-NL auction but I’m afraid that I would get stuck with him! Pelfrey was the ninth overall pick of the 2005 draft, right before Cameron Maybin (10), Andrew McCutchen (11), and Jay Bruce (12). Over his career Pelfrey has a sickening 493/314 K/BB in 876 2/3 IP, with 965 HA, a 4.40/1.46 ERA/WHIP, and a 50-54 career record. My advice to fantasy owners is to stay far away from Pelfrey in 2012. It's tough to surprise me with fantasy or real baseball news, but I have to say that the story about Andy Pettitte coming out of retirement left me speechless. When Pettitte originally announced his retirement after the 2010 season, I was asked if I thought he was a Hall of Famer. My answer to that was he would need at least 2 more seasons of counting stats. It's not to say Pettitte hasn't been a good one and a great big-game pitcher. After all, he is 240-138 over his career with a 2251/962 K/BB and 3185 HA in 3055 1/3 IP. The numbers that I don't like are his WHIP/ERA of 3.88/1.36. I know that like Mike Mussina, Pettitte spent most of his time in the tough AL-East. Pettitte was good enough to make 3 All-Star teams and finish in the top-10 of the Cy Young 5 times. But at age 39 and after missing the whole '11 season, I'm just not sure how much he has left. He will start the season in the minors, probably not pitching for the Yankees until late May/early June. But I do believe he's better than what the Yankees will trot out in the #5 spot and, for that reason, I like the signing. And it will be some story if he can somehow win 12-13 games and the Yankees advance to the World Series.

March 12, 2012: I have reason to believe that the squirrels are mocking me! 
You gotta like Bruce Bochy kicking the Angel's scout out of Giants' camp. There just wasn't enough room for Bochy's oversized head and another human being. The only bigger head in my memory belonged to Barry Bonds, who's tete was as large as some third-world countries. Vinnie Pestano looks to be the choice of Indian manager Manny Acta to take over as closer while Chris Perez is out. In 46 1/3 IP at Triple-A, Pestano's numbers are pretty damn good. He sports a 1.55/1.06 ERA/WHIP with 35 HA and a 59/14 K/BB over his career at that level. Spending the whole season with the Indians in 2011, Pestano had a 2.32/1.05 ERA/WHIP in 62 IP with 41 HA, and an 84/24 K/BB. Those are better numbers than Perez put up in 2011. I would say that as we sit here, Pestano has some value. I do think Perez gets the job back even if Pestano reels off good SV numbers early. I would invest in him in your AL-only but by the time most drafts come around, owners will know who he is and his price may be a little high. Of course I drafted Perez in my slow mixed league draft that started 21 days ago. At this rate, I'll be in my 60's by the time the draft is over. Imagine, some of the guys in the league wanted to start that draft in March. We would have been drafting through the All-Star break. I just can't get into the real early games of spring. I should get going in about a week or so. I'm trying to force myself to watch a couple games and even caught myself watching an inning of Miguel Batista. No one should put themselves through that! Batista actually shut out the Reds in the 2011 season finale for his first shut out since 2006. I would say that the Reds really wanted the season to get finished! It reminds me of a season finale a few years back when Nelson Figueroa hurled a shut out for the Mets. Maybe the moral of the story is if the Mets ever need the final game of the season to get into the playoffs, they should just throw a journeyman out there!

March 5, 2012: My cat's favorite pitcher was Jim "Kitty" Kaat! 
The Cards already lost a home grown player to free agency before this season. By the way, he was a pretty good ballplayer. You may have heard of him, his name is Pujols. I would say the Cards didn’t want lightening to strike twice. There are worse things than locking up the best defensive catcher in baseball for 5 years. Yes, the money is astronomical but the Cards didn’t want Yadier Molina hitting the free agent market after the ’12 season. I think the Cards could have gotten away with 5 yr/$60-mil but maybe they didn’t want to lose (more) face with their fans. So they jack up ticket prices 40% and the fan suffers. But they are the World Champs and they get back Wainwright. I’m a little surprised they didn’t sign Roy Oswalt who expressed an interest to play there. With all the money they saved on the Pujols bolt, they surely could have paid Oswalt $6 or $7-mil a season. But, as we all know, life is about CYA (cover your ass) and my gut feeling is Molina was going to be signed no matter the cost. Back before the Mets' inaugural season in 1962, manager Casey Stengel made catcher Hobie Landrith the first pick for his expansion team. When asked about that dubious selection Stengel stated, "You hafta have a catcher, or else you'll have a lot of passed balls." Molina actually had a good offensive season by his standards. He hit 32 doubles, 14 HR, 65 RBI, 55 R (all career highs) and added 4 SB (after stealing 17 total in ’09-’10), a 44/33 K/BB, and an .815 OPS. I think more importantly, it opens up a can of worms when other catchers enter free agency and point to the Molina deal as a benchmark! This has always been my favorite month of the year. My wife says I'm crazy to love March but we have March Madness, fantasy drafts and it's the gateway to spring. And over the past several years, March has come in like a lamb and gone out like a lion! Someone on the site has asked about Ricky Nolasco. I never gave him much thought and, in fact, couldn't find an old blog on him. But I've always admired Nolasco from afar, of course. Nolasco is a guy that seems to be on everyone’s sleeper list every spring. I’ve never been a big Nolasco lover, but you have to love that career K/BB of 786/213. The only other SP’s in baseball who have been better are Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, James Shields, Dan Haren and Cole Hamels. That’s pretty good company. I just think we’ve come to expect too much of Nolasco. I’ve never owned him in any league but this is going to be the year that I get him in at least one league. I will make that promise now! Because I don’t expect much of him. But the upside is there and I’ll surround him with a good staff. The Marlins signed Nolasco to a 3 yr/$26.5-mil deal last off-season and I’m sure they were disappointed with 10 wins, a 4.67/1.40 ERA/WHIP, not to mention the league leading 244 HA and 148 K’s in 206 IP. And I’d like to say that I have a feeling this is the year of Nolasco. But you know what? Let’s stop expecting so much of him and treat him like he is. A very good #3 or 4 SP on your NL staff or a good #6 on your mixed league staff. 

February 27, 2012: He calls his child Jesus! 
Jeff  Francoeur is a guy that answers the bell every day and if you can get him for a good deal in your AL-only, I would do so. Francoeur went for a buck in one of my AL-only last season and I spent the next 6 months wishing I went to $2. He did hit 20 HR with 22 SB in 2011 and there aren't many guys available this late that can do that! Don't forget, Frenchy just turned 28 in January but does seem like he's been around forever! Anyone that’s ever read rotoimbeciles knows that I’ve had a long time love affair with Raul Ibanez. During intimate moments with my wife I even have her call me Raul. Or Mr. Ibanez. When Ibanez was entering his age 30 season in 2002 he had 757 AB, a .254 BA, 27 HR, and 112 RBI to show for parts of 6 seasons in the majors. He looked like he was on his way to career journeyman status. And then something clicked on for Ibanez in his second season with KC. He hit .294 that season in 497 AB with 24 HR, 103 RBI, and an .883 OPS. I love this low risk, low cost signing by the Yankees and the big thing is that it’s only for 1 year. Ibanez does turn 40 in June but, if used correctly, could still return a nice profit in AL-only. Ibanez did hit a career low .256 vs RHP and had a career low .707 OPS in 2011 so it’s something to keep an eye on. For his career Ibanez is a .280 hitter in 6387 AB with an .813 OPS, 252 HR, 1054 RBI, 928 R, 44 SB, and a 1120/603 K/BB. I’m looking forward to seeing him in pinstripes. I'd also like to say to A.J. Burnett not to let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. And take the damn pies with you! The only thing worse for Elijah Dukes at this point would be if he were to become the cellmate of O.J. Simpson. At least they would have a lot to talk about! Dukes, in hindsight, makes Lenny Dykstra look like Mother Teresa. You know it was bad when, in March of 2010, the Nationals released Dukes. This was after opening camp as the team's starting RF and having a contract of $440,000. But it's been an eventful time since for Dukes as he signed a contract with the Newark Bears, arrested for failing to pay child support, arrested for driving with a suspended license (not once but twice in a 5 week period), and arrested for attempting the near impossible feat of trying to eat a bag of marijuana. Didn't anyone ever tell Dukes that plastic was no good for you? Plus he'd have the "munchies" for 4 days! He has also accused players of smuggling drugs onto chartered flights and has himself admitted to smoking pot before home games. It's hard to believe that Dukes won't turn 28 until June but I would safely bet that he'll never see another major league AB. That is unless he finds God but you'd have to be able to spell "God" first!

February 22, 2012: Levon sells cartoon balloons in town!
In my mixed league the drama is over. After 22 hours of soul-searching, Ian Kennedy was selected. I will say this, I actually thought that owner might be dead! Plus the pick of Kennedy seemed longer than the presidency of John Kennedy. When this draft started I was in my mid-50’s. I’m now in my early 60’s. Boy, I will say one thing, this Black History Month is really moving along. We will enjoy a Leap Year day this year, February 29th. In fact, if I was born that day, I would be 14 years old. I did something very stupid in my $260-AL last season. Yes, that's the league where I came into the draft basically with no chance to come in the money. And that's never happened for me before. In June and with my team wallowing in 9th place, another owner wanted my $42 King Felix to make his own run to glory. He offered me any keeper on his roster. I looked at his team and told him I would interested in a $2 Hosmer. He said he would do that deal but, stupidly, I was looking for more. Lesson learned, never get too greedy. Of course, a week late a different owner offered me a $1 Trevor Cahill for both Hernandez and James Shields ($18). I told him I wouldn't consider giving him 2 aces for Cahill plus it would be unfair to the rest of the league. As luck would have it, Cahill was traded to the NL, rendering him useless for that AL-only. I can see Hosmer being a fantasy stud as soon as this year in both AL and mixed leagues. And I wish I had him going in. I did trade Felix Hernandez for a $2 Fausto Carmona who mysteriously became Roberto Heredia Hernandez 2 days later. The results of our AL-only mock draft is on the site. Be sure to check it out. It was fun duking it out with some of the best fantasy minds in the country. Of course, many chuckled when I made Brett Lawrie the 21st pick and the laughter continued when I selected Eric Hosmer at #28. I'll check back with you in 7 months provided I'm still above ground. I know I'm on the back nine of life. I just hope that I'm hitting my second shot on 14 and not approaching the green at 18. Because that would suck! I'm still looking for the first brave soul that will get on the site and say, "George, you're absolutely right. Since Joe Maddon (TB manager) started coloring his hair, he looks like Leonard from the Big Bang Theory." The problem is his baseball career was curtailed because he hit like Sheldon Cooper from the same series! I'll tell you another thing, if Bruce Bochy wasn't already gainfully employed, he could take over for Western actor Sam Elliott as the voice in the Ford truck commercials. The least Bochy could do is be the understudy of Dan Blocker of the long-running TV series, Bonanza. I've always said that Bonanza was a show about a 50-year old man with three 47-year old sons. We've talked about the deaths of Whitney Houston and Gary Carter on the site. Both young and gone too soon. But one person we've neglected is Peter Breck who was Nick Barkley on the 60's Western, the Big Valley. One of the best characters ever on a show. The prodigal son but, of course, I have a couple of them. What you saw with Breck is what you got and I, for one, will miss him.

February 18, 2012: 75% of baseball is half-mental!
Sending your kid halfway around the world can be a stressful situation under the best of circumstances. When my son left from Newark Airport for his three-stage, two-stopover journey to the land Down Under, ostensibly to study business, I knew it would be just as much—if not more—of a learning experience for me as it would be for him. I didn’t have long to learn a number of lessons that are now branded on my mind. Number One: Teens function on the underlying assumption that adults always exaggerate when recounting pitfalls of travel. Number Two: They actually believe that a connecting flight has an obligation to wait until all paying customers check in. Number Three: When an airline tells you to be at the airport three hours in advance, they really mean thirty minutes (It’s just a mix-up with the three’s). However, my greatest lesson came even before the semester began: no matter how many times you tell a teenager to hold onto the passport as if it were a million dollar bill and the cure for cancer all rolled into one, he’s going to put it somewhere that will warrant the phone call that begins with, “I have a slight problem.” When my son called to say he’d lost his passport at LAX, just before preparing to board Qantas Airlines for Australia, my life passed before my eyes. His next question—“How do I take care of this problem so I can get on the plane?”—was evidence of how well I’d done my job as a parent; there had to be a “solution” that mom and dad could provide, it couldn’t possibly be that the group flight of 75 students would leave without him, it wasn’t conceivable that he’d miss his semester both at home and abroad and have to—to the tune of all that extra tuition—spend another semester in college, it wasn’t possible that his parents’ year of planning for this trip would never come to fruition. Kids are irrational; they believe simultaneously that their parents know nothing but can fix anything. They live in a universe without consequences, going with the belief that the asteroid out there is never going to hit. Thankfully, after I had him run-not-walk back to his gate, get to the front of the line, and blurt out his dilemma before the plane was moved, the man at the counter was able to check the plane and the passport was recovered. That’s when I learned Number Four: if you’re a parent, there will always be another bullet to dodge 

February 13, 2012: Linsanity is almost as big as Tebow-mania!
I’m still waiting for someone else to notice that since TB manager Joe Maddon colored his hair, he looks like Leonard from The Big Bang Theory. Maybe I’m the only one that notices these things. You know there’s not much on TV on a Sunday afternoon when I’m watching golf. As of now, Phil Mickelson started the day 6 shots back and is now 1 shot up. Tiger Woods is going the other way, making 3 bogeys in a row before holing a 13 footer on #10 for a par. My son is flying over the Pacific on his way to work study in Australia. Like I always say, I wish I was my own son. I would have made something of my life. But the trip to Australia was not without its issues. The one question I would have is if Russell Branyan’s back can hold up over the course of a long baseball season. The Yankees have signed the 36-year-old Branyan to a minor-league deal with an invitation to big-league spring training. Branyan, a left-handed hitter, played for both the Diamondbacks and Angels last season, batting .197 with a .295 OBP and .370 SLG% in 127 AB. He hit 5 HR and knocked in 14 runs. In 14 games in the new Yankee Stadium, Branyan has hit eight homers, including a memorable mammoth blast off Javier Vazquez on Aug. 21, 2010, that was the first ball hit into the fourth deck in right. I don’t go that far on vacation! He has also homered off the glass of the sports bar beyond center field. So, yes, this guy can hit the ball a mile. In 2009-2010 Branyan hit 56 HR while playing the first 1 ½ of those seasons in Seattle, the toughest hitter’s park in the AL. In fact, in 636 career AB with the M’s, Branyan has 46 HR of his 152 hits. Branyan has also seen more than the sights a “girl can see from Brooklyn Heights.” He’s spent time with the Indians, Brewers, Padres, Reds, Mariners, Rays, Phils, Cards, D’Backs, Angels and now the Yankees. He’s also spent minor league time with the Braves. That sojourn has seen him through 1059 games with a .232 BA in 2984 AB, 194 HR, 467 RBI, 405 R, 16 SB, a 1118/403 K/BB, and an .814 OPS. The definition of a true 3-outcome hitter and a good low-risk signing by the Bronx Bombers.

February 8, 2012: Ryan Spilborghs shaves 3 times a day!
We received a Mark Mulder query on the site the other day. No, not Fox Mulder from the show, "The X-Files," but the ill-fated LHP who pitched for the A's and Cards in a career spanning the 2000's. Funny you should ask about Mark Mulder. Pat Burrell retired yesterday and he was drafted one slot ahead of Mulder in the ’98 amateur draft. Mulder was famous for being part of Oakland’s “Big Three” with Tim Hudson and Barry Zito. The trio formed the backbone of one of the best starting rotations of all time. They helped the A’s make the playoffs in four straight seasons, 2000-2003, and helped create the widely popular, yet widely misunderstood “Moneyball” culture in today’s game. I owned Mulder in 2004 in my straight draft  (and no-trade) AL. That season, over the first half of the year, Mulder, then with the Oakland A’s, was 12-2, 3.21 over 116 innings, dropping to 5-6, 6.13 over 94 second half innings, which included an incredible 0-4, 8.79 September. Mulder was a 2X All-Star and was indeed second in the Cy Young voting back in 2001, at the age of 23. He was a 21 game winner that season and went 88-40 from 2001-2005. Over his career, Mulder would go 103-60 in 1314 IP with a 4.18/1.34 ERA/WHIP, 1352 HA, and an 834/412 K/BB. Unfortunately for Mulder, major shoulder surgery ended his career early. Mulder threw his last pitch in the major leagues as a St. Louis Cardinal at age 30. He officially retired from the game in June 2010, 2 months shy of his 33rd birthday. Burrell did go to the Giants and helped them win a championship in 2010. Philly is a tough town to make friends. That's why it's called the "City of Brotherly Love." December 29, 2006 is a date that will live in infamy for me. It's the day the Giants signed Barry Zito to that God-awful 7 yr/$126-mil deal. And it wasn't like his last 3 years in Oakland were anything to elicit streams of balloons for! From '04-'06 Zito pitched 662 1/3 innings with a 4.05/1.33 ERA/WHIP, 612 HA, and a 485/269 K/BB. His time in SF has gone the way of Lindsey Lohen's movie career. He's 43-61 in 821 2/3 IP, 782 HA, a 4.55/1.41 K/BB, and a 587/374 K/BB. I often wonder if Mark Mulder feels any resentment toward his pitching partner with the A's and that gigantic contract. Of course, on January 10, 2007, the Cards signed Mulder to a 2 yr/$13-mil deal. He gave them 4 starts and an 0-3 record with 26 HA in 12 2/3 IP, a 5/9 K/BB, and a 12.08/2.76 ERA/WHIP. So I would say that everything's relative. Mulder got another $1.5-mil when the Cards declined his 2009 option which was probably the right decision. I want this on my tombstone: "I hate long term deals for pitchers!"

February 1, 2012: Last week I was the runner-up in an Ezequiel Astacio look-a-like contest!
Scott Boras does seem to find a way to get top dollar for most of his clients. I was blown away by the Fielder contract as teams were saying they wouldn't go long term on him. I figured Fielder for a 6 yr/$141-mil deal so I wasn't even close. Edwin Jackson started out the off-season looking for a 5 yr deal starting at $15-mil per. That wasn't going to happen (I don't think) but Boras has a way of getting other teams "involved" like he's doing now with the Orioles. Lest we forget, Stork, Jackson is a career .500 pitcher who has played for a bunch of teams already. The best things he has going for him is relative youth (28) unless he's another Fausto Carmona and is actually 31, and the fact that he takes the ball every 5th day. He's made at least 31 starts in each of the last 5 seasons. I don't know if Jackson's game plays well in Camden Yards, a band box to say the least. I harken back to the 2007 season for Jackson at TB when, in 31 GS and 161 IP, he was 5-15, with a 5.76/1.76 ERA/WHIP, 195 HA, and a 128/88 K/BB. Those numbers are killer for a fantasy staff not to mention a real staff when you have to shell out "real" money.
 By the way, I didn't see the Tigers ending up with Prince Fielder. That franchise just seemed to come out of nowhere. And for 9 yrs/$214-mil. In the short term, it looks like a great deal for the Tigers with Victor Martinez out for the season. We'll see if the Tigers rue the day 4 or 5 years from now (if I'm still alive!). Just to an outsider like me it looks like the Colts are going to move on from one of the greatest QB's of all time, Peyton Manning. The team looks to be in rebuilding mode and Manning, who may or may not be ready for the season, doesn't fit the mold. I wouldn't let Manning hang though. I would let him know as soon as possible because $28-mil is a big nut to pay when you're not sure of the health of the guy. I did like the thought of Manning going to the Jets and taking Sanchez under his wing or the Jets trading Sanchez to, say, the Redskins. Another idea is to have Manning's father, Archie, buy the Colts! But it really looks like after the surprising 2-14 season that the Colts not only will downsize, but should downsize, as well. I've heard talk, and no not from Rob Lowe, that Manning has played his last down in the NFL. I would hope that's not true!

January 23, 2012: Moneyball, the movie, would star Larry from the Three Stooges as me!
Johnny Damon is a numbers compiler's dream. His career high of 24 HR was reached twice in a Yankees' uniform (2006, 2009) and he averaged 19 HR/yr in his 4 seasons there. He's 2723 for 9529 over his long and steady career with 854 XBH, a .286 BA, a .789 OPS, 1120 RBI, 1643 R, and a 1230/986 K/BB. As you know, Damon needs 277 H for 3000 and it would be nice if he got that milestone in a Yankee uniform. He's the only guy in history, I believe, to have played in at least 140 games for 16 straight seasons, a testimony to his health. And, as you guys say, he's a good guy in the clubhouse. I don't see the Yankees and Posada participating in a bittersweet reunion. That I would give a 2 or 3% chance of happening. Matsui could be an answer and may take the $2-mil to return. He does have a swing made for the RF porch and could probably stay healthy enough for 120 games or so while others man the DH spot. Carlos Pena will probably find more largess with another team where he could DH and play 1B. It did end up that Pena went back to the Rays on Friday on a 1 yr/$7.5-mil deal. Other guys out there are RH hitters Manny Ramirez (who will have to sit a league mandated 50 games), Vladimir Guerrero, former Yankees Xavier Nady and Marcus Thames, Magglio Ordonez, and Conor Jackson. LH hitters out there include Russell Branyan, Ross Gload, and Casey Kotchman. Milton Bradley is still out there too, but if the Yankees were to sign that bum, I would switch allegiance and root for the Mets. I also wonder about Prince Fielder but that's a story for another post. My gut feeling on Fielder is that he eventually signs with Texas on a creative deal.

January 18, 2012: You're so vain, you probably think this blog is about you!
When asked what the Mets should do with Johan Santana, I had to think for a few minutes. There was a day in our lifetimes when Johan Santana was the #1 overall pick in AL fantasy drafts and maybe even in mixed leagues. I remember my first foray into mixed league play (2004) when I took a chance on Santana at the end of the second round (I had the first pick of the draft and took Pujols). Santana was used mostly as a RP the year before (’03), 27 games out of the pen and 18 GS to be exact. He ended at 12-3 with a 169/47 K/BB, 127 HA, and a 3.07/1.10 ERA/WHIP in 158 1/3 IP. Over the next 5 seasons (his last 4 in Minny and his first season with the Mets) Santana was the best pitcher in baseball. During that time of prosperity, Santana averaged 229 IP, 17 W, a 238/52 K/BB, and 182 HA. His ERA/WHIP over that time was 2.82/1.02. But then injuries hit, slowly at first, but then a debilitating shoulder injury in 2010 and subsequent surgery caused Santana to miss the whole 2011 season. This was in spite of rumors that he would be back at some point during the season. I’m not even sure how much he can be counted on for 2012. I would say it’s a good idea for the Mets to get something for him. The team may not contend again in my lifetime. The problems are he would have to prove to be somewhat healthy and there’s a little matter of money. Santana signed a 6 yr/$137.5-mil deal which runs through 2013. Never mind the 2014 team option which will probably be denied. So, yes, the Mets might be able to get a small parcel for Santana but would have to pick up salary, and lots of it, in the process. We’ll just have to see how spring training plays out before making any proclamations on any future venue for Santana. I always love the argument, “he is what he is.” Or, am I hearing in this case, “he isn’t what he is!” I do see what the numbers say and, as I’ve learned in this business, numbers don’t lie. After 146 GS for the Mets and 876 2/3 IP, Pelfrey has a 493/314 K/BB, 965 HA, and a 4.40/1.46 ERA/WHIP. That’s barely the numbers of a #4 SP on a staff much less that of an Opening Day SP, as he was in 2011. I’ll give you this, Pelfrey has had his moments in the show but he’s maddenly inconsistent. Maybe he’s the Bret Saberhagen of our time. No, I don’t mean the pitching skill at all, but he’s had better seasons in even years (2008, 2010) and, if you believe in that stat, now’s the time to buy in. Because if he has a season like last year, we better not be having this conversation heading into 2013. Having said all that, if you can get him as your last SP on your NL staff for the price of one U.S. dollar, I would investigate that. But, please, nothing more than that. I actually would rather have seen the Mets re-up with Capuano for what the Dodgers inked him at, 2 years and $10-mil. The Mets did a good job last year in digging up some cheap, yet useful, starting pitching. But the Mets, as a franchise, have never been able to follow up a “good” thing. The Mets should hope that Pelfrey has a decent 2 months and then look to get something for him.

January 12, 2012: Gil Hodges should be in the baseball Hall of Fame!
I did get the memo that Kevin Cash retired the other day. I actually thought that Cash retired a few seasons back. I’m sure when Kevin was a kid his father said to him, “The fastest way to reach the majors is to strap on the tools of ignorance. Don’t worry about the bat just play good defense and be a student of the game. One day you will get a job as an advance scout, maybe for the Blue Jays.” Cash followed his father’s wishes to the letter! He played for 5 teams over parts of 8 seasons. This is where it gets a little dicey. Cash was a .183 career hitter in 641 AB with 12 HR, 58 RBI, 51 R, a 195/49 K/BB, and a .526 OPS. That’s Juan Castro country! If Cash were a pitcher you could say that he was a decent hitter. I do believe that Cash collected just over $1-mil during his major league time and I, for one, hope he invested well. That brings me to Jorge Posada. Of course if every catcher had the offensive acumen of Cash, Posada would be a sure first ballot Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players of all-time. I love the 5 All-Star appearances, the 900 R, the 1065 RBI, the 936 walks and the 1664 hits. At the age of 37 in 2009, Posada had 22 HR and 81 RBI so he lasted a lot longer than most catchers. I compare Posada just a little as a better version of the Red Sox Jason Varitek (3X All-Star, 193 HR, 757 RBI). And we’re not calling for Varitek to be a HOFer. If the Hall of Fame is for the very good than Posada should be in. And that’s what the HOF has become. I will need time to really crunch the numbers concerning Posada. I will agree with Stork that he’s a borderline guy at this point. If he could get another full season of counting stats it would help but to retire as a career Yankee might actually help his cause more. Varitek is, and always will be, a fan favorite for Red Sox Nation regardless of his performance on the field. In his 14 seasons behind home plate, he has become a Boston legend, winning two World Series for the beloved Red Sox. But Varitek should probably follow Posada and retire. For a much-maligned rushing offense, Jacobs and Bradshaw really came to play. This was a team that was averaging a league low 89 yards/game on the ground this season. That duo must have had that many yards after initial contact. Eli Manning was his usual self (346 yds) and Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham came through with big games. The game was won in the trenches as the Giant offensive line allowed 1 sack while the Giant defensive line made Matt Ryan work. Tony Gonzalez, the great Falcons' TE has the second most catches in NFL history (behind Rice) but has yet to ever win a play-off game in his career. In fact this was the first Giant home playoff win since that 41-0 shellacking of the Vikings in the NFC Championship game. Should be a good game next week in the Cheese State. And I thought that both times the Falcons had third and short, they should have gone for the FG. You need to put points on the board. I couldn’t believe what I saw in the Bronco game. Tim Tebow throwing for 316 yds vs the #1 passing defense. Roethlisberger didn’t look right but, as usual, he was a warrior. I called a Steeler win by at least 20 points and was made to eat my words by Tebow-mania. Right before the game I was outside walking my dog when my neighbor and I agreed that it wouldn’t be much of a game and the Broncos would be lucky if they could score 6 points. Just goes to show what I know about sports. Long live the Broncos!

January 10, 2012: What the hell is going on with the Denver Broncos?
It’s funny (strange) how a lot of us (me included) are picking the NE Patriots to go far into this tournament. The Patriots, in reality, haven’t won a playoff game since Spygate (2007) and have lost their last 2 playoff home games. Last years’ defeat at the hand of the Jets after the Jets defeated the Peyton Manning-led Colts is something the Patriots won’t soon forget. Yet as we’re all jumping on the Pats’ bandwagon, lest we forget that their defense ranked near the bottom of the NFL. So of course if the Pats lose another home tilt 42-35, we can always say that possible MVP Tom Brady was great but the defense just couldn’t get it done. And this defense is worse than when the Pats lost those 2 home playoff games. I know that the Patriots won their last (I believe) 9 games but none were against .500 teams. So we can say that the club feasted off some bad teams, including the mediocre Jets. We should be asking ourselves why we believe in this team over, say, the Steelers, Ravens, or even the offensively-challenged Broncos. It should be interesting this post-season and I will stick with my pick of the Patriots. At least until they disappoint me! I cannot take away from Tim Tebow’s 7 victories but when asked to play QB the past 3 games, he has fallen short of the mark. He’s not a consistent passer and has trouble reading defenses. He has a lot of trouble throwing the ball under pressure. Teams have been taking the running game away from the Broncos. It’s a different game when defenses put 8 in the box and make you throw the ball. If the Broncos defeat the Steelers this weekend, I will never prognosticate game outcomes again. The Steelers should win by 20. That was last week. You could knock me over with a feather with the Bronco victory. Tebow threw for 316 yds while completing 10 of 21. I will miss “predicting” the outcome of games after that terrible call by me. I didn’t realize how banged up the Steelers really were! Looking forward to the games next weekend.

January 6, 2012: Maybe I just don't know everything I think I know!
Edwin Jackson is approaching Octavio Dotel territory in amount of geography covered. If you could get him on a 3 yr deal for $21-mil, I would be interested. But for $12-mil per, it would be like throwing money out the window. This guy was regarded as one of the premiere prospects in all of baseball as a teenager. And, as you mentioned Greg, Jackson no-hit one of his former teams, the Tampa Bay Rays, on June 25, 2010. I’ll go back further to his MLB debut on September 9, 2003. That also happened to be Jackson’s 20th birthday. He was matched up against the legendary Randy “Big Unit” Johnson and, in 6 IP, Jackson gave up 4 hits and 1 ER with a 4/0 K/BB. 8 days later Jackson hurled 7 innings with 5 hits, 2 ER, and a 4/2 K/BB. So, like Mozart and Danny Bonaduce, he was a child prodigy. The deal for Oliver Perez had disaster written all over it. But it seems that GM’s never learn that lesson and Jackson probably will get close to $40-mil. I also read that career #4 SP Joe Saunders is holding out for a 3 yr/$27-mil deal. Where does all the madness end? At that point I’ll just be asking myself, “Why?” It wasn't like Darren Dreifort had a great season when the Dodgers gifted him with a 5 yr/$55-mil deal in 2001. He had a 4.16/1.36 ERA/WHIP and a 164/87 K/BB in 2000. He would go on to win 9 more games. The bad contract given to Wells was done courtesy of the Blue Jays who pawned him off on the Angels who will probably end up letting him go before the deal is complete. Honestly, Hoist, I never understood all the free-wheeling spending. I have a feeling that some dope will give Fielder what he's looking for. But that too comes with inherent risks all of which we've covered. I also heard over the months that Livan Hernandez was involved with a South American drug cartel. And who says that players aren't prepared for life after baseball? The Dodgers did have a great Twin-D (D.D.) on their staff in the person of Hall of Famer Don Drysdale. One of the toughest sons-of-guns to lace up the cleats. He once said that if his mother was crowding the plate, he would dust her. Or was that Early Wynn? With the money heaped on Carlos Silva, a crisp $48-mil spread out over 4 years, he could have started his own drug cartel. And supplied the island for it! Dreifort was a good looking young pitcher for LA but after he signed that big 5 year deal, he couldn't stay on the field, pitching only 205 2/3 innings in parts of 3 seasons (he missed 2 seasons entirely). But as the great Forrest Gump once said, "Shit happens!" For you English majors out there that logs out to a shade over $267,400 per IP. And, as I always say, it's good work if you can get it! And if I was remiss in not doing so, Happy New Year to everyone.

December 30, 2011: My computer has skipped a line here for the last year!
We already have Tim Tebow as the most polarizing figure in NFL history. Now we may have one of the most polarizing guys in the history of the NBA by the name of Jimmer Fredette. What, do you have to be a Morman to achieve that distinction? Or a virgin? Wasn't former NBA'er A.C. Green a virgin until he was 30-something? I just remember hearing about that. By the way, Green played in over 1000 consecutive NBA games so he must have been doing something right. And thirtysomething was a great TV show in the late 80's. I loved the theme and there was actually a time when I could play that on the piano. Ken Olin, Patricia Wettig, Timothy Busfield. Surely I digress! But who are we kidding? The next people we're going to "rebel" against is the Amish. My favorite story of all time goes like this: What goes clip-clop, bang-bang, clip-clop? A drive-by shooting in Amish country of course. And I don't care what you say, SF closer Brian Wilson looks like he's from the Amish land. He just needs one of those big stove-top hats. I saw TB manager Joe Maddon on the MLB network the other day. He colored his hair to kind of an off-auburn. I have to say he looked just like the guy that plays Leonard on The Big Bang Theory. Ryan Kalish underwent surgery November 8 to repair a torn labrum and will be out until May or June, the Boston Globe reports. This is a big setback for the 23-year-old, who will likely have to start in Triple-A until he gets his feet wet upon recovery. Now that Josh Reddick is with Oakland, the current in-house options for right field include Ryan Sweeney, Darnell McDonald and Mike Aviles. Personally I think that Pete Sweeney is a better hitter than Ryan Sweeney! I would say for a team like the Red Sox, those are scary options. Look for the Red Sox to sign a free agent between now and spring training. I think the addition of Andrew Bailey is better than signing Ryan Madson to a 4 year deal in the neighborhood of $40-mil. But the biggest problem with Bailey, as you guys mention, is his brittle health. He makes J.D. Drew look like Cal Ripken! Great point about the offensive output from Reddick being better suited for CF than the corner slots. And Reddick says himself that CF is his best position. Finally, I would like to mention that I have Grant Balfour in my $260-AL. Yes, that’s my team from hell but he is a comfortable $2 and I believe I had 3 or 4 total SV’s in that league in 2011. I’m all for the A’s giving the job to the talented Australian. Though it wouldn't matter on that team. Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Wiiliams couldn't help that franchise. But they are all dead so maybe they can!

December 24, 2011: All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray!

In 15 or 20 years, when I’m laying on my deathbed, the doctor is going to come in and say to my wife, “There’s nothing else we can do. He’s resting comfortably. There’s just one thing I don’t understand. He keeps asking me if Jim McGovern called!” Just the kind of year it was for me both in fantasy and reality and hopefully 2012 will be for the better. But the last words I want to hear is that I’ve been called to that great golf course in the sky! I enjoy occasionally the web site, Fantasy Golf Report and just had to share a quote I saw on the site. It’s one we’ve all heard before in this business but it makes us think: “Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.” The 5-foot-10, 170-pound LH hitting Norichika Aoki slipped to a .292 BA, 4 HR, 44 RBI, and 8 SB in 2011, after going for career highs of a .358 BA and 209 hits in 2010. He was the 2005 Central League Rookie of the Year, batting .344 in his first full season. Aoki will turn 30 on Jan. 5, and could join a Brewers outfield that includes Ryan Bruan, Corey Hart, Nyjer Morgan and Carlos Gomez. Braun is appealing a possible 50-game suspension for a reported positive drug test, but general manager Doug Melvin said the Brewers are "counting on Ryan being in the lineup." Aoki, notably, is the only player in Japanese baseball history with two 200 H seasons (2005,2010). Not even the great Ichiro Suzuki can put that on his resume. His LH slap-hitting style and usage of the whole field could conjure up memories of Ichiro as well! For his career he’s a .329 hitter with an .856 OPS, 664 R, 164 SB, 84 HR, 385 RBI, and a stout 491/417 K/BB. Everything I've read has said the biggest flaw he has is his throwing arm. Most scouting reports have said that his poor throwing arm is going to relegate him to LF in the majors. Hopefully I'm wrong, because I'd love to see him playing CF for the BrewersAnd I’m sure the Brewers would love to move the enigmatic Morgan out of town and replace the inconsistent and weak hitting Gomez. If the Brewers do sign Aoki, at worst he could settle in as a #4 OF and serve as a cheap source of SB.

December 18, 2011: Tim Tebow is the most polarizing figure in NFL history!

About 2 weeks ago new Boston manager Bobby Valentine went on record and said that Yu Darvish was the best pitcher he ever saw. Don’t forget, Bobby V. has been around since pet rocks and hula hoops! He’s seen them all. But my query would be why would the Red Sox not put in a bid on Darvish. Teams that I know for a fact that put up some bidding money include the Cubs, Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rangers. The latter 2 are considered the prohibitive favorites. I also know the A’s, Rays, Orioles, Twins, Mets, Reds, and Angels didn’t put in a bid. In the beginning of all this “Darvish talk,” the Nationals and, of course, the Marlins mentioned interest. But no word on if those franchises went all in on the 6’5? Japanese RH. I will say one thing: I have a gut feeling that, while the Yankees may not come out on top, they put in a higher bid then has been portrayed to the media. Because GM Brian Cashman has been just a little too coy on the whole matter. But I was professing the virtues of signing INF Tsuyoshi Nishioka in 2011 and he went over like a lead balloon. I even drafted him in 2 AL-only leagues. I also drafted Kosuke Fukudome as a Cub rookie a lifetime ago. And, like you guys, I have read of the aborted effort to turn Kei Igawa into a pitcher. But after spending $46-mil on that “Fresh Prince of Osaka” it just became another effort in futility. I’ll even say it’s water under the bridge, for now, but I’ve never been called the smartest guy that ever lived! The D-Train, Dontrelle Willis, has long been one of my favorites. And, no, not from a fantasy perspective. That ship has sailed. I remember in December of '07 when the Tigers signed him to a 3 yr extension for $29-mil. That was coming off his last season in Florida when he had a 5.17/1.60 ERA/WHIP in 205 1/3 IP with 241 HA. His agent said at the time, "The deal still allows him to be a free agent again when he's 28 years old. If everything goes well and his body holds up, he probably has 2 big contracts ahead of him!" Since Willis signed that deal he's had 40 GS, a 4-15 record in 199 IP, a 139/156 K/BB, 205 HA, and a 6.15/1.81 ERA/WHIP. And his agent is probably selling used cars on the weekend. I do like the signing by the Phils and putting him in the bullpen as a LH specialist given the numbers vs LH hitters you give could be the best thing for all involved. Though, having said that, I more than likely won't be throwing any money at Willis during my NL-only drafts. But I will be rooting for him from a distance!

December 12, 2011: Danica Patrick is the hottest woman that ever lived!

I would think that at the very least Hiroyuki Nakajima would make the Yankees' need for Andruw Jones moot at this point. Nunez may be better suited for the 3 OF spots along with the 2 MID spots and 3B. In these days of specialization, there's a lot to be said for a guy that can move around. Of course to get a SP the Yankees might have to be creative in their own right. There was a report that the Braves were interested in Eduardo Nunez where Jair Jurrjens was involved but that conversation hasn't picked up the requisite legs. Teams will try to "hold up" the Yankees for their priced prospects and the team does have a plentiful amount. The A's did show a lot of panache by asking for either Banuelos or Betances PLUS Jesus Montero PLUS top prospect OF Mason Williams for Gio Gonzalez. Mason Williams has been described as Bernie Williams with an arm. You may have heard of Bernie who couldn't throw the ball from me to you yet may get strong consideration for the Hall of Fame in this months voting. By the by, Mason Williams hit .349 in A Ball with an .863 OPS. I love the winter meetings. Yes, Mason Williams was also the great musician that gave us "Classical Gas" and was the one-time bandleader of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour back in the 60's. You would have thought that given what they were asking for, the A's were offering up another great Jewish LHP, Sandy Koufax himself. But in this lean market for trustworthy free agent SP's, a #2 is at least worth a king's ransom. And the Yankees were rightly insulted. You can tell how this market is when LHP Mark Buehrle, the 161 game winner for the White Sox gets 4 yrs/$58-mil. What exactly am I missing? And I'll tell you something, I still get a strange feeling that the Yankees will put a bid on Yu Darvish. Yes they're saying they're not interested, but these are the Yankees! Now I'm reading the the Colorado Rockies are interested in Andruw Jones. If 75% of the pitchers in the NL were LH, Jones would be in the Hall of Fame. He was headed that way at the age of 28 and now is just a journeyman at the age of 34. That 50 HR season now seems like a lifetime ago.

December 1, 2011: Never advise anyone to go to war or to marry!

Aaron Miles was probably always (and still is) the guy that had to prove himself. He was the last guy picked in gym class for a team. Maybe even the guy that had to bring the bases as a kid so he could get in the game. He may have even contributed some bats. It's wonderful that a guy that looks like he should be delivering your mail or bagging groceries at your neighborhood Shop Rite has a career in major league baseball that includes 793 hits, 347 R, 229 RBI, and a .281 career BA. I can get behind that kind of underdog who had to work for everything he's achieved at this highest level of baseball. And I can also separate the "scrappiness" and hustle with the fact that this is a guy that's lucky to have lasted this long. But it wouldn't be unprecedented or would it be a stretch to see this guy get 1000 career hits. That is a much tougher accomplishment than the 3000 hits by Derek Jeter. Throw in the 0/0 K/BB in 5 career IP and we have the makings of a made-for-TV movie on our hands. And of course Jason Priestly would play our hero! Tyler Chatwood was unremarkable in his first crack at the major leagues, posting a 74/71 K/BB ratio in 142 IP. Besides the awful K/BB, his ERA/WHIP of 4.75/1.67 scares me a bit as does the 166 HA. A move to Colorado doesn't bode well either, but we have to remember Chatwood is only 21 years old. He was considered a top-15 prospect in the Angels system back in 2010 and may have been rushed, he only has five Triple-A starts to his name. If the Rockies can develop the raw talent there, such as his 93 MPH fastball and 47% ground ball rate, they could find a useful mid-rotation piece. You may find providence for a buck as your last SP in NL-only so I would watch his spring performance carefully. Iannetta presumably would step in to be the starter right away for the Angels over Jeff Mathis. In a way, he would be a poor man's Mike Napoli, with good on-base skills, some power (though not as good as Napoli's), and debatable catching skills (though considered better than Napoli's at the time he was traded).

November 17, 2011: Sometimes it just doesn't pay to get up in the morning!

Sometimes I just have to get away from the negative energy around me, especially when it comes to Tim Tebow. I know, I've tried to make the guy a hero in my mind because, and I know better than anyone, we can all use a hero! The sentiment around these parts, and I mean the site, is that Tebow isn’t capable of playing in the NFL much less running an NFL team. Call me stupid but isn’t the object of the NFL to win games? After all Tebow is 3-1 in 4 starts and has a 7/1 TD/INT rate. I know that it hasn’t looked pretty at times and some might even say it’s downright ugly. But Tebow beat teams he had to beat. Even Las Vegas doesn’t put much credence in Tebow making the Broncos 5 point underdogs to the Jets on Thursday night. Of course, on my NFL ticket, I have the Jets giving the 5 but part of me would like to see Tebow make a liar out of Revis. No, that probably doesn’t happen but Tebow has proven a much tougher runner than a passer and, give this guy an inch, and he may take 2 inches. I do know that the Broncos are starting to resemble a college football team but where is it in the rules that every team has to make us happy? I’m all for changing it up and bucking the odds both in fantasy and reality. Sometimes there’s a fine line between fantasy and reality and, in an odd way, I’m not always too sure what side of the fence I’m on! Let’s give the guy a chance and see if Rex Ryan can counter a “different” type of force, one we haven’t seen on this level and one that, like a streaking comet, may fade from view at any time! Here was the news about Pridie: The Athletics signed OF Jason Pridie to a minor league contract. We suspect the contract includes an invite to spring training. This was the extent of the news about Pridie, a player that I liked when he was in the Twins organization. The problem with some players is that they just never seem to progress to the next level. Pridie, 28, batted .231 and a .679 OPS with 4 HR and 20 RBI over 208 AB and 101 games with the Mets this season. He'll try to win a spot on the A's Opening Day roster as a reserve outfielder. The long time minor leaguer had received 4 career AB over 11 games coming into 2011. On the whole, Jason Pridie provided a surprisingly solid temporary replacement in center field for the Mets, but he simply does not have a good enough glove to make-up for his horrendous bat and mediocre speed. And that’s even for a fourth or fifth outfielder. But for the $450,000 or so that Pridie will command, that wouldn’t be too bad. No one gets hurt that way and, in a way, I was surprised the Mets outrighted him off the 40-man roster. Yes, I did read that they are going to offer Angel pagan arbitration but Pridie was the only other true CF on the 40-man! Over his minor league career, Pridie is 1030 for 3748 (.275) with a .741 OPS, 566 R, 82 HR, 415 RBI, 163 SB, and a 772/231 K/BB. As you can see from those numbers, strike outs have been a problem for Pridie. In his 208 AB with NY, Pridie took the long walk back to the dugout with the bat on his shoulder 64 times. And, as hard as I try, I just can’t get the square peg to fit into the round hole!

November 13, 2011: Jon Papelbon gets $217,000 per IP!

The Nixon brothers were speed merchants to be sure! They must've been great at family picnics also. Maybe growing up in Columbus County, NC, had them running from the police stealing hubcaps to eventually honing their craft and stealing bases. Donell did have 47 in the majors and another 453 in the minors for an even 500 SB. I guess, like Forrest Gump, he "just stopped!" In fact from 1982-1984, in the lower minors, Donell averaged 111 swipes a season. His older brother Otis probably got his start winning a few Snoop Dogg look-a-like contests back home. Otis Nixon shares the single game stolen base Major League record with 6 on June 16, 1991. He also holds the Atlanta Braves single season record for stolen bases with 72 in 1991. In 1982, Nixon stole 107 bases in a combined season between the AA level Nashville Sounds and the AAA level Columbus Clippers. In the minor leagues, Nixon led the league twice in stolen bases (1980 in the South Atlantic League with 67 & 1983 in the International League with 94), runs scored (1980 in the South Atlantic League with 124 & 1983 in the International League with 129, hits (162 in 1983 in the International League), at bats (557 in 1983 in the International League) and walks (57 in 1979 in the Appalachian League, 113 in 1980 in the South Atlantic League and 110 in 1981 in the Southern League). He started out as an infielder but was switched to outfield in 1983 due to his superior speed and his penchant for making errors (56 in 127 games in 1981 at shortstop for the Nashville Sounds). Nixon was only one of 2 men to have at least 50 SB with 4 different teams (Juan Pierre is the other) with the Expos (50) in 1990, Braves (72) 1991, Rangers (50) 1995, and the Blue Jays (54) 1996. Nixon stole 620 bases, had a 694/585 K/BB, a .270 BA in 5115 AB, 878 R, 1379 H, 11 HR, 318 RBI, and a .658 OPS. Nixon was somewhat of a late bloomer as he accrued only 650 major league AB before the age of 30. Nixon battled a cocaine habit for much of his career. He was arrested on drug charges in 1987 while a member of the Cleveland Indians organization. Nixon failed a drug test in September 1991 and was suspended for 60 days, which caused Nixon to miss the 1991 World Series. Nixon ended the 1992 World Series by making an out trying to bunt his way on base, the only time in baseball history that a Series ended on a bunt. And maybe that's the way the story of the Nixon brothers should end!

November 9, 2011: Deaf people can still play things by ear!

I'm not sure that I would anoint Capuano as one of the 5 best SP in baseball. The Mets actually did a great thing getting his name on the dotted line for an affordable price and he did make 31 starts for them. He was an All-Star for the Brewers back in 2006 and made 69 starts in 2005-2006 winning 18 games in '05 and the owner of a 174/47 K/BB in '06. The problem is these types try to parlay that one year of decency, and that's all it was, into a big multi-year deal. The Mets are right to steer clear of this situation and will look to sign the "next" Chris Capuano for 2012. Capuano is capable of games like August 26 when he pitched a 2-hit shut out vs the Braves with a 13/0 K/BB. But you did hit the nail on the head when you said he's an inconsistent guy to own fantasy-wise as he allowed 15 H and 8 ER over his next 2 GS. That being said, for a buck or 2, Capuano is a perfect guy to round out your single league staff. He did post a 4.55/1.35 ERA/WHIP in '11 with a 168/53 K/BB. My feeling would be that it would be foolhardy to get involved in a bidding war here. Just congratulate the owner that wants to go the extra buck on him and move on to the next guy! James Shields was one of the very few things that I did right in fantasy baseball this year. I still hold him in my mixed league and may have to consider him as one of my 7 keepers. For that reason, I wouldn't mind seeing him go to the NL. I also have him for $18 in my $260-AL and, if he were to be traded to the Senior Circuit, I'd be shit out of luck! He's always had pretty good peripherals, even when going bad, and his K/BB rate was always top notch. He would definitely be a boon to any staff and, if I'm the Rays, I put him out there for the highest bidder. And I don't mean just Logan Morrison. While he's a comer, the useful SP trumps all tweeters and we know the Marlins would be none-too-happy to send LoMo to the curb! This is a case of classic sell-high by the Rays but they still deserve something special. Matt Moore will make fans forget Shields but all that stuff takes time. And it gets kind of sad too!

October 28, 2011: Like my vacuum cleaner, Zach Duke sucks!

Former New York Mets star Lenny Dykstra pleaded no contest last Wednesday to grand theft auto charges stemming from what prosecutors said was a scheme to lease cars using phony business and credit information. The onetime World Series hero faces a maximum penalty of four years in prison when he appears before a judge for sentencing in January. Dykstra originally faced 25 criminal counts, including three counts of possession of a controlled substance, due to the alleged discovery of cocaine, Ecstasy and a synthetic growth hormone during a police search of his Los Angeles home. Dykstra still faces two additional and unrelated criminal prosecutions. An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in May accuses him of stealing or destroying some $400,000 in property that was part of his bankruptcy case. Then in August, he was charged in Los Angeles with exposing himself to a string of women who answered online employment advertisements he posted. Talk about a bad year for anyone, Lenny “Nails” Dykstra probably can’t even see the bottom of the Mendoza Line at this point. I guess you can say that Dykstra will always have his 100 SB season in the minors to fall back on. But this is a guy that’s been running afoul of authority for some time back from his purported drug use as a player right through this recent string of, let’s call it, unfortunate incidents. And if there was ever a time when the expression, “lock him up and throw away the key” comes into play, now could be the perfect time. Of course a stiffer punishment could be to have Dykstra watch Mets’ tapes of the late ‘70’s when Lee Mazzilli was the best player. But I would have to admit that that would be cruel and unusual punishment. Maybe Nails can put the events of the past year into book form and it can be turned into a made-for-TV movie. I was actually OK with everything until I read that Dykstra exposed himself to a series of women. For that he deserves a “stiff” sentence. If I did that it would be cruel and unusual punishment for those poor women! And like my wife said the night of the Brown/Goldman murders (during the Knicks/Rockets NBA finals) when I blurted out that O.J. Simpson couldn’t have murdered anyone, he was a sports’ hero, and she replied, “Which way is the Bronco headed?” Smart woman, my wife.

October 19, 2011: Can you name any of Brad and Angie's children? I know that I can't!

What's interesting to me isn't just that Arthur Rhodes has never before won a ring. He's been playing since 1991. He turns 42 in a week. You just kind of assume that those guys would've won at some point earlier on. No, what I find most interesting is that Rhodes has never before won a ring despite the quality of the teams for which he's played. Some of Rhodes' previous employers: The O’s in ’92, ’96, and ’97 averaged 92 wins. He was on the 116 win team of the Mariners in 2001. He also played for the 2010 Reds that won 91 games. In fact, Rhodes has pitched on 8 teams that have won 90 or more games! That's a lot of success. Between 2000-2005, the worst team for which Rhodes pitched finished 91-71. And yet, nothing, until now. He did have a couple of meltdowns in the 2000 ALCS. In 2 IP he gave up 8 hits, 7 ER, and had a 5/4 K/BB. A year later, he allowed another critical ALCS home run. But it's not like Rhodes is really to blame for the fact that he's had to wait this long to get a ring. He's been an effective pitcher on a lot of good teams. It just never happened. Sometimes it doesn't happen. But Rhodes, no matter what, has had a pretty good career and the 2011 season is one he can tell his grandchildren about (if he doesn’t have them already). No matter who wins the World Series this season, Arthur Rhodes is guaranteed a ring. Having been released in early August by the Rangers, he was signed by the Cardinals on August 11th. Immediately, you think about Bengie Molina. A year ago, Molina was the starting catcher for the San Francisco Giants until he was traded to the Rangers in July. Molina then became the starter in Texas, and so he was guaranteed a ring when the two teams met in October. He wound up getting his ring from the Giants, who credited him with having helped to develop a robust pitching staff. Arthur Rhodes is one of the good guys in baseball even though he may get the Johnny Roseboro "buddha" look-a-like award! Like Molina in 2010, it's good to see these guys go out a winner.

October 12, 2011: Since Sept 1, including play-offs, Don Kelly is hitting .343!

Kevin Slowey lost his last 8 GS of the season for the Twins and on September 26 he allowed five runs on 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of Minnesota's 7-3 setback against the Royals. Slowey will finish 2011 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA and 1.40 WHIP compiled over 59 1/3 innings. His chances of re-signing with the Twins, who not so secretly shopped him over the summer, are just about zero. Even though Slowey has a career ERA of 4.66, he has a stout 395/84 career K/BB rate. But he has proved a little too hittable as he’s given up 606 hits in 532 2/3 IP. A change of scenery will be best for Slowey as he’s fallen out of favor with the Twins. Slowey was never a hard-throwing pitcher, and that still rings true today. In five Major League seasons, Slowey’s fastball has averaged 89.6 miles per hour. But zip isn’t everything for a pitcher. Slowey happens to be one of the better control-artists in the show, owning a career 1.42 BB/9. In fact, the right-hander’s “worst” control was in 2010, when he walked batters at a 1.71 rate–which was still top five in the entire league. Going into 2011, Slowey embarked on an unusual situation–rotation competition. For the first time in his career, the control artist was not guaranteed a rotation spot, mostly due to “emergence” of Brian Duensing and fascination with Nick Blackburn Despite his prior experience and success, Slowey was deprived his usual starting gig, and was placed in the bullpen. But just three games into April, the now-reliever started feeling soreness in his right biceps muscle. A MRI revealed tendinitis, prompting the Twins to place Slowey on the disabled list. But the ineffectiveness of Duensing and the injury to Blackburn was the reason that Slowey made 8 starts for the Twins down the stretch. The New York Mets could turn to a pitcher like Slowey with the hopes that some scenery change could bode well. In addition, considering Slowey’s career 47.9% FB%, his approach would thrive in the lofty dimensions of Citi Field. While Slowey’s $2.7 million price-tag won’t turn many heads, he should make around $4 million in arbitration (despite the bad season). The Mets have their own SP, Mike Pelfrey, eligible for arbitration. Pelfrey’s salary for the 2011 season was $3.925 mil. It’s something to keep an eye on in the off-season.

October 8, 2011: When Josie comes home so good, she's the pride of the neighborhood!

Hard to believe that back in 2001 Baseball America had Milledge listed as the best 16-year-old baseball player in the country. It’s equally hard to believe that just a decade later, Milledge had to settle for a minor league deal with the White Sox and was probably lucky to get an invite to spring training. In the 2003 amateur draft, Milledge fell to the Mets with the #12 pick due to “problems” in high school You know, kid stuff involving hormones and the opposite sex! He debuted with the Mets in 2006 but his time with the Mets went over like a lead pipe to the head! He was sent packing to the nation’s capital after 350 AB. There he enjoyed his only season of some prosperity in 2008, hitting 268 in 523 AB, 14 HR, 61 RBI, and 24 SB. He was sent to the minors early the next season and was eventually traded to the Pirates. In 2010 Milledge hit .277 in 379 AB with 4 HR and 5 SB. I was a little surprised that the Pirates non-tendered Milledge as he would have only earned about $500,000 and won’t be 26 until April. It’s always a bad sign, at least to me, when the Pirates don’t want you. And, at that price tag, you would figure he was a “steal.” Especially a young upside OF, a former 5-tool guy who never used all 5 on the same day. I did like the signing by the White Sox at the time. Like Andruw Jones the year before, Milledge could see time vs. LHP which he batted .320 with a .926 OPS in 2010. Plus he can play all 3 OF positions. But on April 12, after 2 games and 4 AB, Milledge was dispatched to the nether lands (not Bert Blyleven’s home land) and wasn’t heard from the rest of the season. He did bide his time in Triple-A, going 130 for 444 (.293) with 12 HR 48 RBI, 61 R, 27 SB, a 63/43 K/BB, and an .801 OPS. After the 2011 season, Milledge has elected to become a free agent! He’s still just 26 and though it's clear that he'll never match the hype he received as a prospect, Milledge has shown enough at the big league level that he should get a shot with someone again eventually. You just have to hope that he doesn’t take the Carl Everett path to retirement. Or, even worse, the Elijah Dukes path. But maybe Milledge can become a rapper. He is certainly heading in that direction!


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