'godzillas squaring off' photo (c) 2009, bunny hero - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ No, I won't be sampling wines for you on this day, I'll just be taking a look around the league touching on Ryan Braun's suspension, CC Sabathia's lack of girth, Phil Hughes hype, Tim Wakefield's retirement and more. I know, how exciting.

There is still no resolution in the Ryan Braun PED case. I don't know about you, but I get the feeling that the longer this drags on the more likely it is that the 50 game suspension is going to be reduced.

Gary Carter passed away yesterday at age 57. Carter finished his career with 324 homers, 1,225 RBI, 2,092 hits, 11 All-Star game appearances and a spot in the Hall of Fame. The world is worse off with his passing.

I'm still sitting on that A.J. Burnett article I wrote a week ago. Yankees, trade the guy so that I can finally post this sucker (apparently the Yankees will pay $20 of the $33 million left on his deal, but because there is money involved the Commissioners Office has to get involved before the deal with the Pirates can become official).

Don't buy the Phil Hughes hype that is already coming out of Yankees beat writers. For my thoughts on the hurler see his Player Profile.

Did you see this insane story that the Jim Leyland plans on getting Brandon Inge some work at second base this spring? Jimmy, you are kidding right? Inge, at one time a plus defender at third base, has never played second base as a professional. I understand that the Tigers might be non-plussed by guys like Danny Worth, Ramon Santiago and Ryan Raburn, but Brandon Inge? Over the last five seasons Inge has hit better than .240 just a single time and he batted .197 last year proving that he simply isn't a major league caliber hitter any more. As for Raburn, he too has issues, but he finished on a tear last year hitting .341 with a .967 OPS over his last 45 games. Why the team wouldn't give him a shot instead of Inge is beyond me. Don't look for Inge to play second base --- this story seems like sheer folly to me.

Last night went great by the way. There's no telling what the weekend might hold. If I didn't tell you all, 2012 is the Year of Ray...

Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters both focused more on training their bodies than throwing this offseason. Both felt that after they made 79 and 85 appearances that building up their stamina an bodies was as important as anything. Venters reportedly gained about seven pounds of muscle. In a related news story I curled a 10 lbs. weight yesterday in my garage.

It's that time of year, and we're getting the 'he reported in great shape' reports again. Here's one. CC Sabathia has lost a lot of weight this offseason according to Buster Olney. That's good news as he was threatening to play Godzilla in the remake with only green paint on since his girth wasn't in need of a costume.

THE AARP CROWD

Jason Varitek hasn't decided if he will retire. Let me make it easy for you Jason – hang em up. You're still a highly respected signal caller, but your defensive acumen is on the wane, and the last time you hit .240 was 2007. Varitek has hit .256 in his career with 193 homers and 757 RBI in more than 1,500 games played.

Tim Wakefield has decided to retire. Wakefield won 200 games in his career and saved 22 in over 3,200 innings. He was never an elite fantasy option, but he won 16 games twice, on two other occasions he also won 17 games, and from 1995 through 2011 he tossed less than 140 innings just one time (129.2 in 2009). I wish someone would teach me the knuckleball. Let's hope that scouts don't push knucklers out of the game forever – they give us hope that we could pitch in the big leagues.

Brandon Webb is throwing off flat ground. I wish him the best, but he's through. Webb threw four innings in 2009 then none in 2010 and 2011. It's a sad end to what was shaping up to be an excellent career. From 2005-08 an average Webb season resulted in 18 wins, a 3.23 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 181 Ks and 232 innings pitched. To say that he was a fantasy beast is a vast understatement.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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