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Given the way the Red Sox pitching staff has opened the season, it’s hard to argue against any decision John Farrell makes. So when he opted to go with Junichi Tazawa for his new closer instead of the well-proven Koji Uehara, there was little backlash from the fantasy community. Sure, there were some grumblings from the eager-beaver waiver hounds who remain glued to their league’s waiver wire and snatched up Uehara moments after Joel Hanrahan was hurt, but most of them were still fairly quick on the draw the following morning when it was announced that the choice made was actually Tazawa.
Another day, another bullpen mess to deal with. The Cubs, by my count, appear to be on their 5th closer, and boy is he a blast from the past. The Tigers are promoting Jose Valverde and it looks like he will be given a shot in the 9th inning right away (so much for the Tigers saying, oh for about five months, that they had no interest in Valverde closing for them). The Yankees continue to have to deal with injuries and it's seeming more like, with each passing day, that they aren't being honest. Asdrubal Cabrera has been a mess at the plate, and the injuries are piling up. The Mariners have two guys who can't hit at shortstop, but the backup is now the starter as the team is making a change. Finally, should we be looking at Brandon Belt as a total failure at this point?
Tony Cingrani and Jose Fernandez have grabbed the imagination of the fantasy baseball world. Two elite prospects who are now ready to make their mark, there has been a borderline hysteria to add each to fantasy squads across the land. Is spending a good deal of your free agent resources to add either arm a good move? We'll investigate the outlook of both rookies. We'll then move on to the ever changing role of the bullpen. Three teams in particular – the Cardinals, Cubs & Red Sox – are spinning their wheels once again trying to figure out who the best man is to hand the ball to in order to get the last three outs of the game.
I wanted to sit down tonight and finally write about some fantasy baseball for the first time in far too long. Since our show, The Fantasy Alarm Show has gone to five and sometimes six days a week it has gotten hard to encapsulate any additional thoughts into text. But alas I have a belly full of some weird Mike’s Hard Mango Punch crap that my wife stocked the refrigerator with (it’s just so yellow and yummy looking!) so here comes two weeks work of fantasy baseball angst.
While the fantasy baseball highlights from Friday’s games are still coming, I’d like to take a quick moment for a self-indulgent rant that has more to do with my disdain for most baseball announcers than it does with the actual game of baseball. By now, everyone knows the details of the Carlos Quentin/Zack Greinke saga, unless of course you’ve been trapped in a Chilean mine for the past 24 hours. You can’t sit for 10 seconds in front of ESPN or the MLB Network without seeing excessive lead-ins, replays and reports on the events which took place Thursday. I can understand highlight shows such as Baseball Tonight and Quick Pitch using it to lure in viewers for the entire show, but what’s bothering me right now is that in-game announcers and wrap-up commentators are using the event in a form of yellow journalism. They are bringing far too much focus to the incident and using it to incite fans, and possibly even teams, to overreact to every hit batsman or inside pitch we see. Their inability to move past something like this is merely a tool to either push forward their own agenda or to boost their own feelings of self-importance. Either way, they need to learn when to shut up and let something go.
OK, yes, I saw the final strike called in the Texas/Tampa Bay game on Monday. Yes, it was an ugly call. Was it the worst call I’ve ever seen to end a game? Maybe. There have been so many over the years. But rather than dwell on something that has very little impact on your fantasy baseball team and will, in the grand scheme of things, mean absolutely nothing, I’d rather discuss something that may actually help you this season. I know it’s painful – like dentist chair painful – but let’s talk closers.