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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.
One of the best illustrations of how history repeats itself is found in the closer situation for fantasy baseball owners. Every year we see the same thing over and over again. You’ve got your select few who have fantastic job security and the talent to back it up and then you’ve got the rest – a disgusting revolving door of blown saves and ratios that make you cringe and wonder how it could ever be that bad. Well, we’ve got one more joining the party this week as the Tigers have finally caved in and gone back to the well from which they drank last season. Yep, that’s right….it’s the return of Papa Grande.
Though the events from Monday remain unresolved and our thoughts linger with those affected in both the city of Boston and around the world, the show must go on. Major League Baseball is not pausing the season and your fantasy leagues aren’t shutting down. Obviously it’s okay to be distracted but you still have to pay attention to what’s going on. There are job battles still being fought over, players coming on and off the DL, hot starts to consider and cold starts to shake off. You need to make sure you’re still dialed in and up to date on all the latest happenings.
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.
Offense first – that’s what they say. Pitching may win championships in the real world, but this is fantasy baseball we’re talking about and in fantasy, it is a dominant offense that wins it for you. It’s said so many times that you would think it would be ingrained in people’s heads by now, yet we still see starting pitchers get taken in the first round and people reaching for “aces” faster than they really should. It’s an age old debate that leaves most scratching their heads as to how and why it is still even up for discussion. Well, if there were ever a day to prove the point for the pro-offense side of the argument, it was Sunday.
I feel like I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but you go where the action is, and the action is still in the bullpen. We spent most of Friday listening to how Mariano Rivera vowed to make it back…at least at some point…and how the White Sox were already putting Chris Sale back in the closer’s role in an effort to keep his sore elbow a little more fresh. You can pick up yesterday’s column if you want to hear again as to why I think that’s a mistake. But now we’re back in the bullpens again today as Heath Bell blows yet another save and Huston Street goes down with yet another injury. Raise your hand if you’ve got waiver priority and need another closer….because here they are…