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February 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm ET
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(Other) Ways for the Houston Astros to Save Money

The embroidery really adds up.

The American League’s newest team isn’t being overly secretive with its plans to blow up the franchise and rebuild from the rubble. Having already dealt Wandy Rodriguez, Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, J.A. Happ and Carlos Lee the past two seasons, the front office’s primary concern seems to be shedding the various bloated and bad contracts at the cost of winning.

Currently, the Astros payroll commitment is below $15M, following the trade of Jed Lowrie last week. Now, rumors of the team’s willingness to trade Bud Norris (and his $3M salary in 2013) are swirling. Since the payroll can only dip so low, the ‘Stros front office will need to get creative in thinking of ways to save a little more during the team’s ongoing march to the cellar this season.

Here are just a few creative ideas to help shave a little more skin off the already-emaciated corpse of this once competitive franchise.

Re-purpose the scoreboard
At its base, baseball is meant for entertainment. Since the Astros entertainment value is mostly reliant on the the team they are playing, the largest and most consistent entertainment resource–the Minute Maid Park jumbotron–should be used in another way. Instead of showing an HD glimpse of a Marwin Gonzalez fielding error, why not make better use of the pixels by airing out of market MLB games or showing re-runs of New Adventures Of Old Christine or something?

That #AstrosMovies hashtag was pretty popular last week. The organization should have independent filmmakers submit cheap trailers for ‘Stros-themed flicks like Gone With The Wins, Lost In Transaction, 12 Angry Fans, All Quiet On The AL West Bottom and No-Moneyball. That failing, they should sell the scoreboard and downgrade to a dozen big screen tube TVs duct taped together instead.

Roster creativity
Citing their inability to make the Hall Of Fame during their first and second year of eligibility, respectively, the front office should ask Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell to come back to play for the league minimum so that feeble “playing in the steroid era” argument can stop once and for all. Most GMs would take a 44-year-old Jeff Bagwell over Brett Wallace any day.

Uniform adjustments
Assuming Biggio and Bags opt to not tarnish their (eventual) Hall Of Fame careers with a novelty return to Space City, the dejected ownership might as well torch those relationships forever by asking that all game-worn jerseys be returned. Those embroidered Bs and Gs really ad up. Between those dozens of garments and any other unearthed retro Astros and Colt .45s uniforms the organization can scrape up, Houston should be set for 100 games worth of “throwback” uniforms, even if multiple eras and both home and away colors are represented in each game. The fact that Carlos PeƱa’s jersey will say “Berkman” on the back will only make the throw back tribute even more apparent.

While they’re at it, they might as well change Jose Altuve’s name to “Jose Al-one-ve” in the media guide, in programs, on telecasts and on the scoreboard to save an extra “ve.” The team should then trade that “ve” to Kansas City for a marginal prospect.

Go down to a 24-man roster

Nothing personal, Dallas.

When the somehow-still-competitive Expos were in a dire fiscal state near what turned out to be the end of the team’s existence, Major League Baseball (as part of the evil plan to steal baseball from Montreal forever) didn’t allow the team to expand to 40 players in September because the team lacked the funds. In a fitting role reversal, the Astros should consider saving the expense of paying a should-be minor leaguer a MLB-minimum salary by leaving its 25th (and maybe 24th?) roster spot vacant. Dallas Keuchel will probably understand.

Use those assets
Having switched leagues, trimmed virtually all fiscal fat off its roster and given its few remaining fans absolutely nothing to cheer for in the foreseeable future, the current state of the Astros shouldn’t be considered something bleak and dreadful. Instead, it should seen as a new and exciting opportunity to do things no other professional sports franchise (excluding the Marlins) could ever get away with trying. The fact that the bar couldn’t possibly get any lower makes almost anything possible.

Maybe that stupid hill in center field can be rented out for bachelor parties, quinceaƱeras and small office functions. Nobody on the Astros can hit it that far on the fly anyway. The team’s one season ticket holder could flip a coin at the beginning of the season to decide whether the stadium’s retractable roof is to remain open or closed for the duration of the year. In games former President/former Astros fan George H.W. Bush attends, have a mascot dressed in a broccoli costume hound ol’ 41 until he reluctantly takes a bite of a soggy concession stand floret in the “Bird’s Eye Broccoli Bullying.” Really, all aspects of the stadium experience could be licensed in ways that would make the Arena Football League, single-A baseball and the Lingerie Football League each question the organization’s morals.

In an era that’s so exciting because the quality of players advanced scouting, wise drafting and a statistical Renaissance helped spread throughout the league, it’s strangely thrilling to observe the Astros and Marlins methodically dismantled lineups too. So while I’m excited to see 28 teams play ball in 2013, I’m also pumped to see the other two teams do something loosely resembling baseball too.

I just hope Houston uses some of my ideas. But if they do, they better be willing to pay me. Just kidding… a Al-one-ve jersey will do.

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December 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm ET
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ROBIN YOUNT SHOT DALE SVEUM!!!

Unrelated.

Between the Brewers seeking to reduce team payroll to the $80M range and the Cubs, you know, not particularly planning on ever winning the World Series, this offseason was supposed to be quiet for the NL Central’s I-94 faction.

That was until ROBIN YOUNT FUCKING SHOT DALE SVEUM IN THE HEAD!!! Holy shit.

No, this had nothing to do with Yount’s friend and teammate of five seasons hiring fellow Brewers legend employee Rob Deer to be Cubs hitting coach last week. Reminiscent of the time Dick Cheney shot some old dude whose name I’m too lazy to look up because Sons Of Anarchy is almost on, the Hall Of Fame-on-manager event was a hunting accident.

Quoth the victim:

“The bird was in front of [Yount] and I was about 50 yards up on a hill. He got the bird up and lost track of where I was. He pulled the trigger and was like, ‘Uh, oh.’ “

Fortunately for Sveum, the shrapnel from Yount’s six-shot only nicked his right ear, not even requiring stitches. Reacting to the incident the same way he would handle a Cubs blowout loss (also known as “a Cubs game”), Sveum was unphased by the close-call.

“We do it all the time,” Sveum said. “Not that close all the time, but we do get BB’s fall on us.”

So worry not, fans from all other teams, the shooting won’t cause Sveum to miss any time skippering the sinking ship that is the Chicago Cubs baseball club. Jim Gantner was unharmed.

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August 17, 2011 at 10:19 am ET
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So Nyjer Morgan Adopted a Kitten

Reenactment of Morgan's kitten moment before adoption.

Proving he can do no wrong in Milwaukee, Brewers kite-flying and multiple personality disorder suffering outfielder Nyjer Morgan took time away from his busy schedule of hilarious post game interviews, clutch hitting and making funny faces to adopt a kitten from the Wisconsin Humane Society.

It’s official, if any Brewer fan had yet to be won over by Morgan’s crazy-yet-thoughtful brand of baseball/life, they have no choice but to love him now.

Nyjer Morgan for Governor!

(h/t Evan Rytlewski of Shepherd Express)

UPDATE: Nyjer named the cat “Slick Willy” and he posted a picture on his Twitter page.

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June 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm ET
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Al Kaline Trio

I haven’t had the chance to post much lately. As an apology of sorts, I made this. Enjoy.

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June 9, 2011 at 11:06 am ET
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Nyjer Morgan: Oblivious Superhero

I’ve made no secret of my love for Brewers OF Nyjer Morgan on this site. But after last night, that love has reached new levels. For those who haven’t heard, Nyjer Morgan slapped a walkoff two-out double in the bottom of the 9th inning Wednesday. It was Morgan’s first walkoff hit, and Morgan seemed to handle the hit in his usual joyous-tinged-cocky type of way.

But Morgan’s inexperience in the clutch showed in the post game interview… when he admitted he initially didn’t realize he’d won the game for Milwaukee. If you aren’t grinning from ear to ear after listening to this interview, you’re either a Mets fan or you have no soul (lately, it’s likely both).

For those who can’t or don’t want to feast their ear holes on this audio gold, Morgan (after educating Brewers Radio announcer Cory Provus on “Plushdamentals”) delivers, perhaps, the best post game interview ever heard by human ears. Here are just a few of the highlights.

On his approach to the ninth inning at-bat:
“Honestly, Core, I thought we were winning (laughs). Basically, I was up there just trying to take him up the middle. As soon as I got the hit, I just thought it was a regular routine double down the line. And basically, I looked behind me and I heard the crowd yelling and here come the guys coming off the bench. And that’s when I kind of figured, ‘Oh, I just walked ‘em off!’ (laughs)”

On whether he was kidding:
“No, I’m dead serious, man!”

On his philosophy:
“Basically, just understanding my game. You know, just understanding the situation; how the pitcher is pitching me.”

Wait! Ummmm…

“I don’t need to know anything. Just throw that pill over the plate and I’ll make it happen. I thought we were winning 8-6 (laughs), and basically I didn’t know what was going on until the boys came out and got the little guy.”

On the where the win ranks in his career:
“I mean, it’s cool and all but there’s much more to what we’re trying to do here. I guess that’s the first time Plush ever hit a walkoff. I’m pumped, but we gotta Plush it out and get ready to go tomorrow.”

So long as Morgan doesn’t forget that he’s on the Brewers or that they have a game that particular day, I’ll be glad to see Morgan at the plate in almost any significant late game situation. His explosive, fearless and even oblivious approach at the plate makes him a valued commodity and the stuff of post game interview legends.

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June 1, 2011 at 1:45 am ET
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What I Won’t Miss About Having MLB Network

Today officially marks the conclusion of my lease at my place on the North shore of Milwaukee. Over the long weekend, I uprooted and piled all my shit into an understated two bedroom abode on scenic (scenic, if you like concrete and bars that misuse apostrophes) 14th Street.

It made sense. Not only does it cut my workday commute in half. It boasts free on-site laundry, a parking slab, an acclaimed Indian restaurant a short walk away, and the opportunity for me, a man of 26, to live on my lonesome and have an office again–all for cheaper than my last apartment.

Of course, there are some sacrifices associated with this very financially and career-calculated move. For one, I don’t know anybody living within 10 minutes of me anymore. Secondly, I grew accustomed to my roommate making extra coffee for me in the morning. I’m pretty sure at least one of the Star Wars prequels was filmed in my new aforementioned office (pictured). And as I’m discovering, there are bugs galore up in this bitch. Still, it’s worth it.

Sure, I’ll miss the old place. It was the first door to my new home town, the city I now love like no place else on Earth. I know there will be days I long for the spacious kitchen and pristine gas range oven, the hazy drunken walks home from the Legion Hall down the road and the soothing sting of the sand at nearby Atwater beach on my feet. But paramount to the lost amenities I will mourn as the relocation solidifies in my mind squarely sits one thing: MLB Network.

You see, I refuse to carry cable TV in my new place. For one, it’s an unnecessary expense for a one-person household. I’d rather go jet-skiing with Sean Kingston than spent $85 a month to have yet another excuse to remain a love-handled loser with next-to-no motivation. Plus, I don’t have the money to fritter away. Freelance writing isn’t the most secure gig out there, and I have a new business (seamless plug!) to dig out of start-up debt.

For the most part, I can live without cable. My two favorite shows on TV right now–Parks & Recreation and Sons of Anarchy–stream online. Netflix can pick up much of the additional slack. There are plenty of bars with insane specials airing Brewer games. I can listen to any baseball game on my fantasy baseball site. But there’s no replacement for my favorite channel, MLB Network. Nary shall I see the perfectly wrapped package of highlights, live in-game action, Dan Plesac awesomeness, replays of historical contests and Hazel Mae chesticles from this day forward.

It’s a difficult thing to come to terms with… but I’ll get through it somehow. How? The same way people get over their exes–by childishly focusing on the one shortcoming of the otherwise perfect entity. When I’m swatting away bugs and watching Becker or something equally shitty in my self-created life of MLB Networklessness, I plan to remind myself of how much I hate MLB Network’s ads. Here are just a few that stick out in the channel’s surprisingly-shallow pool of adverts.

Been Verified
The world is a crazy place nowadays. Horses are spreading herpes. Hall of Fame quarterbacks are threatening to sue punk bands. And–most pressing–everybody is eventually going to brutally murder everybody else. That is, unless a little website called BeenVerified.com has anything to say about it.

Finally, there is a resource to snoop on people lurking on the periphery of your life. For little more than a probably astronomical fee, you can invade the privacy of potential electricians, see if the house for sale down the road was the site of that cockfighting ring and quash any semblance of trust in a budding relationship. “How can I know who to trust?” a woman with a dangerously sharp jawline asks in this fear-seeking ad that’s in regular MLB Network rotation. She continues, “No stranger comes around my growing family without a background check.” as she rubs her belly to either signify that she’s pregnant OR that she’d just indulged in a satisfying meal prepared by a thoroughly-investigated chef. I can’t explain why, but this ad and that woman both trouble me immensely.

Cages Plus
Cages Plus seems like a good enough company. Fuck it… I’m even willing to admit some of my disdain for the company’s ad probably stems from the fact that my own dad (an otherwise wonderful man whom I love with all my heart) spent a grand total of five minutes of my childhood playing baseball with me before a ball hit his ankle and he went inside. But the primary reasons the Cages Plus ad irks me are the utter lack of budget and terrible casting.

Seemingly shot on an Sanyo VHS camcorder over the course of a half hour in a random backyard on a cloudy day, the ad features a fugly redhead spaz literally going through puberty on camera and he fists balls up the middle. Supporting the listless voiceover is the dreadful “acting” of this teen, saying “That was (voicecrack) right in my wheelhouse!” about 68 times in 30 painful seconds. Making commercials is most certainly not in Cages Plus’ proverbial wheelhouse.

Certain Dri
Not that I put much stock into it, but smelling good has forced itself squarely into the industrial consciousness. Unlike, personal batting cages and needless background investigations, antiperspirants are integral parts of Western society (excluding San Francisco, of course). Old Spice, Axe, Right Guard and numerous other formidable deodorant purveyors have made a fortunate in the business of making men smell less like men smell. In doing so, most of those companies have even treated consumers to funny and all-around entertaining commercials.Ā Then there’s Certain Dri.

The RC Cola, the Hydrox Cookie, the Kia of the antiperspirant racket, Certain Dri pulled out all the stops to sway customers to try this poorly-spelled and all-around shoddy deodorant alternative. That’s right, they went out and got Bob (fucking) Darula to pitch it. “Whoa, they got Dracula to endorse it? That’s a good get!” I said the first time I saw the awful ad–only half watching/paying attention. I was disappointed to find out that it wasn’t a mythical vampire imploring me to buy Certain Dri, rather, a much less prevalent figure–a career minor leaguer endorsing a nationally-available product.

“I play a lot of ball …” Not-Dracula starts, while taking BP before one of his many fruitless minor league contests. Just ignore that a quick glance at his stats reveals that more people have accidentally played in more Major League games (any) than Darula (none) has. The 32-year-old neverwas continues, “… so I know a lot about sweaty feet.” Ooooooh! I see the connection. Baseball and sweaty feet go together like almost any other remotely physical activity and sweaty feet do. That sturdy comparison combined with an endorsement by the poor man’s Gabe Kapler and I’m sold. I was one Vinny Rottino appearance from buying shares of Certain Dri stock. The worst part is, it’s not even the worst Certain Dri ad.

The list goes on. So, goodbye, MLB Network. You’ll be sorely missed, but your ads won’t.

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May 26, 2011 at 1:57 am ET
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Wilson Valdez For Cy Young

Thursday morning, the Philadelphia Phillies edged the Cincinnati Reds in a 19-inning game that began at 7 p.m. EST the previous night. The winning team’s starter, Roy Halladay, was in familiar form to the tune of a quality start over seven frames of work. But the best pitching performance of the 6 hour 11 minute battle belonged to Philly backup infielder Wilson Valdez.

Throwing junkballs in the high 80s, Valdez first retired reigning MVP Joey Votto for the first out of the 19th. He then hit Scott Rolen. After, he made short work of Jay Bruce (who had three prior hits in the game off actual pitchers) and got out of the inning with a Ramon Castro pop out. While his Philly brethren hit, Valdez looked prepared to pitch for the long haul – wrapping his arm in a towel.

Ultimately, the majestic arm wasn’t needed any longer. Raul Ibanez granted the battle a merciful end with a sac fly in the bottom of the 19th, giving Valdez his first career win and the first win by a position player since 2000. Valdez is tied for the lead league in ERA with an impressive 0.00 and has as many wins as fellow pitching great Chris Carpenter has posted this season.

With everyday second baseman Chase Utley fresh off the DL, maybe it’s time for Valdez to make the move to the pen. He couldn’t be any worse than David Herndon is.

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May 16, 2011 at 11:38 am ET
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Fantasy Island: “And With The 11th Pick…”

Before this season, nine of our league’s more active participants opted to clear out teams who didn’t pay and/or routinely started injured players. We added three teams. With that… in a move that I especially pushed, we threw all our keepers back in the free agent heap and, simply, started over. Having no clear commissioner in our reformed league, I volunteered to randomize the draft order.

Big mistake.

The randomizer I ran left me with the 12th pick in the 12-team league. Not that I mind drafting at the end of the pack; in fact, I kind of prefer the opportunity to have two of the best 13 players on the board. However, I wish I would’ve had the 11th pick. With the 11th pick, a new owner, the manager of “Boy Brew”, nabbed Adrian Gonzalez. To my chagrin, Boy Brew took the player I intended to select with the very next pick. Expletives flew from my corner of the Appleton, WI sports bar as I dejectedly shuffled to the draft board and settled for Mark Texieira (whose name I still need to look up before trying to spell).

As the season kicked off, I moved on from the first round disappointment the best I could. I’d pretty much forgotten about missing Gonzalez by a mere pick… until I played Boy Brew and his coveted first baseman last week. Six games, five homers, 10 RBI and a whipping in most major offensive categories later, I am just as pissed as I was on that fateful day in March. But hey, Tex had six empty hits last week. So there’s that.

Ryan

“I wish my league would just abandon catchers entirely. Only like 4 are any good. The rest of us have to suffer all season. It’s the black hole of fantasy.”

HERE HERE!!! I agree with your assessment on backstops. And though I wouldn’t go so far as motion to eliminate the position, I wouldn’t hate if it went down that way. I am one of the few owners in my league with two catchers cluttering his roster. Even with two everyday catchers in my team, I always find a way to start the wrong one. And it’s always Matt Wieters. First, I overspent to draft the “promising” top 10 catcher in hopes of addressing the glaring hole most teams have at C. When Wieters did his thing (nothing), I snagged perennial waiver wire backstop John Buck out of obscurity. Neither has impressed. Fortunately, as you said, only 3-4 teams have any semblance of production from catcher, so it’s not like you’re the only one not reaping the benefits of the thin position.

Pete

“It’s only May and I have reached full-blown fantasy obsession. I watch out of market games, constantly think of possible trades instead of things I should be thinking about, and slide fantasy talk into conversation – even with people not in my league. Am I alone here? If so, any advice on kicking it?”

My advice? Don’t worry about it. As long as you’re still showing up to work, putting on pants and (if you have any) feeding your kids amid the obsession, I say keep it coming. We all have our vices. Mine happen to be alcohol, energy drinks, Internet porn, pizza, alcoholic energy drink, pizza porn, air plane glue and fantasy baseball. If watching too much baseball is your biggest worry, you have the greatest life on the planet.

CBSSportsline, where my league is hosted, offers fantasy players free radio feeds (both home and away broadcasters) for every team. I’ll constantly have a game playing in the background at my desk at work or while hanging at my place. Over time, it’s become obvious to both myself and my co-workers that I’m a little too into baseball. “What game are you listening to?” my manager will ask. “Oh, A’s vs. the Angels. Josh Willingham is on my bench.” There’s no reason to listen to an A’s game. Even if, hypothetically, you’re an A’s fan. I say “hypothetical” because there are no A’s fans.

Two other observations I’ve made during my current fantasy obsession:

GHJORGE! PAW-SAWDAH! (gurgling noises)

1. Yankees broadcaster Suzyn Waldman is an anomaly. Despite having one of the most glaring/terrible regional accents in history, Waldman is paid handsomely to speak to thousands of people over 160 nights a year. Suzyn is a strange name for a deep-voiced man.
2. The look that comes over a third party’s face when you and another person in your league begin talking about fantasy is priceless. The reaction sits somewhere between “about to watch your family get brutally murdered” and “burnt roof of mouth with pizza” on the annoyance scale. It’s the way I assume I look when people start talking about LOST or their upcoming wedding.

Clint Taurus

“With a player coming off my DL, I now need to be rid of someone. The two players I’m deciding between are basically equal in all ways. What’s a good tie-breaker?

There are just a few of the thoughts that come to me when faced with this difficult decision. If on different teams, which team do you like more? What player would you enjoy seeing succeed more? Which is younger? Who was projected to have a better season? Who has more plate appearances (more plate appearances means more opportunity to contribute)? Is one of the players Ty Wigginton?

I dealt with the same dilemma today when faced with dropping either Sam Fuld and his 12 SB or former Brewers farmhand/current young outfielder for the feel-good Indians Michael Brantley. I bit my lip and said farewell to Fuld, who — like 98 percent of you — I didn’t know existed until April. In reality, I should have just dropped John Buck. But what would I whine about in fantasy columns then?

Every Monday, Dan Tobin and Tyler Maas fail to assist readers at fantasy baseball, but in (allegedly) entertaining fashion. Email questions or get your tweet on at @dantobinTheBlah and @TylerJamesMaas.

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May 12, 2011 at 1:45 am ET
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Forward Fabrics – A Shameless Bit of Self-Promotion

I was going to write something about the Brewers here, but after losing to the Padres by seven runs… I’m kind of short on constructive things to say about those guys. Instead, I would like to expend a few words to let readers know about a personal-yet-still baseball-related bit of recent news.

I have a t-shirt business. Recently, I launched Forward Fabrics. Here, I sell sports-related and some crude/random shirts. While the selection is scant and there are some bumps to iron out, I personally feel it’s worth a look.

Before I was (barely) a writer at Bugs & Cranks and a guy given money to provide sports-related content for a memorabilia auction website and The A.V. Club, I was a part of a small-but-devoted group of Brewers fans called Right Field Bleachers. In addition to our written content, we also sold shirts and hosted some events. With RFB now dissolved, I came to miss that personal connection with fellow fans, I realized more than ever that I love seeing people at the ballpark wearing an item I had a part of, and (of course) making a few extra bucks along the way doesn’t hurt either. I even recruited Right Field Bleachers designer, Jared, to make a couple of the shirts for me.

Anyway, I figure as much as Bugs & Cranks is a baseball blog, it’s also become a platform for our tight-knit cast of nationally scattered writers to write about other aspects of our lives. Shirt purchase failing, I would very much appreciate people taking the time to peruse the site, like Forward Fabrics on Facebook and tell their friends.

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May 2, 2011 at 11:44 am ET
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Fantasy Island: Two Sides of the Coin

Assuming you have anything in common with my immediate family, my co-workers or girls who (at one point) had an outside intrigue in getting to know me better, you have absolutely no interest in my fantasy team. But like those unsuspecting people in my social circle, I’m just going to go ahead and talk about it anyway. My team (the ironically-named “Cubs Jr.”) currently has a 19-18-3 record, narrowly good for third place in my stacked division. And like any team looming around .500, I have undeniable strengths and crippling weaknesses in my lineup. But never have they been so split.

Last week I finished with a 5-5 score. Each of those five victories came via my pitching. The powerhouse trio of Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson and Matt Cain, plus the closing prowess of Leo Nunez and Joakim Soria secured a certain sweep in the defensive categories by Wednesday night. However, that left the “professional baseball players” on my “offense” to come NOWHERE NEAR claiming a category. In fact, my squad went 0-28 at the plate Thursday… which I can safely say I’d never seen before. Injuries mixed with an undeniable focus on pitching has left my lineup littered with the dried husk of Derek Jeter, Sam Fuld–who’s cooled off enough to draw comparisons to Sam Fuld of late–and a legally dead Carlos Pena.I had to start Mike Aviles last week! It, oddly, worked out alright, but still. A manager should never be forced to start Mike Aviles… this includes Ned Yost.

So that’s my team. But as long as my pitching remains as near-perfect as it’s been all season and I can occasionally win runs of OBP now and then, I should have nothing to worry about. Seems possible, right? RIGHT?!?! PLEASE SAY “RIGHT!” On to your questions:

Herald Minors

“I usually try to keep up with prospects, but I didn’t this offseason and don’t have a minor leaguer. Should I try to get one now?”

At this point you’re probably a bit late to nab a blue chip prospect who’s anywhere near a call-up. But there are so many great and promising minor league players, and if your league has a free spot set aside for a prospect, why not gamble on a player? Like you, I had no ML keeper going into this season and just a few days ago, I scooped up Nationals double-A first baseman Tyler Moore. I know next-to-nothing about this dude and he’s not exactly close to big league action, but his stats are pretty decent and my hope is that someday two or three years down the road he’ll be a solid IF option. Additionally, I dream of telling my friends “I want to marry Tyler Moore” every time he has a good game in 2014 and beyond. We’ll all laugh and take our hoverboards to meet our alien girlfriends for beers in pill form at a space pub. It’s good to make plans for the future.

Insert Witty Name

“Too early to make a trade? I’m in panic mode.”

It’s probably not too early to make a trade, though I’d probably wait before making a knee-jerk trade for any major players. In fact, I dealt my No. 6 starter (who hadn’t left my bench this season) Ian Kennedy in a two-for-one deal to get SS help from Asdrubal Cabrera and pitching depth from Kyle Drabek. Cabrera has started hot, but probably will level off soon. I just hope to get a good week or two out of him at my U spot until Jeter (shitty as he is) finally reaps the benefits of the stacked lineup hitting around him in the Yankees lineup or until Carlos Pena pulls a Lazarus. Trade away, IWN.

Vince

“I’m coming up short in steals. How can I add SB?”

Is Mike Leake available in your league? HEY-O! (Everyone boos)

That failing (both the strategy and the joke), you have two options here: Forget steals and try to crush your opponent’s dick in other areas… like a team of slow power hitters who walk a lot. Or try to land a decent speed option on the waiver wire or via trade. It’s possible that someone didn’t have room for Rajai Davis on the DL and dropped him. He’s back now and more posed than ever to go 0-5 with 12 stolen bases every game. If he’s around, take him. NOW! The current SB leader in my league is Orlando Hudson. Haha. Don’t do that. But an everyday player with even some speed potential (Michael Brantley, perhaps?) is an option.

But if you’re relying on Michael Brantley, Orlando Hudson or any non-vaunted speedster to up your steals immediately and consistently at this point, you’re better off punting the category and saving yourself the frustration. Just as they are in real life, fantasy baseball steals are hard to predict.

Thanks for the questions. I hope all your fantasies come true… unless you’re in my league. Then I hope you get food poisoning.

Every Monday, Dan Tobin and Tyler Maas fail to assist readers at fantasy baseball, but in (allegedly) entertaining fashion. Email questions or get your tweet on at @dantobinTheBlah and @TylerJamesMaas.

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