Tag Archive | "Kyle Lohse"

Potential New Homes For Kyle Lohse

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Potential New Homes For Kyle Lohse

Posted on 13 February 2013 by Chris Caylor

Much has been written about free-agent starter Kyle Lohse remaining unsigned as pitchers and catchers report. Even Lohse’s former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, has shown no interest in bringing him back.

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What gives?

The prevailing theory seems to be that teams do not want to surrender their first-round draft pick for a 34-year-old righty. An alternate theory is that Lohse’s agent, Scott Boras, grossly overestimated the interest level in his client, leaving him without a chair when the free-agent music stopped. Whatever the case, one has to think Lohse is anxious to sign with a team and get to spring training.

While Lohse is not an ace-caliber pitcher, he has compiled the best WHIP and HR/9 ratios of his career in the past two seasons. There has to be a market for that, no? Let’s take a look at some teams where Lohse would appear to be a good fit:

 Baltimore – after captivating the town with an expected run to Game 5 of the ALDS in 2012, some people expected the Orioles to make a big splash during the offseason. Instead, division rivals Toronto and Tampa Bay made dramatic changes to their rosters, while the Orioles chose to do some minor tinkering. Lohse would have made a much better (albeit more expensive) addition to Baltimore’s rotation than Jair Jurrjens.

 Texas – the Rangers missed out on Zack Greinke and still need to upgrade their pitching staff. With Colby Lewis not due back from elbow surgery until at least June and lefty Derek Holland coming off an inconsistent 2012, Lohse would be a reliable presence in the middle of the Rangers’ rotation. The only question is whether Lohse – not a power pitcher – would succeed in the Rangers’ hitter-friendly park.

 New York Mets – Had the Mets not been so reluctant to sacrifice their first-round pick (#11 overall), they could have had Michael Bourn patrolling center field. That being the case, it stands to reason that they would not part with that pick for Lohse either. Lohse, however, would be perfect fit for a team that has injury questions surrounding their top three starters (Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Shaun Marcum).

 San Diego – The Padres were one of the NL’s best teams during the 2012 season’s final weeks (no, seriously). Lohse would no doubt enjoy pitching in one of baseball’s most pitcher-friendly parks and would slot in nicely between hard-throwing Edinson Volquez and lefty Clayton Richard. Despite how well this move could work out for both sides, spending significant dollars for a free agent is not the Padres’ way.

 Cleveland – The Indians have already made several big moves this winter – what’s one more? Lohse would do more to solidify the Tribe’s rotation than their other free-agent acquisitions (Brett Myers and Daisuke “the Human Rain Delay” Matsuzaka). There’s still time. Maybe Lohse’s price will drop enough for the Indians to take the plunge.

 Milwaukee – Lohse would represent a major upgrade to a rotation that is paper-thin beyond Yovani Gallardo and Michael Fiers. The Brewers, however, look to be in cost-cutting mode again after fruitless postseason runs in 2009 and 2011, so this would be a surprise.

Of course, the way this offseason has gone, the Toronto Blue Jays are liable to swoop in and sign him. Or maybe the Fort Knox, er, Los Angeles Dodgers. ESPN even linked the Nationals to Lohse recently, which strikes me as a bit baffling. The only thing that seems certain is that he won’t be back with the Cardinals, thanks to their deep reserve of right-handed starters. As the Cardinals recently learned with Chris Carpenter, though, all it takes is one phone call to significantly change a team’s plans.

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The Free Agent Lohse Down

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The Free Agent Lohse Down

Posted on 28 January 2013 by Will Emerson

As spring trainging rapidly apporoaches, there are still some ballplayers looking for a place to call home this upcoming summer. The most prominent of which are probably Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse (Austin Kearns just misses landing in this tier of free agents, but only by a hair). Well Bourn may find his new identity in Flushing very shortly if those Metropolitans can skirt that pesky rule about giving up draft picks. Let’s take a look at that for a hot minute.

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Goodness knows, we would not want the Mets to miss out on a first round draft pick. They could very well miss out on drafting the next Lastings Milledge, for crying out loud! Heaven forbid! I mean really, truthfully, Mets, what are you really gonna get with your 1st round pick? Hmmm? Your recent track record is not, well, sepctacular in that department. Okay, I am being a bit harsh on the Mets 1st round picks, because their recent picks, with the exception of Matt Harvey, have yet to get to the majors. So, sure, a bit harsh, maybe? But the last Mets first rounder to consistently produce at a high level would be David Wright. Wright was drafted in 2001. The best 1st rounder before him? Arguably Preston Wilson in 1992 or maybe Jay Payton in ’94. So, really Mets, do you really need this pick, when you can get a known commodity in Michael Bourn? Just some food for thought there. But, alas, I digress, let’s get back to the other remaining prominent free agent, Kyle Lohse.

I am positive that plenty of teams could use and possibly have interest in Kyle Lohse and why wouldn’t they? Did you see what he did in 2012?! The surface statistics are eye-popping! 16-3, with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. Wow! I’m sure many were/are thinking the same thing is me. “What?! Really?! Kyle Lohse?!” Mind boggling would be a way that I would describe these numbers. But I’ll dig a little deeper into the numbers in just a bit, cause an advanced stat nerd like myself does not hold much stock in these superficial statistics. So, if you said there was a starting pitcher on the market who posted those numbers last season for a playoff team, you would think the offers would be pouring in, right? Pouring in, folks! What team out there would not want that in their rotation, right? If only it were that easy. Unfortunately, for Lohsey, and agent Scott Boras, it is not. Instead of Kyle’s celly ringing off the non-existent hook (cause it’s a cell phone and thus has no hook) all he has been hearing is a cricket chorus.

First, and foremost, do not feel the need to shed any tears for Kyle Lohse. He did turn down $13.3 million to return to the Cardinals, so he is certainly not someone who needs our pity. Second of all, aside from having to beat that offer, Lohse also has that whole draft pick compensation thing attached to signing him as well. So, that will drive some prospective suitors away, for sure, especially of they are on the fence about this asking price. Still though, 16-3 with a sub-3 ERA? That has got to be worth a good chunk of change you would think. Edwin Jackson is making $13 million in 2013. Jackson was 10-11 with a 4.03 ERA in 2012 and he got paid, so why no love for Lohse? Even if the numbers are way above what Lohse should be tossing up there ( and they are), he has still got to be worth a decent offer, no? It appears that Major League teams are increasingly more savvy when it comes to looking deeper into a pitcher’s stats and many, like yours truly, see Lohse’s 2012 season as mostly smoke and mirrors and you are about to kind of see why.

Although Lohse had an ERA under three in 2012, his xFIP was just south of four at 3.96 and his BABIP of .262, which made him an extremely lucky pitcher. So you can see there is a regression a comin’ friends. Using Edwin Jackson as a comparison once more, E-Jax had an xFIP  of 3.79 and a BABIP of .278 in 2012, so this is a fair comparison for Lohse. So that $13.3 million should look pretty good for Kyle. But the problem with getting Lohse the contract he wants does not stop there. Not only do many people doubt the legitimacy of Lohse’s 2012 numbers overall, but they doubt how well he can pitch outside of Busch Stadium or even not as a Cardinal. Kyle’s ERA was over a full run higher on the road than at home. While the difference in xFIP is not as significant, it was still a third of a run higher on the road. So all else being equal, not only should that $13.3 million look pretty darned good, but it may be the best bet for Lohse at this point, even though he wants a multi-year contract. Well Kyle, (may I call you Kyle?)that multi-year contract is probably not showing up at your doorstep anytime soon, so you may need to start thinking about just pitching in 2013. Expecting last year’s numbers from Lohse would be downright silly, to say the least, so the best best bet for him would be to sign whatever one year deal he can grab and prove he can be solid once again and look for more dough in 2014.

As I mentioned, a good amount of ballclubs could certainly use Lohse’s services even if, as expected, he regresses closer to his xFIP. Early projections have an ERA around 3.70 for the upcoming season, which is still not terrible, but it is no 2.86. Kyle is unlikely to put up ace numbers in 2013 and he can’t be playing the market as if he is going to, because no one else seems to be doing that. I think it is quite safe to say no one is buying into last season’s numbers from Lohse. The early projected numbers for 2013 peg Lohse as a third or fourth starter in a rotation. The good news though is although his ERA is looking to regress, his xFIP has been improving each of the last three seasons. In 2010 it was 4.79, down to 4.04 in ’11 and slightly lower 3.96 last season. On the other side of that coin, that minor improvement in xFIP, will still, most likely, not translate into an ERA below 3.50 in 2013. Or will it? Hey, ya never know, right? After all his 2012 xFIP should not have translated to anything remotely close to a 2.86 ERA, but somehow that’s the number that will appear in the ERA column on the back of Kyle Lohse’s baseball cards next to 2012. The bottom line here, Kyle, is you need come down off your pedestal and know your actual worth and if you think you’re worth more, you’re gonna have to go out and prove it. Until that day comes, sir, you keep your ear to the grindstone.

 

 

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Mets Asking To Avoid The Rules

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Mets Asking To Avoid The Rules

Posted on 25 January 2013 by Bill Ivie

It has become very apparent that the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in Major League Baseball is going to impact free agency, just ask Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse.

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In a strange twist, however, rumor has it that the New York Mets are asking for an exemption to the draft pick compensation rule in order to pursue Bourn.  The team controls a pick within the top 10 picks of the 2013 first-year player draft, which it would have to sacrifice to sign a player that has the compensation tag attached to them.  A sacrifice that the team does not want to make.  The team has filed a request with the Commissioner’s Office to have that requirement waved for them in the interest of signing the speedy outfielder.

The question here is raised: what makes the Mets so special?

Sure, the team has been playing poorly and Bourn would drastically improve a floundering franchise.  The team could help themselves a lot by signing Bourn and securing a pick high in the draft.  So could a lot of other teams in baseball.  The draft pick compensation clause was developed for this specific reason.  Teams have a choice, develop their own talent and grow towards the future or delve into free agency and bring home a proven commodity.

The New York Mets want to have their cake and eat it too.  This is not high school anymore and a letter from Mommy is not going to get you out of gym class.  The rules are in place for this exact reason.

If Major League Baseball approves a move of this nature, it is opening a Pandora’s Box that would allow many teams to seek protection from rules that they feel are not applicable to them.

Then again, I guess the Brewers and Ryan Braun have already established that precedent.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at Full Spectrum Baseball
Follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

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25 random thoughts

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25 random thoughts

Posted on 10 January 2013 by Chris Caylor

The hot stove has been anything but for the past couple of weeks and spring training is still over a month away. To help tide you over, here are 25 random thoughts about baseball:

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  1. I am still shaking my head at the Hall of Fame voters. You sanctimonious, self-important knuckleheads.
  2. Speaking of knuckleheads, don’t you just feel bad for poor Torii Hunter? He gets misquoted and taken out of context more than any athlete in history. To be on the safe side, maybe he ought to just shut up.
  3. The Orioles’ 2012 season = the Arizona Cardinals’ Super Bowl run in 2008.
  4. What do you suppose Kevin Youkilis’ reaction would have been at this time last year if you suggested he’d be playing for the Yankees in 2013?
  5.  “Dear Michael Young: the grass isn’t always greener.” – Nomar Garciaparra.
  6. Listen up, people: the Stephen Strasburg and Robert Griffin situations are completely different. Strasburg was not injured; Griffin was. Apples and oranges. Guys like Jon Heyman, who droned on and on about how smart the Nationals were to shut Strasburg down, seem to lose sight of that fact. The Nationals were three outs away from the NLCS without Strasburg; where might they have ended up with him? World Series victories don’t grow on trees.
  7. Although I don’t see it happening, the vision of Michael Bourn and a healthy Rafael Furcal at the top of the Cardinals’ lineup greatly intrigues me.
  8. Although if they did sign Bourn, the Cards could use Jon Jay as part of a package to acquire Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians. Cabrera could play 2B and slide over to SS when (note: not if) Furcal ends up on the DL, then take over SS full-time after Furcal’s contract expires next year.
  9. If the Cardinals were to end up trading some of their young pitchers as part of a Cabrera deal, I wonder if they would reconsider their stance on Kyle Lohse, who has got to be frustrated watching Edwin Jackson get $52 million from the Cubs while his phone sits silent.
  10. Here’s an idea: Lohse to the Pirates. If Francisco Liriano’s deal indeed falls through due to his non-throwing arm injury, adding Lohse would fortify the rotation in front of James McDonald and Wandy Rodriguez.
  11. Nobody asked me, but here are some things that would improve the watchability of a baseball game:
  12. Forbid the players from stepping out of the batter’s box after every pitch. You do not need to adjust your batting gloves (or spit on them and smack your hands together) after you watch a ball bounce in the dirt, you anal retentive jocks.
  13. Automatically award a ball against every pitcher who takes longer than 30 seconds to come set and throw a pitch. You want to put that stupid little slingshot that shoots t-shirts into the stands between innings? Use it to drill Josh Beckett with a water balloon next time he takes 15 minutes between pitches. Throw the bleeping ball already.
  14. A 4th umpire in a replay booth to review close plays on the bases, fair/foul calls and questionable home runs. Come on, Bud. It’s time. Don’t be as obstinate and out of touch as Roger Goodell.
  15. Get rid of umpires like Bob Davidson and Joe West. A Walking Dead zombie could do a better job than these chumps. Seriously. Nobody goes to a game to see the Ump Show. Now then, moving on to other things…
  16. Football fans who call baseball boring need to really look at all the down time between plays of a football game. Truth be told, it’s nearly equal, particularly when you factor in all the officiating delays in a football game.
  17. I still believe Justin Upton is the Rangers’ starting right fielder on Opening Day.
  18. Speaking of the Rangers, I presume that Lance Berkman’s signing means that Nolan Ryan has gotten over that World Series Game 6 thing.
  19. At the risk of blaspheming, I have accepted that the DH likely is coming to the National League. Watching pitchers try to bunt – or even swing a bat – is often excruciating.
  20. In fact, with interleague play becoming an everyday part of the baseball schedule, it may as well be sooner rather than later. Just give each team an extra bench spot. The players union ought to be pleased with the 30 new jobs, no?
  21. Not counting teams that have deliberately blown themselves up (coughMARLINScough), is there a team that has done less to improve itself during the offseason than the Rockies? It’s
  22. Player A: .244/.333/.344, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 26 SB in 453 PA. Player B: .263/.299.504, 20 HR, 57 RBI in 398 PA, 2.0 WAR. Player A is the Giants’ Gregor Blanco, who was considered by some baseball writers to be their most underrated player in 2012. Player B is free agent Scott Hairston. He shouldn’t be used too much against righties, but teams needing an outfielder could do a lot worse.
  23. For you Mets fans hoping the team will sign a free agent to upgrade your team’s outfield, here’s what remains out there besides Bourn and Hairston: Grady Sizemore, Delmon Young, Nyjer Morgan, Rick Ankiel, Travis Buck.  YEESH.
  24. Anyone surprised that no one has taken an interest in Roy Oswalt after he whined and pouted his way through that “comeback” in Texas? Me either. Don’t call us, Roy, we’ll call you.
  25. I end with one of my favorite quotes, by Rogers Hornsby: “People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do: I stare out the window and wait for spring.”

Follow me on Twitter @ccaylor10

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Who’s Hot: Tampa Bay Rays rotation

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Who’s Hot: Tampa Bay Rays rotation

Posted on 21 August 2012 by Chris Caylor

Let’s throw a little change of pace into this week’s edition of Who’s Hot, Who’s Not. Instead of individual players, we will touch on the starting rotations that have been the best (and worst) of the past month. Not surprisingly, the teams with quality starting pitching the past few weeks are in the playoff mix (with one exception), while the team on the “Not” list slides into oblivion for 2012.

Hottest of the Hot: Tampa Bay Rays

It has nearly become as certain as death and taxes: great pitching by the Tampa Bay Rays. Over the past month, the Rays’ starters have compiled a 6.2 WAR – far above any other team in baseball. Thanks to the sturdy starters, they were able to tread water until Evan Longoria returned from injury; since then, the Rays have made their move, soaring into first place in the Wild Card standings (and only five games behind the New York Yankees entering Monday’s games). This past weekend, the Rays crushed the Los Angeles Angels, outscoring them 37-14 in a four-game sweep.

At the front of the rotation, David Price has to be considered a leading candidate for the AL Cy Young Award, with a 16-4 record, 1.10 WHIP and WAR of 5.0. Price has been particularly dominant in the past month, going 3-0 while averaging over 7 innings, 10 strikeouts and under two walks per start. It’s safe to say he has blossomed into the ace folks envisioned as a rookie during the 2008 World Series run. At 26, he will only get better.

Matt Moore tantalized everyone in 2011 with his shutout of the Texas Rangers in the ALCS, but 2012 had been a roller coaster ride for 23-year-old southpaw. Until the All-Star Break. Since then, Moore has been nearly as unhittable as Price, winning 4 of 5 starts and averaging 9 Ks per start. A 1-2 punch like that would be tough enough to beat, but the Rays have more pitching to throw at their opponents.

“Big Game” James Shields has shaken off the trade rumors that swirled in July and lived up to his nickname, winning 3 of 5 starts with 9.25 K/9 and 1.75 BB/9 ratios. Last Wednesday, when the Rays were prey to Felix Hernandez’s perfect game, Jeremy Hellickson pitched seven terrific innings of his own, giving up five hits and the game’s only run. Earlier this year when injuries struck the Rays’ rotation, Alex Cobb came up from the minors and held his own. His xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching) is 3.29, which is well above league average and more than a run lower than his ERA.

All five Rays’ starters have a HR/9 ratio of 1.00 or less. Further, Moore’s BB/9 ratio of 2.31 is the highest of the bunch. When you keep the ball in the park and don’t issue free passes, good things happen. Fantasy owners have no doubt appreciated their consistency all season.

The Rays have still more pitching depth. One of the pitchers Cobb replaced is Jeff Niemann, who currently is on a Triple-A rehab assignment recovering from a broken right fibula. When healthy, Niemann is a proven major-league starter. Finally, let’s not forget about Wade Davis, who likely would be starting for about two dozen major league teams. Davis is averaging over a strikeout per inning (and has done so all season). He is a weapon out of the bullpen and valuable insurance in case of injury.

Who Else is Hot?

Seattle Mariners – The Mariners are turning into a classic spoiler team. They might be too far out of contention for 2012, but with their rotation pitching as well as it has for the past month, they will be a thorn in their opponents’ sides. At the top of the rotation, of course, is Felix Hernandez, who pitched a brilliant perfect game against the Rays last week. He is a nightmare for anyone, but he has had help. Jason Vargas has been every bit as good as King Felix the past month, averaging over 7 innings per start and winning 4 of 6 outings. However, Vargas’ run is likely unsustainable, given his too-good-to-last home run to fly ball ratio of 2.4%. He might have good control, but that type of luck is bound to run out. If you own him in your fantasy league, hopefully you have reaped the benefits of Vargas’ good fortune. Blake Beavan has turned his season around after a difficult start, while Hisashi Iwakuma has also pitched well. Kevin Millwood hasn’t been great, but he hasn’t been terrible, either.

Los Angeles DodgersClayton Kershaw is well established as the Dodgers’ ace, but Chad Billingsley has been better than Kershaw the past month. Billingsley has teased the team (and fantasy owners) for years; has he finally turned the corner? The jury is still out, in my opinion. Billingsley needs to be active in all fantasy formats while he pitches this well. In the meantime, the Dodgers’ relatively low-profile offseason signings have paid off handsomely. Chris Capuano has a 24-to-5 K/BB ratio over his past 22 innings pitched, while Aaron Harang has tossed three straight quality starts this month. Both Capuano and Harang have greatly benefited from pitching their home games at Dodger Stadium. They aren’t as easy on ERA or WHIP for fantasy owners, but they are great matchup plays. With Ted Lilly’s return delayed, the Dodgers acquired Joe Blanton from Philadelphia, but his two starts have been atrocious. Blanton isn’t worth owning in any leagues right now.

St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals are one of baseball’s more enigmatic teams. Over the past month, they have gotten outstanding starting pitching from Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook, yet they have actually lost ground in the NL Central. Wainwright struggled at times in the first half of the season, but he has come on strong the past month. He hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a start since July 18, with an ace-like 40-to-6 K/BB ratio. Lohse boasts a microscopic 0.46 ERA in the month of August to go along with a 1.11 WHIP. Pretty good time for a career-best year, what with Lohse being a free agent at season’s end. I consider him a must-start in all formats. Lance Lynn has struggled the past month – probably due to his workload increasing drastically – but he has been a rock of consistency for St. Louis through the year. Not much was expected of rookie righty Joe Kelly when he took Jaime Garcia’s place in the rotation, but Kelly has been respectable. Garcia’s return to the rotation Sunday couldn’t have gone much better – 8 shutout innings, career-high 10 strikeouts. If he is able to maintain that type of quality, the Cardinals will be a dangerous team over the season’s final six weeks. Starts like that would be a huge boost to fantasy owners over the remainder of the season.

Washington Nationals – With the Nats, it’s been all Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper this season. But the rest of the rotation has been terrific for Washington this season. Before Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann was the stud young pitcher on the team. He has returned from his own Tommy John surgery to post numbers every bit as strong as Strasburg. Zimmermann has no innings restriction this season. Over the past month, he has averaged a strikeout an inning, while walking just one batter per 9 innings. Strasburg, of course, has been sensational, striking out 10 batters per 9 innings. There has been plenty of debate about the impending shutdown, but Strasburg has helped pitch the Nationals to the best record in the National League. Gio Gonzalez has tailed off a bit from his first half, but he still has been worth 1.0 WAR over the past month. Edwin Jackson has pitched well (10 Ks per 9 innings, 3.05 xFIP), but has been especially prone to the long ball over the past month, with a 22% HR to fly ball ratio. His strikeouts make him a worthy start, especially in rotisserie leagues. Ross Detwiler has pitched much better than an average fifth starter, despite a low K/9 ratio.

Who’s Not: Los Angeles Angels

Okay, I give up on this team. A few weeks ago, Albert Pujols was on fire and the Angels were seemingly primed to make a move in the AL West after trading for Zack Greinke. Instead, it’s been all downhill. Greinke has been terrible since switching leagues, getting lit up to the tune of a 6.19 ERA and 20% HR to fly ball ratio. In fact, the Angels pitching staff as a whole has been the worst in either league the past month. Worse than the Rockies, the Astros, the Twins. Everyone. Even Jered Weaver has not been immune. The Rays pounded him for 9 ER during the four-game sweep over the weekend. C.J. Wilson has averaged less than 6 innings per start while his BB/9 has gone up. Dan Haren has been so awful that the Angels are going to skip his turn in the rotation in an attempt to “work on his release point,” according to the Orange County Register. In terms of WAR, the Halos’ best pitcher over the past month has been reliever Kevin Jepsen, who has pitched only 12 1/3 innings. Not a good sign for the team. You have to believe that Weaver and Wilson will improve, but Greinke and Haren are larger conundrums for fantasy owners. Do you risk cutting them or trading them, only to watch them get it together for the final few weeks of the season? Or do you watch them torpedo your season? Situations like this are tricky for fantasy owners. The Angels don’t have a choice but to keep running them out there and hope the results improve.

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