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Saturday 16th Dec 2017

My goodness, what a goofy season. Steve Pearce released, then re-signed by the same team a day later. Kyle Farnsworth released and picked up and released and picked up (all the while Heath Bell is available).

How about Prince Fielder hurt and Matt Kemp doing OK? Or, every hot second year killer pitcher in the world needs to have surgery while Mark Buehrle and Scott Kazmir are flourishing?

Go figure.

While we are at it, let's try to figure Kyle Blanks, now with the Athletics. Now, I admit some moves are better than others, but Blanks is just about as perfect a fit on the Athletics as can be imagined. For one, as essentially a member of the island of lost players--those with flashes of great skill--as are Brandon Moss, Josh Donaldson, Scott Kazmir, and now Drew Pomeranz, to name a few.

The beauty of the Oakland schema is indeed using those individual skills as part of a collective, something Oakland does better than any other team. So, with Blanks, the team now has a perfect right-handed first base/outfield counterpart to Moss. I think he could get 300 plate appearances between now and the end of the season, and hit 10-12 homers in that role. Just saying.

Speaking of those same Athletics, I like the Yankees' Chase Whitley in very much a Jesse Chavez kind of way. Whitley, like Chavez, has mostly been a reliever over the course of his minor league career, and similarly has been much of a journeyman in the Minors. In fact, Whitley has only 14 starts over his 151 minor league appearances, with 11 of them occurring over the past two years. The right-hander was 3-2, 2.39 this year over six starts and 26.3 innings at Triple-A before being called up, and he tossed 4.6 scoreless frames Thursday for his first start. I don't think Whitley will be deadly, but until the league gets a book on him, he could be useful in an AL-only format.

Across town, the Mets' ninth-round selection in 2009, Jacob deGrom, had a pretty good start against the very same Monsieur Whitley, and deGrom actually out-pitched him, going seven innings, allowing four hits and a run, but earning the loss in a 1-0 game. deGrom has 267 whiffs over 323.3 frames, and went 4-0, 2.58 this year at Las Vegas, and he is just one more in a cluster of young New York arms who could emerge. And, I do have a better feeling about Whitley's prospects this year.

Before I get too far from from Blanks and that first basemen/outfield link, if you have Prince Fielder, or are in a league where Mitch Moreland is still available, he might indeed get a spike in  playing time with Fielder limited. Moreland has generally fared better with the warm weather, and he can be very streaky. Still, he should be good for the same 10-12 dingers as Blanks.

So, with the incredible proliferation of injuries all over, while some younger prospects might get a chance, the opportunity for vets to get a last hurrah also exists, so the Nationals' Greg Dobbs, a veteran left-handed stick, can play third--though he only qualifies at first at this juncture--and again, is one of those guys who has the pop and if he sticks for the remainder of the season could belt a handful of dingers in an NL-only set-up.

The White Sox demoted Jeff Keppinger after he was reactivated (per the front office, they want Conor Gillaspie, Marcus Semien and Gordon Beckham to get the playing time right now), meaning the utilityman will probably be grabbed on waivers somewhere with so many fallen gladiators of the diamond this season. Keppinger boasts some pop and some speed, and even some position flexibility as he should qualify at first, second, and third. In fact, if a National League team gets him, I am bidding some LABR FAAB on him to plug my third base hole.

Maybe now is the time for Anthony Gose, who is still just 23, and who is hitting .286-0-2 but has a .929 OPS over his first couple of games. Gose has a couple of swipes and five walks to four whiffs so far. Maybe now is the time. Looks good, though it is a small sample.

Finally, Jaime Garcia is back with the Cardinals and got a Sunday start (seven innings, four runs) and the truth is as a fifth or sixth starter you may be tempted, but Garcia is one of those arms who simply scares me. Despite a career 3.45 ERA, it is the 1.328 WHIP, and 2.67 strikeout-to-walk number that makes me skeptical. I would rather risk on a Hector Santiago guy, who might have a schizo WHIP, but who can dominate with strikeouts and really kick it to another level.

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