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The Kelley Blowout: Closing the door on closers

It's Week 3, with some strategy talk, notes on sexism, marriage naming conventions, and the single worst commercial that has ever happened.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The whole point of The Kelley Blowout was "quick hits" at a bunch of topics each week. Instead, in two weeks I've ended up writing like five mini-columns and publishing them all at once.

I have a lot to say. Sorry about that. I'm going to change it up slightly this week. Expanding on topics when the mood arises, but also a few quicker passes through more notes.

I hope it makes the whole thing more palatable. It certainly makes me have to read and learn more things just to find topics, which is kind of what I want in the first place.


Don't pay for saves, literally

The mantra is eternal. Drafting closers too early is a big waste of a pick. Why pay for Craig Kimbrel in the fourth or fifth round when you can get 80 percent of his production from, say, Hector Rondon in the 10th?

This year, that mantra kept driving me lower. I didn't want to pay for Kimbrel when I could get Trevor Rosenthal later. And then, when I passed on Kimbrel, there was a quick run on the top closers. So a few rounds later, I didn't want to spend on David Robertson when I could get A.J. Ramos later. And then there was another run on relievers. And so on. Every time relievers came up, they went in bunches.

So you know who I ended up as my two RPs? Juan Nicasio and Tanner Roark.

Screw it, I punted on saves.

In football, we have a handful of elite quarterbacks, a small group who will keep you competitive almost by themselves. Beyond that, there are a handful of decent quarterbacks who will keep you going. And then there are the dregs, the guys you start if you have to, because heck, someone has to get the gig. If things go well, you can win with Alex Smith or Blaine Gabbert or Nick Foles as your starter, but really, a lot of those guys only have starting gigs because we just don't have enough qualified quarterbacks running around.

In baseball, it's not really the same. The Yankees have three quality closers. The Red Sox should, too, if Carson Smith can get healthy. The Royals, Astros, Pirates. There are several teams that have multiple qualified closers, even if there's only one capital-C guy. But with so many teams not really trying this year, we have a bunch of bullpens who didn't even bother. The Phillies? Reds? Why would you bother rostering a guy from those teams for your fantasy bullpen? There's no point. And every time we can add in a "there's no point" team, it makes the other guys that much more important for those hunting saves.

In roto leagues, punting on saves is a big move. Over the course of the season, you're taking a zero in a full category for a season, and that means you really have to nail the rest of it. There is, barring some big surprises, no real way you'll ever get back into contention in the category, so you're committing on draft day to a closerless life in April, in June, in September.

But this is a head-to-head league. Through two weeks, I'm at 14-10, and even that is colored by a Week 1 in which I lost home runs by one, runs by two, OBP by .004, while at the same time running away with most of my wins. I won't get saves (we start two SPs, two RPs, four Ps), but I will (should) overwhelm everyone in counting stats, and if I choose right, ERA and WHIP aren't at all out of the question (I've swept both both weeks).

The beauty, though, is that I can always change my mind. I have a starting pitcher surplus, a good offense and no closers. If I decide the strategy isn't working, I can flip some of my extraneous pieces into one of those closers out there. It's head-to-head, and in the first two weeks I've lost saves 1-0 and 3-0. Getting one decent closer, two middling guys, and I suddenly have a chance in the category.

In a world where there are 30 closers only because there are 30 teams, and guys like Jeanmar Gomez and J.J. Hoover and Fernando flippin' Rodney are technically "closers," punting is increasingly an option worth considering. It's only two weeks, but I'm happy with my choice.

A must-read from someone with skin in the game

Over at Hardball Times, Corinne Landrey wrote about casual sexism in baseball. I say something when things like John Gibbons' comments come up, but I'm a straight white American male. Straight white American males can (and should!) speak up about marginalization, but when a member of the marginalized class speaks up, it's even more important that we listen.

It's not like it doesn't happen already

The CEO of AMC Entertainment drew a fair amount last week over saying he was interested in the idea of allow texting in some theaters. The criticism is dumb, though; his idea is a very good one.

Now, before I defend it, his approach was bad. Anything that attempts to cater to/explain/avoid "millennials," as though they all share a brain, is stupid and should be treated as such. Millennials are as diverse as baby boomers, black people, women, whatever. To pretend all millennials are any one thing is to be blind to ... well, a lot.

That said, people already use their phones in theaters. I know I do. I crank the brightness on my screen all the way down, keep the screen tilted as low as I can, and check scores when there's a game on that interests me. I can virtually guarantee that you could share a theater with me and never know it.

And it's not like he said he wanted all theaters to be text-friendly. Some specific theaters. Give the people who want the ability to use their phones that ability. Let the ones who don't go to other theaters. There's no good reason to avoid this.

I don't even know where to begin

The New York Times has a story about an 18-year-old who apparently Periscoped her friend's rape instead of, you know, helping her, and I can't even with this.

Daniel's Conundrum of the Week

The party line among those of us who talk fantasy baseball is that it's April and you don't need to panic. I'm not dropping Freddie Freeman or Chris Archer because of a couple weeks.

But there is an exception. For those who didn't end up with Buster Posey (and I'd have included Kyle Schwarber if, you know), the catcher position is a big morass of middlingness. Is there really that big of a difference between Salvador Perez and Travis d'Arnaud and Derek Norris?

The reason you wait on catcher isn't because they are inherently bad. It's because they are inherently risky, and because replacement value is actually high. So if you're stuck with Devin Mesoraco or Welington Castillo or Russell Martin, you know what? I don't mind if you move on. I think Martin will be fine. Castillo and Mesoraco, I'm less sure about. But regardless, I dropped Mesoraco in a league and picked up Wilson Ramos. If I drop Martin and I'm wrong, is Francisco Cervelli really that much worse?

If your first baseman or your closer is struggling, ride it out. If your catcher is a dog? Go ahead. Move on.

What's in a name? (Other than a cliché)

So I'm getting married in late August. My last name is Kelley. My fiancée's is Roberts. The first time I broached the subject of our last name, she said she'd be a Kelley. So, you know, that decision was down.

But what if she hadn't wanted that? My last girlfriend before my fiancée was devoutly feminist, which I claim as well, and if we had gotten married (which was never ever ever on the table, but whatever), she wasn't gonna be a Kelley.

Marriage turns into a weird subsumption. There are, as I see it, five options:

  • She takes his name. Fine, except the fact that we always do this smacks of old-school sexism — the type that, you know, made sense at the time, but looking back you can't help but shake your head a little.
  • He takes her name. Also fine, and nice to stick one to the patriarchy and all, but it then becomes a talking point, and while I am happy to stick it to the patriarchy, as I say, I'm not sure about staking my entire identity on that.
  • Each person keeps their own name. From an equality perspective, it's all well and good, but part of getting married is sharing a last name, you know? It seems weird to be married to someone who doesn't have your last name (slaves to tradition). And then what about the kids? Give the kids the father's last name and we're back to historical sexism, give them the mother's and it's just a confusing conversation topic any time you meet a new person. I've heard of an idea of couples keeping their own names, with son's getting the father's surname and daughters getting the mother's, and that's nice, but needlessly convoluted.
  • Hyphenation. It's awful. Everyone's name gets more complicated, kids have to take an hour to fill in bubble sheets, people find you pretentious. And I haven't ever seen it, but won't we be running into couples soon with a hyphenated groom and a hyphenated bride? Are we that far from Cynthia Jones-Smith-Carter-Kleinholtz?
  • Making up a new last name. At first glance, it seems silly, but isn't it, you know, actually the best? No one has to be subsumed by another's identity. We aren't adding hyphens that just bug people. Everyone has the same name. I'm a big proponent of "If we weren't already doing things this way, would we do them this way?" And if we just came up with marriage now, we wouldn't just tell half the people to give up their name because someone else has the historically dominant parts. We'd have them come up with a new one.

I'm going to continue to be a Kelley in late August, because it's what my fiancée wants. It does make me feel vaguely uncomfortable, though. Why do I get to keep my name and she doesn't? I don't know. We probably should create our own. When you get married, consider that.

(And if we created our own new name, I could be a Hosmer! No, not really.)

"Write what you know" isn't just for fiction writers

Over at The Cauldron, Julie DiCaro has a piece about sportswriters dealing with rape and sexual assault when writing about athletes. It's an important point. Sportswriters, by and large, are sportswriters by choice, and a lot of them don't cut their teeth dealing with non-sports topics. Most of the time, that's fine. But when it isn't fine, it really isn't fine.

Don't make the plaques just yet

Trevor Story, first week: .333/.357/1.111, 7 HR, 1 BB, 8 K

Trevor Story, second week: .286/.326/.583, 1 HR, 2 BB, 14 K (and it looked much worse before his big Monday game)

Tyler White, first week: .545/.577/1.091, 3 HR, 2 BB, 4 K

Tyler White, second week: .150/.261/.300, 1 HR, 3 BB, 9 K

Both guys should still be good-to-better long term, but I'm willing to bet they can live off of those first weeks as far as fantasy acclaim is concerned for months now.

Everything is so commercial

And now, I present to you the worst commercial in recorded history:

I probably can't drop F-bombs here, so I'll just say bleep you, Larry. Let's recap:

  • He tracks all the mud on his freshly cleaned carpets, seemingly for the hell of it.
  • He ignores the mud, letting it set, while watching football and cooking pizza.
  • When confronted by his wife, he blames it on a pizza guy.
  • He laughs uproariously at his wife, who he supposedly loves, when he falls for it.
  • He's such a stupid scammer that he leaves the pizza box on the counter.

And all of that is so say nothing of the rest of this ad's stupidity. In his scam, why would Larry have let the pizza guy in his house? And let him walk to exactly where all his friends are sitting? Why wouldn't his wife wonder this?

And all of that stupidity ignores the biggest question: Why in hell would the pizza guy making the mess absolve Larry of responsibility? If he makes the mess, he has to clean it up, but if he lets in some random dude to destroy his carpet, suddenly it's his wife's job? Apparently that would've worked, because his wife is also incredibly stupid, but still ... bleep you so much, Larry. You deserve every bad thing.

Tweet of the week

It's kind of amazing the random thoughts that come up, but I love this one:

Mike Mussina should be in the Hall of Fame and was an American Leaguer throughout, but he ended up with nine hits anyway. Trevor Hoffman will be in soon enough, but he has four. If you really think about the stat, Rivera makes sense, but still, that's just weird enough that it's cool.

Let's create a league

Y'all are weird. Right now we have a 16-team dynasty league, which I don't think I've ever seen before. But that's fine; we're crowdsourcing this SOB. This week it's easy: We snaking or auctioning?