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Fantasy baseball: Hit while the weather is hot

Published: Friday, July 19, 2013 11:45 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, July 19, 2013 11:45 p.m. CST

A city boy by nature, I hate to tell any of you who farm for a living when it’s time to make hay.

But, at least within the confines of fantasy baseball, these next couple of weeks make up, in my humble opinion, the most important hay-making period of the season. Except, perhaps the weeks leading up to draft day.

Welcome to the dog days, friends. There’s umpteen better things to do than surf the Web, including literal surfing, if you have the resources. Grillouts, outdoor projects and camping trips lurk around every corner. Don’t kid yourself: Football is king, and there are likely a few guys in your league whose allegiances are already shifting.

I know that sounds crazy, but I have heard from a number of people already who would rather build their fantasy football spreadsheets than break down the long-term payoff of dropping Mitch Moreland for Matt Adams.

(By the way, that’s not a random example. If no one has scooped up “Babe” Adams in the event Matt Holliday’s hamstring issue looms, you’ve got a transaction to make.)

And that’s what makes a little dedication go a long way in the months of July and August. Prospects are going to start getting called up like it’s going out of style. Not quite like in September, when the rosters expand. But this is a relatively penalty-free time of the year for reality baseball teams to find out if their touted prospects are ready to help the cause in September.

And teams that know they’re going nowhere but to set up those last tee times in September are also going to toss the kids into the big-league water and see how well they swim.

Another reason why you can move and shake at this time of the year is that we’re creatures of habit. Folks who truly love fantasy baseball like us get into it because it’s a daily grind. Well, give such a fantasy manager 4 days off, and it might take him/her a few days to get back in the swing of things now that the season has resumed.

As for those who enjoy fantasy baseball but aren’t completely ga-ga about it, it might take them a few weeks to get both cheeks comfortably back in the saddle.

For the low, low price of 15 minutes a day, those who sit atop their leagues can create some space. That’s what I hope to do in my mixed league. Those dwelling in the cellar can not only climb out, but grab a few rungs in a few weeks. Interestingly enough, that’s what I hope to do in my NL-only league. My teams are Jekyll and Hyde this year, man. One catches all the breaks, the other suffers all the breaks – of bones.

That latter situation is also a big reason why I love our side bets, one of which is the team that makes the biggest jump in the second half garnering enough jelly beans to barter his way in next season. So if you’re worried about teams “checking out” in the second half because they’re struggling, consider proposing that rule to your league next season.

The one thing that’s tough to do at this time of the year is swing trades, for the very reasons I just touched on. You could offer Miguel Cabrera for Carlos Pena, and some managers wouldn’t see it, let alone jump on it.

NOTE: Do NOT offer that deal just to see if I’m right.

As tricky as it is to swing deals in July, if you’ve got a team that’s unmistakably dead in the water in your league, be persistent, especially if it’s a keeper league. That’s what makes this little game we play so fun. No one needs to get fleeced. Both teams can win in a deal, one of them now, the other later.

The Hot Corner

Let’s Get Some Chatter Goin’

This week’s banter

Last week’s topic

How do you feel about the All-Star game?

• Doug MacRunnels (Dixon): Ronald Reagan ... No reason needed

Pitch the Commish

Crash Davis might have called strikeouts fascist, but they’re the name of the game this week. The commish predicts Rangers ace Yu Darvish will strike out more batters than any other pitcher this week. Pick any other hurler and, if he out-fans Darvish, you’re in the SVM Dynasty League next season.

Send responses to cheimerman@saukvalley.com or tweet them to him (@CHeimerman_SVM). Also, look for questions on Facebook (Sauk Valley Sports).

Market survey

Buy low: Ryan Braun, Brewers OF: I wish he’d get the suspension he deserves now, so we Crew fans could jiggle the handle on this season. But he’ll likely serve it next year and hit 20 meaningless bombs the rest of this season.

Sell high: Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers 3B/SS: They call him Mr. Glass. OK, maybe no one calls him that, but don’t you just feel like another DL stint is inevitable? Even if not, he’s not getting any hotter than he was entering the break.

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