Week Ten Stream Team

The Stream Team feature is designed to help you identify the best pitching matchups for each week of the fantasy baseball season.  All pitchers with an average ownership below 40% in Yahoo! and ESPN Leagues are assigned a Matchup Score (MS), a score that weighs multiple factors in an effort to quantify how successful any pitcher will be on any given night.  You can learn more about how Matchup Scores are calculated by scrolling to the bottom of the page. If you’re looking for a breakdown of two-start pitchers for week nine, Tommy Landseadel has you covered here.

Last Sunday was the best day of baseball that I can remember in quite some time. It was Memorial Day weekend, so besides grilling out, the only thing I had on my schedule was to watch as much of America’s pastime as possible. I had four stream starters pitching on the day and a number of fantasy matchups that were coming down to the wire in my weekly leagues, and thanks to MLB.com’s live feed, I was able to watch the entirety of Josh Becket’s no-hitter, as well as Dallas Keuchel’s four hitter, Rafael Montero’s ten strikeout performance versus the Diamondbacks, and Bronson Arroyo’s six innings of one run ball versus the Mets.  When the day was over, those four stream starts accounted for three wins and just two earned runs over thirty innings of work.  They were also responsible for completing the most dominant week my teams have had yet this season.

I suppose I also have those four pitchers to thank for another great week of streaming overall. In the past week, thirty-four recommended pitchers have started games. Those 34 pitchers have gone 15-8 with a 3.16 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and 159 strikeouts over 202 innings of work.   In the last fourteen days, pitchers recommended in this feature have gone 31-15 with a 3.20 ERA and 1.23 WHIP.  Not bad numbers for pitchers available in 60% of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues.

We’ll look to keep the ball rolling in week ten which, at least on paper, appears to be the best weeks for streaming pitchers that we’ve seen in nearly a month. There are several elite matchups available, led by Travis Wood’s matchup with the Mets (8.0 MS) and Tanner Roark’s matchup versus the Padres in San Diego (7.5 MS). Wood and Roark will be the seventeenth and eighteenth pitchers with Matchup Scores of 7.5 or higher to start this season. The sixteen pitchers who have started so far this season have compiled a 2.84 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. I fully expect Wood and Roark to continue this dominant trend.

While Wood and Roark have the best matchups this week, Collin McHugh is the pitcher I’ll be watching the closest. McHugh’s finally roped me in with his elite strikeout rate, and if there’s one pitcher that I’m not going to throw back into the streamer pool this week, McHugh figures to be the guy. His start on Tuesday versus the Angels isn’t ideal, but he makes the Stream Team on Sunday with a start against the Twins.  I plan to use him for both starts.   The rest of our Week Ten Stream Team looks like this:

  • Monday – Bartolo Colon at Phillies (6.8 MS, Yahoo! 23%, ESPN 3%)
  • Tuesday – Gavin Floyd vs Mariners (6.9 MS, Yahoo! 9%, ESPN 10%)
  • Wednesday – Edwin Jackson (5.5 MS, Yahoo! 4%, ESPN 2%) 
  • Thursday – Travis Wood vs Mets (8.0 MS, Yahoo! 41%, ESPN 13%)
  • Friday – Tanner Roark at Padres (7.5 MS, Yahoo! 30% ESPN 12%)
  • Saturday – Bartolo Colon at Giants (6.2 MS, Yahoo! 23%, ESPN 3%)
  • Sunday – Collin McHugh at Twins (6.8 MS, Yahoo 22%, ESPN 15) 

 

IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS

Note: I have included pitchers with Matchup Scores below 5.5 in my data this week, however, I do not recommend using any pitchers with Matchup Scores below 5.5 nor do I factor pitchers with Matchup Scores below 5.5 into my cumulative streamer data. All statistics referenced in my analysis come from Fangraphs. When analyzing the charts throughout this article, K% and wOBA refer to the opposing team’s stats for the 2014 season.  When calculating Matchup Scores, active roster data since 2013 is weighted far more heavily.

 

MONDAY’S OPTIONS

Pitcher MS Yahoo! ESPN Opp K% wOBA Park Factor
Charlie Morton 7.1 7 3 at SD 22.10% 0.283 0.95
Bartolo Colon 6.8 23 25 at PHI 20.40% 0.29 1.03
David Phelps 6.3 4 1 vs SEA 21.50% 0.297 1.03
Roberto Hernandez 5.4 1 1 vs NYM 21.00% 0.291 1.03

 As I wrote last week, the most valuable thing you can do when deciding whether or not to stream Charlie Morton is to determine what left-handed hitters he will face. The Padres don’t have many intimidating bats to begin with, and Everth Cabrera, Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley, and Jedd Gyorko all bat from the right side. Seth Smith, who in all fairness hits right-handed pitching very well, is the main guy Morton will need to worry about. Despite Morton’s low strikeout and high walk rates, this matchup plays enough to his favor to make him a high quality option on Monday.

While Morton draws the highest Matchup Score on Monday, I actually like Bartolo Colon a bit more and named Colon to this week’s stream team. Colon has a fabulous 7.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and his 4.73 ERA is inflated given his peripherals. Colon is simply a better pitcher than Morton, and the Phillies are only nominally better versus right-handed pitching than the Padres. Colon, in my opinion, is the better play here.

As I’ve written previously, I’ve always been intrigued by David Phelps as a starter. Because he has control problems, he carries more risk than Colon, and because he’s an extreme flyball pitcher, he carries more risk than Morton, but his ability to strikeout nearly a batter per inning and a matchup with the strikeout prone Mariners (21.5 K% in 2014) gives him a bit more upside than the other options available on Monday. If you don’t mind a little extra risk, I wouldn’t argue with someone who wanted to start Phelps over Morton or Colon.

 

TUESDAY’S OPTIONS

Pitcher MS Yahoo! ESPN Opp Team 14 K% 14 wOBA Park Factor
Gavin Floyd 6.9 9 10 vs SEA 21.50% 0.297 0.98
Jake Arrieta 6.0 3 1 vs NYM 21.00% 0.291 1.02
Jaime Garcia 5.9 21 22 vs KC 14.30% 0.296 0.97
Henderson Alvarez 5.7 12 5 vs TB 17.20% 0.308 0.94
Bud Norris 5.3 4 2 at TEX 18.00% 0.319 1.00
David Buchanan 5.1 1 0 at WAS 20.90% 0.299 0.97
Samuel Deduno 5.0 1 0 at MIL 20.10% 0.321 1.01
Collin McHugh 6.0 22 15 vs LAA 21.90% 0.32 1.03

Gavin Floyd has never been a particularly good pitcher, as his career 4.43 ERA and 7.1 K/9 attest to, but moving from the American League to the National League and moving from a hitter’s park to a pitcher’s park were bound to help his numbers. At some point, we also have to give credit to Braves’ pitching coach Roger McDowell, who continues to get the most of the talent he has available (Aaron Harang anyone?). In Floyd’s return from Tommy John surgery, he is striking out more batters (8.0 K/9) and walking less (2.4 BB/9), which has allowed him to maintain a 2.37 ERA through his first five stats. I’m not sold on Floyd as a long-term starter, but he’s definitely worth a stream start on Tuesday.

While I’m not sold on Floyd, Collin McHugh has slowly transformed me into a believer. Versus the Royals on Monday, McHugh struck out nine batters without walking one, a performance that was nearly as dominant as the twelve strikeout, zero walk performance he turned in versus the Mariners in his season debut. He’s now struck out at least seven in each of his last three starts, and while he’s seven innings short of the minimum innings pitched to qualify, his 12.1% swinging strike rate would be tied with Felix Hernandez for seventh in the league (it would place him just above Max Scherzer). His 28.1% strikeout rate is even better, as it would place him fourth in the league behind Masahiro Tanaka, Zack Greinke, and Yu Darvish. The most enticing things about McHugh’s profile is that he’s managed these numbers while exhibiting better than average control. His 6.8 BB% is well below the league average of 8.1%. Tuesday’s start with the Angels is obviously a dangerous one, but two weeks ago I recommended grabbing McHugh’s teammate Dallas Keuchel for a Tuesday start against the Angels and then hanging onto him for his second start. I’ll do the same this week with McHugh this week.

Jaime Garcia is a third option I will consider on Tuesday. In his first twelve and two-thirds innings of work since returning from last year’s season ending shoulder surgery, Garcia has struck out twelve and walked none. His fastball velocity is also up two miles per hour from where it sat during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, and his velocity is higher than it has been at any point since Pitchf/x began tracking velocity in 2008. Garcia’s throwing more strikes and getting batters to chase more often, and batters are making worse contact versus him both inside and outside of the zone. Sure, it’s a very small sample, and sure, Garcia’s health is always a concern, but if he can maintain his gains in velocity while continuing to display the control that he’s always possessed, Garcia could actually improve upon his career 3.46 ERA. Despite the Royals posing a slightly negative matchup for Garcia, I plan to use him above Arrieta on Tuesday and I will strongly consider holding him if he is still pitching well after this start and I have a spot available on my roster.

I’m not as excited about any of the other Tuesday matchups. While Jake Arrieta owns a 3.20 ERA, his 3.6 BB/9, 1.50 WHIP, as well as a history of mediocrity in the major leagues, suggest a major correction is coming. Henderson Alvarez, meanwhile, was removed from his last start due to shoulder stiffness. I don’t feel there’s any reason to risk starting him versus a good Tampa Bay team.

 

Wednesday’s Options

Pitcher MS Yahoo! ESPN Opp Team 14 K% 14 wOBA Park Factor
Rafael Montero 6.6 8 1 at CHC 22.60% 0.282 1.02
Jason Vargas 5.9 27 31 vs STL 20.00% 0.298 0.99
Edwin Jackson 5.5 4 2 vs NYM 21.00% 0.291 1.02
John Danks 5.4 3 1 at LAD 23.10% 0.294 0.96
Tom Koehler 5.3 28 14 at TB 17.20% 0.308 0.98

 

The last time I recommended Montero he struck out ten batters while allowing just two hits. Even still, I’m hesitant to use him. Montero is currently walking five batters per inning (12.5 BB%), and through his first three starts, he has only thrown 38.4% of his pitches for strikes, nearly 8% below the league average. Another issue facing Montero on Wednesday is that he has struggled mightily versus left-handed hitting (.474 wOBA versus LHB.256 wOBA vs RHB). The Cubs rely heavily on split stats, so look for them to implement a left-handed dominant lineup versus Montero. If there’s any good news for Montero, it’s that he demonstrated much better control prior to this season and the Cubs aren’t very good despite their reliance on split stats. I wouldn’t be shocked if Montero threw another gem, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he lasted less than three innings. Approach with caution.

[Edit: Montero was demoted.]

While I would use Montero in certain situations, I’ll be avoiding Jason Vargas completely. If the Cardinals were able to use a DH regularly, their hitting stats would be significantly better than they already are, and Vargas’ Matchup Score would be significantly worse. Don’t play Vargas.

Unfortunately, by the time you get to the third best option for Wednesday you’re stuck with Edwin Jackson and a 5.5 Matchup Score. On the plus side, Jackson is facing the high strikeout Mets. On the downside, you can’t trust Edwin Jackson. I’d play Jackson over Vargas, but rather than starting either of these two, your best bet would be to add any of the top four recommended starters for Thursday.

 

Thursday’s Options

Day Pitcher MS Yahoo! ESPN Opp Team 14 K% 14 wOBA Park Factor
Thursday Travis Wood 8.0 41 13 vs NYM 25.90% 0.32 1.01
Thursday Jake Odorizzi 6.8 9 4 vs Mia 23.50% 0.329 0.99
Thursday Tyler Skaggs 6.6 21 19 at HOU 20.60% 0.325 1.03
Thursday Mike Leake 6.1 44 36 vs SF 22.50% 0.31 1.00
Thursday Kyle Kendrick 5.4 2 1 at WAS 20.90% 0.299 0.98
Thursday Jacob deGrom 5.3 6 2 at CHC 22.60% 0.282 1.02
Thursday Drew Hutchison 5.1 32 16 at Det 16.80% 0.334 1.03

 

I’ve written about Wood the past two weeks. He is pitching well. He has been unlucky. Since I began writing this feature in week four, only five pitchers have had Matchup Scores of 8.0 or higher. Those pitchers have a 2.53 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over 32 innings of work. Look for Wood to dominate the Mets.

If Wood is unavailable, Jake Odorizzi is an intriguing option versus the Marlins, but know that Odorizzi is a high risk (4.6 BB/9), high reward (10.4 K/9) play. Odorrizi’s Matchup Score is also slightly inflated since the Marlins will be using a DH.

Last week I wrote that I’m nervous to use pitchers with low strikeout rates versus the Astros. Skaggs fits this bill, yet I’m not nervous about this matchup. Look for Skaggs to turn in another quality start on Thursday. Surprisingly, Mike Leake’s matchup with the Giants is quite comparable to Skaggs’ matchup versus the Astros. The Astros have a .325 wOBA and 20.6 K% vs LHP this season. The Giants have a .310 wOBA and 22.5 K% vs RHP. The only reason Leake’s matchup isn’t rated higher than Skaggs is that the Giants were much better versus RHP last season. Given their struggles over the first two months of this season, don’t be afraid to use Leake.

 

Friday’s Options

Pitcher MS Yahoo! ESPN Opp Team 14 K% 14 wOBA Park Factor
Tanner Roark 7.5 30 12 at SD 22.10% 0.283 0.95
Brandon McCarthy 6.7 8 2 vs ATL 23.10% 0.281 1.02
Jonathan Niese 6.1 36 38 at SF 20.20% 0.32 0.97
Erik Bedard 6.1 4 1 vs Sea 21.10% 0.288 0.99
Drew Smyly 5.5 32 54 vs BOS 22.20% 0.33 1.06
Scott Feldman 5.4 16 6 at MIN 21.60% 0.315 1.01
Nick Tepesch 5.4 5 3 vs CLE 18.10% 0.336 1.00
Trevor Bauer 5.3 32 18 at TEX 18.00% 0.319 1.00
Jeremy Guthrie 5.1 4 2 vs NYY 18.90% 0.311 0.99
Edinson Volquez 5.1 5 3 vs MIL 20.10% 0.321 0.93
Chase Whitley 5.0 1 0 at KC 14.70% 0.292 0.99
Andre Rienzo 4.8 2 2 at LAA 21.90% 0.32 1.01

After Nate Eovaldi gave up six runs in four and one-third innings against the Giants on May 15, his ownership briefly dropped below the 40% threshold for streaming. Since then, he’s pitched 12.1 innings and given up just three earned runs. His average ownership is currently 43%, and if he is available in your league, he is a great streaming option versus the Cubs (7.6 MS). Similarly, Phil Hughes is now owned in 49% of Yahoo! and ESPN Leagues, but if he is available start him versus the Astros (7.5 MS).

Tanner Roark’s matchup versus the Padres is one of the best options available this week. Roark is limiting hitters to a line drive rate of just 15.2%, and he’s walking just 6.3% of the batters he faces. On April 26, he struck out eight Padres while pitching a three-hit shutout. You shouldn’t expect a duplicate performance, but a quality start should definitely be in line for Roark.

I’ve been touting Brandon McCarthy for several weeks in this feature and I continue to believe that he should be on your radar every time he pitches. McCarthy’s seemingly reinvented himself as a sinker ball pitcher over the past three seasons. This year’, he’s throwing his sinker 57.9% of the time. Consequently, he has a 54% groundball rate which is easily a career best and which should pay dividends for him in the long run. His velocity is also up nearly two miles per hour, which accounts for a spike in his swinging strike rate and a career best strikeout percentage. The reason that McCarthy’s ERA sits at 4.87 is a career worst strand rate and a HR/FB rate (21.2%) that is more than double his career rate of 10.0%. Throw in the fact that three of his 11 home runs allowed came in a start at Coors Field, and there’s enough here to convince that McCarthy could be on the verge of breaking out. Start him versus the Braves.

Jonathan Niese is another strong option in what Matchup Score is ranking as a slightly negative matchup versus the Giants. I certainly prefer Niese to Erik Bedard, despite a cushy matchup for the latter at Safeco Field.

 

SATURDAY’S OPTIONS

Pitcher MS Yahoo! ESPN Opp Team 14 K% 14 wOBA Park Factor
Blake Treinen 6.3 1 0 at SD 22.10% 0.283 0.95
Bartolo Colon 6.2 23 25 at SF 22.50% 0.31 0.98
Charlie Morton 6.1 7 3 vs MIL 20.10% 0.321 0.93
David Phelps 6.1 4 1 at KC 14.70% 0.292 0.99
Wade Miley 5.6 15 12 vs ATL 24.80% 0.371 1.03
Kyle Gibson 5.5 5 3 vs HOU 23.30% 0.306 1.01
Eric Stults 5.4 2 0 vs WAS 21.20% 0.338 0.93
Jose Quintana 5.3 37 10 at LAA 16.60% 0.336 1.02
Jaime Garcia 5.3 21 22 at TOR 18.80% 0.348 1.08
Josh Tomlin 5.2 5 3 at TEX 18.00% 0.319 1.00
Roenis Elias 5.2 11 4 at TB 19.90% 0.306 0.98
Randy Wolf 5.1 0 0 at CHC 25.10% 0.329 1.01
Danny Duffy 5.0 13 6 vs NYY 18.50% 0.323 0.98

I broke down McHugh’s profile in the analysis of Tuesday’s streamer options. McHugh is the best option available on Saturday. Use him.

Despite the best Matchup Score for Saturday, I don’t expect to use Blake Treinen unless I’m chasing a win. He’s not going to get you many strikeouts, and I prefer to stream pitchers with more data available for analysis and projection.  Instead, we are forced to choose between Charlie Morton, Bartolo Colon, and David Phelps for the second time this week.

The Brewers might have the most right-handed dominant lineup in baseball, which makes them one of the best matchups in the league for Morton’s extreme splits. Scooter Gennett, Lyle Overbay, and Logan Schafer are the only left-handed bats getting any playing time for the Brewers. Even still, Morton hasn’t had a tremendous amount of success versus the Brewers this season (2 GS, 13.0 IP, 6 K, 1.46 WHIP, 4.85 ERA). Don’t expect many strikeouts, but if you need a win, Morton is a decent option.

Colon’s start versus the Giants is significantly lower than his score for Monday’s tilt with the Phillies, but it’s worth noting that the Giants have been worse versus right-handed pitching than the Phillies this season and AT&T Park is a much better pitcher’s environment than Citizens Bank Park. The Mets figure to be heavy underdogs in this contest, so if you need a win, I’d look elsewhere, but if you’re simply looking for some strikeouts and decent ratios, Colon is a decent option.

Once again, Phelps is the wildcard. If you don’t need to worry about ERA or WHIP, he’s the best option due to his ability to rack up strikeouts and the likelihood he gets a win. The downside is that his control and fly ball rates make him more likely to implode. On the plus side, no one in Kansas City seems capable of hitting a homerun.

The last option to consider Saturday is Wade Miley who will face the Braves. Atlanta has been absolutely killing left-handed pitching this season (.371 wOBA) and Miley hasn’t exactly been great (4.76 ERA, 1.30 WHIP). I plan to steer clear of this matchup, but Miley did strike out eleven Padres in his last start. If you are only seeking strikeouts, he’s an option.

 

SUNDAY’S OPTIONS

Pitcher MS Yahoo! ESPN Opp Team 14 K% 14 wOBA Park Factor
Collin McHugh 6.8 22 15 at MIN 21.60% 0.315 1.01
Henderson Alvarez 6.6 12 5 at CHC 22.60% 0.282 1.02
Jake Arrieta 6.3 3 1 vs MIA 23.50% 0.329 1.02
Samuel Deduno 6.1 1 0 vs HOU 23.30% 0.306 1.02
Chase Anderson 5.9 1 1 vs ATL 23.10% 0.281 1.01
Tim Stauffer 5.1 2 3 vs WAS 20.90% 0.299 0.94
Jared Cosart 4.9 4 1 at MIN 21.60% 0.315 1.02
David Buchanan 4.7 1 0 at CIN 20.40% 0.306 1.01
Bud Norris 4.5 4 2 vs OAK 17.10% 0.337 1.05

I broke down Collin McHugh’s matchup in my analysis of Tuesday.  He is, without question, the best option for Sunday’s games.  The only other option I would consider under normal circumstances is Henderson Alvarez, and I will only use Alvarez if he has clearly demonstrated that he is healthy.  If you’re just looking for strikeouts, Deduno isn’t a terrible play.

 

How Matchup Scores are Calculated

When evaluating pitcher matchups, there are a number of important factors to consider, including

  • A pitcher’s strikeout and walk percentages
  • A pitcher’s batted ball profile
  • A pitcher’s wOBA
  • The opposing team’s wOBA vs either LHP or RHP
  • The opposing team’s K% vs LHP or RHP
  • The likelihood that a pitcher earns a win in the contest
  • The effect that the ball park will have upon the pitcher’s performance

Matchup Scores attempt to take all of these factors into consideration, assigning a weight to each factor that is proportional to each factor’s impact and predictive power. Perhaps the easiest way to think of a Matchup Score is as a rating for how well a pitcher is expected to perform against a specific opponent, in a specific park, at a specific time.

While I have been evaluating pitcher matchups based on these factors for some time, I only began the process of quantifying these factors into a single score in April of 2014. This is an ongoing process and changes to the formula are continually being considered and implemented in an effort to make Matchup Scores more predictive.

Matchup Score Ratings

Matchup Score Rating
12.0 Excellent
10.0 Great
8.0 Very Good
7.0 Good
6.0 Average
5.0 Poor
4.0 Awful

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5 thoughts on “Week Ten Stream Team”

  1. McHugh’s Tuesday start has a Matchup Score of 6.0. That got left off the chart somehow.

  2. 12 team h2h weekly points keeper league

    Holding up a 4th place team but being ravaged by injuries. Jose F. , Weiters, Votto, Cain, and now Cano is dinged up. Got 2 trade offers in to me

    My Cano for dozier, samardijza, and Leona’s Martin

    My Jose Reyes (another injury risk) and Morneau for Greinke and Carpenter

    Big bats are cano, votto, Mauer, Craig, pence, Alvarez, Yelich, Alex Gordon, bogaerts, Reyes
    Staff is Gerrit cole, Cain, Ian Kennedy, Hutchinson and Beckett.

    Either deal, both to get some pitching and hitting for struggling or hurt bats or neither deal is good? Thanks!

    1. Deal one is actually pretty good. Deal two is even better.
      I hesitated on one because it looks like selling low on Cano while buying high on Shark and Dozier. At the end of the day though, getting a big arm will help your team and Dozier is better than I’d given him credit for. I have little to no use for Martin in a 12tm points league though.
      Deal two is a no brainer in my humble opinion. Greinke>Reyes… and Carpenter is a great replacement.

  3. It sounds like you don’t need to panic with Cano’s injury, but I do think you need to make a move to fill the void left by Jose Fernandez. Before making a deal, I’d look to see if Andrew Heaney is available. Beckett’s been great, but if I were drafting a team today, I’d draft Heaney above Beckett or Hutchison.

    Regarding the two deals you have on the table, I agree with Paul in that I like them both. At the start of the season, I was quite low on Greinke compared to the industry (five straight years of declining velocity, a strikeout rate that dipped below the league average, and Greinke’s challenges with anxiety all had me concerned), but batters have been clueless against him this year. They are swinging at far more pitches outside the zone and watching far more strikes, which accounts for his renaissance as an elite strikeout pitcher. My problem with deal two is that I don’t see where Carpenter fits on your team (Cano will likely be back before your trade is processed) and I have some reservations about counting on Bogaerts as my everyday short stop (his .396 BABIP makes him a poster boy for regression). At the same time, I don’t trust Jose Reyes to stay healthy and shortstop is a position where elite production isn’t necessary. I’m not as high on this deal as Paul, but I still like it. It drastically improves your rotation and trading Reyes eliminates some risk.

    At the same time, I really like the idea of getting Dozier and Samardzjia for Cano. Like Paul said, my biggest concern here is that Leonys Martin isn’t very useful in a 12 team points league, and I don’t think he adds anything to your team. If you can take Martin out and get an upgrade somewhere else (maybe include Gordon or Yellich in the deal for a slightly better outfielder), I would prefer this deal.

  4. Thanks. Still waiting in both deals to think it over more. Just picked up asdrubal Cabrera off waivers so I can slot him at ss if I move Reyes. I figure if the combo of dozier, carpenter, and asdrubal match the production of Reyes and cano then I upgrade my pitching by a mile with smardizja and Greinke. In wait and see mode right now. The cano deal is there anytime I want. Waiting for the final word on the Greinke deal.

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