Friends and Family Matters

I don't know how you did it, Yahoo! readers.

This time last year, baseball season was just starting, and I was trying to forget the ugly, ugly looking team I had drafted in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League.

How bad was it? The first two draft picks were Alfonso Soriano and David Ortiz. The primary closer was J.J. Putz. The top of the rotation was made up of Carlos Zambrano, Brad Penny and Fausto Carmona.

The team was pure crap, yet you made it work.

This time last year, I gave you a copy of the keys. The car was less Lamborghini and more Fiat Multipla, but somehow, someway, you did it.

I asked you to look over the league's waiver wire. You scoured. I told you I would consider following any well-developed advice you had to offer. You flooded my inbox. I said, "It's about time we Average Joes unite; let's beat these experts together." You united and came closer to winning than you ever should have.

I don't know how you did it, boys and girls, but in a 12-team expert league, you hauled that ugly junker of an Average Joe team to a fourth-place finish.

This year, I say we finish the job.

I'm giving you a copy of the keys again. Forget the Fiat Multipla – we've traded up; I made sure of it. I'm supposed to be trying to graduate college, but in the month leading up to the draft, I kid you not, I mock drafted more than I went to class. The disparity between the two wasn't even close.

You deserved a better product to work with at the start of the season, and now you have it.

This team comes fully loaded. You want a steady offensive core? I give you David Wright, Justin Morneau and Jason Bay. You want a rotation full of high-strikeout arms? I give you the Friends and Family League's best collection of starters: Dan Haren, Yovani Gallardo, Erik Bedard, Carlos Zambrano, Brett Anderson and a healing Kelvim Escobar (he should return from the disabled list this month).

Our team has some exciting breakout talent in Alex Gordon and Jay Bruce. We have some late draft-day gems in Aaron Hill, Daniel Murphy and Ryan Spilborghs. We have a burner on the basepaths in Felipe Lopez (I traded Matt Cain for him, which isn't a loss for us when you consider our depth and Cain's annually low win total). And what about our closers? Oh, you'll like this.

It's a 14-team league this season, so on average, each team should have about two closers. Headlined by Joakim Soria, we have four. And if Frank Francisco doesn't pan out in Texas, we have the guy who will in C.J. Wilson. That'd be five.

Throw in the waiver-wire addition of wildcard Travis Hafner, and suddenly, things get interesting.

The way I see it, if you were able to take that forsaken team from last year and turn it into a fourth-place contender, then anything less than a third-place finish with this team would be a major disappointment. Frankly, I think we should be gunning for gold.

With that in mind, let's get to work. Escobar was just placed on the disabled list, so that frees up an extra roster spot. What should we do with it?

Each team can place two players on the disabled list at once, so I suggest that we first add an injured player to occupy that second disabled list spot alongside Escobar (might as well, right?). That leaves you to answer two questions. First: which injured player should we add for that second disabled list spot? Second: what healthy player should we then add to the active roster? Here' a link to the free agent pool. Please respond below with your recommendations.

Anthony Reyes had a fantastic spring training, and he is available. That is intriguing, but seeing our depth already, we would probably be better suited with a hitter.

The streaky Marcus Thames who is now playing full-time in Detroit? A corner infielder like Hank Blalock or Chad Tracy for depth? A maturing middle infielder like Chris Getz to serve as a backup plan to Jed Lowrie? A young but ultra-talented prospect like Colby Rasmus? Somebody else?

It's a tough call, but after last year, you have earned the right to make it.

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