The hopes of many fantasy teams this season took a deep blow when Major League Baseball suspended Manny Ramirez for 50 games late last week for testing positive for the female fertility drug hCG.
Many owners of Manny may have contemplated filing a class action lawsuit against the guy. (Sorry, that probably won’t work.) Maybe the second thought involved trade.
But what’s Manny worth these days?
First, let’s take a look at the real market. Here’s a network diagram of recent one-for-one trades involving Manny in the aftermath of the latest PED suspension.
Obviously, some owners have been able to get good players such as Tim Lincecum, Matt Holliday, and Dan Haren in return. The vast majority of trades, though, almost look like frustrated Manny dumps: Eric Stults? Nyjer Morgan? Brian Bannister???
What’s really fair value for Manny?
Coming into the season, according to our roundup of projections from respected organizations like Baseball Prospectus, BaseballHQ, ESPN, etc., Manny was expected to produce a line like 30 HR, 99 RBI, 86 runs, 2 steals, and a .299 AVG.
Manny is eligible to return in early July. Nobody knows for sure how the mental stress of being publicly humiliated will sit with Manny upon his return, but given his history of being able to shrug off pressure, we might expect Manny’s remaining production in 2009 to be roughly half of those counting stats.
The question then becomes what player will produce 19 weeks of stats in equivalence to Manny’s expected 12?
We took consensus preseason projections for all major league players, translated these projections into a player rater similar to the one we covered in this column last week, and compared the resulting values to each other. So who are the players we can expect Manny to equal from now until the end of the season?
According to our data, here’s a few names of equivalent value: Milton Bradley, Jayson Werth, Jhonny Peralta, JJ Hardy, Conor Jackson, Robinson Cano.
Of course, not all things are created equal. Anybody accepting Manny in a deal will have to sacrifice a roster position for 50 days since Manny isn’t eligible to be put on the disabled list. Every roster spot has value and should certainly be a consideration in Manny’s fantasy value.
But here’s another idea for everybody dying to get rid of Manny and anybody with a deep bench looking for some long-term upside by acquiring Manny.
Before the season started, we talked about toxic assets, those things that haunt your portfolio but can’t reasonably drop. How might you get rid of a toxic asset?
One good idea is to exchange one toxic asset for another. Assets are toxic for different reasons, opening the possibility of trade.
Certainly, there are fantasy teams out there who regret drafting Alexei Ramirez or the above-mentioned Milton Bradley. Perhaps these teams are so sick of these players they’ll gladly accept the stability of having a guy like Manny, who they can sit on the bench with some assurance of getting at least some good value down the line.
As for Manny, well, he’s a toxic asset unto himself. Perhaps a Manny owner will agree to forfeit their high investment in a dud like Manny for the upside of having another highly drafted guy who thus far hasn’t worked out, but who might soon turn the tide.
Can we make a deal, everyone?