What’s fair value for Manny?

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?

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  1. Mark said...

    As a Manny owner, I approached this from a slightly different angle. When the news broke, I took stock of my team. My 3 OFers had been Quentin, Crawford, and Manny. Jay Bruce fit into my UTIL spot, and Elijah Dukes was the first hitter off my bench when I needed to fill an OF or UTIL spot.

    So, pushing Manny to the end of the bench, now my 3 OF spots were Quentin, Crawford, and Bruce, and Dukes filled the UTIL spot. So when I received a trade offer of Alex Rios for Manny Ramirez, the question I posed was this—which is more valuable—2 months of Elijah Dukes plus the remainder of Manny’s season, or Alex Rios over that same period?

    Posing the question that way led me to the conclusion that I was better keeping Manny and playing Elijah Dukes in the interim. Is my reasoning faulty? Should I have accepted the Manny for Rios deal (disregarding particular category needs like HR’s or steals).

  2. Eriq said...

    I think your approach is sound. You definitely want to factor in the replacement option you already have (or can get via the waiver wire).

    That said, according to preseason projections, Manny and Rios measured almost exactly equally in value.

    Rios hasn’t been playing particularly well thus far, but I think there’s signs he could break out of a slump. As for Dukes, he’s played well this season, but has gotten slightly lucky on balls hit in play and has been caught stealing four times in six attempts. Plus, Dukes is a hot head and will always remain a risk from that standpoint.

    Personally, I think it’s a trade I would have accepted. I think Rios offers enough upside, and Manny/Dukes offer enough risk, that pulling the trigger on the trade would seem fairly reasonable in my eyes.

    Certainly, however, it’s not a slam dunk and you might very well get better value from the combination you kept.

    One last thing to consider. Of course, you have to factor in the value of the replacement player (i.e. Dukes) who becomes your Manny replacement. On the other hand, you might also consider what value you might get for Dukes in a trade. If you trade Manny for Rios, that frees you up to possibly move Dukes for a different player who can help your team.

  3. Mark said...

    Well, to go a bit further into my analysis, I had 2 other factors which came into play:

    (1) This is a keeper league, which would seem to give Rios another advantage. However, our keeper format is 2 hitters, 2 pitchers, plus owner’s choice. So even if I kept 3 hitters….it’s not likely Rios would be one of those three, unless he has a massive breakout season and we have good reason to believe he’s established a new level of performance.

    (2) My team is already steals heavy (Crawford, Reyes, and Brian Roberts), so the Manny/Duke HRs seemed more critical than Rios’s AVG and steals. It did occur to me, however, that having already gotten 23 steals out of Crawford, I could accept the trade for Rios, then swap Crawford for another power hitter.

  4. Chad Burke said...

    Something else to consider is that Dukes wasn’t exactly an ironman with a variety of injuries he’s suffered.  If he gets dinged up and you have a bench spot wasted on a guy who isn’t playing then you will be replacing Manny for a few weeks with some scrub you find off the WW.  In addition, not sure if yours is daily lineups or weekly, but for the former it kills you to have a short bench as you miss a lot of stats when you don’t have someone you can fill in when a guy gets a day off.

  5. chuck said...

    i took the value of any replacement player available.  since making a trade for a player as strong as many would have weakened me at too many other spots, i had to look at my bench and free agents. after reading the posts and doing my own analysis, it seems that throughout the fantasy world, it’s better to hold on to him and wait for manny to be manny.

  6. chuck said...

    just read the blog on the one-for-ones for manny.  someone really traded russell branyan straight up for manny??  i want that guy in my league…..

  7. Melasma said...

    I have noticed increasingly lately that my concentration, memory, both short and long, ability to think and concentrate and functioning is notably impaired. I seem to be in one place but another in mind, never really with it and often finding myself not really listening to people even going into a trance and finding it hard to snap out.

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