h2h Corner ~ Manny Ramirez

There has been a deluge of coverage surrounding Manny. I’ve never loved him as a fantasy entity and am ambivalent about him as a player/human, so I was mostly happy that he got suspended. I would love to see the hypocrisy within baseball torn down. Bonds is vilified because he was a jerk and a successful cheat, yet Petitte gets a free pass?

Also, some of the very people damning these players, sports writers, are the gatekeepers of the public’s trust. It is a newsman’s/woman’s job to report the news. Just because McGwire and Sosa were saving baseball doesn’t make it cool to overlook facts. Maybe writers tried and editors were hesitant to run pieces. But for an entire industry to fail us then turn around with indignation is repugnant.

So, I welcome the news from Manny. Obviously there are fantasy repercussions, which I am somewhat more qualified to discuss.

In shallow leagues you can recover from this, in deep, deep leagues you are in deep, deep trouble. Still, I think my response has been underwhelming so far. To quote a fantasy baseball enthusiast and bigger Red Sox fan (I on the other hand root for my fantasy teams in expense of the Orioles – and blame Angelos for it):

“Manny getting suspended is huge. He was having a great season (.348 AVE, .492 OBP, six HRs and 20 RBIs in 27 games), and those of us who drafted him (I think he was my third round selection in our Yahoo league) were getting great dividends. I haven’t completely made up my mind on what to do, but I think I’m going to have to drop him. I mean, with limited bench spaces, there are only so many guys that you can carry. Then again, I do have David Aardsma on my team, so there may be more droppable folks before I say bye bye to Mannywood. This situation kind of reminds me of Pau Gasol in fantasy basketball two or three years ago. He was out for the first three months of the season, but when he got healthy, he was nasty. This, clearly, is different than an injury. Still though, it’s going to be a tough pill to swallow, especially with what’s out there pickup-wise.”

I want it to be known that once Gasol got healthy, my friend became the only person to beat me in that league that year (it was h2h, I won every week but that one). Since then I have drafted Gasol every year, came in second in 2008’s regular season and first in 2009. Both years I was eliminated early in the play-offs by that very friend.

This is a different situation, if Manny was DL-able, then you keep him. So, your reaction comes down to how shallow your league and bench spots are. If this is a weekly line-up league, keep Manny until injuries pile up.

However, if this is a daily league and you have five or less bench spots, then you have to strongly consider dropping Manny. You’ll be so far behind in 50 games that it will be hard to make up ground.

If you have more bench spots or are sitting in a comfortable spot in the standings, you might want to play it out.

The most important thing you can do is pick a plan of action and go for it. You maximize your returns by reacting quickly. If you wait 20 games to drop Manny, then you’ve essentially wasted 20 games of stats from another player. So if you’re going to drop him, drop him now.

There is no way to replace Manny’s power stats. Some guys potentially available on the wire include:

Chris Duncan – When he plays he hits, that’s mostly because he plays against righties.

Todd Helton – Is he back (get it?)? He is getting on base at a .406 clip and has added three HRs and 17 RBIs.

Adam Laroche – Laroche has always been a second half player, but he is performing way above his typical pace. He has hit five HRs so far and that number will pick up as the weather gets warmer.

Luke Scott – Scott has good power (hit 23 HRs last year), and could provide some decent RBIs in a potent Orioles lineup.

Scott Hairston – Hairston is batting in front of the Padres’ only masher, Adrian Gonzalez. Hairston also has four HRs and 16 RBIs. While he has only scored eight runs, he has added three SBs and posted a tasty .411 OBP.

James Loney –The loss of Manny could hurt Loney’s RBI potential depending on the juggling of the Dodgers’ lineup. Still, Loney has managed to knock in 21 Dodgers this year.

Kendry Morales – Morales has been on a tear lately. He has hit five HRs and knocked in 17 – not bad, but don’t expect those HRs to continue.

Pedro Feliz – While he isn’t OF-eligible, he is getting on base better than Francoeur and has matched him in RBIs. At some point Feliz will hit 30 HRs.

Jeff Francoeur – sure he has an OBP of .305, but he does have three HRs and 17 RBIs.

In addition to the effect this has on your fantasy team, there are ripples up and down the Dodger’s lineup. Ethier has hit so much better with Manny that a regression seems plausible. Kemp will get to batter higher in the order, which is good for RBI chances but could hurt his SB potential.

Juan Pierre will be a cheap source of steals for the coming 50 games. He won’t provide much else, but he’s better than Bonifacio. Also, with Manny being out, the Dodgers’ outfield will likely play better defense, which should help the pitchers a smidgen.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by David Sinclair on May 8, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Do you think the Dodgers will stick with Pierre, or trade for someone else? They don’t seem to like Pierre for some odd reason. How do you think Pierre will do? Typical .290 40 steals?


  2. Posted by Albert Lang on May 10, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I cant imagine they’ll make a trade. McCourt seems pretty pissed at Manny, so anything is possible.

    They have a big lead, the rest of the division is trash and Pierre isnt the worst player in the world. They also have Repko in the minors.

    Pierre will get the majority of playing time, provide no power but a cheap source of steals is right. I’d probably rather have Michael Bourn at the moment, but they are pretty comparable.


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