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Transaction Analysis: Braun, Oswalt, Manny

The biggest moves this week were actually non-moves, per se, as Ryan Braun won his appeal against Major League Baseball and overturned his 50-game suspension, and Roy Oswalt announced that he'd prefer to sign midseason. Aside from that, a pair of DH types found landing spots in the Majors but probably shouldn't land on your roster.

Ryan Braun

I'm probably not the only fantasy owner who lost sleep over Ryan Braun's potential 50-game suspension before he won his appeal, not out of concern for him, but because I sensed an opportunity. I wondered more when to draft him than if I should draft him, and I thought of all the benefits of getting a first-round talent in the fourth, about strategies for weathering the first couple months ... OK, maybe not everybody was as excited about the problem/opportunity as I was.

In any case, there isn't any reason not to take Braun in the first round and--depending on your format--the first OF taken. In a standard 5x5 league, Matt Kemp belongs right where he is, atop the OF rankings, but if your league discounts steals, Braun and his years of consistent production could push him over the top. No matter the format, Braun is one of the top four OFs and is well worth your first-round pick.

With the overturned drug test -- whatever you think about its merit -- there may be more scrutiny on Braun with regard to banned substances, but there doesn't seem to be any more reason to worry about a repeat suspension than there would be with anyone else. Talent like Braun's isn't made by PEDs anyway, and I don's see reason to worry about a dropoff in production. Braun's MockDraftCentral ADP is currently sitting at 21.49, but don't expect that to last, as Braun is the low-risk, high-payout hitter he always was. In fact, MDC reported that Braun's ADP was 4.1 on Friday, the day after he was his appea. So, he won't be coming at a discount anymore.

Roy Oswalt

Coming off back issues and the general facts of aging, Roy Oswalt hasn't found a contract to his (rather picky) liking yet and announced his desire to sign around midseason. Oswalt isn't the ace he was even two years ago, and--in most leagues--he's probably a waste of a roster spot while he waits for the perfect team to come calling. He's worth watching during the season, as he could be a valuable waiver-wire addition, but don't stash him while he sits by the phone. 

Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez, who signed with Oakland, is is much the same situation as Oswalt, as he will have to sit through a 50-game suspension to begin the season. While he could be the A's primary DH when he returns, he won't be the monster of his prime and will be playing in one of the worst hitting parks in baseball. If your DH/Utility spot is killing you in June, consider picking him up, but don't think about drafting him.

Raul Ibanez

Raul Ibanez joined the Yankees to serve as the lefty-swinging half of their DH spot, though he will be OF eligible in most leagues. He doesn't do much but add power and RBIs, and even those skills are getting questionable these days. The short porch in Yankee Stadium will likely help his power numbers, as will the lineup around him. If your league allows daily changes and is deep enough for you to bother platooning an OF or UTIL, then Ibanez could be useful. Standard leagues are far too shallow to include this part-timer, though, and the days off are likely to kill his value in leagues that make weekly changes.


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