After the Ryan Braun suspension was announced, the most common question I got from ottoneu players was what to do with their $45, $50 or even $60 shares in Braun. No value left this year, but what will he bring to the table next year.
Eno Sarris looked at Braun’s value yesterday, so I’m not going to go down that path. Instead, we are going to take a look at the chain reaction that occurred when Braun was cut in the original ottoneu league, as a bit of a warning of what you should expect should he get cut in your league.
Braun was cut on July 29 in our league, losing his $62 salary and setting up an auction with a minimum bid of $31. The auction for Braun was started almost immediately after the 24 hour waiver window was up (no surprise that no one wanted to pay full price for him).
Six teams placed bids on Braun, ranging from my minimum bid of $31 to a max of $53. The second highest bid was $44, so Braun was picked up for $45 by a team that was suddenly more than $20 over the cap. Clearing room for that salary meant Braun’s new team had to cut some big names of his own – $25 Yoenis Cespedes gone; $3 Yonder Alonso cut loose; $5 Ryan Doumit dropped; $6 Jonathan Papelbon on the waiver wire; and $12 Pablo Sandoval off the team.
So now, instead of having a single star player on the market, there were three pretty big names and two more who have had fantasy value in the past. Sure enough, one team placed waiver claims on both Cespedes and Sandoval, taking them on at their full salary.
To make room for them, he let his $33 Josh Hamilton go. And 24 hours later, another owner made a waiver claim on Hamilton, taking on his full salary and cutting Albert Pujols and his $56 salary, along with a $3 Adam LaRoche to make room.
Now, Pujols is on auction, with a minimum bid of $28, meaning the chain may not yet be over.
I am not going to spend a lot of time evaluating the decisions made here. You can debate whether picking up a $33 Hamilton makes any sense, or if a $45 Braun is more useful than a $12 Sandoval and the option of seeing how Cespedes finishes the year.
But what you need to know is that if Braun gets cut, he likely won’t be the only prize on the market. Someone will pay him a big salary and make a cut to make room. Make your bids but keep in mind that paying $45 for Braun may mean you can’t get a deal on Sandoval, Cespedes or Pujols.
Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.