Fantasy owners across the internet were likely cursing at their monitors as they cut loose Ryan Braun this afternoon. Owners in re-draft leagues made the cut already; those in keeper leagues may have a tougher choice on their hands.
But Braun is an interesting case in ottoneu leagues and potentially becomes and intriguing trade target for owners selling this year and building towards 2014.
Last year, not long after this, Jose Bautista went down with an injury and I made the decision that it was worth shopping him and his $35 contract because I doubted he would play much the rest of the way and, in the midst of a run for the money, I needed immediate production, not the future value Bautista would surely provide.
I spun Bautista into Jay Bruce and Jason Heyward, and another owner turned two guys he did not plan to keep into a power hitting stud to anchor his 2013 outfield. I finished in the money and my trade partner is running away from the pack this year.
Many Braun owners will find themselves in the same shoes this year. The problem he poses is that you basically cannot cut him – even if you are paying him $60, once you cut him another team will buy him at a much lower price and you won’t have the option to bid. A team in the hunt and sitting on a now-suspended Braun will need to find a way to replace that expected production and has no way to clear the salary or cap space. But at the right price, Braun could easily be a 2014 keeper in ottoneu leagues. The key, if you are a seller, is to find the right situation.
Prior to the season, I valued Braun at $60 in ottoneu Points Leagues in their second (or later) season. Let’s assume that after this season his value comes down and we project him at $50 for next year. His average price in points leagues right now is about $48 which means that the average Braun owner would want to keep him at $50 next year.
So who should be looking to buy Braun? You need to find yourself in the following scenario:
1) You are selling in 2013 and focused on winning next year (specifically next year, not in a multi-year rebuild)
2) Your 2014 salary cap situation is good and you are going to have room for a big price tag like Braun’s
3) The current Braun owner in your league is in the hunt and a likely buyer
4) Braun’s price tag is over $25-$30 (the lowest price he is owned at is a startling $15) but under $45. If he’s too expensive you don’t stand to get much surplus value from him; if he is too cheap, the other owner will want too much in return.
5) You have the bats to replace Braun’s production (or at least come close to it).
If you can fork over two high priced bats, like my trade partner did last year, you can clearly improve the buying team and likely convince them to move on from Braun. Being able to install Braun as the centerpiece of your 2014 OF right now would go a long way to help you avoid being in a position to sell again next year.
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.