Ryan Braun: ottoneu Trade Target

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.

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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.

21 Responses to “Ryan Braun: ottoneu Trade Target”

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  1. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    This is great.

    I own Braun in 2 ottoneu points leagues. In league #1 he was priced at $54 and I had no plans on keeping him next year, traded him last night for Hunter Pence. Not thrilled with that return, but also I don’t think I could have done any better in this particular league and situation given that I am currently in 1st, need OF help to stay there as I have someone right on my tail and none of the rebuilding teams at the bottom were much interested in Braun at that price.
    I traded Matt Cain for him about a month ago, hoping that the biogenesis suspension wouldn’t kick in until next season, but ended up getting screwed. I can live with it, I knew the risks involved and I wouldn’t have been able to get him for just Cain if there wasn’t that risk there.

    In league #2 I own him for $33
    I am also currently in first with someone directly on my tail but at this price, there are 4-5 teams interested in adding Braun for next year so I definitely feel like I need to turn him into a Heyward/Bruce type return. I anticipate trading him this week, currently reviewing all my options. Will post back here when I do.

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    • Chad Young says:

      AT $54 I think you count yourself lucky that someone traded for him at all. I’d expect most owners in the $50+ range to basically be forced to hold Braun through the season (to avoid a situation where he gets auctioned off for half price and they cannot bid) without being able to trade him.

      At $33, he’s a great trade chip, but if you think you can hold on without moving him, he’s also great value to keep. When I traded Bautista last year he was still planning to come back, so the other owner had to do more to convince me to make the move than he would have otherwise, hence grabbing both those bats. Braun is a slightly tougher sell only because the other owners know for a fact you won’t get him back this year. But I’d still want a premium return.

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  2. MVLLOW says:

    My first thought was to extend a buy-low offer to the Braun owner (Prado/Lohse) in our 12-tm keeper league. I am currently 9th of the 12 teams, but with Trout, Cano, and Myers in addition to Braun for keeper hitters I should be primed for another run next year.

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    • Chad Young says:

      worth a shot, but if I am a Braun owner at a reasonable price, I am shopping him around and expecting better return than that. Shouldn’t stop you from making the offer, but realize that if he is actively looking around, that pairing won’t seem serious to him.

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  3. Nate says:

    Quick note about the $15 Braun – it looks like LOTS of superstars are owned for $15 in league 415. No idea why this is the case. I’ve been tossing them out when doing any calculations with player prices across leagues.

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  4. eddiegaedel says:

    So this is my first year playing Ottoneu… someone actually cut Braun for $55, should I pick him up is that a keepable amount next year?

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    • FeslenR says:

      if he’s keepable, I might give it a twirl, why not?

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    • jfree says:

      I’m in your league I think. I’ll bet Braun passes through waivers. $55 is a bucketload of money for any keeper – not a lot of upside from there but a lot of downside – and I don’t see anyone in our league who can give up the $80-$100 in salaries to free up the $55 needed.

      If someone does pick him up for $55, then the real bargain will be found among the players who are cut in order to pick up Braun.

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      • Chad Young says:

        jfree is exaclty right. Unless you have a huge amount of cap room, a waiver claim at $55 is crazy.

        That said, I would start figuring out how much cap space you can reasonably clear, so that you can start a Braun auction ASAP and know what you can afford.

        And yes, the cascade effect here could be huge. Whoever win’s Braun at even $30 or $35 will have to make some legit cuts to clear space. In some ways the Braun owner who made the original cut may come out well if he can use the $55 in cap space to grab up 2-3 cheaper players who get cut in the aftermath.

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      • eddiegaedel says:

        Thanks for the replies guys. I was looking at it and I don’t even think I could drop that kind of salary anyway, i’d be better off trading the guys I would drop to pick him up.

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  5. Giovani says:

    Doesn’t all of this assume Mr. Braun’s production will not decline in the absence of PEDs? By their definition I would think we have to assume it in fact will decline, and we can even speculate on if that is the player we saw so far this year – still a good ballplayer, but not quite as healthy, not as quick recovering from injury, not quite as powerful, not quite as productive. I have no interest in paying full freight on the Braun we’ve seen in recent years, we have some reason to believe he may be gone for good.

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    • Chad Young says:

      The evidence on the impact of PEDs is mixed, at best. I don’t have anything in front of me to point you to, but if you search around the internets, you will definitely find plenty of evidence that PEDs do not help baseball players all that much. Even looking at purely anecdotal evidence, here are the last few players suspended for PEDs and their results after returning

      Ruiz – definitely down this year
      Grandal – got hurt, but prior to that was starting to hit quite well
      Colon – Pitching extremely well
      Melky Cabrera – Down year for sure, in comparison to last
      Marlon Byrd – Crushing the ball

      So…a mixed bag for sure.

      You’d also have to believe that Braun either always used PEDs or would have been falling off drastically had he not used PEDs.

      While there is some risk, I’d still anticipate a solid season from Braun next year. Will he be an undisputed top five fantasy player? Probably not, but if I can lock him in for $30-$40, I’ll take it.

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      • BubbaBiscuit says:

        I think we also have to consider that we are dealing with humans instead of baseball playing machines, their mind can get in the way or help them out. On one hand, you can bet Ryan Braun wants to show everyone how good he is when he is clean, wanting to prove the MVP year was not all because of PEDs, sometimes this added pressure and determination can help, sometimes it can hurt. On the other hand, he knows he used and can hear people question whether he is any good without the PEDs. One slump and maybe he starts wondering this himself.

        We know placebos work and we aren’t exactly sure why. If the science says PEDs don’t help much, but a player believes them to do so (and one must under the current testing and penalty structure to even try them), then maybe we can expect a loss of the benefit of the placebo effect. Humans are strange creatures and the 2014 and beyond Ryan Braun will certainly be an interesting case study.

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      • jfree says:

        The biggest – and very clear – impact from most steroid use (apart from the ones/dosage used by McGwire and the East German women’s Olympic shotput team) is injury/muscle recovery time. That is precisely why steroids have a medical use and are prescribed by doctors. And I assume that MLB excludes that sort of prescribed usage of steroids from its “gotcha” testing.

        The impact on a player like Braun therefore is very likely to be – reduced number of games played per season going forward. He will be 30 next season and that’s when the nagging injuries and recovery time start taking its toll. If he has been using them for years, then his career to date may be a disguise that he is actually more injury-prone than he has shown to date. Basically that usage is precisely where Bonds/Clemens/ARod created a fraud.

        In higher doses (ie muscle freak), steroids actually cause serious soft-tissue injuries by making muscles too strong for the ligaments/tendons that hold them in place. Hence the increased number of oblique strains, ruptured Achilles, torn hammies, etc. But Braun doesn’t seem to have dosed that high.

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      • Giovani says:

        Right. The guy had never been on the DL before, then he gets off the juice and all of the sudden this year he’s plagued by nagging injuries sapping power and production and limiting his games played all season. It could be a coincidence, but I for one will let somebody else find that out.

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  6. Kevin says:

    Non-ottoneu, 15 team, max 5 player keeper league…trade Pujols and Gordon/Hunter/De Aza/Garnder for Braun a fair deal?

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  7. jaw says:

    how much do you think braun will be worth next year in a 12 team 5×5 $280 h2h auction? he was just dropped in my auction keeper league and the winning FAAB bid is the keeper price for next year and im trying to figure out how much to bid.

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  8. harmony55 says:

    Non-ottoneu 10-team 5×5 OBP dynasty auction with $300 budget and 30 roster slots. My team has a 30-point lead, so I offered Mike Napoli at $27 and Koji Uehara at $1 for Ryan Braun at $38 to a team in a close five-way race for second place. I received a profane rejection in response. Was the offer at least reasonable?

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  9. kevinguy says:

    Chad – I have an interesting situation. I’m in a first year ottoneu points league and I’m currently in 2nd place. The first place team has 7604 points, I have 7326 points the third place team has 7192 points (we started the league over a month into the baseball season). So I’m certainly in the hunt for this year, but my strategy since the draft has been to build a team that wouldn’t necessarily win this year, but could make a nice over the next 2-4 years.

    Ryan Braun was cut and his minimum salary is now $27.. right in that range where I have to think about this.

    My current roster:
    Stanton($39) Goldschmidt($37) Machado($34) Darvish($28) Bruce($26) Heyward($23) HanRamirez($17 – love that one) Iwakuma($16) Craig($16) Kipnis($16) Profar($14) Des-Jennings($10) Corbin($10) Puig($9 – love that one too) Wheeler($6) Wood($6) Pedro Alvarez($5) Gausman($5) Eaton($5) Brothers($5) Crisp($4) A.J.Griffin($4) Arencibia($3) Buxton($3) IkeDavis($2) Jason Castro($2) Colon($2) Jarrod Parker($2) K-Rod($2) Archie Bradley($2) Stephenson($1) Strop($1) Soria($1) Felipe Paulino($1) Scott Baker ($1) Henderson Alvarez($1) Cisnero($1) Gregory Polanco($1) Correa($1) Dan Murphy($1) Soler($1) Brian Wilson($1)

    I am currently using $385 of my $397. Somebody in my league actually just started the auction for Braun as I am writing this. So I know that I would have to bid AT LEAST $28 to get him. …

    I suppose I could still technically pull off a trade to clear cap space in the next 48 hours to make a move for him. Having only $12 in budget right now I would need to clear, let’s just say $20 to have a little breathing room. There is no way I could drop any of my big dogs and have somebody in my league get a $20 Stanton. Plus if I did drop somebody outright, I would still have half of their salary counting against my cap until they were either picked up off waivers or auctioned on, which wouldn’t process until after this…47 hour window I have now.

    Somebody I’ve been on the fence with is my $14 Profar. I’m still not sure whether I would want to keep him at $16+ next year. And while I am very pleased with my $16 Iwakuma and he’s coming off some strong starts in his last few, the homers were really starting to bother me at -12.3 a pop. I think one of my only options to acquire Braun would be to package Profar and Iwakuma, or Profar and a Wheeler/Wood/Gausman to get two good but cheap $1-$3 players back. I would need the price differential to be at least $20. Finding that dance partner is the only way I could do that. And there are only 5 teams that have at least $20 in cap space. However, they are the teams that are thinking about making a move for Braun with that money right now too so it’s pretty unlikely that I’d be able to pull this off.

    I do have a very crowded outfield, but that’s hardly an excuse to pass on the idea of having a $30 Braun on my roster next year. Always have to build on value, then adjust accordingly to your situation.

    What do you guys think?

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