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Thursday, May 7, 2009
Reacting to the Ramirez news

By Matthew Berry
ESPN.com

The Talented Mr. Roto

So apparently "Manny being Manny" is actually "Manny being like everyone else."

Upon learning the news that Manny Ramirez has been suspended for 50 games for "violating the MLB Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program" or "V-ing the JDP-T-Pizzle," as the kids say, reactions were quickly heard around the sports world:

Red Sox fans: "Hah! Long live Jason Bay!"

Dodgers fans: "So, uh, how much for the Matt Kemp jersey?"

ESPN fans: "So we get a couple of Favre-free days? Sweet!"

Scott Boras: "Hey Janet, can you grab all the A-Rod damage control/perception management material and do a 'search and replace' with Manny's name?"

Juan Pierre (3 percent ownership): "It would appear I'm fantasy-relevant again."

Alex Rodriguez: "Woo-hoo!"

Selena Roberts: "Dammit!"

Barry Bonds: "I'm still available. Just saying. Hellooooo! Anyone? Hellooooo!"

Bill Simmons: "Hmmm. I might need to re-write this piece."

Brett Favre: "Hey, I'm still retired! Probably! Just wanted to make sure I was still being discussed!"

Ricky Hatton: "Still not as embarrassing as my loss. Or my fringe-covered shorts. Seriously, what was I thinking?"

Alyssa Milano
Dodgers fan Alyssa Milano may have some reading material for Manny Ramirez to occupy his time during his suspension.
Friend of the Fantasy Focus podcast Alyssa Milano (via her Twitter): "Not good news to wake up to. I'm sad, angry and mostly disappointed. Mannywood. Boooo"

Paris Hilton: "That's huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge."

Roger Clemens: "I was never actually suspended, you know. And I continue to maintain that I -- You know, I should probably just shut up now."

Fantasy owners of Manny: "Arrgghhhhh! I could have drafted Carlos Beltran!"

Carlos Beltran: "Hah! All you Manny owners could have had me!"

TMR: Well, frankly, I'm happy. I don't have anything against Manny but I personally don't own him on any teams and I hate the Dodgers. I used to go to Dodgers games all the time when I lived in Los Angeles until I showed up one year on Opening Day. They had somehow printed two sets of tickets for the same seat. There were two people sitting in our seats. They moved us to a worse section, weren't embarrassed, never apologized and my e-mails to their customer service department went unanswered. This was in the Frank McCourt era, and I've never been back since.

Bottom line is, as a fan, I don't like the Dodgers. Love my Angels. And I'm glad to see the Dodgers (and all the teams I am competing against in fantasy) will be without their best player for 50 games.

From a fantasy perspective, however, this is what it means:

In our game, Manny Ramirez can now be dropped. I'm not saying he should be dropped -- if you can afford the bench space, he's worth hanging onto as he will be eligible to return July 3 -- but he is no longer on our "undroppable" list.

The bench-space issue is an important one because Manny is not DL-eligible. You won't be able to stash him in your DL slot because, you know, he's not on the disabled list. He's suspended. Maybe we need to add another DL spot. Drug List. And before I hear all you Manny apologists e-mail in, answer me this: If it's just a "doctor-prescribed mistake," as he is claiming, why is he not appealing? No appeal? At all? Come on. I just threw down my dreads in disgust.

If you have Manny or even if you are just looking to improve your team, however, I am here to help with an outfield-heavy edition of "Just Saying …" (stats good through Wednesday, May 6, and ownership percentages in parentheses are for ESPN.com standard 10-team mixed leagues).

As always, a lot of these involve small sample sizes. It's early May. All we have are small sample sizes. But in ESPN 10-team standard mixed leagues (which is what I try to gear my columns toward as it's the most popular version of the game on ESPN.com), you need to be willing to drop and grab quickly because every team is pretty much an All-Star team. Except those of you who just lost Manny. Hah! Sorry. Ok. Here we go.

Just Saying …

… That Carlos Gomez (61 percent) is batting .400 in his past 20 at-bats.

Justin Upton
It was a matter of time before Justin Upton got his bat really going.
… That Justin Upton (85 percent) now has four home runs in his past seven games. He has 14 RBIs in his past 18 games and is hitting .378 for the two weeks.

… That Juan Pierre (3 percent) is a career .300 hitter and has stolen at least 40 bases for eight straight seasons.

… That Xavier Paul (0 percent) is the guy the Dodgers are calling up, and NL-only leagues or very deep leagues should take note. He hit .316 in Triple-A last year with nine home runs and 17 steals in 443 at-bats. He was hitting .359 with eight steals when he was recalled.

… That Michael Bourn (17 percent) is hitting .299 with eight steals and has a .364 OBP this year. Last year, it was .288. He's getting on base this year, and we all know the speed is legit.

… That since coming back from the DL, Jose Guillen (13 percent) is hitting .350 with three home runs and 11 RBIs in 12 games.

… That his teammate, Mark Teahen (12 percent), is hitting .307 with four home runs and 12 RBIs this season.

… That I know, you can't stomach looking at Bronson Arroyo (24 percent) after his start Wednesday, but it's worth noting his ERA at home this season is 16.34, but on the road he's 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA. I hate that he has only nine strikeouts to seven walks in 21 road innings, but still, interesting, no?

… That Manny Parra (22 percent) is 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA and 17 strikeouts in his past 17 innings (three games).

… That Chris Iannetta (74 percent) is hitting a home run once every 10 at-bats so far this season. Last year, he hit one in 18.5 at-bats. He was never going to hit for average, but he is hitting .278 in his past 10 games.

… That Kendry Morales (17 percent) is hitting .294 with three home runs and seven RBIs in his past nine games.

… That Franklin Gutierrez (4 percent) is hitting .444 in his past 10 games. Since they treated the eye infection, he's hitting everything in sight.

… That Dexter Fowler (43 percent) has nine steals, two home runs and is your new starting center fielder for the Rockies.

… That David Ortiz (98 percent) has yet to hit a home run. Even Simmons admits Big Papi's done.

… That Jemele Hill was right when she mentioned on her Twitter (@JemeleHill) she noticed that, on the video-game commercial, Dwyane Wade mentions that Dwight Howard pulled a hammy, but the video shows Howard grabbing his ankle. You think someone might have caught that.

… That Todd Helton (24 percent) now has two home runs in his past two home games, three on the year, and is hitting .360.

… That the Twins' pitching staff with Joe Mauer behind the plate has a batting-average against of .269. Not great, but better than the .281 and .283 that Joes Morales and Mike Redmond are calling. Better days ahead for Twins pitching.

… That I'm going to keep mentioning Asdrubal Cabrera (64 percent) until he is owned in every league. Now .333 with a home run and four steals.

… That Denard Span (38 percent) is hitting .305 with seven steals.

… That Dallas Braden (7 percent) is 3-3 with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. He plays half his game in Oakland's pitcher-friendly ballpark.

… That deep AL-only league owners should note that Rich Hill should be back for Baltimore and is pitching good, not great, in his rehab. He's an interesting flyer.

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… That Matt Murton (1 percent) is a guy I have always liked who is starting to get a little playing time for the Rockies.

… That Curtis Granderson batted fifth the other night. That's not gonna help the speed numbers, which I was already down on.

… That Jesus Flores (4 percent) hit his third home run of the year Wednesday and is hitting .291.

… That the Elias Sports Bureau wants us to know that Francisco Rodriguez gave back two runs of the three-run lead he inherited but earned his seventh save. It was the second time this season that K-Rod recorded a save despite allowing more than one run. Only three other pitchers have done that even once this season (Brad Lidge, Kerry Wood and David Aardsma.) Rodriguez had only two such saves in his entire career with the Angels, spanning 408 appearances and 208 saves.

… That I was halfway through this column when the Manny news broke and had to trash it and start over.

Matthew Berry -- The Talented Mr. Roto -- is on Twitter at @TheRealTMR. He may or may not be entertaining. He is a five-time award winner from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, including a Writer of the Year award. He is also the creator of RotoPass.com, a Web site that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code ESPN for 10 percent off. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his Cyberfriend