The Washington Times - May 8, 2009, 02:41PM

When Michael Phelps got caught with a marijuana pipe, there was great concern that he’d lose out on some endorsements. And indeed, he was dropped by Kellogg’s.

When Kobe Bryant was accused of rape, his marketability fell off the table and he’s only just recently got it back.


But Manny Ramirez probably won’t take that much of a financial hit from testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, mainly because he didn’t appear to have that many endorsement deals to begin with.

A cursory search shows that he had a deal with RecoveryX, a drink designed to help people recover from workouts. He had some sort of arrangment with a doctor who makes special mouthguards for athletes. And he’s done some work for Macy’s. He might make $5 million in endorsements each year. Not a lot of money for a guy making more than four times that in salary.

A lot of it has to do with his personality. He’s a quirky, quiet guy who doesn’t speak often to the media. And his behavior as a teammate basically forced a trade out of Boston.

But keep in mind that baseball players don’t really make a lot off of endorsements in general. They can’t really have their own shoe NBA players can, and that’s a big thing.

Baseball is very popular, but that popularity is often very localized. Guys can be huge stars in their own markets—and Manny was in LA and Boston—but their popularity doesn’t always carry over to national ad campaigns.

Off the top of my head, the only baseball players I can think of seeing in recent commercials are Jimmy Rollins (Dick’s Sporting Goods), Chase Utley (some sort of protein bar that I can’t recall the name of), Derek Jeter (Gatorade) and Dustin Pedroia (EA Sports baseball video game). I think I remember seeing Albert Pujols in a Nike ad, but not recently.

Alex Rodriguez last year signed with the William Morris Agency to try and boost his image, but still has only a few million dollars in endorsements.

Of course, it’s worth noting that Rodriguez’s recent admission that he took performance enhancing drugs and Manny’s positive test are not encouraging signs for companies consdering entering the baseball arena. Being tied to a player accused of cheating does not help sell products, and at this point there is not a single player who we can say is undoubtedly clean.