FANTASY BASEBALL STRATEGY: TRADING ETIQUETTE AND STRATEGY

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“How about Willingham, Moreland and Eduardo Nunez for Miggy?”

Is there anything worse in fantasy than seeing you have a trade offer email and reading that? It’s insulting that the other owner believes you are truly that stupid. Your first inclination is to respond with something on the same footing. Perhaps you want to post a message on the message board outing this owner as a scoundrel and a mockery to the league. Want to know what you really should do? Nothing!

The art of trading, and it’s most definitely an art form, is the key to winning your fantasy league. Very often leagues are won and lost on that one trade you made, or even that one you didn’t that you wish you had. There are 6 keys to the art of the trade:

  1. Don’t go public. Don’t post a message to the league saying you’re offering a player and you’ll accept the best offer. Most of the time other owners take it as a sign that you’re in panic mode and that you’ll accept anything reasonable. Do your own research and find out who needs that player the most and what they could afford to give that helps you. Posting a public message is lazy general managing.
  2. Never get emotional about someone’s offers. If you receive the offer mentioned at the top of the article, simply click reject. If you anger him in return or post a nasty message to the league, you’ve just taken away a trading partner for the future. The owner was dumb enough to make the offer to you in the first place, so maybe he’s dumb enough to give you a sweetheart deal later in the season. He sounds like the type of person that may give you Billy Butler for a middle reliever if Butler happens to go hitless in one three game series. Don’t burn the bridge.
  3. Never get emotional about players. You love the Braves and Jason Heyward. You see him on the DL with his .121 average and you’re just positive he’s going to come back and hit .280 the rest of the way with 20+ homers and 20+ steals. Calm down, take a deep breath. Too many people overpay for a player they love. First, realize that the Heyward owner may be disgruntled and be willing to give him up cheaply. Second, look at what you’re offering from a fantasy perspective, not as a Braves fan. An offer of Hunter Penceand Everth Cabrera may seem like a no-brainer to get the Braves studly outfielder. However, do you realize that according to 2012 stats, you just gave up 36 homers, 157 rbi, 156 runs and 22sb’s in order to get him?? Unless you have a MI on your bench who’s going to put up .280, 15 homers, 65 rbi, 65 runs and 12 sb’s, you’ve gained almost nothing. You got killed if Heyward stays on the shelf longer than anticipated, comes back and reinjures himself or simply isn’t the same guy when he does come back.
  4. Address the other owner’s needs. When making an offer, don’t simply look at raw numbers. Look at what the other owner needs. Don’t offer Billy Butler for Gio Gonzalezto the owner who already has Pujols at first base, Chase Headley at corner infielder andJosh Willingham at Utility, and who’s currently dominating the offensive categories. He’s going to say no. You’ll find every team has some glaring weakness in their lineup. Something that they look at everyday and wince. Therefore, offer something to fill that hole, ease their pain. You’ll find them much more accommodating. If you see an owner with Tyler Flowers at catcher and you have Posey and Mike Napoli, I’m certain an offer including Napoli or Posey will get his attention, start some dialog, and facilitate a trade.
  5. Trade for need and overpay if you have to. What’s that??? Has Jon lost his mind?? Didn’t he just say above that I shouldn’t get emotional and overpay?? Yes. But there comes a time and place where you simply must make a trade to win the league. You don’t get bonus points for dominating a category. Whether you win K’s by 1 or 100, you still get 12 points in a 12 team league. Therefore, if the trade deadline is approaching and you’re 100 K’s ahead of the player in 2nd place in the category, a trade of Max Scherzer forCoco Crisp or other top rated speedster at the time isn’t so ridiculous if 10 sb’s can gain you another 5 points in the standings. People will say you got ripped off but you know better. If you stand to gain more points in runs, average and sb’s than you can potentially lose in wins, era, whip and K’s, then make the deal. Too many people simply require they get equal value in every single trade. That’s moronic. It is not better to sit there being stubborn and not making a trade over executing and moving up. Gaining points is the name of the game, especially down the stretch. It’s trades like this that separate the champ from the chump.
  6. Keep league integrity in mind and don’t forget that every move you make affects everyone else as well. What this is basically saying is that you need to play fair at all times. Don’t give away your best players to your friend to help him win the league if you happen to struggle. In a keeper league, don’t give the farm for one player. For instance, if you’re in 9th place and have Miggy, Alex RiosJustin Upton and Verlander all in the last year of their contracts, don’t trade all of them for Bryce Harper to have as a keeper. Sure, it helps you for the following season but you’ve all but guaranteed that your counterparty wins this year. That ruins the integrity of the league and will only serve to anger the others who are in contention. You’ve personally decided who wins. I’m not saying you shouldn’t trade for Harper, just don’t give away everything you have. Keep it fair.

Most if not all of the points might seem obvious to you but it’s amazing how many times people deviate from the “rules,” especially number 5. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to build a championship team each and every year in the league as well as being known as a reasonable owner who people like to deal with.