Monday, May 25, 2009

Ten Fantasy Baseball Trade Secrets

posted by Jon Williams
Mid-May is when trading season begins in a lot of leagues. This is the point in the year when owners start to feel comfortable that they know what they have on their team. But what is the secret to making successful trades? What makes a trade successful anyway? Is it fleecing another owner without incurring a league veto? Most owners dream of pulling off the killer trade for themselves, but would admit that a successful trade is one that makes the owner of all the teams involved happy. Every league is unique. I have been in leagues that value the best minor leaguers as priceless and others that consider them almost worthless. The success of a trade is going to be different in the eyes of every individual owner. There are whole books you can buy about the art of trading but here are ten trading tips that may help you make more effective fantasy baseball deals.
  1. Know as much about the other owner and his team as possible. You should be checking in with the other teams in your league at least once a week anyway but especially when you are being offered a trade or seeking a trade. You want to measure what the trade would do for your trading partner as well as what it would do for your roster. In which categories will they gain or lose ground? Are they trading from strength? Are they looking desperate?
  2. Try using the telephone. These days everyone may have an e-mail address but that does not mean that they check it as frequently as you might. Find out how the owner you are dealing with likes to discuss things. Instant messenger and e-mail are great but they lack the personal feeling that a telephone conversation has. It is much easier to decline a trade sent by e-mail. But many people find it very hard to say no to someone who has presented their case in a well-reasoned yet concise phone presentation. Trust me, I used to be that telemarketer that convinced you to support the Special Olympics or the politician of the month for much too long. Remember to prepare your sales pitch ahead of time. You want to want to sound as confident s possible that this is a good deal for both teams. Finish with phrases that provoke a yes or no answer, such as "sounds good, doesn't it", "wouldn't you like to have (the player in question) on your team?" and you'll be that much closer to a deal.
  3. Improve another team to help your own. You may look at your league's standings and discover that you have more points between you and a championship than you can gain on your own. Rather than resign yourself to finishing second or worse look at trades you might make to bring your rival back to the pack. If your rival can be caught in saves by another league member that won't catch you in the standings, consider trading a closer to that owner and costing your rival a point in saves.
  4. Do a thorough check on the health and performance of the players involved in a deal. You do not want to be caught trading for David Ortiz not knowing that his production is way off the norm. Or trading for closer Kevin Gregg without realizing how poorly he has pitched. You might think you received a great deal on Rafael Furcal until you realize that his back problems have resurfaced and he's losing playing time to Juan Castro of all people. These are all extreme examples but you get the idea.
  5. Get a second opinion. Sometimes we're so attached to certain players or so covetous of others that we can't judge a deal properly. Or maybe you're having a hard time pulling the trigger for whatever reason. This is where your friends come in handy. If all your friends/advisors are in the same league you can always call on me. IM:bigjonempire, e-mail:advancedfantasybaseball@gmail.com, send me a twitter message @bigjonwilliams, or even call me on Skype -- bigjonempire ( I can't promise to monitor this route much but you can occasionally catch me this way). If time is of the essence send me an e-mail with your phone number and I'll call you right back.
  6. If you get an offer you don't like, don't freak out, just make a counter offer. I read about poor reactions to trade offers all the time. Reacting with anger or any excess emotion over a bad offer is really just a waste of time. It also creates bad will with an owner who may have just honestly misjudged the value of a player. If you present a counter offer you create a dialogue which could lead to a trade that is much better than the one you refused. But don't try to out bad offer him, suggest a fair trade that would actually help your team and his. You may end up making your league stronger by doing this.
  7. You'll usually get more by making several small trades then you will in one big one. This is especially true when you're in rebuilding mode. You can squeeze an extra minor leaguer or a draft pick or some FAAB dollars out of each owner you deal with and come out way ahead of what one owner could ever (even if he wanted to) give you on his own.
  8. The Superstars are expensive, often the everyday player without the hype comes much cheaper and can be just as effective. Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera will cost you a fortune in most leagues but Ryan Franklin and Brad Ziegler come much cheaper. Far too often when owners decide they need an offense upgrade they look to make a trade for Miguel Cabrera or David Wright and they end up making just a small upgrade at best. But if they went after guys like Russell Branyan or Mike Lowell they would have to part with much less for a still significant upgrade.
  9. Concern yourself with the end result more than the price. You may think giving up a certain keeper for a collection of players you would never keep is madness. However, if that collection of players would guarantee you a championship it would be a very small price to pay.
  10. Trust your gut feelings. If your gut told you that Phil Hughes was gonna be great this season you should have held on to him for more than two starts (okay, I'm talking to myself here). Especially when you're selling him low. Seriously, if you have a bad feeling about a deal DO NOT MAKE IT! You will feel like crap when you discover you were right.


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