Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Why Thinking Before You Trade Is So Important

posted by Jon Williams
So last week my local NL-Only league had its end-of-year banquet.  Over the course of the 2014 season I had traded all my minor league picks and all but one of my minor leaguers in my attempt to finish first. I fell from first days before the end of the season and finally finished in second place. I had a few early trades I wanted to propose in an attempt to rebuild my minor league system, hopefully while maintaining or improving my keepers as well. The banquet is usually a good place to make trade offers. The beer is flowing and everyone has baseball on the mind as we hand out the cash and watch the World Series.

One of the trades I had in mind was with one of the older veterans of the league. He is very good at this game but can sometimes focus on the surface value of a player over the long term value. Sometimes this gives him the reputation of trying to fleece other owners (which I'm sure he loves to do as much as anyone). The result is a weakness that creates an opening to acquire anyone on his roster that had a less than stellar season. I did my homework on his team and came up with a plan.

My plan was to offer the shiny and productive Daniel Murphy to my friend for one of his under performers and a sorely needed minor-league pick. My friend (call him Lee Roy), has a loaded roster and a full minor league system, including the much coveted Kris Bryant. I was not going to make an offer for Bryant (this league holds on to stud prospects like old-time prospectors would to a lump of gold). Instead, I wanted one of his early-round minor-league picks.I like Murphy but I fear the Mets will trade him (if he leaves the NL I just lose him) and did not see much upside as his value and salary basically broke even. Murphy was obviously too much to trade for a single pick. I targeted a player I am certain Lee would give up rather easily based on the prior season's results, Jean Segura.

Segura had a horrible season overall, that tragically included the death of his nine-month old son. But I really like the way he finished. He was walking more and being far less wreckless than he had been since the second half of the 2013 season and it was working. Fortunately his turn around was so far into his horrible season that few noticed or cared that he was showing improvement. I like him to rebound and have a strong 2015 season. I think he will hit .270 or better with around ten homers and 30-plus stolen bases. If he came close to that his salary would be a bargain. That plus the pick equaled Murphy for me.

So after putting all that thought into it, I made the offer to Lee and forgot to ask for the pick, that was so key to the whole trade. He instantly accepted and I agreed before I realized what I had done. So, you see what I mean?




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