2018 MLB Draft Guide: Fantasy Baseball Trading 101
Justin Mason highlights the ins and outs of fantasy baseball trading and what your best way to go about it is to ensure success during the 2018 MLB season.
There are few better feelings in the world than winning a trade. Getting the better end of a deal is thrilling and can help you in your pursuit of a championship. However, there are a few rules in trading that should always be followed in hopes of the best possible outcome.
- Trading is a Relationship
When trading with a partner, it is important to remember that you are attempting to seduce the other person. Be gentle at first and turn it up a notch when need be. Make your partner feel like you are looking out for their needs as well as your own. Don’t be greedy. Taking advantage of them only works out once. Don’t publicly brag with your buddies that won a trade. It could embarrass the other party. If you get a bad reputation as a selfish trader, you may find yourself without a partner later on. Always cuddle after.
- Win Your League, Not the Trade
In a poker tournament , when someone else is all-in, the proper strategy is to stop betting unless you hit an unbeatable hand. The rationale being that the end goal is to be the last man standing in the tournament, not win every hand. You have a better chance to do that with less people in the tournament. The same can be applied for fantasy. I know everyone wants to win every single trade, but sometimes you don’t need to win. The objective is to win the championship. Your league mates may think it is dumb to trade Giancarlo Stanton for Dee Gordon, but if you have a surplus of power, and speed puts you over the top, then it’s a move you have to make. Don’t be afraid to give too much, if you think it guarantees you a championship.
- Know Your Opponents
Some people like to haggle. Some people don’t have the time. Some people always want the best player in a deal. Some love prospects. Knowing what each person in your league values gives you a leg up in negotiations. Something I started doing this year is keeping a folder in my email of all trade offers I have made and received. It allows me to go back and see what players my league mates have been interested in the past and gives me the ability to better figure out who I am dealing with on the opposite side of the table. In an era of fantasy sports when you can often be playing with people you have never met in real life, it is good get to know your competition to the best of your ability. I always friend my league mates on facebook and follow them on twitter. They won’t come to me most of the time for help in our league, but I’ll be able to see when they tweet at other industry professionals.
- Flag Fly Forever
If you are in a keeper or dynasty league, everyone love prospects and young MLB stars. People tend to overvalue these players to their own detriment. If you are in the hunt for a championship, it is often the right move to sacrifice your future to win now. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, no one remembers who second place was, but everyone remembers champions. Second, tomorrow may never come. I was in a long time AL Only keeper league until a year ago. The league had been in existence for over 30 years and I had been in it for the last 15. I went all out in my last season, trading away all my keepers for this season to win my second championship in three seasons. However, I was not invited back to the league the following season. Am I bitter? Sure, but I won the money. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. Don’t forget, for every top prospect that turns into Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, and Carlos Correa, there are plenty of the Dominic Smith’s, Brandon Wood’s, and Jesus Montero’s that never amounted to much and even more that never amounted to anything. Play to win now.
- Make The First Offer
This is not a popular piece of advice. Many people don’t like to make the first offer because they worry that if they offer too much, the may have left some meat on the bone. While that can be true, in the larger majority of circumstances, often the framework of a deal is set up by the original offer. Rarely do people counter a trade offer with something completely different than was first offered by the other person. This gives you a distinct advantage in getting what you want from a deal.
- Check In
There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a deal go down in your league and feeling like you would have given a better offer for a particular player. To avoid this from happening too often, check in with your league mates on a regular basis to see what the availability of their players are. However, don’t be annoying about it. You don’t want to your league mates to dread when they see a message from you in their inbox.
- Don’t Make Bad Offers
Nothing ruins a reputation quicker than being the guy that always sends awful trade offers. No, I do not want to give you Cody Bellinger for Sean Doolittle. I am usually pretty cordial about it, but that will end the conversation for me. There is nothing wrong with starting with a low-ball offer, but don’t start a negotiation by insulting your trade partner’s intelligence.
- Don’t Be a Jerk
Few things are more annoying than someone honestly telling you “that player sucks, you should trade him to me for cheap.” If he sucks so much, then why do you want him? Talking players down doesn’t lower their value as a player, it lowers your value as a trade partner. Sure, sometimes it is beneficial to keep your motives hidden, but don’t think you can fleece someone by putting them down. On a similar note, don’t insult the owner you are trying to trade with or may want/need to trade with later on. Remember, relationships are key and people don’t forget when you insult them.
- More is Often Less
Ever get this offer? “I will give you Dansby Swanson, Derek Fisher, and Jake Arrieta for Jose Altuve.” Of course you have. There is always one guy in your league that will consistently offer quantity for quality. The only time that ever works is in the deepest of leagues. This insults the intelligence of the person you are playing. Very rarely do these trades ever make sense, so while sometimes you can package depth for higher end talent, if you are trying to sell trash for treasure, you are approaching it wrong.
- The Best Move Sometimes is the One You Don’t Make
I like to trade more than most, but sometimes the best decisions I ever made were trades I chose not to make. Sometimes you can feel obligated to make a move once you have gone far enough down a negotiations. Always be sure that the deal as constructed works for you and walk away if you need to. You never HAVE to make a trade. If you are desperate, others will smell blood in the water.