A couple of fantasy baseball industry experts that I follow on Twitter were discussing trades recently and one of them mentioned that “trading seems to be down in all leagues.” As a self-proclaimed Trade Junkie, this was discouraging to read, but it really wasn't all that surprising. After all, I've participated in plenty of fantasy leagues where trading has been essentially non-existent.
Sometimes, you just get stuck in a league where your fellow owners become tied to the players they drafted. No matter who you try to trade for - be it a high-end player like Matt Kemp or a fill-out-your-roster-type like J.J. Hardy - the answer is always a resounding and definitive ‘no.’ Other times, you get trapped in a league where your trade offers float around for several days (or weeks) with no response. To me, there is nothing more frustrating in fantasy baseball than dealing with an unresponsive trade partner. If you need a few days to think about a trade that I've offered to you, that’s totally cool, but at least give me the courtesy of a phone call, text, email, tweet or Facebook message to let me know that it might be a minute before you get back to me.
To combat this problem, I usually accompany my trade offers with a quick email (if it’s a league with random strangers) or text (if it’s a league with friends). I’ll send something simple and friendly like “Hey, I just shot you a trade offer; let me know if you want to discuss further.” The goal here is simply to make the owner aware of the trade, as not everyone checks his or her league site every day/hour/minute. Oftentimes, your outreach will help you get a much quicker response. If not, and if several days pass with no response, I usually just withdraw the offer. You have to be careful with offers that sit out there for awhile, because sometimes the player(s) that you’re trying to acquire suddenly get injured. From an ethical standpoint, it may not be right for your trading partner to accept a deal under those circumstances, but as long as the trade offer is out there, it’s fair game.
@Ericka via the RotoBaller Fantasy Chat Room: In a 10 team, 5x5 league, I GIVE: Allen Craig and Paul Maholm. I GET: Cliff Lee and R.A. Dickey. My starting pitchers are David Price, Cole Hamels, Johnny Cueto, Kris Medlen, Shelby Miller and Kyle Kendrick. I have Dexter Fowler and Shane Victorino on my bench to replace Craig in the outfield.
Absolutely go ahead and do this trade. With both Price and Hamels struggling (and injured in Price’s case), you need to stabilize your pitching staff, and Lee and Dickey should help you do just that. Yes, Dickey has struggled to start the year, but he wasn’t great in April last season, and he still ended up winning the NL Cy Young award. The best part about this deal is when - not if, but when - Price and Hamels return to their elite form, your pitching staff will be superior to most (if not all) others in your league. Hell, I would even trade Craig and Medlen for Lee and Dickey if your trade partner really demanded it. Giving up Maholm, who is certainly no superstar, makes this trade an absolute steal for you.
@TurnTwo21 via Twitter: In a keeper league, I was offered Evan Longoria for Aramis Ramirez and James Shields. I am very deep at SP with Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Moore, Zack Greinke, Ian Kennedy and Brandon Beachy and need hitting badly. Do I accept Longoria?
In a standard redraft league, I’d say no to this deal because you’d be giving up too much, but since this is a keeper league, I would definitely accept the trade. Longoria seems like he’s been in the league forever but he’s still very young at 27 years old. In my opinion, he’s a Top-20 keeper talent who would be in the Top 10 if he had remained healthy over the past two seasons. Quite simply, Longoria is an upgrade over A-Ram in both the short term and long term. Even with the loss of James Shields, you’ll still have four keeper-worthy arms on your roster in Strasburg, Bumgarner, Moore and Greinke. If you’re really that desperate for hitting, you might consider putting Greinke on the Trading Block now that he’s healthy and coming off a strong performance, as he could bring you back a very nice return as well.
@Oscarfantasy7 via Twitter: Felix Hernandez and Melky Cabrera get me Andrew McCutchen and Josh Hamilton. What do you think?
If you can afford to sacrifice the pitching, this is a great deal for you. Even if you can’t afford to sacrifice the pitching, it’s still a net gain for your team. Anytime you can get two early-round players for the price of one, it’s a very good deal for you. Is Josh Hamilton still considered an early-round player? I suppose that’s debatable, but at least he’s beginning to show some signs of turning things around and getting back to that level.
To wrap things up, here is your weekly Fantasy Baseball Trade Junkie Trade Tip. Before you go proposing trades to your fellow league mates, do your homework. You don’t want to include Starlin Castro in a trade offer to the owner who already has Troy Tulowitzki and Jean Segura employed on their roster. When selecting a trade partner, take a quick glance at their roster and try to determine his or her biggest area of need. Maybe he's short on steals? Perhaps a boost in saves would help his team? Or maybe he could use to replace a player that recently hit the DL? Only offer the trade if it makes sense for both sides. Otherwise, you’re just wasting yours and your trading partner’s time.