Art of the Deal: Helping Your Fantasy Baseball Team Through Trades

RotoBaller's Joe Gallina gives you his advice on how to negotiate a favorable fantasy baseball trade. These general rules and guidelines will help you succeed in 2014.



The Art Of The Fantasy Baseball Trade Negotiation

You’ve chosen your team but your draft didn’t go exactly as you had planned. Maybe someone ignited a run for starting pitching earlier than you had anticipated and you got caught with your knickers down. You failed to react quickly enough and now you are stuck with a pitching staff composed of “next best things” and “fall back options”.  Your league’s free agent waiver wire possibilities are full of   “last resorts” and “leftovers”. What do you do? You trade, that’s what you do, and I am going to show you how.

The first rule in fantasy baseball trading is to never, ever, develop emotional ties to anyone on your roster. There is no crying in baseball and no room for getting emotionally attached to your fantasy team’s roster. Everyone and anyone on your fantasy team should be considered fair game and available in a trade as long as you believe you are getting the better end of the deal. I don’t care if you drafted your all-time favorite player from your favorite team, or if you drafted a former MVP from three seasons ago - you can't let emotions get in the way.  There will inevitably come a time when you will need to cut ties with some of your players.

Trading in fantasy baseball can be invigorating and it could bring out the inner GM in you, but agreeing to a deal can make or break your team, so tread lightly. Your job as a Fantasy Baseball Owner is to find a team in your league that sees the value in one of your players and will engage in a trade with you where you receive something helpful in return.


Analyze Your Roster's Needs Thoroughly

Before you seek to make a trade you need to become informed. Take a realistic look at your fantasy roster and identify players that you would consider trading. Be honest with yourself and know when it’s time to give up on those aging superstars whose time has come and gone.

Once you’ve determined which players you’re willing to part with, let your fellow Fantasy Baseball Owners know either through your league's group chat or “on the block” page.  It is very important that you do this on a regular basis since it will put you in a position to receive trade offers. I always love receiving trade offers because every once in a while someone will shock you with a proposal that is unbelievably in your favor. You should also familiarize yourself with the “on the block” pages of your co-owners. Keep your fingers on the pulse of your league!


How To Find An Appropriate Trade Partner

OK so you have determined your team’s needs and realized they can’t be filled through the waiver wire. It’s time to seek out a trading partner.  Although I’m not above taking advantage of a trade offer that is heavily in my favor, in order to present myself as a reliable trading partner to the members of my league, I look to make a deal with a team who has a need that I can help fill. For instance, if I have an overabundance of offense but an immediate need for pitching, I am going to seek out a team who is dominating our league in the pitching categories and needs help at offense.

Finding a team to trade with can be tricky since you want to help your trading partner but you don’t want to help them so much that it hurts your team’s chances of either winning the league or clinching a playoff spot.  If you do find yourself battling with a team for your leagues final playoff spot I would think twice before I offer them a trade that will make them better.  I like to seek out trades with teams who are at the bottom of the standings and have players who are underachieving. These owners may be desperate and could be looking to make a trade that will help them make one last stand. They may be inclined to include some of their top of the line fantasy players in a deal in order to lure you into providing them with two or three players that can help their team.


The Keys To Negotiating

Once I’ve identified the teams that it would make sense to trade with, I focus on one or two players and approach the Fantasy Baseball Owner(s) to find out if they would be willing to include those players in a trade and if so what they would expect back in return. Again, I am giving my potential trade partner the opportunity to figuratively “hang” themselves and I am hoping that they will propose a trade that is in my favor.

Now it’s time to negotiate. Always ask for more than you think you will receive and let your trading partner counteroffer. Keep in mind that many leagues now scrutinize all trades and may disallow your deal if they feel it is too one-sided.

I can’t emphasize the importance of doing your homework before you offer or accept a trade. Analyze the stats and familiarize yourself with the players who have a tendency to put up great numbers at the start of season and then fade in the second half, and trade them away while you can.  Using the same train of thought be wary of your trading partner and perform your due diligence before you hit the accept button and agree to a trade. Good luck this season and I hope your future includes a blockbuster deal that will blow the hinges off of your league.


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