“PLZ HELP! NEED TRADE ADVICE!”
I’d be willing to bet that you’ve seen this exact post on your favorite fantasy baseball message board. I, for one, have seen it hundreds (thousands?) of times over the years and I’ve always been one to click on the post and offer my take on the potential deal. Perhaps it’s the urgency of the ALL CAPS headline that suckers me in. Whatever the case, I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a fantasy baseball trade junkie.
First and foremost, trading is FUN. Be it a blockbuster Braun-for-Trout kind of deal or a trade of lower significance, trading is a great way to get to know and interact with your leaguemates.
A few years ago, I joined a 12-team keeper league on the recommendation of a co-worker. He and another colleague were the only participants in the league that I knew personally, so I was going in somewhat blind. Since I inherited a team from a departing owner, one of the first things I did was put out some trade offers for players that I liked. After all, with a new regime typically comes a roster overhaul. At the time, I didn’t think my offer of Adrian Gonzalez for Carlos Gonzalez was unreasonable (remember this was several years ago), but I promptly received a Trade Rejection email that was accompanied by a “you’re outta your f***ing mind” comment. Needless to say, that owner and I haven’t done much trading since, but at least now I know how he feels about CarGo.
Then there’s the risk/reward aspect of trading. The thrill of the gamble. Are you willing to part with Miguel Cabrera to acquire Bryce Harper in a keeper league? I did, and while I may be regretting that decision for the next three to five years, Harper should eventually overtake Miggy as the best overall player in fantasy. Not to mention, I’ll have Bryce for much longer than I would have had Miggy if I had just stood pat and kept him. Risky? You bet. But I couldn’t pass up the 15+ years of rewards that I could reap with Bryce Harper on my roster.
Disclaimer: I am not encouraging you to run out and put Miguel Cabrera on the Trading Block. Had it been a standard re-draft league, I would not have even considered dealing the reigning Triple Crown winner.
When I’m not proposing trades in my keeper league (sadly, it’s the only league I can make trades in this year since the NFBC does not allow it), chances are I’m reviewing trades for my fellow RotoBallers via Twitter (follow me there @RyanRufe) or the RotoBaller Fantasy Chat Room. The RotoBaller Fantasy Chat Room, in particular, is a great feature that you can and SHOULD be taking advantage of whether you have trade or lineup questions or just want to talk baseball in general. I have been chatting with RotoBallers during my spare time and I’ve been presented with some great trades to evaluate. Let’s take a look at a few of them, shall we?
Fantasy Baseball Trade Analysis
@TheNumbers_Guy via Twitter: Is trading Hamilton for Gattis and Arenado a good trade?
To be completely honest with you, this is not a good trade. Evan Gattis is going to lose playing time when Jason Heyward returns to the Braves’ lineup and as much as I like Nolan Arenado, he’s not enough of a return for J-Ham. For as bad as Hamilton has been, I can sympathize with frustrated owners who are trying to deal him away for something... anything... in return. That said, consider the fact that you invested a first or second round pick on the guy. Why trade him away for table scraps and loose change? Or in this case, two players who went undrafted in most leagues? I know it’s difficult, but try to be patient with Hamilton. Wait until he has a 4-5 HR week and THEN try trading him when he’s gained some of his value back. Instead of Gattis and Arenado, a better return for Josh Hamilton would be something like Allen Craig and Arenado.
@Abby via the RotoBaller Fantasy Chat Room: If I traded Strasburg, who would you suggest for?
I wouldn't advise trading Stephen Strasburg unless I got a player like Matt Kemp or Andrew McCutchen in return. Why are you looking to trade Strasburg anyway? He hasn’t pitched badly - in 44 ⅓ innings pitched, he has a 1-4 record, 3.45 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 44 Ks. The only problem is that he’s not getting any run support. The Nationals offense is averaging a paltry 2.29 runs in games that Strasburg toes the rubber. He’s really only had one poor outing out of his 7 starts (4/7 vs. CIN), so don’t make the mistake of selling him when his perceived value is low. The wins will come.
@Della via the RotoBaller Fantasy Chat Room: Would you trade Encarnacion and Jason Kubel for Adam Jones?
That’s an awful lot of home runs that you’d be giving up. I think Edwin Encarnacion by himself should be more than enough to acquire Adam Jones.
@Don via the RotoBaller Fantasy Chat Room: I have Longoria and Lawrie in a keeper league. I need a first baseman. Any trade-up suggestions for Lawrie?
I'd try to get Anthony Rizzo in a deal for Brett Lawrie. I think Freddie Freeman or Paul Goldschmidt would be asking (way) too much but if you can swing either of them, perhaps by offering a little more than just Lawrie, that would be ideal. Freeman and Goldschmidt are monster fantasy producers at ages 23 and 25 respectively, and should be priority 1B targets for keeper league owners.
@Dawna via the RotoBaller Fantasy Chat Room: I'm sending a package of either Bauer or Cingrani, plus a prospect and a draft pick for Carlos Gomez in a 16-team dynasty league. Who do you like more between the two moving forward?
That's a tough one, as I really like both players. Trevor Bauer has struggled with walks in his limited MLB exposure thus far. Tony Cingrani has been lights out for the Reds, but I think Bauer ends up having the brighter future of the two. He's got four plus pitches, whilst Cingrani is basically throwing fastballs 90% of the time. Cingrani will need to develop his secondary offerings more to remain successful at the big league level. As for the prospect that you’re including in the deal, just be careful that you’re not giving up a major one.
I’ll wrap this up with a Fantasy Baseball Trade Junkie Trade Tip for all you wheelers and dealers out there: be mindful of how you present trades to your fellow league owners. You should always try to present the deal as if your trading partner will receive the better end of the trade. For example - “I saw that your team is in last place in the HR category. Need I remind you that Josh Hamilton hit 43 bombs last year?” Granted, you’ll run into experienced fantasy baseball players that will see right through this, but it never hurts to try.