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January 12, 2012 posted by Paul Greco

The Art of the Fantasy Baseball Deal

The Art of the Fantasy Baseball Deal
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Many questions that are sent to various fantasy writers and sites center on trades and making fair deals. On Yahoo! Answers today there are no fewer than a dozen trade questions. Some are nonsense-type offers, but others show that there is an appetite to make the right deal.

Johan Santana, NY Mets SP

As examples, sample trades seen recently include: Miguel Cabrera for Carlos Lee and Mike Napoli; Johan Santana for David Wright; Evan Longoria for Ryan Zimmerman, Francisco Cordero, and Cole Hamels; and Chad Billingsley and Brandon Inge for Justin Morneau.

Regardless of the league, each trade always requires some type of cost-benefit analysis. A team makes an offer to fill a need and improve without giving a player or two away that would hurt them in the long run. Not an easy task to undertake.
What many leagues continue to see are offers that do not meet needs or simply fit into this unreasonable criterion, and that comes from the proposer needing to do their homework on the proposee’s team. It becomes a frustrating exercise, and it would not be a stretch to say there are far more leagues with no trade activity than leagues with an abundance.
Worse, offers roll in for injured players on the assumption that one owner would not know about the situation prior to acceptance. Others have complained about receiving offers that make no sense simply to “open talks.” This is fantasy baseball, rarely do we open talks.
A successful trade proposal addresses needs. It is realistic; one owner does not go out of their way to try and pry an elite player for a bag of balls. Buying low is one thing; being unreasonable is entirely different. There are situations where it is possible to buy low.
Geovany Soto.jpgLook at Geovany Soto and Jimmy Rollins today, or the way it was thought that owners should view Ricky Nolasco prior to his demotion. Perfect instances to see if you can get a guy on the cheap. Still, it will border on impossible to get an owner to give up Zack Greinke or Adrian Gonzalez if they are not getting an elite player at another position as well as something(s) additional.
Most importantly, a good proposal provides value to both sides.
The biggest pet peeve of managers is looking at an offer that only serves to make them weaker. If an owner is already struggling in the outfield, asking for an outfielder from them is going to get rejected. Managers may want a certain player more than anything, but it is going to take such an overwhelming offer simply because of the other owner’s lack of depth.
The opposite is true too. Should you want a starting pitcher from an owner with great depth in the outfield, offering them an outfielder doesn’t help. In fact, it’s likely that player ends up sitting on the bench.
Is that your problem? Not really, but it doesn’t matter. The result is the same, because the trade is rejected.
How should an owner go about a trade? There are a few key pieces to follow.
First, know what you’re trying to accomplish. Whether a specific position within your lineup needs to be addressed, or help is required in a certain category, go into the process with a detailed plan as to how this trade is going to make you better. That starts with a roster evaluation and, in some cases, an evaluation of the standings in general to understand where you can make up ground.
Second, identify the players or categories that can be traded. Understanding this piece is just as, if not more, important than understanding what is needed. Running away with a category isn’t always a good thing, as it can show a place you have some unnecessary depth. Should the next owner be already 50 to 75 home runs (just throwing it out there) behind, understand that the roster constructed likely has an abundance of power. It becomes something to be leveraged.
The other end of the spectrum can breed the same result. Perhaps saves have escaped to the point that only one decent closer remains on a roster. An elite closer is a bargaining chip, especially if it is possible to deal with the mid- and lower-tier closers of the world in exchange for better starting pitching or offensive production.
Third, find an appropriate target. If after evaluating your roster, the determination has been made that there is a need for a second basemen and in the process pitching or an outfielder can go, look for someone compatible within the league. This means that owner has a second basemen to spare or marginal depth at the position and has a need for one of the two areas that can be spared.
Categories can be handled the same way, and in many cases are easier to identify. Still, positional alignment needs to be reviewed and understood for reasons discussed above.
Next, make an acceptable offer. Do not be scared to part with a player because of how he could perform the rest of the season. The move is being made for a reason, and it will make the team better in the long run. Not giving up a player because of personal preference can block a lot of deals. Avoid this trap and the push to want to buy every player with a low-ball offer.
Finally, include a note with the trade. Explain the reasoning why the offer is what it is and that everything is negotiable. Let the other owner know some of the reasoning behind an offer. Competitive leagues may not like this piece of advice, but if no trade has been made, it can make the other owner feel more comfortable with what is going on and might just help to open the door.
Following a few basic steps can help revive the trade in the common league. Keep this in mind the next time a proposal is going to be made, and always think before the accept or reject button is hit.
Paul finished the 2011-2012 Fantasy Football season as the #1 Weekly Rankings & Projections winner of the 411Fantasy Expert Challenge. He also finished 2nd in the FantasyPros.com Expert Draft Accuracy Challenge in 2011. Top 10 Finisher in the FSWA Fantasy Football Draft Projections. Paul is also apart of baseballs elite as a member of Tout Wars. You can follow me on Twitter @PaulGreco
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