In fantasy baseball, if there are two owners that are of equal skill and talent, barring injuries, typically the owner that trades most often is going to end up winning the league or finishing higher in the standings than the other owner the majority of the time, because the owner that trades is constantly improving his or her roster.
Here is a look at some trading tips to help you with you fantasy baseball deals for the 2013 season.
1. Communication Method – I remember back in the day when all trades were made over the phone and you had sometimes had to play phone tag over the course of several days to get a deal done. Now all trading is pretty much done through email or through a trading system on the site of the service you are using such as Yahoo or CBS Sports. Keep in mind that some people do not check email as often as you do or the email they use for the site is not their main mailbox so it is important to send trade offers through both methods when possible.
If there is room for a comment on the website, type that in when making offer explaining your logic as to why you think the trade helps them. That way they know you had least put a little thought into the offer and it may open their eyes to the value of the trade on their side if they go through with it.
2. Understanding Need – following up on point one, the best way to get a trade made is by making a trade that is win-win and can help both sides. To do that, you may need to spend a few minutes looking through the standings to see where the other team may be weak so you can offer the appropriate type of player(s). Offering a guy say Michael Bourn when his team is in first place by 30 steals already is not going to do him any good.
3. Targeting Players – size really does matter in fantasy baseball. The smaller and simpler the trade is, i.e., 1-for-1 or 2-for-2, the better chance you have of getting a deal done. I have been in leagues where some owners like to throw out these 5-for-6 type of mega trade offers and you would need at least 30 minutes to try to sort through all of the players, figure out if they even fit on your roster, then figure out who you would have to pick up in free agency and then actually decide if the trade is worth it or not. Most owners are not going to invest that much time into it so know who you want and target a trade around that specific player.
On the flip side of this is understanding what other players other owners in your league may be interested in from your team. If you are in an auction league, keep an eye on any owner bidding you up on a player as they may have interest in them later in the season. Watch the comments box if you are drafting online for other owners calling out “nice pick” or “hey, I wanted that guy.”
4. Burning Bridges – this is even more critical in a keeper league than in a one year league but the same concept applies. You never know when you may need to make a trade with owner “X” in a league so it pays to not burn any bridges with them by rejecting their offer with questionable language, calling into question their intelligence, etc or by not replying to a trade offer, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Other owners use different tools to asses players values during the season so you may get some offers that you feel are totally out of line. Politely reject them and move on to the next deal.
5. Winning Trade – while it is nice to come out ahead in a trade, it is important to also win categories. As you get later into the season, you are going to need to improve in certain categories in order to win so the overall value of a player is not going to matter as much as it does at the start of the year. For example, at the start of the year in a mixed league you would not trade Giancarlo Stanton for Michael Bourn, but with say a month left in the year, if you can gain four points in the standings by getting Bourn even though he is less in value, then you make the deal if you have no better offers.
6. Rebuilding – if you play in a keeper league or ultra league where you keep your whole roster from season to season, the sooner you decide your team is rebuilding, the better off trading you are going to be. If your plant your flag in the ground from day one for trades, you have a better shot of getting the most value for your players, because you are selling the fact that another owner will get the player’s stats for the whole season. You will also have little or no competition for trades because most owners are not willing to give up on the season that early, no matter how bad their team may be. The later into the season you go, the less you are likely to get back in value and the more competition you will have from other owners.
7. Play to Win – again, this applies more to keeper leagues and I see this quite often where owners are unwilling to make a trade that gives them a good shot of winning a league because they think they can build a dynasty or they don’t want to give up on young talent they think one day may break out. I say play for the win whenever possible because there is just too much that changes the following year in terms of injuries, trades, free agent signings, lack of performance from rookies, etc. I would much rather have a finish of say 1st-4th-5th then finish 2nd-3rd-3rd. If you are playing in a money league, the prize you win for first place is going to pay off a lot more than finishing lower in the standings the following year by not making a deal.