If you haven’t already noticed, this is a hard time of year to make trades in fantasy baseball circles. About as hard as finding snowmen in the Sahara.
That’s because the marathon that is fantasy baseball has hit its fizzle time for owners who are looking at a losing season. Fantasy football drafts and preseason buzz is heating up, and lures too many frustrated fantasy baseball owners away from the mid-summer classic.
It doesn’t help that we are all facing the dreaded fantasy baseball trade deadline. How do you handle the pressure? How do you make the most of the trade deadline? Here are some tips. After reading these, don’t miss our companion piece on some specific players worth targeting.
1. More than ever, it is important to assess your team’s strengths and weaknesses. At this point in the season, you should have good idea of where your team is solid and where it needs help.
Most leagues hosted by major sites, such as ESPN or Yahoo, offer easy-to-sort standings that allow you to pinpoint your team’s place in the grand scheme of things.
It is time to face the reality that your squad may be hurting in one or more categories, and admit that you need help – hopefully through a trade that catapults you up the standings.
2. Using the same means, look at the rest of your league. At this point, you should have an idea of which teams are active in the trade department, and which owners are more content to fish in the free agent pool.
While you may be able to talk a mostly non-trading owner into making a big move, you also are running out of time for discussions. This means you will likely need to focus on the more active league owners.
Analyze each of these teams in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Again, be sure to use the software built into your league host to minimize the workload and time needed to break down each squad’s needs and excesses.
3. Make your intentions known. E-mail the league in mass message that you are looking to make some deadline deals and are willing to make some big-time moves. Make the note clear and precise.
Mention actual players on your squad that are available for trade. Be specific in what you need. Again, this is no time to beat around the bush. Being open and honest to all owners up front will facilitate a potential trade quicker than being coy.
Make yourself available to talk with other owners. Let them know when you’ll be online and if you will be on IM, in a chat room or perhaps on a social media site like Facebook. The more accessible you are, the better the chances another owner will track you down.
4. You need to be open-minded about offers. Other owners don’t want to give up their studs for your scrap-heap guys. You will need to sacrifice a player or two that you were originally hoping to keep until the end.
5. Be steadfast on your core players, though. Certain guys, such as Luke Scott and Aaron Hill, are finally achieving their full potential in fantasy circles.
While many owners will come drooling for such players, you need to acknowledge that certain players will likely continue to play at an elite level.
6. Work on needs-for-needs trades. From your analysis in earlier points, be sure to pinpoint deals with teams that match up best with your needs and vice versa.
For instance, in one league, my team was desperate for saves but loaded with quality high-strikeout pitchers. While I kept lines of communication open with all teams, I spent more time and energy on the squads that desperately needed strikeouts and wins, but also had an excess of saves.
7. Don’t get greedy. I can preach this point from experience. Plenty of times, I’ll be close to making a deal that helps my squad, but then notice an additional player or two from the other team that would make great cherries on the trading hot fudge sundae. Let me be the first to point out that these extra last-minute requests typically don’t help expedite a deadline deal.
While another owner may be desperate to make a move, and you can squeeze some extra players out of him, don’t squeeze so hard that you strangle off any chance of a deal.
8. Continue to get trading advice from unbiased sources. It can be very easy to lock into a trade on deadline that seems to fit all your team’s needs, but the fantasy trading sort can sometimes find themselves with blinders on.
I always run trades, especially the bigger ones, past people I know and trust from fantasy circles, whether it is ep here at www.chinstrapninjas.com or fantasy baseball café members, I always get some last-second advice.
9. Be willing to take some risks. There is a reason you are looking at deadline trades … and it likely is because you feel your team, as is, doesn’t have enough mojo to steamroll into and through the fantasy playoffs (or up the standings in rotoleagues).
In those situations, it doesn’t hurt to take a chance on a trade that you are really waffling on in hopes that it pans out.
10. Trust your gut. Whether you are a seasoned fantasy baseball owner or in your first season of play, at some point, you need to just trust your gut.
Does a trade seem to meet your needs? Will the move add the extra oomph you need to keep your attention focused on fantasy baseball for the stretch run? Only you can answer that.
Remember that in most cases, you are playing for fun and taking some calculated risks can put your team into title consideration. If the trade backfires, you always have fantasy football drafts on the horizon.
How do you handle fantasy baseball trade deadline deals? We’d love to hear about it in our comments section below. Have questions about your own team and potential deals, share them below and we’ll do our best to help you out.