Confessions of a Trade-aholic: Top 10 tips for trading [FBB]

If you want some advice on finding the best cheap beer, you could do worse than asking an alcoholic. At least you know the alcoholic has plenty of experience and some trial-and-error learning under his belt.

I am a trade-aholic. I get a rush every time a trade is accepted by both parties. I’ve completed all kinds of trades in the past, with mixed results. Like the alcoholic, I have learned a lot of life lessons from the world of trading in fantasy sports, and since the season is finally here — and everyone will be looking for a competitive edge, I felt it was a good time to share some pointers.

Trade Rule #1: Always look to improve your team. Seems simple enough, but then again, it can be really easy to forget exactly what stats you need if someone dangles one of your favorite players in front of you. If you feel that your team is lacking in speed, then work towards improving team speed. Don’t simply pull the trigger on a deal because you’re bored or because your favorite player is involved — your team’s stat balance is the only thing that really matters.

Trade Rule #2: Know your other league owners. This is much easier if your are in a league with people you know outside of fantasy sports or if you have a live draft. You know the type — the Oakland A’s fan who wears his new Matt Holliday jersey to the draft. Taking note of this could be a crucial move on your part — because there is a good chance the same guy will overpay for Holliday in a trade. I live in central PA, and never mind getting a few Phillies or Eagles on my respective teams, because there are at least one or two diehard Philly fans in each of my leagues. It also pays to know what other teams in your league lack. For example, in one lague, I drafted two solid third basemen (both were too good at their respective draft positions to pass up. After the draft, my first line of business was to find the other teams in the league who were really hurting at third base. In another league, I was stuck using autodraft, and my team wound up with tons of offensive power, but extremely lacking in pitching. I started looking for teams that had a need for solid offensive skill positions and worked on some offers that would net me more talent on the mound.

Trade Rule #3: Water’s wet, the sky’s blue and hitters hit. With the season opening today, watch the stat lines. As games progress through the first week, and eventually the first month, note which hitters seem to be slumping. It happens every year — certain guys are slow out of the gate, and their respective fantasy owners break out in a cold sweat. Suddenly that first, second or third-round pick doesn’t seem as rock-solid as before. This isn’t something that will happen overnight, but as the schedule starts to turn into May games, you may find one or two owners in your league willing to pull the trigger on one of their draft studs who is slacking at the plate. However, baseball isn’t like football. There are 162 games. The season is long. As long as the player you are targeting isn’t dealing with a lingering or severe injury, it may be worth the risk to help pad your stats down the stretch.

Trade Rule #4: The other guy is looking to improve his team, too. It may be hard to avoid throwing out some one-sided trades to league mates, but remember that the other guy is trying to improve, too. Throw too many one-sided deals at the other owners in your league, and they may soon look at you as the trade dude who’s calling wolf. They may never look at one of your trade proposals seriously, regardless of what you are offering. I know this rule well, because I used to be this guy — the one who tried to wear down league owners with a barrage of trades that may not have been totally equal on both sides. Ask yourself the following before offering a deal: “If I was the other owner, would I really accept this dea?”

Trade Rule #5: Time is on your side. If someone in your league offered you a deal and you are uncertain as to what to do, perhaps the best rule of thumb is to not rush the decision. Sleep on it. Take some time to look at stats and get feedback from other trusted fantasy owners. Yes, an owner may be particularly anxious to make a deal and may move on to another owner if you don’t pull the trigger quickly, but then again, if you are that uncertain about the trade, than it may be for the best if the other owner moves on. The only timeline that you need to remember is your league’s trade deadline.

Trade Rule #6: No player is untradeable. Luckily, in fantasy sports, we don’t need to deal with egocentric backlashes a la Jay Cutler. If someone offers you a deal for one of your studs, it may be in your best interest to at least consider the deal and look at counter offers. Yes, having Albert Pujols is great, but if someone offers you a package of really nice players in return — especially ones that plug glaring holes in your lineup, than it may be hard to resist. Typically, the teams with one or two super-studs and a supporting cast of lesser players doesn’t stay as competitive season-long as a team loaded with balanced talent across the board. Yes, Pujols will get you X-number of home runs, X-number of RBI, etc., but improving yourself at a number of other positions may be more beneficial to the big picture of your fantasy team.

Trade Rule #7: It is OK to counter an offer. In fact, it is critical in many cases for both sides to reach a true agreement if both sides know exactly what is needed to complete a deal. I know many people who feel that if someone else “low-balls” them on a trade offer, the best course of reaction is to ignore it and never communicate in return — or to offer a really ridiculous offer in return. However, it is obvious that the other owner has an interest in certain guys on your roster. Why not offer something realistic back — targeting the people on his roster that you would really like? It can’t hurt, and it may actually help lead to a compromise that nets you some really solid talent.

Trade Rule #8: Watch the injury reports, transactions lists. being one step ahead of your league mates is always a good practice. If you notice that a certain player is injured, and feel that the injury may not be a season-threatening or overall stat-threatening (like a leg injury on your primary source of steals), than it may not hurt to throw out an offer for an injured player — especially if you can snag that player for a couple of your bench warmers. A different example includes position battle injuries. For example, perhaps you see that Kevin Gregg, current Cubs closer, is hit with an injury and will miss some time. Throwing out a deal for Carlos Marmol, who will take the closers role, may not be a bad thing. There are plenty of times that closers, especially, take advantage of some playing time and ultimately find themselves the long-term player at that position. Another thing to watch with transactions lists are which rookies may be called up. There are a rash of talented young rookies who will be seeing major league playing time during the next several months. Figure out which ones are in the best position to rake in some stats when they do reach the big time, and snag them from other teams as you have the resources and bench space — especially if you notice the call-up before others in your league.

Trade Rule #9: Evaluate other trades. Don’t just look at other trades in your league, but go places where people announce their trades and try to get evaluations either before or after the trade. What things seemed to work? Look for trends that may help you in your own league. We will be evaluating on our main board a number of trades throughout the season here at chinstrapninjas.com — so be sure to keep checking back. Another resource is the fantasybaseballcafe, which has a thread devoted to trade analysis. Watch not only what trades are offered and which ones seem to work for both sides, but also what others say about the trade.

Trade Rule #10: Get trusted feedback on a trade before pulling the trigger. Again, time is on your side, so take the time to do it right. Identify several people who you respect in fantasy baseball and ask their advice on certain trades before you complete the deal. Sometimes, it is easy to be blinded by a player bias, and fall into a trap where you are losing more talent in a deal than you’re gaining. The more people you get feedback from, the better the chances that you’ll get a good feel of whether or not a certain trade is in your best interest. We, here at chinstrap ninjas, are offering our services to evaluate your trades as they come up. Feel free to e-mail myself or ep with any questions, and we’ll share our feedback with the rest of our readers as a way for us all to grow as a community and become better traders.

What advice do you follow when considering a fantasy trade? What was your best-ever trade in fantasy baseball? What have you learned from any bad trades you may have made in the past? We’d love to hear your stories!

5 Responses to “Confessions of a Trade-aholic: Top 10 tips for trading [FBB]”


  1. ep

    Great post. I have to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever made a fantasy baseball trade. I cannot remember a single one, at least not one that made a significant change.
    Thanks for the tips, I guess I’ll have to follow these tips and pull the trigger.
    My best baseball trade memory was many years ago when a baseball fan who also played fantasy football and a football fan who also played fantasy baseball made lopsided swaps with each other in their respective favorite sports.
    We could never prove anything, but it was too obvious, they laughed every time we brought it up and never outright denied it.

  2. Sal

    Hey. Couldn’t find an email address, so figured I’d submit my team roster here. I think my only glaring need will be homeruns. Do you agree? To that end, who should I target in a trade. Taverez is trade candidate number 1 for me. Thanks!

    5×5 roto, ten teams, big money. Email provided.

    Brian McCan
    Joey Votto
    Chris Davis
    Rafael Furcal
    Robinson Canó
    Grady Sizemore
    Carlos Quentin
    Nick Markakis
    J.D. Drew
    Brad Hawpe

    BN
    Hank Blalock
    Willy Taveras

    DL
    Upton
    –empty–

    SP
    Roy Oswalt
    Scott Kazmir
    Yovani Gallardo

    RP
    Heath Bell
    Chad Qualls
    Jason Motte
    Jose Arredondo
    Manuel Corpas
    Rafael Pérez

    BN
    Max Scherzer
    Matt Garza
    Kevin Slowey

  3. jzak

    Hey man! Thanks for the comment. We’d love to evaluate your roster for you!

    Looking at your team, I’d have to say that it isn’t as bad as you may think in terms of home runs. Sure, you don’t have one of the elite power hitters on your roster, but as I mentioned in the trade post, the key is balance across the board. What you do have is a wickedly talented outfield. Once Upton returns from the DL, you’ll have five really talented guys there (J.D. Drew being the odd man out at that point).

    I would not be concerned with home runs with this team. Brian McCann, Joey Votto, Grady Sizemore, Carlos Quention, Nick Markakis, Brad Hawpe and even Chris Davis all should hit 20-plus home runs this year. Put all those together, and you should be able to compete with most any team in the power department.

    You relievers also aren’t superstars, but together should provide you with ample saves and help with ERA and WHIP. Your starters aren’t shabby, either. I’d consider grabbing some young pitchers with upside for insurance. If Pat Maholm, for instance, is still on your waiver wire, I’d look to add him.

    As far as overall balance, the one category that may need some attention is actually stolen bases. At the moment, you are counting on just two players for the lion’s share of your team speed — Sizemore and Furcal. The two together may be enough to keep you treading water in your league’s steal category, but I doubt you’ll be a force to reckon with there, either.

    Now, I am expecting a bounceback season for Robinson Cano in a loaded Yankee lineup, but he’s not going to help pioneer new ground for your team in any one category. One player who would, however, is Brian Roberts. He’s an instant upgrade in batting average, runs scored and especially stolen bases. If I were going to do any trades, I would look in your league for the dude who owns Roberts and get a feel of what it would take to flip Cano for Roberts. Realistically, you’ll need to probably say goodbye to one of your stud OF, but then again, it is a very deep position with plenty of upside talent available for a small trade or waiver wire pickup. I would see what young upside outfielders he has. One guy I’m really high on this season is Jeremy Hermida. See if Hermida is available on your waiver wire. Chances are, in a 10-team league, he might be. Hopefully the guy who has Roberts needs some outfield help. I would start with offering Markakis (although I think he’ll have a big season, you also need to give talent to get talent) and Cano for Roberts and a cheap, low-end with upside OF, if possible. There is a good chance that the guy may want more, and I’d consider looking at moving Carlos Quenton (although I think Upton is someone I’d rather move, he also isn’t going to get you any clout because he’s injured).

    Let us know how it goes. If you want, let us know what the other dude’s roster looks like, and we’ll help you consider trade options that may work. Good luck!

  4. Sal

    Thanks for the help. Very informative! You guys rock.

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