Buyer’s Guide: The ottoneu Trade Deadline

For those of you not looking to buy, the Seller’s Guide is right here. But for those of you still trying to make that run, still trying to claw your way into the money, still trying to hold off the late chargers behind you, the following a brief guide to buying for the ottoneu stretch run.

Whether you are filling a hole that you have had since April or trying to replace Jose Bautista‘s production in case he isn’t back in time to help, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

1) Prospects are not your only assets. Everyone starts with the prospects. Sellers want young pieces to build anew, buyers don’t need those prospects in 2012. But often times you can get more value by trading an established, but keepable, player. For example, in the Original ottoneu, I am trotting out a catcher platoon of Miguel Montero and Yadier Molina, with Yasmani Grandal waiting in the wings. Sure, I could trade the prospect, Grandal, but owners looking for a 2013 catcher will get more value from Molina or Montero, which means I may get more help by moving one of them, and I still get to go into 2013 with the other as my starter and Grandal as my backup. Not half bad.

2) Do not ignore future value just because you are playing for this year. You should definitely place a higher emphasis on present value, but if you can acquire a keepable piece, so much the better. You are not going to get anyone’s $5 Mike Trout or $3 R.A. Dickey, but a $25-$30 Justin Upton, a guy having a down year but still likely to provide decent stats down the stretch, and the possibility to prove he deserves to be kept in 2013? That is a guy who might be on the table and may be of interest. No, he doesn’t give you the same boost as a $60 Ryan Braun, but depending on your needs, Upton may be plenty, and that future value still matters.

3) Know the owners you are trading with. Some guys will way overvalue prospects. Others will assume they are all no more than a lottery ticket. Some guys buy into the hype on the prospects of their favorite team (I know I have been guilty of being a big believer in Indians prospects in the past). If you know another owner’s tendencies, play into that – offer him what you know he wants.

4) Trade from strength, but ideally trade from FUTURE strengths. You want to move guys you don’t need now, first and foremost, but don’t forget to think about who you will need next year. If you have a decent OF and a stacked MI, that doesn’t mean you should trade a MI prospect before your OF prospects. If your OF is decent but young and cheap while your MI is old and expensive, you’ll miss that MI prospect a lot more in 3 months than you will the OF prospect. And since you won’t miss either of them in August or September, try to move the one you need less next year.

Good luck picking up the missing piece and remember – flags fly forever.

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Chad Young is a product manager at Amazon by day and a baseball writer (RotoGraphs, Let's Go Tribe), sports fan and digital enthusiast at all times. Follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

5 Responses to “Buyer’s Guide: The ottoneu Trade Deadline”

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  1. LuckyStrikes says:

    As a buyer, and with depth at MI with Rutledge, I just accepted a trade using point #1 above, trading Kipnis ($10), Hanrahan ($5), and Span ($4) for Stanton ($49), Putz ($7), Valdespin ($3). Kipnis was a big chip and to get back in the race I had to part with him. We’ll see what happens, but hopefully Stanton comes back strong with 6 weeks left.

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  2. Los says:

    Since I’m not currently in an Ottoneu league, I had a question that I was hoping this would address. Why exactly would you not be able to acquire a $5 Mike Trout. I can’t imagine a more valuable piece anywhere which means that he will basically get voted off the team no matter what. So basically, the future value of a Mike Trout is that $5 discount. However, the present value of Trout is quite high. Couldn’t it make sense to deal a Trout for an injured star at a keepable number?

    There might be an obvious flaw in my logic so if anyone could point that out, that would be great too.

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    • LuckyStrikes says:

      In this equation, the value of Trout is not just the $5 discount. It’s also that he serves as a “shield” against other reasonably priced talent from getting voted off. Granted, you could trade a $5 Trout in Ottoneu for the moon and it may make sense to do so since he’d be guaranteed to be voted off, but if you also have a $25 Joey Bautista in your lineup, keep Trout at $5 and watching him get voted off ensures you keep your Bautista, too.

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    • Chad Young says:

      The primary issue is that a $5 Mike Trout is protecting whoever your next best value is. So you have to decide if you want a $5 discount on Mike Trout and a $3 R.A. Dickey (for example) or a $5 discount on R.A. Dickey and whatever return you get for Trout. So, no, it is not impossible to get someone to trade Trout, but there is a real cost there. It’s important to keep in mind that Trout, if he goes for a fair market value in the auction next year, becomes an under-priced star with your $5 discount – that discount has real value.

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