Kicking Rocks: These Trade Winds Blow

I don’t know if anyone has told you people yet, but it’s only April and the data we are looking at right now comes from what is known around these parts as a very small sample size. What that means is that there are still five more months….yes, months….of baseball still and numerous players will receive anywhere from 400 to 500 more plate appearances between now and the end of the season. Take a moment. Drink that in. Think about it for a few seconds. And while you do, remember this: a bad trade reputation spreads a lot faster around your league than a good reputation. Unless your league is filled with complete idiots (and that may very well be the case for some of you), your testing of the waters with ludicrous trade offers that you yourself would never accept in a million years is going to potentially come back and bite you in the ass.

Do I like John Buck? It depends on the circumstances. Are he and I out at a bar together having a beer and schmoozing baseball? If so, then yes, I like John Buck. But if you’re asking me that with respect to him being an upgrade over Miguel Montero as you throw a variety of players at me in a feeble attempt to pry Giancarlo Stanton off my roster, then no, I am not particularly fond of John Buck. Stanton and Montero might be a collective mess right now, statistically speaking, but allow me to return you to the opening sentence of this piece.

Is my team in my primary keeper league being ravaged by injuries right now? Yeah, I’d say so. Losing Jason Heyward, Yoenis Cespedes, Ryan Ludwick, Brett Lawrie and Aaron Hill to the DL while players like Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera miss time with minor dings and dents is a clear fast-track to the bottom of the standings. But am I trading away the rest of my roster so that you can get a 4-for-1 deal for Chris Davis right now? Um, no. I am not tanking the year at this time and looking for protects for next season. You cannot pick off my roster like some vulture swooping in on a carcass lying motionless in the desert. Why am I not giving up? Click here and start reading from the top.

I love to trade. Really, I do. I love talking trade, I love negotiating trades, and most of all, I love looking at my roster after a freshly consummated deal. But what I hate is when someone comes at me like I’m an idiot who has no understanding of the game we are playing. I understand the concepts of buying low and selling high and I understand that some people don’t want to float too good of a deal as a starting point, but rein it in, people. If I get an offer that I think is completely ridiculous, how do you think I’m going to react? I’m either going to simply reject the stupidity and not even look at your team for something that makes more sense or I’m going to counter with an offer I deem to be just as stupid and we’ve done nothing but waste each others time.

But while that trade talk may seem dead, it actually continues. It’s like a dead body in an apartment that goes unnoticed until the smell begins to drift out into the hallway. Because now I’m talking trade seriously with another owner or two and inevitably someone blurts out, “Did you get an offer from [insert stupid trade offer guy's name here]?” The conversation immediately turns to what kind of an idiot the guy is, how bad the players are that he’s trying to sell, and how no one else in the league wants to even take his calls (or emails or texts). Suddenly, his brilliant tactic to try and dupe his fellow owners turns the whole league against him on the trade front and it becomes impossible for him to pull off even the most basic of trades.

So while you may think you’re being slick and savvy, trying to get some additional value for guys off to hot starts, you’re likely doing yourself a great disservice in the end. It’s fine to try and deal the likes of John Buck, Chris Davis, and Carlos Villanueva but be realistic about it. You don’t have to undersell them, but let’s not elevate them to the status of a Ryan Braun or a Joey Votto. Use your head, people. And in the immortal words of the late, great Jimmy Dugan, “That’s that lump of crap sitting three feet above your ass.”

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

38 Responses to “Kicking Rocks: These Trade Winds Blow”

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  1. tylersnotes says:

    after a series of 500-word emails attempting to convince me that his tanner scheppers/lance mccullers for my asdrubal cabrera/kolten wong was a good deal for both of us, I endorse this article.

    i’ve learned with many owners in my leagues that if a trade isn’t made after the first proposal or counter offer, it’s not going to be made. there comes a time to let go and acknowledge that everyone has different needs and no one in the league thinks you are smarter than them even if you are.

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    • Cliff says:

      “ive learned with many owners in my league that if a trade isnt made after the first proposal or counter offer, its not going to be made…”

      i couldnt disagree with this statement more. i play in about 8-10 leagues of football, basketball, and baseball every year…i would say that MAYBE 10% of trades completed are the first offer or counter-offer…thats just a silly way to approach trading.

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      • majnun says:

        He said in his league.

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      • tylersnotes says:

        i guess there are the type of owners who will negotiate and do whatever it takes to find something that works, and the types of owners who will keep coming back to the same trade no matter how many counter offers are sent. Maybe I’m playing in too many leagues with the 2nd type of owner, but I would say as a rule I will know if a trade proposal is going to be worth my time after the first counter offer. Either we’re interested in getting on the same page, or we’re not

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  2. KB says:

    I find that I am OK with absolutely any an all trade offers or rejections, no matter how stupid they might seem, as long as they are accompanied w/ some sort of explanation either in an email, conversation or text field on the trade offer page. This way, if nothing else, some bit of information was gained about that owners strategy/player interest, Plus, I think its basically rude to just decline an offer without some sort of acknowledgement – even something simple as, “Not looking to trade Player X at this time.”

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    • Ian says:

      Agreed, as long as it is a reasonable offer. Let me at least know if we’re close, or the guy just isn’t available.

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    • Scott says:

      Absolutely. If you give me some insight into WHY you don’t want to do this trade, it will help me design trades that you are more likely to accept. Otherwise I’m shooting in the dark.

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    • Jason B says:

      I like your idea about rejecting trades with a brief explanation, even if you don’t want to counter. I think good manners go a long way in all aspects of life, even “fantasy life”.

      On the flip side, I don’t like when trade offers COME WITH a lengthy explanation; I feel like it’s a used car salesman trying to offload a lemon with his “owned by an old lady, only driven once a week to church on Sunday” story. I think trade offers can and should speak for themselves. If it’s a great deal for me, I can figure that out.

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  3. SonOfDaveRoberts says:

    Someone offered me his Chris Davis for my Braun. I countered by offering my Andrew Bailey for his Kemp.

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  4. Curious Porge says:

    New to fantasy here is my:
    Swisher, andrlton simmons, lucroy, and edwin jackson
    for his:
    kemp, alex cobb

    win, even, lose for me. Is this even close?

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    • Curious Porge says:

      his catcher and SS are : cervelli, and gregorious.
      I have Rosario and castro and segura to fill those spots for me

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    • tom says:

      this really depends on your needs. personally, if you offered me those four players for kemp and cobb, id look at you and say “NOPE”
      if you end up getting the deal, kudos to you and let me play in your league.

      Best way to look at trading IMHO –> if someone else proposed you this deal, would you accept it, consider it, nope, or HELL EFFIN NO.

      and this proposal is in the “HELL EFFIN NO” … like howard stated throughout the article, its too early to give up on guys and theres so much time left.

      Why give up a first rounder when you offer multiple mid-late rounders to me?

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    • Brandon says:

      That’s a terrible offer for Kemp. Not to mention I’d take Cobb over Jackson as well.

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    • Blue says:

      Basic rule of fantasy trades: quantity for quality is a poor trade offer.

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  5. KTrout says:

    12-team h2h 6×6 logjam conundrum. I’ve got Crisp, Lorenzo, and Rutledge sitting on my bench fighting for playing time each day. Love the depth and positional flex, but it’s a waste of value that I could use for a reliable #3/4 SP. If you were selling, is Craig the guy to move? Both Fowler and Crisp seem like they’re overplaying and still undervalued and not worth moving at this point.

    2B – Zobrist (2B/SS/OF)
    SS – Desmond
    IF – Encarnacion
    OF – Stanton
    OF – Bruce
    OF – Choo
    OF – Fowler
    UTIL – Craig (1B/OF)
    BE- Coco/Lorenzo/Rutledge(2B/SS)

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  6. Trader Joe says:

    I need to apologize. I get accused of this often enough, that I am open to the possibility it’s me.

    My bad, I genuinely thought Goldsmidt for Heyward was a fair trade. I didn’t realize you think Ike Davis is a legitimate starter at 1B in a 10 team mixed league. Maybe I like my guys too much.

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  7. Brandon says:

    Paul Goldschmidt is superior to all players. He’s money. He is the Gold Standard of first basemen. All other first basemen are artifical fiat first basemen compared to him. He is the measurement of first base excellence. Prince Fielder? 0.92 ounces of Gold. Ike Davis? 0.68 ounces of Gold.

    Authors note: In the second week of the seaon, I traded Paul Goldschmidt (2 years, $4) and one year of John Axford, Greg Holland, Josh Hamilton, and Jose Altuve for one year of Ryan Braun, Bobby Parnell, Jonathan Papelbon, Elvis Andrus, and David Wright. I almost didn’t do the deal.

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  8. rotobanter says:

    Love your quote on looking at your team after a new deal…its so true. Here’s mine so far:
    Rizzo for Ajax and oswaldo arcia
    Konerko & gyorko for altuve (for pa & sb)
    Nick castellanos for mike Morse
    Mike Morse for Doug Fister
    Mike minor for des Jennings (again pa & sb)

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    • 3FingersBrown says:

      Nice deals. I moved Fister for De Aza after my trade partner tried to lowball me for Yu Darvish. I wasn’t offended by his offer – of course he want’s Yu and he doesn’t want to lose valuable commodities. Instead I said, I’ll deal Yu for a comparable bat which I knew wasn’t going to happen. We ended up with the Fister for De Aza move, which I believe benefits us both nicely.

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      • rotobanter says:

        i really like fister – de aza’s a 5×5 asset – avg should ^ and he’s shown 15 HR pop but he’s got a really inflated FB% and HR/FB – and he’s 29 already so 25 sb will be hard to reach.

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      • rotobanter says:

        i think he lowballed your yu offer hoping you’d fall for trading fister ;)

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  9. Corey says:

    the one that drives me crazy, is the 4-4, 5-5, 6-6 trade offer. Our league doesn’t allow 4-1 trades, players received have to be equal in number to players given up, with the caveat of DL sitters, and they have to fit within our salary cap.

    When I get an offer like A, B, C, and D for W, X, Y, and Z my head starts spinning, processing that much roster shifting at one time strikes me as almost impossible, usually I’ll just counter with “how about A for Y?” But you start throwing a million names in there and even if its favorable for me I’m going to start getting suspicious, particularly if you don’t tell me what you’re actually looking for.

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    • Blue says:

      Best way to approach that situation is offer the real trade, settle on it, then fill it up with junk to even it out.

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    • Jason B says:

      “players received have to be equal in number to players given up”

      Yuck. Can you petition your league owner to not have such a cruddy rule?

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  10. Brandon says:

    I love epic trades. In auction leagues, simple trades can blow up to be large trades merely as a function of salary cap. But that’s just me…

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  11. rotobanter says:

    Win now approach is always the way to go if you have a chance… Would love to see your prospect for MLB guy trades to understand the value you guys are seeing. I had a good request along these lines and it’s a hard answer because it’s heavily contingent on your league (members). I have one guy valuing Mike Zunino as much or more than Buster Posey at this point and shelby miller as a top 5 SP. He’s up there, but c’monnn

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  12. christo16 says:

    16 team dynasty, give Fowler, Holliday, Bundy get Stanton, S. Miller. Thoughts?

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  13. Evil Empire says:

    So Howard… still waiting to hear back from you… Stanton for Buck. Cmon, you know you want Buck.

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  14. dirck says:

    A guy in one of my dynasty leagues sent a league wide e-mail with a list of his players that were available . I responded that I was interested in Carl Crawford ,who was on the list,and asked what he wanted for him .He answered either Pedroia or Gio Gonzalez . I said that is way out of line ,I regard Crawford as a risky flyer that I would only want if he was cheap . He asked what he would have to add to get Pedroia . I replied that I considered it a very backward way to make a deal by starting with what I regard as a throw-in for a top 3 player at his position and then asking what else he would have to add to the throw in . He tried adding other players on his side several times ,but always asking for an additional player from me who was better than the player he had added . Each time I told him that I thought we were too far apart for me to even make a counter offer . Finally I said ” Let’s just stop this . I feel like a guy who went to a car dealership for an oil change and now I have a salesman following me around trying to get me to buy a Mercedes ” .He got insulted and it rapidly went downhill from there with him getting personal about it .

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    • Jason B says:

      “I regard Crawford as a risky flyer that I would only want if he was cheap”

      You sound overly combative. YOU initiated the conversation by asking about Crawford but now you’re saying you only want him if you can get him for sixty cents on the dollar. Yeah, he over-reached a little but it’s a starting point and you can work from there. And don’t say you’re interested in Crawford and then bad-mouth him as nothing more than a “throw-in”. Obviously you think he’s more than that because, again, YOU expressed the initial interest in him.

      In short, you’re as guilty of doing the same to him as what you claim he did to you. Plenty of blame to go around.

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  15. pepper says:

    I know that my opinion will not be satisfying and heaven knows it is hard to follow. But ANY trade offer coming to you is a good thing. If the offer is silly, then you should either reject it with no comment OR reject it with a factual explanation of why you do not wish to do it. If you can tack on explanation of what sort of players off the other guy’s roster it would take to obtain their target, then even better. let’s be real. It is aggravating to get a bad offer, but if the objective is to win and is to make your team better to improve your odds of winning, then getting angry at the coach who sent you a bad offer does not help. working him back to a reasonable offer does help your team. If this proves impossible, then no reason you can’t simply say “i’m sorry, but looks like we can’t work out a deal at this time.” then, just reject bad offers with no comment.

    don’t make it personal. don’t send stupid offers back to prove a point. be professional and keep working hard.

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    • dirck says:

      Pepper ,I agree completely . I always give guys a reason when I reject their offers ,which is something that very few others do in any of the leagues in which I play .However ,I get the feeling that most of them aren’t interested in my explanation .

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      • Evil Empire says:

        I agree that any offer coming in is a good thing. Realize this… if a guy makes a ridiculous offer he is probably a moron when it comes to fantasy baseball. If he is a moron, at least he is a moron that is willing to talk deal. (caveat: a team/guy that does well that you have played with for years that makes a habit of ripping off others). There are too few people out there willing to go back and forth for deals. If he is one of them, and he is a moron, perhaps you can turn the tables on him and get a good deal.

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  16. Wubbie says:

    My stock reply when I get one of those ridiculous trade offers is to say I don’t see the benefit of the deal and tell him ill consider it if he can explain how the trade helps my team.

    I have yet to get a response.

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  17. Mike S says:

    I find that people favor the lowball offer , sometimes because they’re afraid of giving away too much in the initial offer. Fantasy baseball advice sites play a part in this is well. They’re constantly advising us to sell on players with a limited shelf life, but when you’re in competitive leagues where everyone knows the player has a limited shelf life any offer for a player of significance will probably be construed as an insult.
    As far as rejections without comment, I usually take it as them not being interested in a deal at that time. Also the person receiving the offer isn’t responsible for making life easier for you.

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