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Sellers Guide: The ottoneu Trade Deadline

With the hours of July 31 ticking away, the MLB trade deadline is winding down and by the time you sit down to dinner tonight, you’ll know whether your favorite team has landed that arm/added that bat/moved that contract/restocked the farm. But you are not a GM (unless you are, in which case you have better things to do than read a fantasy column on deadline day) – you are an ottoneu owner and you still have the month of August to get something done.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll take a look at how the ottoneu trade deadline differs from the trade deadline in other keeper leagues and lay out some recommendations for how to handle the deadline. We’ll start with a sellers guide today.

Selling in ottoneu is, I think, one of the great joys of the format. The deep rosters mean that almost everyone has prospects they can move, and almost every team has room to add a few prospects. For years, I dreaded having a weak team in a fantasy league, because it meant months of boredom – feeling compelled to keep competing because the legitimacy of the league depended on everyone trying, but having nothing to play for. Even in keeper leagues, if I already had 3 or 4 good players, there really wasn’t much to do.

Then, in year one of the original ottoneu league, my team suffered a spate of injuries and I found myself actually excited to know I couldn’t win. Since then, I have gone through a couple rebuilds, including one that is ongoing this season. Here are some of the things I try to keep in mind when selling.

1) 40 man rosters are much bigger than most other leagues. This means you have a lot of space to add prospects who wouldn’t register in most leagues. I won’t spend much time on this, since most ottoneu players have caught onto this, but all this extra space really works to your advantage if you are selling.

2) 40 man rosters are actually a bit smaller than MLB teams work with. Remember that while MLB teams have a 40 man roster than accounts for their Major League talent and top prospects, they actually don’t have to add every player they acquire to their 40 man. You do. And those 40 spots are as valuable as they are scarce. In the original league, I have seen a few teams over the years who overdid it with prospects and solid keepers who were stars, leaving them plenty of cash to add stars later…but no roster spots. I am actually slowing down my selling in the Experts League for just this reason. Looking towards next year, I have a slew of very good regulars, but a severe lack of stars, both on offense and pitching. Right now I have enough roster spots that I can clear to make room for those stars before the auction, but a couple more acquisitions like the ones I have made so far (Anthony Gose, Wilin Rosario, Alejandro de Aza), and I start having too many players to keep without having a roster that can win. Just keep in mind that ending this year with 40 players you want to keep isn’t a good way to guarantee you are competitive next year.

3) Prospects and cheap guys are not always the best targets. You want guys who can help you win, not guys who make you young. In the aforementioned experts league, I would love to add a $40 stud OF or an ace pitcher. This might mean moving some of the prospects I have acquired to another team that is selling. Ideally, I’d like to find a team that is ahead of the innings pace or identified an injured player that an owner might want to move in order to get better fast rather than waiting for the injured player to return. Right now, there are not a lot of injured players out there who fit the bill (maybe Alex Rodriguez, maybe Jose Bautista or Joey Votto if their owner is panicky), but keep an eye out for opportunities to grab a potential stud, even at a high price.