Trading: General Tips (Part Two)

This is article three in a seven-part series on fantasy trading. To read the introduction, click here. To read Part One of the General Tips article, click here.

5. Alter Your Plan
Are you confused yet? We left off part one by saying that you should stick to a plan, but that can only go so far. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your plan if talks stall. But, don’t alter your plans just to get a deal done. Make sure the trade still makes your team better. Most of the time, altering your plans is done out of necessity, not choice. If you don’t alter you plans, a deal may have no shot of getting done.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away
It is frustrating to walk away from a deal, especially if you have been negotiating for awhile. Having a long discussion end in nothing makes owners feel bad because they spent a whole lot of time and effort and have nothing to show for it. Believe me, I know. I just walked away from two long weeks of negotiations, and it doesn’t feel good. If you can’t get a deal done, use it as fuel to get the next one done. You’ve learned something about how other owners may view the pieces you are offering, so you can apply your new found knowledge to the next deal. The key to walking away from a failed deal is the ability to not take it personally. Segue!

7. Don’t Take It Personally
These deals aren’t personal attacks…usually. Once and awhile owners will try to pick on one another if they think they can fool an owner into taking a deal easier than they can fool another. Even then, it isn’t a personal attack, but an insight into how others value your baseball acumen.




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Zach is the creator and co-author of RotoGraphs' Roto Riteup series, and RotoGraphs' second-longest tenured writer. You can follow him on twitter.


17 Responses to “Trading: General Tips (Part Two)”

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  1. Brian Joura says:

    I disagree with the last line of this piece. Whenever someone offers another owner a lopsided trade – it most certainly is a personal attack. You are announcing to the other owner that you think he is a moron, that he knows nothing about fantasy baseball. What could possibly be more personal in a fantasy league than that?

    And after someone tells me he thinks I’m a moron, I’m really not inclined to make any type of deal with that person. So, it’s not the jumping off point for a trade – it’s a dead end to a trade.

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    • Zach Sanders says:

      Here’s the bigger question, and maybe this needs addressing: Can we separate Fantasy Baseball and Real Life?

      Like I said, just because I may try to take advantage of you in Fantasy, doesn’t mean I think you’re an idiot when it comes to real life. After all, it’s a game, and the goal is to win. I certainly don’t condone trying to rip people off, but it happens, because people have selfish interests.

      I know people who are smarter than I, yet in a Fantasy Baseball league, I’d be tempted to take them to the cleaners. I never take it as personal, because I separate Fantasy and Real Life. Maybe I’m the only one who does?

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      • Andy S says:

        Right, but Brian, what if you were a moron? Then the other guy would look like a smart owner.

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  2. Mike says:

    I just completed a deal yesterday in my 16 team H2H league. My team was in need of power and I was winning SB category easily every week. I was approached with Hamilton for Crawford straight up. I was pretty excited since this seemed like a perfect solution, but I know Hamilton’s injury prone so I wanted a little more insurance by getting some more power for my lineup rather than relying on one guy. I let him know that I felt we could get a deal done built around Crawford/Hamilton and sent some counters back and forth, each of us probably asking too much each time until this asking price gap grew smaller and smaller. The final deal was Hamilton/Bruce/Bumgarner for Crawford and Scherzer. What do you guys think?

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  3. Brian Joura says:

    When he was GM of the Rays, Chuck LaMar was famous for offering outlandish deals. Sure, he once traded Victor Zambrano for Scott Kazmir. Good for him. But what about the other dozens of times when he could have made a trade to help his team but because he started out with ridiculous proposals, he ended up doing nothing?

    Are the rare times you pull off the heist worth all of the other times you could have helped your club with a fair trade? Is it worth making an owner refuse to deal with you at all? Is it worth it when starting off with a lopsided offer makes executing a trade take two weeks instead of 5 minutes?

    To me it doesn’t matter what our relationship is in real life. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stranger or my best friend – receiving a lopsided trade offer is the equivalent of receiving a punch in the face.

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    • Jason B says:

      I tend to agree. When the first offer is so outlandish (Prado for Fielder…REALLY?) there’s just nothing there to work with, and no one that I really WANT to work with, if they think of my intelligence as being that contemptable.

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      • Drew says:

        I’m not sure. Today I got offered Angel Pagan for Nick Swisher. I really like homeruns and walks (and runs and OBP and OPS), so to me it was a slap in the face. But I guess if you squint hard enough it makes a some sense. I probably could use some SBs (2nd to last), the other guy needs some HRs (he’s using Angel Pagan and Brett Gardner in his OF) and Swisher isn’t even walking all that much.

        I suppose that doesn’t necessarily refute or support the personal attack theory, just re-establishes the fundamental behind trading that was laid out in the first post in the series.

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      • Ned Flanders says:

        Re: the Pagan deal:

        But Pagan for Swisher is not really lopsided. It’s a fair offer even if you didn’t want to make it. How can the proposer know that you “really like HR’s and BB’s”. Your being obsessed w/ certain cats is irrelevant to the “fairness” of a proposal.

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  4. Drew says:

    Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. Even though I wasn’t into the deal and found it to be personally laughable, I don’t think it was a personal attack, because if you look at it a different way, it makes some sense.

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  5. Travis says:

    I was offered Ben Zobrist and Carlos Lee for Albert Pujols in a 12 team H2H keeper league. I’m in first place, the trade offer came from the last place manager.

    I didn’t bother with a counteroffer (this was before Tulo or Pedroia’s injury, mind you). I did beat him 9-1 that week, though. The one loss being saves, which I am completely punting.

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  6. James says:

    the only useful piece of this article is number 7. 5 and 6 are pretty pointless. 5 condtradicts 4 and 6 is useless, why walk away if this is an article on how to make trades?
    If you refuse to deal with an owner because they made an outlandish offer, you are only hurting yourself by limiting your potential trade partners. You shouldn’t take any proposal as an insult, you should take it as a sign that the other owner is atleast willing to negotiate with you. I have had numerous times where an “insulting” offer led to an actual deal. However, if I had been personally upset about the initial offer I would not have ended up making a deal that benefited my team…personally i think its bad advice to cut someone off.

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    • Smallball says:

      I disagree.

      Your saying I should be grateful that you would even propose a crappy offer to me? Forget it.
      You don’t start serious trade negotiations in serious leagues by making outlandish offers, it makes you look like your not serious at all. Why waste my time?
      I have seen it all as far as leagues and trading goes, and the best way to make a trade not happen is offer something ridiculous and wonder what went wrong.
      People are people, and if most people are offended when you question their intelligence(which is how most people see it) then why in the world would you start with that?

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      • Chad says:

        I don’t think he’s saying you should be grateful that you got a crappy offer. I think he’s saying is that what you should consider is that an offer is an opportunity, albeit a lesser opportunity than if someone gave you some blockbuster of a deal. Whether or not the deal was insulting or not is irrelevant as there is still possibility of countering and getting an acceptable deal done, perhaps even a deal in your favor (you never know). If you refuse to deal with that person because of the deal you could very well be limiting your possibilities and slitting your own throat because of your own ego. Refusing to deal with anyone is one of the stupidest things you can do if you want to maximize your chances. Outlandish offers are obviously not the best way to get to a deal but one can’t always hold out for someone to make an initial offer in a fashion more acceptable to you.

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  7. brandon says:

    i always start with ridiculous offers. frankly, im offended when people are offended that i started with a ridiculous offer. its a game. if you’re actually a moron (which none of my competitors are), then i can understand being afraid of ridiculous offers. in my league, its usually the weaker owners who freak out. the other guys are confident enough in their ability to rip me off, even when they know im trying to do the same. thats what makes it interesting.

    typically, i’m able to find out more information about how my competitor values his players based on his counters, especially if the counters are “ridiculous” as well. since i’m primarily interested in grabbing players that i feel are undervalued, i feel this process works best. plus, its kind of fun to occasionally get “yelled at” via email.

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  8. Drew says:

    I think the key is trying to make it look like you’re offering something outlandishly in your opponents favor.

    Any tips on how to do that?

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