Rules of Trading

There are five distinct rules of trading you should always remember:

  1. Value for value
  2. Never use the veto
  3. Thoroughly assess your needs
  4. Look at the long term
  5. Study the other team first

The biggest thing to think about is what kind of value are you getting, and what kind of value are you giving up in a proposed trade scenario. Recently, in one of my leagues, one owner proposed a trade to another, in which he would give up Albert Pujols for Stephen Strasburg. Pujols is a solid first baseman, and some would say he’s still more than average at this point. In fact, to this point he has the third most points by any first baseman in fantasy. As for Strasburg, the Nationals’ ace is behind no less than 40 pitchers in terms of fantasy production so far. So, should the two make the deal?

On the face of it, the guy making off with Pujols appears to be getting the better end of the deal, but let’s look at real value. That’s where studying the other team comes in handy. If you look at the team that currently has Pujols, they also have Victor Martinez who could slot in at first base if they lost Pujols, but their top 5 starting pitchers reads like a who’s-who of the also-rans. They need a solid starting pitcher, and Strasburg does qualify. He has 3 wins, a 3.47 ERA, and he eats up innings. He would be a huge upgrade on the pitching front. Does that make the trade worth it?

Look at the long term. If Martinez gets hurt, what are the options at first base? What does switching Martinez to first base do to your utility position? Are you having to play someone like a Chris Denorfia there? Uh oh. And what about Strasburg? He also has 3 losses, and, oh, those 40 guys ahead of him in terms of fantasy production so far. Trading for him is hoping that he gets back into ace form for the long term, and that’s supposing a lot that you can’t back up.

My advice to the team considering this trade is to reject it out of hand. You’re giving up too much in Pujols for too little in Strasburg. A more appropriate trade would be Johnny Cueto for Pujols. That way both owners are getting solid “right now” value that also has pretty good potential to continue that string in the long term.

As for the veto, here’s a case that also recently came up in one of my leagues that caused a lot of controversy. One owner offered Jose Fernandez in a trade that was accepted by another owner. There were three other players in the trade, none of whom were remotely the class of Fernandez. Of course, though, this trade offer was posted on the morning Fernandez was being placed on the DL and the rumors began about Tommy John surgery. Apparently the other owner didn’t see the reports until after he had accepted the trade, thinking he was getting a steal in Fernandez. After finding out the reports he immediately messaged the league asking us to veto the trade.

What should we have done? Do we take pity on the guy who was going to get a no-good Fernandez or do we follow my rules about no vetoes? Keep in mind the other rules on the list in order to answer that question. Assess your needs. Just because you think you’re getting a steal doesn’t mean just dive in. The team in question has three solid pitchers on his team already who are all top 20 in fantasy points scored by pitchers to this point. Did he need even a healthy Fernandez? Study the other team. Giving up Fernandez would have been crippling on the other team if he was indeed healthy.

If he had done his due diligence and researched every player in the potential trade before he had accepted it, then it would have been all good, and he wouldn’t have been hung out to dry. I did not vote to veto the trade. Those are the rules of trading. Sometimes they are difficult to swallow, but they make sure you don’t get stuck like this one owner did. He has subsequently dropped Fernandez in favor of Jordan Lyles. Good luck to him.

And happy trading to you.

The Fantasy Ace

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2 responses to “Rules of Trading

  1. Comprehensive advice. Yes, the trade veto thing will catch up to owners and potentially burn them later. I am with you on the never veto.

    • It just kills me when people complain. They are the ones who accepted the trade. Do the work first before you accept or offer any trade. I have seen it work the other way too, when someone offers a player for someone injured because they didn’t realize.

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