StrategyMay 9, 2003

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Talking Trade

By Chris Weber

Your draft was solid, and you’ve spent the opening weeks of the new season scouring the waiver wire and grabbing every potentially decent player in sight. Your roster is falling into place nicely, but you could still use a solid bat or two, or maybe a decent pitcher. What’s an owner to do? Start talking trade! And who should you be looking to trade with? Well, everyone…

Trade with teams that are slow out of the gate

Especially this early in the season, panicky owners might feel the need to overhaul their teams in order to move out of last place. In particular, fantasy studs who start out slowly might be driving these owners up the nearest wall, so offer them a player or two who is off to a good start and take their problem off their hands.

Trade with teams off to a hot start

On the other hand, owners off to a good start might feel overconfident and may have a valuable player sitting on their bench. Give them a young up-and-comer or possibly a better backup to get that guy who will be an everyday starter in your improved lineup.

Trade with teams in contention

At the end of a season, if the top teams are close, many of those owners may want to make a move to help them win a championship. If you’re out of the race, why not dump some salary or get a promising young prospect for a proven vet that could help a team in contention? They need a quick-fix and might give up a more talented player who isn’t productive enough right now. Plan for the future and be among those teams battling for a title next season.

Trade “favorite” players

Everyone has a favorite team or favorite players. Why not fulfill another owner’s wish and give them the opportunity to own those players? You might get a higher price for them than you normally would, and also receive the other owner’s gratitude, always a plus when considering future deals.

Trade bench players for an upgrade to your starters

If your team is very good, you might have bench players who could start on other teams, so why not trade two or three of those guys to another owner for a real fantasy stud so you can upgrade your starting lineup? This could be a big step towards a championship. Remember, great games from bench players don’t count in fantasy baseball.

Trade to upgrade your bench players

Trading a substitute for another benchwarmer might seem a bit useless, but it achieves two things: not only does every upgrade, no matter how minor, help, but others also get to know you as active owner and might make you offers before talking to other less eager traders. Just make sure you don’t exclusively make trades like this or you might be viewed as unwilling to pull the trigger on blockbusters.

Keep an eye on injuries on other teams

Injuries to players like Ken Griffey, Jr. or Randy Johnson always leave a gaping hole in a fantasy team, opening opportunities to work out a deal. Do you have a backup who could start for the injury-riddled team? Go ahead and help the other team… not to mention your own.

Watch games played and innings pitched limits

This factor isn’t terribly relevant yet, but it’s well worth keeping in mind. At the end of the season you might be close to or over one of those limits, freeing up a good player you could trade for an upgrade elsewhere to make a final run for a championship, or at least to gain ground in the standings.

Trade for the future

In keeper leagues, always keep an eye on player salaries and ages. Pick up next year’s rookies from the free agent pool, if possible, or trade for young, inexpensive players. Even if the trade looks less than favorable now, it might leave you in a great position for years to come.

Trade for the present

On the other hand, if you’re in the hunt for a title, trade your prospects for players that can push you over the top. Even if you mortgage a bit of your team’s future, if you can take home your league’s championship trophy, it will be well worth the price.

Trade with your friends

Often, you’ll be able to build up solid relationships with several owners in your league. If you’ve been able to work out mutually beneficial deals in the past, they’ll be more than willing to listen to any offers you make.

Trade with your rivals

So you’re reluctant to trade with teams that are close to you in the standings? Or maybe there’s an owner you simply don’t talk with much? That’s understandable, but it shouldn’t keep you from trading if it helps your team.

Trade with newbies

Get new players involved in the game and your league, but don’t rob them blind… at least not too much. Didn’t we all learn the game the hard way?

Trade with fantasy veterans

Fantasy veterans tend to have favorite players from previous seasons or could have other patterns or “bad habits” you could exploit. Knowing other owners’ habits and opinions is invaluable in putting trades together.

Just talk..

…about the weather, family and other things. Get the other owner talking, then mix in a trade offer. If you talk with other owners regularly, the trade offers will come by themselves.

Multiple-team deals

Multiple-team deals aren’t very common in fantasy baseball and hard to orchestrate in online leagues, but putting together such a deal can open up a whole new set of options and shake up your whole league.


Trades are one of the most important and entertaining parts of the game, and can turn a middle-of-the road team into a contender virtually overnight. If you look carefully, there are always opportunities to improve your team, so call up or email your fellow owners and start talking trade today!

Chris Weber was too busy putting together a trade offer for Hank Blalock to submit an author’s blurb.

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