bcb wrote:I consider it a negotiation. I start with a close-to-crazy offer for the player I really want. I'm not going to show my hand and offer the max up front. I expect a counter if the other guy is interested in moving the player I want. If not, he can reject and ignore.
I agree with this and the Chadlincoln's point above to a point, but I think you have to temper your initial offer with some reasonableness. People get legitimately p.o'ed in negotiations when you low ball them, and it severely hampers the resulting negotiations. Buying a house and a car are slightly different, in that you generally have a captive seller who is soliciting offers, while buying a player from a team requires you to get their attention, which can quickly be lost if you don't provide them with something decent.
In most situations early on in the year, you're trading for value too, as your needs are generally unknown. While in that situation the offers are usually one-sided, I think that the more reasonable you are earlier on in the year, the more likely someone will deal with you when it comes close to crunch time.
Obviously everything is circumstance-specific, and trade philosophy is ultimately very subjective. Just my .02.