Clearing The Bases
We are now about 1/3 of the way through the 2012 baseball season, which means we are about the same amount of time through the 2012 fantasy baseball season. The time has come now to face some harsh realities about your team. Any player that has been on your roster since opening day has now played enough games where “small sample size” really no longer applies. True, the weather warming up in the northeast should help some sluggers as baseballs tend to travel further in warm humid air but the time has come realize certain players may not perform up to the expectations we thought they would at draft time. Now depending upon the size of your league, you may find help on the waiver wire, but if not, than your next best option would be via the trade route. I love to trade in fantasy leagues, to me it’s fun negotiating, trying to find the right deal that will satisfy both parties, but trading is also the easiest way to destroy a fantasy league.
There really is no great way to determine if a trade is fair and should be given the green light. What may seem as a lopsided deal to some, could make sense to others. In any kind of category league (H2H or rotisserie) trading a HR hitter, Jose Bautista, for a SB type, Coco Crisp, could make sense late in the season if the team with Bautista already has HRs locked up and needs help in the SB department. In a vacuum this trade looks terrible, and would be in a points league as well, but in a category league in could make sense. Problem is, if you play in a league with trade vetoes, this kind of trade could easily be voted down.
In my mind, the only kind of trade that should ever be vetoed is one that involves collusion. In other words, two owners agreeing to make a bad trade to help one owner. Perhaps they will split the profits or agree to make an equally bad trade later on. Any other deals should be allowed to happen. Even if a trade looks out of whack but there’s no collusion it should be allowed to happen. Reason why is no one can ever be sure how a trade will affect both teams. Also why should the owner of the team that apparently made the good trade be penalized. Owners need to be allowed to make their own mistakes. The commissioner or trade veto committee shouldn’t be there to bail them out.
As for destroying a fantasy league, your trade policy is certainly a good way to do it. It is one of the easiest ways to disrupt a league. After a trade is finalized and announced to the league, you will certainly hear from the unhappy owners. Owners who feel it should be vetoed for one reason or another. Problem is, even if the trade is fair, some irrational owners will want it to be vetoed because it hurts their chances of winning. Once again, trade committees don’t work mainly for this reason, unless those committees aren’t playing in the league, than it may have a chance, otherwise every team has their own agenda. In a league I play in, a trade went down about three weeks ago, Sean Marshall for Josh Johnson. Keep in mind this was before Marshall lost the closer’s job. Owners went ballistic over this deal once Aroldis Chapman was named closer. Sending nasty emails to each other. It was a nuclear meltdown. Now, when the trade happened, I didn’t think much of the deal. I certainly would’ve wanted to be on the Johnson side as I thought Marshall would lose the job and thought that JJ would turn things around, but I had no problem with the deal. The owner who had Johnson wanted saves, we all know what a disaster closers have been this season and saves have been incredibly valuable, even more so in a NL only league. Half of this league is filled with owners who work in the industry, so it’s not like these players don’t know what they are doing, and the player who received Johnson is one of the bigger names in the industry (no, I’m not going to name him). The other player is not in the industry, so that is probably why a good deal of this grief occurred. Still, one owner threatened to quit the league, actually stating this is why he stopped playing fantasy, and the commissioner also threatened to quit. In the end, it worked out, I still don’t have a problem with the deal, there was no collusion just a bad trade that didn’t work out, such is life. I have never vetoed a trade as a commissioner or a player, and never will.
If you want to see some real crazy trades, play in a keeper or dynasty league where teams will trade minor leaguers or cheap keepers for top players early in a season if they feel they don’t have a chance to compete this season. This changes league dynamics, but you have to realize that going in. I don’t like to trade out early, even if I feel my team probably won’t contend. You just never know how a team will come together. I’m also a believer that I can get just a good deal closer to the deadline as I would if I traded out early, so might as well stay in and see what happens. To give you an example, I play in a 15 team 40 man roster league (up to 10 of those players can be true minor leaguers). Right now I’m in 1st place and I’m working on a deal that would send Trevor Cahill, Ivan Nova, Yonder Alonso, Jurickson Profar, Gerritt Cole, and David Freese to the last place team for Hanley Ramirez, Matt Holliday, Dexter Fowler, John Axford, Rafael Betancourt, and CC Sabathia. He’s getting six keepers for next season, I’m getting high priced players that will help me win this season. That’s how this league works. Two deals similar to this have already happened. Do I like it, no, hate to give up so much young, cheap talent, but I want to win, and I play to win this year, worry about 2013 come draft time.
If you want to comment on this column or any other, you can reach me on Twitter, @georgekurtz