How to make a trade happen in your fantasy baseball leagues

By | April 3, 2024

Rafael Devers #11 and Kenley Jansen #74 of the Boston Red Sox

Ready to make a deal in your fantasy baseball league? (Photo by Joe Nicholson/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Welcome to the first 2024 edition of our trading tips series. For those unfamiliar with this series, yours truly will give you his best advice each week during the regular season on which players to acquire and which to trade. Along the way, I will also offer some overall concepts on navigating the trading market.

After all, I didn’t earn the nickname “Trader Fred” in the fantasy baseball industry without making a lot of deals.

This week we’re going to look at the best ways to conduct trade negotiations. For this article we will assume that it is not a home league and that the managers do not have deep friendships with each other.

Start with an offer

Don’t beat around the bush. Do not dip your toe in the water. Have some courage and start your trade negotiations by sending an actual offer. You might get lucky and strike a deal right away, but a solid offer will at least provide a starting point for trade negotiations. Managers who start with an email or message saying, “Would you consider trading Player X” add unnecessary steps and waste everyone’s time.

Be concise in your explanation

The other manager doesn’t want to read a novel. But you have to send them something because they can’t read your mind. The message accompanying your trade offer should be one to three sentences explaining the thought process behind your offer. Something like, “I thought you might be interested in a second closer. I currently have three (Doval, Helsley and Jansen) and am willing to trade one of them to add a power hitter.”

Be open to other ideas

You will notice in the previous paragraph that I have advertised all of my closers as potential trade candidates. This is an important part of closing deals because a closed approach causes managers to miss out on beneficial deals. Of course, I wouldn’t trade Camilo Doval or Kenley Jansen for the the same power hitter. I would want a better hitter for Doval than for Jansen. But both relievers are available if the trade makes sense.

In fact, everyone on my roster is always available for the right return.

Unbalance your April schedule

I’m sure many of the dedicated managers reading this article took great care during their draft to find the right balance between power hitters, speedsters, starters and closers. And now that the shots are flying, my recommendation is to upset the apple cart by getting aggressive in the trade market. April is the time to recruit talent, even if this is at the expense of a balanced selection. In fact, the best April deals are those where you can convince another manager to take a loss on total value to balance his roster. You may worry about balancing your roster in July, once you’ve used the trade market and the waiver wire to create a deep, talented group.

Focus on those with a surplus

An easy way to find places to look for value is to look for managers who have a surplus of talent in one area, as they may be interested in giving up some value to leverage an area of ​​strength to balance their roster. This is especially possible early in the season on the pitching side. The emergence of new closers will lead to some teams having a surplus of expected saves. And there may be managers who are willing to trade one of their foundational starters after finding some late-round or waiver-wire pitchers who enjoyed dazzling first outings.

Buy low and sell high

Many managers can find an optimistic view of struggling players and muster the courage to buy low. But selling high takes more courage. After all, these are players the manager liked enough to draft. And it is very satisfying to see them start their season on a good note. But trying to get the king’s ransom for April’s overachievers is often the right move. After all, Patrick Wisdom (homers) and Ji Hwan Bae (steals) were ranked second in baseball in prominent fantasy categories at the end of April.

It turned out to be a good idea to get a respectable return for one of these guys during the early weeks of the 2023 campaign. You can use the Yahoo Trade Market page to get an idea of ​​how much individual players are fetching in the trading market .

Don’t personalize trade negotiations

As you engage in trade negotiations, remember that we are in the early days of a long season. Some of your competitors may not want to trade yet and others may have a better idea of ​​their own players. Getting emotionally involved in trade talks will only burn bridges that could be used to make major trades later in the season. Moreover, we are rarely as smart as we think. Don’t take it personally if another manager disagrees with the value of your players, because our inability to predict what will happen next is what makes these matches so much fun.

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