Trading Etiquette School


Apr 26, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) connects for an RBI triple during the fifth inning against the Washington Nationals at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The week before the season even started, my yearly league had a trade accepted. Typically, I do not like trades until a month or so after the season starts because not enough has happened. This season saw Clayton Kershaw get off to a terrible start. Realistically, I would have traded a lot to get him before any action. But now, I can buy a little lower until he hits his normal dominance.

The trade that was accepted was Team A sending outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to Team B for Starting Pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. The trade was offered by Team B. Immediately, as League Manager, I called this, and excuse my French, a baloney trade. A top 3 outfielder for a pitcher with a huge question mark? Yeah, no go.

Team A is relatively new to baseball. They know the popular players, but not their fantasy worth or how to swim through the statistics and trends just yet. And after a tough draft, they needed pitching. So they accepted the trade.

I vetoed the trade without a league vote. And I did not even get an off-tempered groan from a single person. I fully expected an uprising in the name of LM collusion in a democratic process. Dictator no more!

I felt I made a fair decision. Team B was clearly trying to take advantage of the less experienced Team A. Now had Team A been more experienced, I had let it slide. But this trade made me realize a bigger problem in my league (and in many leagues most likely): people have no clue how to trade fairly. Note: you cannot really judge a trade until the season is over, but the face value of a trade is how we initiate trade talks.

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In 2012, I was offered SP Matt Harvey for some outfielder (I really cannot remember who which is a testament to how one-sided this trade was). Harvey had put together a few good starts and I needed pitching. I watched as he started to heat up and dominated the rest of the year with him in my line-up. The outfielder ended up getting injured.

Trades are tricky because as I said, the value cannot be determined until season’s end. It can be the trickiest sea to navigate in the fantasy season. Some here is some trade advice from a person who is writing this and is now using an authoritative voice.

First, look for good matches. If you need speed and have a surplus in strikeouts (or K/9), look for someone who has speed, but needs strikeouts. Offering a trade where you need something but the other party does not is just foolish.

Second, your top players are most likely staying put. That means others top players are most likely staying put. As in the initial example, Stanton is pure power and Tanaka is a riddle; you do not trade Stanton unless you are getting McCutchen or Trout. Which I would ask why trade in the first place?

Third, and this is kind of an addendum to the second, you do not need every hot player. It would be nice, but it will not happen. Even the lowest ranked and unexpected players go on a hot streak. The waiver wire is a great place to pick up these players (ahem: Devon Travis – congrats to you all who picked him up early).

Fourth, and last, do not pester with trades. There is nothing more annoying than someone sending me a trade with a changed minor player. Example: I am offered Alex Rios and Cody Allen for Adam Jones. I reject. They then offer Alex Rios and Glen Perkins. I reject, and then reject every trade offer of theirs until the end of time.

Mostly these rules and trade etiquette comes down to not being annoying.

What are your thoughts on trading? Should a LM be able to veto without a vote?