Tools of the Trade – Episode I: Three nickels for two dimes

When it comes to fantasy baseball, few things are more enjoyable than making trades. After all, unless you have the opportunity to slip a performance enhancer into your slumping hitter’s gatorade, trading is the only way to dramatically change the landscape of your team.

And this is precisely why it’s so frustrating that when it comes to making trades, most people (word that I apparently can’t write that rhymes with "puck") at it.

I’m in two leagues this season, and a quick scan of my inbox shows about 25-30 trade offers from the first two months. And how many trades have I pulled off? A ******** two:

Trade #1: In an NL-only league in which I had three third basemen and needed power, I traded Bill Mueller for Jeromy Burnitz. Yup, a total blockbuster.

Trade #2: In a points-based mixed league, an owner was begging for a first baseman to replace Ben Broussard. I offered him (then hot) Phil Nevin for (then cold) Jeff Kent. Advantage me. Thumbd3636a705eb24127962b13e07b5200ffroc

And what do these two deals have in common (aside from involving four guys who’ve been in the league for over a decade)? Yup, they’re one-for-ones. Simple to pull off and totally painless for everyone involved (except for the guy I dumped Nevin on).

As time goes on I plan on posting trade tips, rules, suggestions and things of this nature. And today’s rule…

Unless you have a very, very, very good reason, don’t ever make a trade in which you’re accepting more players than you’re giving up.

The two dimes for three nickels deal RARELY works when you’re getting the nickels. Just this morning I recieved the following offer:

Zach Duke, Josh Willingham, Jason Lane and Jhonny Peralta for Coco Crisp, Nomar Garciaparra and Dan Uggla. Lots of names, sure. But let’s break things down.

Duke: Stud youngster, but in a points-based league with weekly transactions, pitchers (and especially pitchers for relatively poor teams) aren’t very valuable.

Willingham: Solid catcher. Would have liked him.

Lane: Outfielder hitting .197 and not playing every day. Should be on waivers in the first place.

Peralta: Slumping shortstop with one good year under his belt.


Uggla: A rookie playing way over his head. Still, he’s batting second and very valuable in our league.

Garciaparra: On a tear. Might get hurt again, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Crisp: Finally off the DL. In this league, nothing that isn’t called Pujols is worth more than a leadoff hitter who gets on base, scores runs, hits for power and steals bases. There’s a reason I overpaid for the guy on draft day.

This is almost always what the 3-for-2 or 4-for-3 trade resembles. And often (as with Jason Lane in this case), it’s basically 3-for-3 with somebody that’s essentially useless thrown in. Thanks but no thanks, but I’ll keep my three. Hopefully you will too.

So unless your team resembles a MASH unit or you’ve got a bunch of players underperforming big-time, when you think trade, think simple.  Either you’ll regret the move, or you’ll never agree on the players involved in the first place. And that’s a lesson for another time.


One comment

  1. john

    I agree with the whole philiosophy of dropping someone in a trade. I made one of those deals last season but i sort of dropped the wrong guy, i wont name names but he was a great outfileder now but last year struggled for sometime (Vernon Wells), Ah after that debacle, i finished 7th lol. Anyways, i like reading your blog as its always insightful. Come read mine and leave a comment or two as i will do the same for you.


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