Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Fantasy Man - The Art of the Keeper Trade

It's your typical art of the trade article for fantasy baseball but I like to add in some twists to actually make these deals happen. I have real lifetime experience negoitiating deals and to be honest, those skills work in my fantasy leagues. Here's a story that just happened yesterday on how to get keepers for your non-keepable studs in an auction league. I'm hoping you'll find these tips useful.

When dump trading stars for keepers, remember, if you have a manager hooked on a player, don't let them use the "okay, well, I'll just keep who I have" tactic. They want your players but they're just feeling you out to see what they can get. The object for a smart manager in a dump trade is to get your stars AND still try to get some kind of keepable player back in the deal.

For example, I just did a trade in an auction league where I traded....
Robbie Cano $6.00
Max Scherzer $3.60
Wandy Rodriguez $2.40
Kevin Slowey $1.00
Chris Johnson $2.00

For
Justin Upton $4.40
Clay Buchholz $2.20
Justin Smoak $2.00
Travis Snider $2.40
Carlos Guillen $2.00

These are next years prices. I tanked my team this year for keepers. So here I traded Cano along with 4 other players I know I won't have room to keep. My main goal was to get Upton/Buchholz here but pulling in Smoak and even Snider can prove valuable later on if I want to flip them.  What got this deal done was the fact that the other guy could keep Cano plus, we went back and fourth until I finally caved in and gave him Slowey and Johnson, who I probably don't have room to keep anyway. He clearly gets the best player in Cano, but what do I care?..... I'm in last place. I pulled in 4 tradeable and/or keepable players all with extreme upside. For me, I get Buchholz and Upton, Smoak who is in the minors but a call up and a hot streak away from being a top keeper, and Snider who has the potential to be a superstar as soon as next year but who the other manager had sitting on his bench. Then I took Carlos Guillen for giggles so he'd feel like he won the deal, which he definitely did!  He got his Cano (keepable), Wandy/Scherzer instantly upgrade his pitching, Slowey he can keep next year at a buck and Chris Johnson can help now as he's super hot.

The trick is to make the other owner need your deal. In order for his other deals to go through he needed this deal to fall in place. When he became stingy and didn't want to give me Travis Snider, he said "fine no deal, I'll just wait for my Dustin Pedroia to come back".  So I said, "okay, no problem, I'll pass too". We already had Cano/Wandy/Scherzer for Buchholz/Upton/Smoak settled.  Then he got all upset, "dude, why you being stingy.....", blah bla blah haha. So I said, "look, take a pick from any of these players. I'll throw in Sandoval, Slowey, Chris Johnson, etc., and I'll even take back your crappy Carlos Guillen, all I want is Snider who is sitting on your bench".  See, the object here is to make the other owner feel like they're getting value back, value that you don't care about. So I threw in Chris Johnson who I picked up off the waiver wire 4 days ago and Slowey at $1.00 and it was a done deal.

So then, the other owner goes and trades his Chase Utley to a crap team who wanted keepers. He had Utley and Pedroia on the DL so he needed my Cano to fill his roster but so he could also flip Utley for better players. So see, he needed my Robbie Cano and he wasn't going to let the deal go by because of some of the crap backend players.  Point here is, trust your patience. Don't be overly agressive. Let the other owner come to you. Here's a quick step by step....

- Put your stud on the trade block.
- Wait for an offer to work off of.
- If you put the best hitter on the planet (Cano is one), you should expect the best keeper in the league or a package of 2-3 solid keepers. In my case it was either a $.40 Pedro Alvarez or the Upton/Buchholz deal.
- Let the owner know what it will take to get that stud (remember, they desperately want that player)
- Start throwing in players that will help fill holes and deepen the bench, that's what a championship bound team is looking for. Either players to upgrade or holes to fill. In my case, I bolstered his pitching staff tremendously plus he added Cano who he then was able to flip Utley for more players.
- Don't be shy about taking back the worst player on his team, who cares, your in last place. Your just rostering that player until years end just to get the deal done. It's okay to take the best keeper and 3 crap players. Who cares, you have your keeper!
- Remember, a star player in a deal that's 75% complete is like money already in the bank. If you put the fake skids on a deal, you'll get this guy all nervous and crazy. He's already been day dreaming about these players in his lineup.
- When that happens, simply slide a new player in the deal that has keeper value that you don't care about, give a few options, and the deal to you is now money in the bank.

Keep in mind, a deal can always get done. You have to cater to the other managers needs while still being agressive to get what you want.  Don't settle because the other guy is tough to deal with. He's only being tough because he doesn't want to be the "loser" of the deal and he wants to fill his needs. All you want is the keeper. You can care less who "wins" the deal. Don't be afraid to let go of players you don't need and always try to offer players with keeper value. If your league keeps 5 players and you have 15 possible keepers, let those backend keepers go to get the big one.

Hope that helps. Good luck as the trade deadline is fast approaching still in some leagues.

The Fantasy Man

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