Too early to trade in April? It's always a fine line early on in the season when an owner asks himself "Can I really make a trade now, it's so early?" The answer to that question is... it all depends on the makeup of your team. For instance, if you have a good squad and have no glaring holes then I would stay in touch with fellow owners to understand the trade landscape but give your team the first 6 weeks to see how your team performs. For example, after one week of play in my NL only league I am in last place. I had a tough first week but you have to remember it's a marathon not a sprint. When I look at my team I see a contending team that is balanced between all phases of hitting and pitching, I just have a lot of guys off to slow starts. If you are in that position like me be patient and give your team some time. Being too aggressive and not patient enough can cost you dearly and you will seriously regret it later on in the season.
You can easily make the mistake of over rating your players due to a good first week or being too conservative when you have glaring holes on your team. If you walked out of your draft and said to yourself I am short on power or speed or starting pitching or saves then those areas need to be addressed via the trade route. Most leagues it's not easy to find help with great impact from one's free agency - waiver wire. Look at Andres Torres last season for instance. That is by far the exception and not the norm. Also keep in mind, especially in the NL, the 2011 rookie class has nowhere near the impact like the 2010 rookies did.
So what should be the game plan if you are short in a certain area in terms of an early season trade? You want to be aggressive but you want to be smart as well. If you are short a bat or a starting pitcher you don't have to make a trade the first or second week of April but by early to mid May that area of need has to be addressed. If you found someone via your free agency - waiver wire then great, if not you have to go the trade route. Early on you should be targeting teams that have depth in the area that you need. Then do you have what that owner needs and is it an area of depth you can trade from? Hopefully if your short a bat you can trade a pitcher or if you short speed you can trade power etc etc. You should be in contact with these owners so when the right opportunity presents itself you can nail down a trade at a moments notice due to your legwork. Like I said in previous articles, guys might start poorly and are good players but that owner becomes frustrated with that player and he becomes available for a reduced price no less. Or like I said above, an owner may over value his secondary players due to a hot first two - three weeks and other players become available. There are a lot of scenarios when guys become available but keep in mind the trade window to these guys may only be open for two - three days so you have to be ready to pounce.
So do the legwork on possible trade partners on your area's of need, keep a line of communication open with those owners and be ready to strike at a moments notice due to your advanced research and legwork.
NL King - C.Lizza