One of the most entertaining aspects of fantasy baseball is the ability to make trades, even if they would never come close to happening in MLB. We all want to be the guy who looks back and makes his friend seem foolish by getting the much better end of a deal. Sometimes, however, “winning” the trade isn’t always the right move to help you win your league, which at the end of the season is what we all really want. Sometimes giving up the better total package will get you a key piece to put you over the top. So, as the fantasy baseball trade deadline approaches here are few things to consider:
Do the Math – In a H2H league take a look at standings and make sure you understand whether or not your in contention for a playoff spot. As long as you make the playoffs and have a good team when it starts, then your seeding isn’t incredibly important. If you’re still in contention, take a look back at the last several weeks and take note of the categories you’ve consistently lost but may be able to win with the right trade.
In a roto league, look at the categories and try and determine where you can gain the most ground. It’s often a category you’re currently in the middle of the pack in, and has several teams bunched together. Passing all/most of them would be a multiple point gain for you overall, while only requiring improvement in one category.
Single Category Players – By this time of the season you know where you stand compared to other teams. If there is one category you can make up a lot of ground in, go get someone to do it, even if the player isn’t a stud. If you’re down in steals, get a speedster like Ben Revere, Rajai Davis, Emillio Bonifacio, etc. HR’s are a bit harder to find, but Pero Alvarez, Ike Davis, Todd Frazier and Cody Ross are guys to look at, based on what they’ve done lately.
Trade away your strength – There is no reason to consistently win categories by a large margin in H2H or roto leagues. Instead, trade away a player who contributes to that category in exchange for someone that can help make a difference in a category that has room for improvement.
Trading away potential keepers- If you’re at the top of the standings, play for this season. You never know how your team will perform next season. Injuries, bad luck, and bad drafting can all lead to worse seasons than expected. I’m not suggesting you trade away guys like Trout or Braun, who are producing and will clearly be keepers. You should look for a team that is out of contention and give them players that may not be your elite guys, but would be keepers for them.
Out of contention (keeper league only) – If your team is clearly out of the race, then start giving up quantity to get one great piece in return, and fill the rest of your roster from the free agent pool. Losing is losing whether it’s 4th place or 14th place, so start building a better team for next season. Another strategy is to target injured players who won’t help their owners much this season. Guys like Tulowitzki, Votto, and Stanton could be acquired for much less than their healthy value if your offer gives the owner an upgrade over the replacements they picked up. A month or more of missing production won’t hurt you, but it’s very damaging in a tight match up for those in contention.