Making the Right Trade
by Eddie Mayrose
With the Major League trading deadline just two weeks away, Fantasy players, especially AL or NL only owners, are following the progress of trade negotiations involving their star players. Will Carlos Beltran continue his resurgence in New York, where he’s stated he like to finish his career? If not, will he end up in San Francisco, where home runs are as hard to come by as they are in CitiField? The Yankees are in the market for another hurler, especially after retreads Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon threw batting practice in Toronto this weekend. Could their failure mean a new address for Wandy Rodriguez?
As MLB general managers seek to gain equal value throughout the trade process, Fantasy owners are also approaching trade deadlines- many under the misconception that they, too, must receive compensation on a par with the players they relinquish.
Too often, Fantasy Owners use the wrong criteria to evaluate a trade. They forget that ours is a game driven solely by statistics and with no regard for defense, contract status or a player’s ability to assimilate into his new environment. As a result, many miss opportunities to solidify their title hopes.
Imagine picking up your Sunday paper to find that Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman had packaged RP Mariano Rivera in a deal that brought back Astros’ OF Michael Bourn. It’s unlikely Cashman would still have a job when you finished your eggs. But, in the Fantasy world, this deal could lead to a Yoo-Hoo shower at the end of the season.
Let’s assume a few things in order to make an important point about this trade. First, let’s assume that Rivera’s owner is a shrewd Fantasy player near the top of the standings. Let’s also assume that a decent gap exists in the Saves category between him and the next owner in the standings. Now, let’s analyze.
First, take notice of the description, “decent gap exists in the Saves category between him and the next owner in the standings”. Our fictitious owner may not be leading in Saves. Hell, he might even be near the bottom. But, as long as he’s clear enough of the guy behind him, Rivera becomes expendable.
While Michael Bourn is a nice player, he’ll never be considered on the same level as Rivera. You’d never give up the Hall of Fame reliever for Bourn in April or May. However, halfway through the season, transactions tend to become more statistic specific. (Say that three times fast.) Bourn is a huge resource for Stolen Bases, a category that could yield three or four points to Rivera’s owner. At that point, Bourn is ABSOLUTELY Rivera’s equal, making the deal a solid one.
Then there is the most discerning of Fantasy player; the guy who’s always ahead of the curve. The guy that sees opportunity that no one else does. We’ve already put our pretend owner near the top of his standings. Now let’s put him just a few points ahead of his closest rival. A quick look at the standings may indicate that the owner in second place might be just a Save or two ahead of Bourn’s owner. Thus, by trading Rivera for Bourn, he may be taking a point away from his closest competitor in a very tight race.
The point of this exercise, and the best advice we can give you, is to not allow your ACTUAL baseball brain affect your FANTASY baseball thinking when making a deal that could bring you a championship. Remember, even in keeper leagues, “Flags Fly Forever”. If you’re in a position to go for the gold, pull out all the stops.
Eddie Mayrose is a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and appears on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio every Sunday with Craig Mish. Sirus Channel 210, XM channel 87.