While Major League Baseball marks its trade deadline tomorrow afternoon at 4 fieldwithballmoon_copy_2zyhPM, many Fantasy Baseball owners have a little more time to digest the MLB moves and act accordingly.  In the Hausier’s Krowedum Fantasy Baseball League, owners have until August 5th before trades are no longer an option for improvement.  The deals started last week as players like Roy Halladay, Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Howard turned up on the rosters of the teams at the top, acquired from those out of the running.   With many fantasy leagues facing deadlines over the next few weeks, it seems like a good time to discuss trade strategy and protocol from both sides of the transaction.

Contenders should always target statistical categories when making a trade and factor potential monetary gains into a player’s valuation.  For instance, if you find that there is potential for a bump of three points in a tightly bunched ERA category and the prize for winning your league is $500, you should give up significantly more for Joel Pineiro or Jarrod Washburn than you would have back in April or May.  They may not be players worthy of a high draft pick or stud keeper under normal circumstances but they are when you can win.  Don’t underbid.

Be alert for peripheral deals that can help you by hurting your opposition.  Earlier this week in the HK League, Bobby Carr found his Skippy Shakes looking up at the Shady Gradys.   Carr saw that he had a big lead in HR and was locked into 6th place in SB; 20 behind and 20 ahead of his closest rivals.  The Gradys however had a slim 2 SB lead over the Four Horsemen.  As Carr is just 6 points behind the second place Gradys in the overall standings, he sent Alex Rios to the Horsemen, hoping the addition would vault the Horsemen to the top of the category and take a valuable point away from a rival.  A deal like this can be more valuable to you than an acquisition.

If you’re back in the pack and find yourself selling instead of buying, act quickly, as the contenders will be willing to give up only so much and you could be left holding the bag.  Such is the case for Ken Jankowski of GMoney, who came out of the HK Fantasy Baseball draft with a team full of studs that would soon end up on the DL.  Disappointed, Kenny set out to improve draft position for next year.  The problem was, the four contenders had already made a number of deals for high draft picks and there wasn’t a lot left.  He moved Alex Rodriguez for a 2nd rounder and as of this writing was still holding Mark Teixeira without a deal in sight.

Finally, if you are a seller, don’t just turn your attention to your Fantasy Football Draft as soon as the deadline passes.  Keep an eye on your team as it is your responsibility to help maintain the integrity of the standings.  You don’t have to grab free agents every day, especially if it’ll cost you money, but you owe it to the rest of the league to replace injured player

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Buy Low- Don’t let Cliff Lee’s record fool you.  After a rough April, he’s spent the last three months throwing every bit as well as he did in winning the Cy Young last year.  Now that he’s in Philly, look for the W to pile up… Despite a seven game win streak, Rockies’ starter Aaron Cook remains a free agent in some mixed leagues.  Even if he’s not, see if his owner’s been paying attention… Cole Hamels has put three strong starts together since the break and might be a nice deadline pickup for your squad… Might be your last chance to

Sell High- The Orioles are actively looking to move George Sherrill with the Dodgers as one of the destinations.  With Jonathan Broxton entrenched in the closer’s role, Sherrill would no longer be a source for S… Tampa’s James Shields is winless in his last 7 starts… Rangers’ 2B Ian Kinsler has struggled for two months while his BA has dropped to .242.  If you’re NOT in a keeper league, he’d bring a boat load of draft picks… Clint Barmes’ slump has gotten so bad that Rockies’ manager Jim Tracy recently dropped him from 2nd to 8th in the batting order…

Grab Bag- Cubs’ C Koyie Hill has started every game since Geovany Soto went down with an injury. OF/3B is his only backup… Bronson Arroyo has put together quite a few solid starts over the last two months and could see his value leap if he’s traded to a contender… This might be your last chance to pick up the red hot Josh Willingham. Hope you read Moonlight two weeks ago…

Drop Zone- No room at the inn for Ben Francisco, who moves from the Indians’ OF to the Phillies’ bench… Magglio Ordonez needs just 130 plate appearances for a 2010 option for $18 million kicks in.  The way he’s hitting, can’t see the Tigers allowing that to happen… Royals’ reliever, Juan Cruz, is 0-2 with two blown saves since the All Star break… Despite the Angels’ success, Joe Saunders continues to struggle with a 6.58 ERA over his last 11 starts… Chad Tracy is no longer an option in even the deepest of NL only leagues as the D’Backs look to the future…

Sick Bay- Carlos Beltran estimates he is 2-3 weeks away from a return to the Mets lineup after sitting out with a bone bruise in his knee… Yanks’ hurler Chien Ming Wang will undergo season ending surgery, as will Twins’ starter Kevin Slowey… Seattle 3B Adrian Beltre is expected back from a shoulder injury in two weeks… Houston’s Lance Berkman is on the 15 day DL with a strained calf…

fieldwithballmoon_copy_2zyhIf I may, I’d like to get up on my Bullpen Soapbox again. Last week, the Royals lost three straight to the Rays after taking leads into the eighth inning. In all three games, premier closer Joakim Soria was warming up but was never summoned. Why? Because it was the eighth inning, that’s why. Forget the matchups, it was the eighth inning. Manager Trey Hillman explained that he didn’t want to push Soria, who’s had Tommy John surgery, by asking him to get five outs. Fine. But if he can only get three, why do they have to be in the ninth? Why can’t he start the eighth? Why can’t he come into the middle of an inning? Why does no one else ask these questions? Tony LaRussa strikes again…It’s interesting that the ineptitude of the Mets, Marlins and Braves may be the reason behind Roy Halladay remaining in Toronto. Since the Phillies emerged as the front runner for Halladay’s services, they’ve opened up a huge lead over the aforementioned teams and may now feel that they don’t need Halladay… A word of caution to fantasy owners patting themselves on the back for selecting All Star hurler, Jason Marquis: He is 60-43 lifetime in the first half and 30-37 in the second half… Despite hammering the ball at every opportunity, Jake Fox may see his AB reduced because he is serving as the Cubs’ backup C. His three hits Sunday, including his 5th HR should be an indication to Chicago that they need to find another backup… Dodgers’ closer, Jonathan Broxton, will deal with a toe injury for the rest of the year. He missed a few games recently but will not go on the DL. Off season surgery is possible… Cardinals’ hurler Joel Pineiro, the latest to receive a career makeover from pitching coach Dave Duncan. He hasn’t walked a batter in over 33 IP and has his ERA below 3.00… Jeremy Guthrie gave the Orioles a strong 8 IP in his first start since July 7th. He had been suffering from a viral infection… The Red Sox, disappointed by their lack of production at the top of the lineup, will continue to shuffle J.D. Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the leadoff spot… Look for the A’s to run more over the course of the second half in order to create some offense. They could be a cheap source of SB… Have to give credit where it’s due. Despite terrible reviews in this column, (and peripheral stats to back them up), Detroit closer Fernando Rodney is 20-20 in S.

Buy Low- Felipe Lopez, traded this week from Arizona to Milwaukee, should become a fixture at the top of the Brewers’ lineup as they search for production from anyone not named Braun or Fielder… Yunel Escobar, despite a few trips to manger Bobby Cox’s doghouse, is leading the Braves in RBI… Royals’ hurler Luke Hochevar struck out nine on Sunday and seems to be completely over his rough start. Right now, he’s throwing better than Zach Greinke…

Sell High- In Cleveland, Kerry Wood’s 5.23 ERA is not the biggest problem faced by his owners. Wood has just 16 save opportunities to this point. Deal him to someone desperate for saves but not all that attentive to statistics… Red Sox OF Jason Bay is still leading the AL in RBI but has seen his BA drop to .254. He might bring a bunch of help in a trade… While still carrying a respectable .285 BA, Jorge Cantu has seen his power numbers fall…

Grab Bag- San Diego called up top pitching prospect, Mat Latos who gave up 2 R on 3 H over 4 IP in his debut. Latos was 8-1 over two Minor League levels with a miniscule 1.36 ERA… The Twins, looking for a little offense from the 2B position, signed Mark Grudzielanek, who might be a nice addition in an AL only format… There may not be a hotter hitter in the majors then Seattle OF Franklin Gutierrez. He’s a FA in many mixed leagues… With Frank Francisco on the DL, Texas will give most of its save opportunities to C.J. Wilson

Drop Zone- What does Dusty Baker have against Aaron Harang? He ruined him last year by using him in relief on a “throw day” and tossed him right back into the mud this year by bringing him back after a two hour rain delay; just to qualify for a win. Hope Harang enjoyed it as he hasn’t had one since. He’s 0-6, 5.08 in his last ten starts… In Florida, Andrew Miller, the Marlins’ prize in the Miguel Cabrera deal, just does not look ready for the big leagues… The Brewers sent Mat Gamel down to AAA to make room for Felipe Lopez… It’s time to get rid of Boston’s Nick Green in your AL only league as Jed Lowrie will get most of the time at SS now that he’s healthy…

Sick Bay- Reds’ C Ramon Hernandez finally succumbed to the pain in his knee and had arthroscopic surgery this week… Astros’ 1B/OF Lance Berkman has missed a number of recent games due to a strained calf… Joel Zumaya is out indefinitely with pain in his right shoulder… Kansas City’s Gil Meche remains on the DL with a bad back… The Twins’ Kevin Slowey, eligible to come off the DL, is still not ready… Tampa P Scott Kazmir is still experiencing cramping in his left forearm…

Farm Fresh- Perhaps establishing himself as the proverbial “4A” player, Ian Snell has dominated since being sent down to AAA by Pittsburgh. He’s 2-1, 0.34 in four starts after going 2-8, 5.36 with the Pirates…

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