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How to Become Everyone’s Favorite Trade Partner (And Why It Pays Off)

We can all picture that classic western film scene where two sharpshooters stare each other down on a vacant dusty road, waiting for the other one to make the first move. The scene then plays out with the same script with one character saying, “This town isn’t big enough for the both of us,” which then leads to the challenge of a quick-draw duel. You know how the rest goes and it usually isn’t a happy ending for both parties.

For most fantasy baseball managers, this scene likely feels all too similar to your recent trade negotiations. It seems we’ve become so accustomed to owners trying to outsmart us in trade offers that trading has become one of the more challenging aspects of playing fantasy. The tragedy is that trading is often a key draw to fantasy baseball for many players, finally making the moves they always wished for from their favorite team’s GM. Yet, it’s not too late to alter this contentious dynamic around trading to make it one of camaraderie and cooperation. That’s why we wanted to share our five trading tips to help you become the fantasy manager that everyone wants to trade with using these tips for fantasy baseball trading.

Tips for Fantasy Baseball Trading

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Fantasy Baseball Trading Tips

Tip 1: Only Engage in Win-Win Trade Discussions

This first tip seems like basic common sense, but yet it doesn’t always happen. Usually, one manager in a trade is left sharing their lingering uncertainty or temptation to try to undo a trade within a couple of days, sometimes even hours, after acceptance. Consider this common scenario where a trade offer is sent to a less experienced team manager in hopes that they foolishly accept. Lo and behold they accept or make a slight counter which leads you to smash the accept button as fast as possible. No harm nor foul, right?

Technically, no, but for those who play with the same group of owners year-over-year, that owner likely will have realized their mistake and spent the rest of the season in shame while you cruise to the playoffs. Instead of creating a long-term trade partner, that owner will now get on the defensive toward your future trade offers and possibly even steer clear of your team when instigating new trades for their team. In the grand scheme of things, when your team is in a bind to replace injured or struggling players and trading is the best path forward, having as many receptive trade partners as possible will make a big difference.

Tips for Fantasy Baseball Trading

2. Inquire Before Proposing Trades

What if, in the scenario mentioned above, prior to sending the lopsided trade offer to that owner, you sent a message gauging their interest in a trade and their team’s needs? This demonstrates the intent to start a mutually beneficial outcome from the trade and creates a trusted partnership. Perhaps they express their desire to trade but reveal some uncertainty about the potential trade value of their players.

This then presents an opportunity to educate them on the included players’ strengths relative to their team’s needs, especially in rotisserie leagues where you both may be falling behind in a certain category. The possibility of finding mutual fits with trades is even larger in dynasty leagues since short and long-term factors can be addressed for teams either buying to contend or selling to rebuild.

Tips for Fantasy Baseball Trading

3. Discuss Perceived Values With Curiosity

Nothing derails a trade dialogue, and long-term trade partnerships, faster than one owner grossly overvaluing a player or taking offense to offers. Oftentimes, perceived lopsided trades aren’t really that uneven when a proper explanation is given. If you’ve received a trade offer involving a lower-rated player for one of your higher-rated players, there could be many factors at play that make the proposal worthy of consideration. For instance, the generally higher-rated player may be slumping considerably or playing through nagging injuries that could lead to a shortened season. Both scenarios were true for Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. last season around the trade deadline, with their fantasy owners who refused to trade them for perceived lower-ranked players getting stuck with little or no output in the final stretch of the season.

In the opposite scenario where you may offer a player in an even trade but it’s quickly declined, it never hurts to ask the owner for their reasoning. In some cases, they may not have been paying close attention to a player not on their roster and are unaware of recent strong performances. Comparing stats from the last 30 days instead of the entire season usually is a better predictor of future performance, indicating a player is fully healthy and hitting their stride. Consider the second-half surges from Gabriel Moreno and Jordan Montgomery last season, as examples. If there’s still no interest in the player you offered then perhaps you can identify other player options on your roster to make the trade happen.

Tips for Fantasy Baseball Trading

4. Make Close Enough the Acceptance Threshold

Initial trade negotiations offer excitement and hope for aspiring managers. When a mutual trade fit is identified it seems only logical for the trade to occur. Yet, it seems so few trades get finalized. The reason is usually due to fractional differences in perceived trade values and the need to feel like one party has won the trade. In reality, no trade will ever be perfectly even, given the subjective aspect of player valuation, and holding out to win a trade often prevents your team from winning.

When it comes to trades negotiations it should only take a couple of counter-offers, at most, to get to a point where the trade is close enough for acceptance. The responsibility should lie with the initiator of the trade to accept the trade or move on. Nothing is more exhausting and frustrating then an owner who seeks a trade but then proceeds to play hardball.

Tips for Fantasy Baseball Trading

5. Remember the Golden Rule

It can be hard to know how to approach another owner for trades and unintentional oversteps will happen. The key is practicing awareness and consideration for when and how to engage. Knowing when to stop pursuing a player with repeated trade offers or counters is a critical first step. Also practicing patience with other owners who have acknowledged an offer but need time to consider is necessary.

Simply put follow the golden rule and initiate trade conversations and follow up as you’d expect of other owners. Nothing makes an owner stand out like a rookie player more than creating a hostile trade environment. For those who do bully owners into trades to make a title run, the significance of their victory is largely dismissed or scoffed at. Just don’t be that player and others will follow suit.


Seeking Trade Partnerships Pays Off

Every fantasy baseball league has a finite number of managers to trade with, so why limit the potential pool through egregious conduct? When the ambition is to find only trades that will help both parties then future trade outreach will be encouraged and responded to quickly. In fact, some owners may be compelled to help make a trade work to repay favors from past trades.

Trading is more art than science. Those who approach it in that manner will have the support of their fellow league mates to have completed trades work in their favor. In the end, don’t we all just want the praise and respect of other managers when hoisting the championship banner?

What are your trading tips for solidifying partnerships in your fantasy baseball leagues? Let me know by commenting below or reaching out on X to my profile, @TheToddMpls

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