The Trade Agreement

As the 2020 season approaches, we have the opportunity to either mold the culture of our HUM BABE DYNASTY Fantasy Baseball League into something to be proud of, or let it flounder along with our levels of enjoyment. I think it goes without saying, the five new managers we’ve added to the league since the conclusion of our 2019 season have not only improved our league participation but have also leveled the playing field quite a bit. As a result, we are going to see an increased need to partake in the trade market over the course of this season if we want to see our team logo go up on the League Champions Banner come September.

With that in mind, let’s start the conversation about what it will take to be proud of the player-swaps we see go through our trade block down the road. No one likes a lopsided trade, so here’s a suggested start to our road map away from group chat jokes about collusion:

THE TRADING FOUNDATION

Before we start building the structure, lets lay the foundation shall we? We all have our own opinions on whether each trade made throughout the course of a season is fair or not, and that controversy is a big reason why fantasy baseball is so fun… healthy competition and conflict. But in order to build the long-lasting league we all want to come back to year after year, we need to agree on at least a few basics:

  1. EVERYONE PAID THE SAME ENTRY FEE – We all bought the same odds of winning the lottery, or in this case the League Championship, and therefore we all have the room to manage our teams in the best way we see fit. Our strategies don’t have to make sense to everyone else in the league, frankly if we all agreed on the same strategy we’d get awfully bored awfully fast. The voiced opinions that result from completed trades are some of my favorite moments but they shouldn’t lead to any hard feelings or grudges between teams.
  2. THIS IS A DYNASTY LEAGUE – Typically the worst fantasy trades occur in non-keeper leagues, when a team knows their out of contention and deals their best players to the highest bidders at no real expense to their own team given they’ll redraft next season. But in this dynasty league format, there’s no such thing as a team out of contention. Whether you’re dealing your promising farm system for the veteran that could put you over the top, or loading up on starting pitching, or investing in future draft picks, every trade should include a return for both side benefiting their team’s strategy. It’s also worth noting, that any trade involving a Minor Leaguer or future draft pick requires the down-payment of next season’s entry fee; incentive to make sure you’re committing to this long-term strategy of yours.
  3. WE SHOULDN’T NEED A VETO SYSTEM – We are all grown men and we all joined this dynasty fantasy baseball league with the intention of returning a profit for our entry fee investments. Now I’m all for a league super-majority (70%+ or 11/16 managers) having the power to overturn a trade; that rule is in our Constitution for a reason. But the fact of the matter is, we’d have a better chance of seeing President Trump impeached for his haircut than seeing a trade overturned via super-majority vote. More often than not, a trade won’t even be voted on by the super-majority amount of eleven managers before it’s processed, let alone receive that many objections. And even if we did up the participation on trade voting, we all typically cast votes based on our own team’s interest whether we’d like to admit it or not. Fact of the matter is, as a league we should be able to act and manage our teams in such a way that our Veto System isn’t anything more than a rule collecting dust in our Constitution.

BEST PRACTICES FOR MAKING YOUR TRADES

Culture is simply a shared way of doing something with a passion.

– Brian Chesky, Co-Founder, CEO, Airbnb

Given we all want to create a culture in our league of fair trading, here are a few basics that each of us can be better at practicing in each of our trade endeavors… and if implemented, these may very well be the keys we need to complete our own successful trades in seasons to come:

  1. LET THE LEAGUE KNOW YOU’RE SHOPPING – There’s nothing more aggravating than seeing a trade go through between two other teams and saying to yourself, “I would have paid more than that for that player.” Maybe the only thing more frustrating than that, is making a deal and then hearing how much more you could have gotten from another manager had they known you were willing to trade what you did. The easy solution? Let the whole league know when you’re shopping certain players or looking to fill certain needs. Get the group chat fired up and bidding on your players, we’ll all appreciate the fact that we had our chance and aren’t caught off guard by any trade that goes through.
  2. MAKE THE COUNTER OFFER – Good luck ever completing a trade if you don’t consider offers made to you by other managers. And by “consider” I don’t mean just sharing you’re opinion of how bad you think the offer is, I mean tell the other manager why you’re declining, tell them what you’re looking for or what you need to get the deal done. It’s in these conversations, in the group chat, over a phone call, or in person, that the league becomes the best it can be and that trades are ultimately made.
  3. NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH – Fact of the matter is, every good trade made should come with some feeling of remorse for both managers involved. There’s no such thing as a free lunch in this world and there should be no such trade without an expense that makes you watch your newly acquired players ever-so-closely to deem whether it was worth it or not. If we can all come to terms with this fact, we are on our way to a league that truly doesn’t need to babysit every trade that comes through.

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRADES

With sixteen different rosters, sixteen different managers and sixteen different strategies, there’s no one way to enter the trade market. With a better understanding of a couple different types of trades, we may not only expand the horizons on our strategic thinking but also grow a greater appreciate to what other managers are doing with their rosters around the league as well:

  1. THE REBUILDER – When a team comes to terms with the fact that they probably aren’t going to win the championship this season, they have the opportunity to deal today’s hottest players and biggest names in exchange for those most-promising prospects they’ve always wanted. In the grand scheme of things, there may be no trade more valuable to a team than The Rebuilder. If you’re not going to see a trophy or payout this season, why not increase your odds of seeing one next season? Or even the year after that? Rebuilds are a real thing that we see in the MLB every season, you know why? They work.
  2. THE MUTUAL BENEFITER – Probably the most common trade among fantasy owners, The Mutal Benefiter addresses needs for both teams involved. When a team finds themselves with a surplus at one position and a shortage at another, there’s no better time to go shopping for another fantasy owner who’s looking to buy some of that surplus. Don’t be fooled by the name though, a good Mutual Benefiter trade rarely excites either team after the deal is done. It’s never fun to part with solid fantasy players, but if they’re on your bench most days or can be substituted with more value at another position, it’s a payment worth making.
  3. THE INTENDED OVERPAYMENT – There are multiple reasons to make an Intended Overpayment in a fantasy baseball trade. Could be to address a crucial need in your lineup, or to invest in the hottest young star, or even just to secure your favorite player for the dynasty years to come, we all answer to our own decisions. And even though these deals typically don’t earn many compliments from the rest of the league, we can all acknowledge the reality of this type of trade’s place among our league transactions.

THE TRADE AGREEMENT

When it’s all said and done, each trade should only be judged through a lens of “Does this benefit the strategy of each team involved?” and nothing more than that. Looking at a trade solely in the vacuum of the player-for-player swap just isn’t a reasonable way to measure whether it’s fair or not, especially in our dynasty league format. Now I’ll have you know, I’ve been guilty of wearing those blinders myself at times but after hearing each team’s point-of-view (which I’ll be capturing and posting in Trade Alerts on our Twitter Feed and Website moving forward), there’s always a level of understanding we can come to whether we agree with it or not. And yes, this culture will most certainly lead to us asking each other questions like “What in the world is your strategy?” but hey, that’s where the fun comes in.

So… what do you think? Do we have a Trade Agreement?

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