Dump Trading Madness: A Follow-Up

On Tuesday, I described the issues us keeper league owners face in handling “dump” trades, using my current AL-Only keeper league as an example of the madness that began about two weeks ago. One commenter suggested I publish a follow-up summarizing some of the best solutions and outlining the pros and cons of each. Since the post did receive some excellent comments, this is that requested follow-up.

First, let me begin by saying that in no way do I want to prevent and eliminate dump deals. They come with the keeper league territory and are part of the whole point of playing in such a format. In redraft leagues, you have no choice but to play for this year. In keeper leagues, if your whole team busts, hits the IL, or you’re just a weak fantasy player, and find yourself at the bottom, you have the option of giving up this year in the hopes of collecting enough keeper talent to compete in future years.

My issue really stems from diluting the importance of a good auction and in-season team management as the top half of the league races to steal as many high-end players as possible. Suddenly, the auction has far less importance as you could just trade a minor leaguer for Alex Bregman (who was actually part of a dump deal) a month and a half into the season. In my opinion, the auction should always be the most important factor in a fantasy team’s success, and in keeper leagues, the quality of your keepers should probably rank as second most important. Dump dealing reduces the importance of both and boosts trading with the bottom rung as vital to finishing in the money.

So what are some solutions? Let’s highlight some of the best from the comments, with some pros and cons of each that I was able to think of.

Advertising Intention to Dump

Pros:

  • Offers every team a fair chance to make their best offer(s) to dumping team
  • Theoretically, dumping team will receive better offers than if negotiating with just one owner

Con:

  • Eliminates advantage savvier owner seeking out potentially dumping team will have in striking first with an offer

Institute Salary Floor (either sum only active players or active and IL players)

Pro:

  • Curbs how much a dumping team can trade away, so the owner doesn’t end up fielding a squad of $1 players, potentially dramatically altering the future standings

Con:

  • Equates auction salary to actual in-season value, which is flawed as breakouts and busts emerge (think about a trade involving an expensive Jose Ramirez and cheap Daniel Vogelbach, which isn’t even necessarily a dump trade, but wouldn’t be allowed if it put the Vogelbach recipient below the floor)

Reduce # of Minor Leaguers Kept (we are allowed to keep up to 8)

Pros:

  • No more trading a solid Major Leaguer for the 250th best prospect, because that 250th best prospect is unlikely to be rostered
  • Fewer minor leaguers means dumpers will think longer and harder about the return he receives, now giving up 25% of his minor leaguers, rather than 12.5%

Con:

  • Reduces the fun factor of diving deeper into the prospect pool for that hidden future gem

Increase Salary of Minor Leaguers (from our league’s Facebook Groups thread)

Pro:

  • Reduces the value of minor leaguers, which would reduce the returns they bring back and the number of dump trades being made

Con:

  • Minimizes the value of discovering a top prospect early as his profit potential is reduced with the increased salary

***

As you can see, I did a pretty poor job of coming up with several pros and cons for each. Maybe there are no additional pros and cons, or perhaps I need help brainstorming!

Personally, I am definitely a proponent of decreasing the number of minor leaguers kept and perhaps marginally increasing their salaries. I’m wishy-washy about the salary floor given the example in my Con, but like the concept and believe it’s worth further discussion.

A dumper advertising his intentions is certainly in that owner’s best interests. It totally sucks when a dump trade is accepted and you didn’t even know the team had already made the decision to dump and those stars were available. Of course, when you’re the one hounding the bottom rung owner if he’s ready to dump, are the only one negotiating with him, and agree to a trade, you’re loving it and pat yourself on the back for paying attention, being proactive, and savvy. So I go back and forth on whether advertising intentions should be mandated by the league constitution or simply a smart decision made by the dumper.

We hoped you liked reading Dump Trading Madness: A Follow-Up by Mike Podhorzer!

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Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

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Jim
Member
Member
Jim

Yes, I was really impressed by the comments yesterday. A lot of bright people read your work.

The Rajah
Member
The Rajah

Who are you calling bright?