Kicking Rocks: Trade Talk

One of the most exciting aspects of fantasy baseball is trading.  It can also be the most frustrating as well.  We’ve already talked about those stupid early season offers where people are constantly testing your knowledge and your patience — something like his David Freese and Livan Hernandez for my Jose Bautista was a personal favorite.  But now we’re two months in, things have settled in for the most part, your waiver wire has been picked clean, and now everyone is trying to improve their squad via the trade.  Getting the right deal done is tough enough, but the process to get there can be a tenuous path riddled with both ignorance and annoyance.  Today we’re going to go through some do’s and don’ts which may help expedite the process with little fanfare or, at the least, keep you from wanting to choke the life out of a moronic competitor.

I understand that to some people, the initial offer is just a springboard to the negotiation process.  However, if your first offer is so far off, you’re going to turn off any and all potential trade partners.  Have the sense to offer something worthy of a negotiation.  If you’re going fishing, what do you think is going to lure in the giant tuna – a scraggly earthwork you dug up in your backyard or some tasty live bait like a juicy squid or mackerel?  A bad trading reputation spreads quicker than a good one and if you’re always known for offering up your garbage for their best player, no one will ever want to deal with you.  When you offer up crap, you’re going to get a crap-filled response.

Don’t make an offer you are not willing to have accepted immediately.  There’s nothing worse than someone sending you an offer and then watching them pull it back when you agree.  If you don’t intend on actually making the deal, then put a disclaimer in the offer that says “Not set in stone, but what do you think of…?”  You look like a fool or a potential swindler by pulling back an accepted deal.

During negotiations, don’t try to run down the guy you are asking me to trade to you in an attempt to get me to lower my asking price.  If you can give me all of these reasons as to why I should just get rid of this guy, then why are you trading for him?  Are you really doing me a favor by taking him off my hands?

Never offer up a hurt guy.  If he’s on the disabled list and was just just back into a walking boot for three weeks, don’t tell me that he’s going to be great down the road and try to get full value for him in a deal.  And if he just got hurt and word hasn’t spread yet as to the extent of the injury, don’t try to deal him to me thinking that I haven’t done my homework.  And if I haven’t had a chance yet to do my homework and you swindle me on a guy who just went down with a back injury, you’ll never trade with me again.  Like I said, a bad reputation spreads a lot quicker…

When making an offer, actually look at the other team’s needs.  Make the offer enticing.  Make it look like I’m actually getting something out of this and that I’m not just helping you out by doing the deal.  If I’m in first place in stolen bases in our roto league and my lead is fairly solid, then why offer me your Michael Bourn for my Jay Bruce?  Have the good sense to find a trade partner that has a surplus of what you need while you have the same for him.  It makes it so much more enjoyable for the listener.

Never tell another owner how to run their team.  You can say something like, “Hey, it looks like you need saves, so I have some guys that may help you,” but there’s no need to tell someone what they should or shouldn’t be doing with their squad.  Unless they solicit advice, mind your own business.  It’s like telling someone how to raise their kids or how to train their dog.  Everyone follows their own path and who’s to say yours is the right way?

If someone makes you an offer, have the decency to respond whether you like the deal or not.  If you have no interest in the deal, then just say so.  A simple email will suffice.  You may have to turn them down two or three times, but they should get it rather quickly and end up leaving you alone.

Conversely, if someone doesn’t respond to an offer that you’ve sent three times, then walk away and look for a new trading partner.  They obviously have no interest or they are a dead team.  You can ask your commissioner if they are active, but sending them a barrage of emails in an attempt to illicit a response is a waste of your time and energy.  If you call a girl and leave her a message and she never calls you back, do you leave five more messages and sound like a desperate, potential stalker or do you move on to another girl?

If you make a deal, honor it.  Everyone has a certain amount of buyer’s remorse when they make a big trade, but you don’t come back the next day and try to cancel it because you’ve slept on it and made yourself crazy.  And if the deal is up for a league vote, you don’t go running to league members and lobby for them to vote it down.  In fact, any sort of trade lobbying should be a no-no.

Wow, I could go on for a while longer here, but the word count of this post is getting up there and I’d rather hear from you and some of your experiences.  Got some trade talk that’s been getting under your skin?  Got a snake oil salesman in your league?  Let’s hear it…

Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

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11 years ago

I got Miggy for Luke Scott, c santana and john banks. Saw a frustrated owner on the league chat and made the deal. Look for frustration among your teams and offer up quantity on your team for quality on theirs.

11 years ago
Reply to  dan

Wow, nice trade for you. Hard to imagine why a “frustrated” owner would want Santana and Danks though, both of whom have struggled mightily this season.

11 years ago
Reply to  dan

WTF would there be to be frustrated about w Miggy??