Strategic Spite

My ottoneu rivals are conspiring against me. Not really, it just feels that way because several have reached a conclusion that is not beneficial to me. Luckily, I have some options. And if those don’t work, I have one final spiteful course of action available.

So let’s set the scene. We’re allowed to roster 40 players for a maximum cost of $400. My roster presently has $559 of players. Aside from a few cheap players, all of them are on keepable contracts. Only Greg Holland ($13) costs more than $10 and will be cut.

To get under budget, my original plan was to trade Clayton Kershaw ($64), Mike Trout ($62), and Zack Greinke ($36). I’ve since added Paul Goldschmidt ($48) and Corey Kluber ($27) to the list of players I’m shopping.

I’ve set a taut asking price – full value and not a penny less. Historically, these expensive, hyper-elite players like Kershaw and Trout have gone at a discount in the offseason. I don’t like discounts. Four of my leaguemates – those that are most able to take on these large contracts – have shown an unwillingness to meet my ask. And when I suggest a discounted rate, they’re still out.

Then they send something along these line: “We think you and two other owners will be forced to cut some good players. We’re going to take our money to the draft.”

There are two problems with this line of thought. These owners with money are going to be competing with each other for a few prime assets. If it was just one guy taking this approach, he’d deserve kudos for the proverbial zig. They’re also making an erroneous assumption about me as a fantasy manager.

Ottoneu has an option to trade a player for nothing. I’ve dumped a few guys in this manner over the years. In the offseason, it’s a means to clog a rival’s roster with players you don’t consider to be keepable. During the season, it’s a good way to free up cash. I discarded David Wright in this manner after he hit the disabled list last season.

I can keep all of my elite assets and stay under budget. To do so, I’ll need to convert Anthony Rendon ($27), Yasiel Puig ($24), Alex Cobb ($15), Matt Kemp ($14) and a few others into much cheaper pieces.

My rivals can, and probably will, apply the same logic when I begin to shop these players. Something like “these are the guys you’re going to cut.” Wrong. Remember, I have an option to give these players away for free.

At least one owner is a great fit from my perspective. His roster won’t contend next season, and he hasn’t expressed an unwillingness to trade with me. He has the necessary money to take onĀ a few reboundĀ candidates. If all else fails, I can give him my players.

Something smells fishy about this process, right? Surely I’m breaking or bending some written or unwritten rule. I’ll let you decide in the comments. For me, this scenario meets all the requirements of a mutually beneficial trade. The other owner receives talent at market or better rates. I receive salary relief while ensuring that my closest rivals can’t roster those players cheaply.

If video games have taught me anything, it’s that your opponent’s strategies can and must be countered. When multiple owners tell you they’re going to benefit when you cut your players, what’s the counter-strategy? You just don’t cut those players.

If all goes according to plan, four owners are going to have about $500 to spend on Troy Tulowitzki, Robinson Cano, Evan Longoria, and various bits of roster ballast.

We hoped you liked reading Strategic Spite by Brad Johnson!

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This is 100% within your right to do. It’s something I’d do, even if it ruined my chances, because I’m a spiteful person.