Strategies for Closing Ottoneu Arbitration

Ottoneu arbitration is wrapping up soon (all allocations and votes need to be in by November 14, at 11:59 pm ET), so now is your last chance to make sure you got it right. For some of you, it means being annoyed your league-mates haven’t finished arbitration yet, and posting messages on your league message board begging them to finish up (note: this is me). For some of you, that likely means panicking, realizing you haven’t done it, rushing to your league site, and getting something in. For some it is just one last chance to make some edits and decide if you are happy.

Which group you fall in determines what you should do this weekend or early next week.

Commissioners or Others Trying to Rally Everyone to Participate

  1. Use the message board – it is the easiest way to message multiple people at once.
  2. Don’t hesitate to direct message managers who haven’t engaged or haven’t finished. This is important both because you want them to get it done and also because you might need to figure out if a manager has checked out and isn’t returning. I often get replies ranging from “oh man, I totally forgot, I’ll get on it” to “yep, no worries, just waiting to do it last minute.” But occasionally I get no reply or “I don’t have time for this league anymore,”, and you need to act on those.
  3. For your direct messages, be sure to contact anyone with <$3 less to allocate. A manager who hit 1o of 11 teams and then put their remaining money on the last team and forgot to hit save will end up in this spot. If they think they are done and forget to check, none of their arbitration will count. So it is good to remind them.
  4. Make sure you have a plan for what you’ll do if a manager needs to be replaced or has a valid excuse for not finishing arbitration on time. If a manager doesn’t do arbitration and needs to be replaced, my preference is to let the new manager post an arbitration allocation list on the message board and have the commissioner manually add it in. That’s a lot of work for the commissioner but it is better than bringing on a new manager and having them start with the disadvantage of missing arbitration.

Managers Who Haven’t Done Arbitration

  1. Do arbitration. I know that seems simple but doing it poorly is better than not doing it. If you literally randomly assigned $25 to the rest of the league and $20 of it was wasted, that is still better than not doing arbitration at all and having all $25 wasted. This isn’t good advice for everything, but for Ottoneu arbitration, doing a bad job is better than not doing it at all.
  2. Use the Surplus Calculator. Justin Vibber released the first version of the 2023 Surplus Calculator this week and it is a great resource for arbitration. It can help you identify targets and, if you are really short on time, you can just do what it tells you to do. One method: go to the new “Arb Plan” tab, and plan to put $3 on the five teams with the highest surplus, $2 on the next four teams, and $1 on the last two. Then go to the Arb Targets, leave it sorted by team, and you’ll see the amount of money you planned for each team next to the highest surplus players on that roster.  Want an even quicker method that requires no thinking? Go directly to the ArbTargets tab, sort by surplus, and just go down the list assigning dollars.
  3. If you don’t have the Surplus Calculator, you can also just go to the arbitration page for each team and sort by “Other Adjustments.” That will sort the roster so you can easily see the players who other managers allocated to. Just piling on, as discussed earlier in the arbitration period, isn’t a bad strategy and it is easy. And, again, it is better than doing nothing.

Managers Who Have Done Arbitration

  1. Confirm you actually allocated to each team properly. On your league’s arbitration summary page, is your team name in red or green? If it’s red, you did something wrong and you will want to fix it.
  2. Go back and check your work in light of new news. We haven’t had much news to react to, but perhaps finding out that Garrett Whitlock will be a starter changed your thinking on him? Or maybe you are less bullish on Bryce Harper given he still might miss a month or two due to surgery? Perhaps the initial Steamer Projections release is giving you pause on Alek Manoah?
  3. Make sure you still like your allocations in light of what the rest of the league did. Maybe $30 Jacob deGrom to cost more like $45 and dropped $3 on him, but come back to find that he is now $63 because everyone dropped $3 on him.  That should change your thinking and you’ll want to remove that $3 from deGrom and place it on another player. Doing a quick double-check can help you identify cases like that.


A long-time fantasy baseball veteran and one of the creators of ottoneu, Chad Young's writes for RotoGraphs and PitcherList, and can be heard on the ottobot podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @chadyoung.

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18 days ago

Best. Article. Ever.