The Unwritten Rules: “Don’t Be That Guy”

I have been “that guy”. If we are honest, we all have been. Typically, when we really dislike something or someone it can be traced to a trait we own or exhibit.

I thought I’d start this piece with a funny anecdote about something people do in real life that I hate, but also do. When I had a hard time thinking of something that I do and also complain about, I texted my wife for inspiration. She responded with a 5,000+ word text of examples that felt a little more accusatory than helpful and may or may not have started an argument and caused some resentment. So, yeah… I am “that guy.” I think if most people are honest, there are moments when they have been as well.

Last week on I posted this on twitter:

There were some great responses and I encourage you to go through the thread and read them all. I have taken my ten favorite and decided to examine the most unpopular trading maneuvers.


The Neg

It is completely transparent. There is very few things worse than the guy who gives you a long diatribe about how awful your player is, how he is going to regress, or how awful the struggling star you have is and then offer to take him off your hands for you. If you didn’t like the guy, you wouldn’t be asking for him in a trade. It isn’t a good negotiating technique, it comes off as desperate, like the guy that bad mouths his friend’s spouse because he is “secretly” in love with her. This isn’t an awful VH1 TV show, we all know what is going on. Don’t be that guy!


The Trash for Treasure

The idea behind this trade is simple math. Player A + Player B + Player C = Stud Player D. However, this doesn’t account for Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion:

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

Meaning that if I acquire three of your average player for one of my good players, then I have to drop two players. Not to mention the fact that why would I want to jettison my stud for no real gain? This typically only works in extremely deep formats where there is no depth available on the waiver wire, but even then it makes little or no sense for the parties involved. The same can be said for the reverse of this. No, I am not going to trade Clayton Kershaw and Nolan Arenado for Mike Trout. Don’t be that guy.


The Must Win Guy

I say this all the time:

Trading is a like a relationship, if you are selfish, you will be spending the fun times by yourself.

You have to give something to get something in this world and that applies to trading. If you have to win or screw over your trading partner everytime you make a deal, eventually you will find yourself without any trading partners. A good trade helps both parties achieve what they set out to do, improve their teams. The purpose of trades should never be to win that trade, it should be to win your league. Don’t be that guy.


Captain Oblivious

“I’ll give you Corey Kluber for Kenley Jansen.” Wow, that would be a great offer if I wasn’t middle of the pack in the category and within a couple saves of guys ahead and behind me, but you would know that if you checked my team’s spot in the standings! You obviously know what your team needs, but can’t bother to take the 90 seconds it would take you to figure out what my team needs.

Also included in this type of trader is the one that asks for your best prospects when you are rebuilding in exchange for aging veterans. Don’t be that guy.


The Low Baller

Most times, when a trade gets offered it is not the best available deal, but sometimes the lesser offer becomes insulting. While you want to make a profit on a deal, typically offers like these tend to shut down negotiations before they begin. It is better to offer something fair from the get go and continue to work from there than to insult the intelligence of your trading partner. Don’t be that guy.


The Re-Negotiator

I ran into this for the first time last season. An owner sent me an offer via Facebook messenger believing that I would never accept it outright because of the love I had for the player I would be giving up. When I said ok, he started trying to renegotiate the terms of the deal. Not only did I not want to deal with this particular owner, but this led me to explaining to him that I wouldn’t be exploring any other deals with him in the future. This type of maneuvering breaks trust between trading partners that can rarely be earned again.  You shouldn’t be willing to send an offer if you aren’t willing to have the other person accept it. This also includes those people that use verbiage like “would you consider Player A for Player B” as a means of attempting to gain information to extract more value later. If I can’t trust your word is your bond, then I won’t trust you in the future. Don’t be that guy.


The “No” Means “Maybe” Guy

I have never really gotten why people make guys completely unavailable, but if someone says “No Way” then let it be. Further persistence on said player will only annoy the owner to the point where they don’t want to deal with you any longer. You aren’t going to wear the other person down, so maybe try asking about a different player or talking to a different owner in the league. Don’t be that guy.


The Houdini

Full disclosure: I have totally done this and it is really uncool. In my defense, it is because I play in 16 leagues and am extremely busy, so sometimes I don’t realize I have an offer. It is always best to keep an open line of communication with your league mates so this doesn’t happen. However, there are people that will just let offers sit for days, knowing that they have an offer there. I don’t know the strategic advantage to doing this, but it is extremely frustrating. That is why I like the function on some sites which allow trades to expire after a certain amount of time. You should pay attention and respond in a timely fashion. I’ll stop being that guy.


The Dump Truck

Shop around! There is nothing more frustrating when you get a notification about a trade in your league that you would have given up more to acquire the player(s) in the deal. When making a trade you should always attempt to get the best possible deal and market your available players to the entire league. Don’t be that guy.


The Insta-Veto

I was surprised no one brought this one up. I have been in multiple leagues over the years with owners that want to veto any trade they aren’t in. It is the reason that I prefer to play in leagues without league voting when it comes to trading. Vetoes should be reserved for preventing collusion. Value is subjective and the purpose of vetoes shouldn’t be a judgment of someone’s perceived value of a player or players.  If you don’t like trading, go play NFBC. If you think vetoes should be used as a strategic tool, then you are kind of a jerk. Don’t be that guy.

We hoped you liked reading The Unwritten Rules: “Don’t Be That Guy” by Justin Mason!

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Justin is the co-host on The Sleeper and The Bust Podcast and writes for Rotographs covering the Roto Riteup as well as random topics that float into his juvenile brain. In addition to his work at Rotographs, Justin is the lead fantasy writer/analyst and co-owner for, owner of The Great Fantasy Baseball Invitational, and a fantasy football and baseball writer for Fantasy Alarm. He is also a certified addiction treatment counselor. Follow Justin on Twitter @JustinMasonFWFB.

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I’ve been The Houdini, but as a reaction to The Lowballer. Lowball trades that make no sense, I don’t even bother to respond. It’s insulting.


Earlier this year a guy joined one of my leagues. On joining, he posted “don’t try to take advantage of me. I know baseball!”…a week ago he offered me Dansby Swanson and Ivan Nova for Michael Conforto. *Headdesk*