Self-help: Overcoming trade angst

by on June 18, 2010 @ 11:00:00 PDT


Here are 10 reasons why many people shy away from making trades, and some tips for overcoming the angst...

1. Trading is perceived as work. The whole process of analyzing your team and league, formulating deals, fielding offers, coming up with counter-offers, and general all-around haggling can be a turn-off.

This is part of the game. You have to be prepared, but that doesn't necessarily mean spending hours upon hours analyzing player stats. The better prepared you are, the easier the process becomes, but that might just mean being familiar with your team's overall strengths and weaknesses. If you have a minimum working knowledge and can at least talk intelligently about your players, let the dealers come to you.

2. Trading means keeping on top of things constantly. You may be the type of owner who puts his efforts into the draft, then you distance yourself from day-to-day in-season activity. Time constraints turn you into an in-season spectator.

Just stay accessible. Even if you're not apt to go formulating your own deals, don't shut yourself off from incoming offers. Even if you decline far more deals than you make, by at least entertaining offers and responding to them, you keep yourself accessible. That is good for league health.

3. Trading forces you to participate in psychological warfare. You just don't have the time, energy or inclination to deal with the sharks, the idiots and the overbearing get-a-lifers.

Avoid them. Don't deal with anyone who bullies you, double-talks you, or corners you into a deal. It will send a powerful message, especially if you stay accessible to everyone else.

4. Trading means picking up the phone. People don't like to pick up the phone, especially to call someone they do not know very well. The whole cold-calling process is a turn-off.

Thank goodness for e-mail. It's easy and it's less threatening than the phone.

5. Trading means letting your guard down. People are afraid of rejection, and putting an offer out for someone else to evaluate puts them in a vulnerable position.

Expect negative results. To help you overcome trade inertia, remember that rejection comes with the territory. You are not going to pull off a deal with every offer you make, but if you do your homework and be persistent, the percentage of deals you pull off will rise.

6. Trading can make you look foolish. People are afraid of making a "bad" trade because there is a double risk involved -- the risk of making your club weaker and the risk of making someone else stronger.

Do something, anything. There is a very real risk in entering the trade wars. To avoid the risk, many people take the path of least resistance and simply do nothing. Do something, even if it's a quick e-mail to one owner asking if he's got anyone on the block.

7. Trading brings back repressed memories of lost championships and muffled, derisive laughter. Virtually everybody has been burned by a trade at one time or another. As long as there is uncertainty in the future, you never really know whether a trade is going to be equitable or not. And one bad trade can jaundice someone's outlook for a long time.

Try some small, low-risk deals. They might seem innocuous to other owners, but it's also a great way to keep them wondering what else you're up to.

8. Trading forces you to deal with diverse and often difficult personalities. There are very few leagues that don't have at least a little bit of this going on.

Find some allies. There are many diverse personalities in each league, but if you can find just a handful of allies who you can deal with, that will open up opportunities all around.

9. Trading forces you to deal with people who have varying perceptions about player values. David DeJesus and Adam Rosales can be buried treasure to one owner and bottom feeders to another. That makes it tough to structure acceptable deals.

Keep an open mind. You need to be flexible, especially in your perception of player value because the other owners undoubtedly have their own ideas about who is good and who isn't. Sometimes you can sell someone on your own beliefs, but sometimes you just have to back off. Always have a contingency plan.

10. Trading means giving up favorite players or at least names you've gotten used to. It always takes a few weeks at the beginning of the season to remember who is on your roster. Some owners become attached to these names. They hesitate to shake things up once they've figured out who to look for in the boxscores each morning.

Winning fantasy leaguers have to stay unattached. Have your strategies and your goals, but when it comes to your players, remember that they are just chess pieces in the game. Don't get married to any player. Anyone is expendable in the right deal.

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Ron Shandler began publishing statistical reports for baseball analysts and fantasy leaguers in 1986. Since then, his enterprise has grown into one of the largest information providers in the industry, producing quality products continuously and over a longer period than any other fantasy baseball company.

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