Tactics for keeper league dumpers and dumpees

by BaseballHQ.com on September 17, 2009 @ 11:00:00 PDT


For keeper leagues, the majority of uneven dump trades helped the beneficiary owners who received the higher-priced players. Sometimes owners benefit even if their teams stood still or declined - because their teams would have declined even further without the addition of the high priced acquisitions. However, there was one team which proceeded to win the league with lower-priced bargain players they acquired in a dump trade!

Here are some rules for dumpees (recipients of high-priced talent):

  1. Trade early: Getting a $40 player in May will help your stats a lot more than getting one in August.
  2. Beware of injuries: It may not be worth trading your team's future for an outstanding but injury-prone player or one coming off the DL.
  3. Beware of mediocre starters with deceptive stats: Picking up a starting pitcher with seemingly good stats in mid-season may not buy you standings points. If his numbers for the first half of the season include 10 Ws and a 3.20 ERA - but his base stats (including command and K/G) are unimpressive and his career ERA is mediocre - you need to look elsewhere.
  4. Beware of trade bait: You lose if you pick up a player in May and he goes to the other league in June. Look at targeted players' free agent/arbitration status for next year and listen to the trade rumors. It may still make sense to make a trade despite swirling trade rumors, but only if the price is not exorbitant. You can also use the risk involved in such a trade to force down the price.
  5. Trade future considerations: When you are dealing with owners who understand the value of minor leaguers, you can sometimes swap minor league stars or even next year's minor league picks to your trade offer to make it more attractive.

And here are some rules for dumpees (recipients of under-priced bargains):

  1. Discount future value: If you are trading a $45 player, you should expect and demand a lot of future value in return. After all, some of the players you receive will get injured, be traded or may just not pan out next year.
  2. Look for big bargains: As you are discounting future value, remember that a $5 player who is priced at $1 offers you little help. What you want are players with a $5 price tag whose value next year is projected at $20 or more. Closers are among the most likely targets because a cheap set-up man can suddenly become a valuable commodity, and retain that value over a number of years.
  3. Be cautious about acquiring starters: Because of the risk, few starters are worth $20 as freezes, and even fewer are big bargains.
  4. Remember inflation: If you are tempted to trade a $35 player, be aware that he may be a keeper in your league next year when inflation is taken into account. Are you really getting more future value in return?
  5. Ask for future considerations: You may not regret getting that minor leaguer who turns into a stud.
  6. Look for cheap injured players: Players who were injured at the start of the year went for cheap prices in most drafts. Consider picking them up, but also consider their injury history, likelihood of full recovery, and trade rumors.
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