Fantasy Baseball Round Table: Trading between contenders and non-contenders

by Todd Zola, on August 1, 2012 @ 16:30:00 PDT


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So I get an e-mail from a fellow Mixed LABR owner who is battling tooth and nail with four others in an effort to be the inaugural Mixed LABR champion. He inquired about the availability of one of my players. The thing is, I am in the lower third of the 15-team league and with due respect to the "anything can happen" legion, trust me, it ain't happening. Sure, I can gain some standings places, but not enough to even sniff the traditional "money" spots of win, place and show. So I replied back that it is against my philosophy to deal to a competing team when I am hopelessly out of contention.

Then the guilt set in. Did I do the right thing? Mel Brooks says it is good to be the King, but in my case, it is great to be the Lord as I have the e-mail address of every League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR) and Tout Wars participant neatly stored in my contacts, so I sent out the following, with the understanding that I could use their responses in this week's Round Table.

Grab a snack, my friends; I touched a nerve with my industry brethren.

If you are obviously not going to win a league such as Tout Wars or LABR, will you make trades with those competing in an effort to move up in the standings, even if it is not a "money" finish?

Todd Zola, Mastersball

If I make the difficult yet honest decision that I am not going to finish in the upper half of an industry league, I am very reticent to deal with someone with a legit shot for the championship. I am as prideful and competitive as anyone, I want to finish as high as possible and I will continue to make roster moves, pick up free agents, etc. I'll manage the categories to maximize points, take more chances even if the risk outweighs the rewards. But, I am uncomfortable impacting the title chase for what may be deemed selfish reasons. Granted, selfish is a bit hyperbolic, but my feeling is letting those who are fortunate to be in the hunt battle it out is more important than my moving from 12th to 9th. That said, Tout Wars has a rule to encourage competing year-long and that is penalizing the lower finishes with a FAAB tax next season, deducting FAAB based on your finish. In this instance, I would deal with a competitor as a last resort, but I would first exhaust all other avenues, specifically dealing with others in a similar boat.

Perry Van Hook, Mastersball

Only if it does not help my trading partner more than it helps me. I think the objective for these leagues is to have as much transparency as possible while showing what we would do in private leagues. Competitors should always try as hard as they can to do their best ... but there shouldn't be an unfair advantage given just for the sake of making a trade. Actually in Tout this is easier to defend as there is a penalty (loss of FAAB dollars) for falling below threshold marks so if that far down you want to avoid that just like you would try for a "money" finish.

Brian Walton, Mastersball

Texas Rangers OF Josh Hamilton
Wolf, Colton: all-in

I am a bit surprised by the question. Competing to one's maximum ability should always be the intent. That is accentuated in leagues where others are watching.

Having said that, it is only natural to lose some intensity when down in the standings. In that case, fewer trade offers will be initiated. Even so, other teams are bound to contact you, asking about trades. You owe it to everyone to consider them fairly.

Scott Wilderman, OnRoto

I will do whatever it takes to move up in Tout Wars - I've never given up trying to improve my position.

Scott Pianowski, Yahoo!

Short and sweet answer to this one: You compete for the full season, you never stop trying to move forward (or maintain the position you have).

David Gonos, RotoExperts

Without question, I'll try to help my team through to the end of the season. The part that gets tricky for me is - will my trade eventually result in pushing one owner ahead of another for the league's championship?

I'm not real comfortable with that, no matter how fair the trade is. I'd rather not have a hand in deciding which of the top four or so owners win the whole thing. In a money league, with friends, it's a different situation, only because it doesn't affect the reputation of a writer or a website.

That said, if a team makes me a fair offer, and I see that it can help me gain more points than I lose, then I'd do the deal. If it screws one of the other owners, so be it - they should have tried to trade with me first.

Rudy Gamble, Razzball

We compete until the last day in all our leagues. If a trade truly helps our team, we will make it. Last year, we traded Pujols for Cliff Lee in NL LABR to gain pitching points which helped us finish middle of the pack versus towards the bottom. While it's natural to put more focus on teams in leagues where you are contending, there is no reason to just give up on a team completely.

Peter Kreutzer, Ask Rotoman

There was a lot of discussion about a deal I did not do last summer in Tout NL. I chose not to trade the amount of FAAB that would give the guy in first place the biggest amount of FAAB as we approached the trading deadline because I didn't feel what I was getting in return helped me enough, even though I would have spent the same amount of money to FAAB the same player. I felt it was my responsibility to the league and the people chasing the leader not to throw the league out of balance by pushing him past the tipping point.

But this was because the player I was acquiring was not an impact player. He might have helped my team a little, but he wasn't going to boost me up multiple places. I had actually proposed a different deal for a better player that included enough FAAB to give the same owner the hammer at the deadline as well as improvement elsewhere, but he declined that one. So, it was a matter of degree, not a matter of yes or no. If I am helped enough for it to matter in the standings I will trade with anyone. But I won't help teams fighting for the crown if the deal is marginal for me.

Rick Wolf, Full Moon Sports Solutions

We feel that we should do whatever we can do to move up in the standings. It is an obligation to do our best until the end … week in and week out. I understand that you are saying that if we are out of it, we should not influence the outcome to make a team win. That is why we have a trade deadline and we should do anything and everything to get higher in the standings. We will make moves to make our team better and since there is a trade deadline, there is no move that you could make, even from last place, that will make it 100% sure any team will win.

Glenn Colton, Rotoworld

Los Angeles Dodgers 3B Hanley Ramirez
Contenders go after big fish

Rick Wolf and I play out every expert league, make moves every week and try to finish as high as possible. In our view, there is a compact to compete honestly all year to maximize the integrity of the leagues. What we will also do is take big risks when have a chance to win because we would rather go for it and end up in 8th than sit back and end up in 3rd. That drove our trade of King Felix for a cold Josh Hamilton. Needed to gamble on another possible hot run.

Gene McCaffrey, Wise Guy Baseball

Steve Moyer once said, in regard to expert's leagues, that if you don't finish first you might as well finish last. I agree with that in theory since there is no money involved or advantage to be gained for next year. So as time makes winning less and less likely, it makes sense to take some chances with your trades - trade one of your few performing studs for Ichiro and James Shields, like that. In practice though, I would rather finish 4th than 5th.

Patrick Davitt, Baseball HQ

Yes, I would make a trade to improve my team's position, regardless of what position that was. I understand that some of the affected teams would object if I were to make a "helps both teams" deal for myself that helped my trading partner to gain ground somewhere up the table from me.

I would try to make offers to all the competing teams, and indeed to all the other teams in the league. But as you know, sometimes the "fit" just isn't there, especially with regard to the tactics of trying to "place" traded assets onto teams that help them pass my nearest competitors in specific categories.

The alternative seems to be to trade only with those near me in the standings, and, again, the "fit" might not be there, and I don't really want to help the teams I'm trying to catch or by whom I don't want to be caught.

Philip Hertz, Baseball HQ

I don't think it's obvious that I won't win this year, but it has been obvious in many past seasons. In those years, I have always tried to improve my standing whether by trade or free agent pick-ups (some of which frustrated contenders). I'd add that last year if I'd had two more points, I would have had two more FAAB this year and you never know those two FAAB might make a difference when all is said and done.

Doug Dennis, Baseball HQ

Yes. If the trade helps my team, I will make it.

Bob Radomski, Sandlot Shrink

Almost half a season left, so trades now could end up in the money. Based on your assumption that the team would be out of the money, I would trade anyway. Two reasons, first competing is as American as baseball, and second, trading at the expert level is an interesting endeavor.

Lawr Michaels, Mastersball

No, with a Maris *. I always want to finish as high as I can in the standings, irrespective of anything. So, trading is not out of the question, however, I would never make a trade that tipped the scales of justice and as a result the standings.

Integrity is more important than winning. At least to me.

I play to win, not to kill.

Derek VanRiper, RotoWire

I'm definitely looking to make deals in any league where I am unable to finish in the money. In Tout or LABR, moving up in the standings is a matter of pride as well as an opportunity to employ various strategies to pick up as many standings points as possible.

Derek Carty, Baseball Prospectus

This is the first year I've ever heard someone with the standpoint of Todd. One fellow owner in Tout Wars or LABR that I tried to trade with was dogmatic about it, and I'm surprised to see how many people play this way to one degree or another. Part of the skill set necessary to winning a fantasy league is trading. If the teams at the top of the standings aren't at least exploring opportunities to trade and improve their position, they're making a mistake. Even if my team has no chance of winning, why would I hinder a competitor's ability to improve his team? If he has the initiative to come to me with a fair deal, I'm going to accept it. If I don't, I'm essentially removing a whole team's worth of players from the league in his eyes, players that may be particularly suited to helping his team which he will no longer have any chance at all to acquire.

Maybe a team at the bottom doesn't want to have an effect on the top of the standings, but it's going to no matter what. Absence of action is still action. Making a trade may help the team win, but refusing to trade may cause the team not to win. And worse yet, it may cause the more deserving team to not win. If you ask me, the team that is trying its hardest to win by engaging everyone in trade talks is more deserving than the team that sits back hoping his team is good enough, all else equal. But if every team that is out of contention refuses to make moves, it essentially removes the trading element entirely, and that's not the game we play. If this is how we're going to play, why allow trading at all? Why not just draft and hold? That's what we're doing if we refuse to trade.

Fred Zinkie,

I would definitely make trades with anyone in the league all season. I believe that every owner should take pride in doing everything they can to finish as high in the standings as possible. Finishing fifth is better than eighth, so do what you have to do to make it happen. In combination with being open to trades with everyone, I believe that to have a credible league all owners need to continue to add free agents and rotate lineups all season.

Paul Greco, FantasyPros911

Absolutely I try to move up during the season even if I might technically be out of it. The big stink I get from people that follow me is, "Why do 'experts' quit if they know they're not going to win?" I follow that up with, "I finish until the end, even if I'm not in first." I think it's important to not only represent your site, but teach those that follow you that you have to do everything you can to continue to climb the ladder because you never know what will happen in the fantasy baseball world. Sometimes the baseball gods shine down on you.

Zach Steinhorn,

Maybe it's because I usually have a lot of confidence in the players I draft and tend to give them a long leash, but I'm not a huge trader. I usually make 1-2 trades a year, and in some leagues I might go through a whole season without making a single trade. But if I am going to trade, I don't pay too much attention to where my trade partner is in the standings. Even if I'm out of contention, if I think that the deal will help me gain ground, that's all that matters. And I do see a difference between finishing in 7th or 10th. That's three more guys who I can say I beat! Plus, with the trade deadline in most leagues being no later than mid-August, who knows what will happen in the final six weeks of the season. A deal that you might think will put your league-mate over the top could land up hurting him. In fantasy baseball, like in real baseball, crazy things can happen.

Greg Ambrosius, STATS LLC/NFBC

Tampa Bay Rays RP Fernando Rodney
Deal Rodney from last-place squad?

Absolutely. Every owner should do everything possible to improve his team throughout the season and finish as high as possible in the standings. If that involves a team that is battling for the league title, so be it. You have to do everything you can to improve your team.

Cory Schwartz,

I've become an increasingly conservative trader over the years, and that is particularly so when I don't think I have a shot to win - or place "in the money" - in a non-keeper league. Simply put, if there's no gain for me in making a deal other than perhaps the pride of moving up 2-3 meaningless points in the standings, I don't want to influence the top of the league by making a deal with one of the front-runners. There's simply too much room for another team to interpret the trade as imbalanced, influenced by favoritism, or worse, collusive or downright dishonest. All teams are fair game for trading in keeper leagues, but in a non-keeper league, the pool of active traders should shrink, not grow, as we close in on the trade deadline.

Tim Heaney, KFFL

I recognize the arguments for not helping out the competition if you aren't going to win your title, and I'm sure we all have varying degrees of time investment in each league, depending on our chances of winning. Still, I play with as much pride as possible, to finish as close to the top as possible, even if you don't get dollars for finishing "in the money." I'd much rather try to move out of the basement just to say I didn't finish in the basement. If nothing else, it's a solid educational opportunity to try new tactics so you can apply them to more competitive situations and keep growing as a player.

You should always try to improve your squad, regardless of your outlook. Tout Wars' FAAB carryover penalty - $1 off next year's allotment for every point a team finishes beneath a certain rotisserie points threshold - marks a solid example of motivational tools leagues can install to prevent stagnancy in the lower regions of the standings late in the season. It sucks that sometimes teams need that impetus to carry on as if they'll have eternal hope, but there's tangible motivation for moving up, regardless of the standings of potential trading partners, as well as your own.

In fact, moving into an isolationist bubble can throw off the categorical balance, shutting off potential avenues of, in industry league cases, showing viewers ways that they can mature as a fantasy gamer.

Philip Hertz

Key point from Tim:

"In fact, moving into an isolationist bubble can throw off the categorical balance, shutting off potential avenues of, in industry league cases, showing viewers ways that they can mature as a fantasy gamer."

I've seen the final results in leagues affected as much by this as by a trade with a contender. I can do as much harm by claiming (or not claiming) a free agent as I can by making a trade - so long as the trade is legit.

Ron Shandler, Baseball HQ

Been in this position a lot lately...

Oakland Athletics INF Brandon Hicks
Hicks: tipping the roto scales!

First of all, we've implemented a system in Tout where there is always an incentive to finish as high as you can. Be it a better reserve seed the following March or more FAAB to spend, there is always motivation to scratch and claw for every point.

Still, even without that, I view every season as a learning experience. At draft time, I'm trying out new strategies; during the season, I'm looking for ways to improve. If nothing else, it is always column fodder. If I can manage to move from 12th to 6th during the season, those are still tactics that might be employable the following year when I'm trying to move from 6th to 1st. There is always something to learn.

Doug Anderson, RotoExperts

Definitely. You are still an owner in that league and unless it's a keeper league, your job is to finish as well as you can. I think you have to make sure that the categories you are gaining are of definite help in the standings or you're just trading for trading's sake. You do have to respect the integrity of the league, but most definitely you should always be trying to improve.

Patrick Davitt

Cory wrote: "Simply put, if there's no gain for me in making a deal other than perhaps the pride of moving up 2-3 meaningless points in the standings, I don't want to influence the top of the league by making a deal with one of the front-runners."

As some others have noted, doesn't it also affect the race to not make a mutually advantageous deal with a front-runner?

Brian Walton

Wondering why some seem to assume that every trade with a front-runner will be assured of helping that front-runner. The priorities seem backward. Because of fear over what might happen to others, these owners avoid trying to everything possible to improve their own teams…

What defines a "front-runner" and which teams are OK to trade with? Is it placement in the standings? Points out of first? Someone should write these unwritten rules down so we all know how to behave (or not).

As noted already, owners incur a very specific and real penalty if they don't amass enough points in Tout. That seems most relevant since the initial question is about Tout and LABR.

Lawr Michaels

That is an EXCELLENT point and question Brian...

And, I plead guilty to jumping on this as worst-case scenario (though "worst" is as subjective as anything else)...

Philip Hertz

Indeed, right now in NL Tout, 7.5 points separate first from fifth and 13 points separate first from eighth. If one were to take Lawr's argument to the extreme, there wouldn't be much trading going forward (not that there are oodles of trades in the first place).

Todd Zola

To be fair, if I am in the group Phil describes (heck, I AM in the group Phil describes) I would make any and all deals to improve my stead as none of the teams is out of it. In fact, I am presently in trade talks with teams battling for the top, in the hopes I swing a deal to join them.

However, in Mixed LABR with due respect to the "anything can happen" crowd, there is not enough lightning nor ample bottles to propel my squad anywhere near contention, but I can move up from the lower third into the middle third with some deals if I so desire. I am struggling with this desire since it could come with some collateral damage I am not comfortable with - yet.

Lawr Michaels

Well, I tried to be clear that my mindfulness involved not tipping the scales.

In AL Tout things are similarly very close. I am in seventh right now, but if my guys are all back in the next week or so (McCarthy, Niemann, and Moreland anyway) then the points are still totally there for me to grab and try to overtake the leaders.

There are 20 or so points separating all of us. But, with seven starters, and Holland and CC for example, back at full strength, there are 7-8 strikeout points I can recoup just in that category (I was second in whiffs when my pitchers started breaking).

Anyway, the juggling and shifting of commodities among those seven teams as we jockey for position and an opening is totally kosher.

What I try to be mindful of, though is say the last-place team (and I am not looking at standings right now, nor do I know breakdowns, so this is not pointing anything at anyone; rather it is just an example) is save-heavy, and Larry needs a closer to keep first place. And, he basically can get Fernando Rodney from the last-place team in exchange for steals or homers that won't really help the current Rodney owner, save a potential point or two here or there. That is wrong.

At least to me, and that is irrespective of league.

And again, I am not suggesting anyone in Tout or LABR has ever done this.

But, fair is also, for better or worse, sometimes just as subjective as life itself, right?

Derek Carty

What I don't understand, Lawr, is why Larry (in your example) shouldn't have the opportunity to trade for those saves. As long as he's not offering Brandon Hicks, as long as he's offering a player of comparable value, I don't see why just because he's in first he should have his trade options limited. If he's trying to win and he's putting the effort in to do so, why are we going to artificially inhibit his ability to do so? Sure, it helps his team, but isn't that what we're supposed to do in this game? And the second- and third-place teams have just as much opportunity to make their own trades. If they don't, it's their own faults.

Lawr Michaels

Derek -

I don't think I said he should not have that opportunity. Nor should the teams under him.

I am just saying make sure it ISN'T for the likes of Brandon Hicks (now watch: Hicks will go ballistic and put up .370-8-35 totals between now and October).

Doug Dennis

This requires no more or no less care than any trade that one might make at any point in the season and we are all saying the same thing. If all we are really saying is, "no collusion" then, who doesn't agree with that?

Scott Pianowski

I'm surprised this is a grand debate. Anything an owner does at any time with the sincere aim of helping his or her (dare to dream) team should be perfectly cool.

Derek Carty

I think the issue is whether etiquette should be different for contender or non-contender trades then for run-of-the-mill trades. Personally, I don't see why it should be.

Scott Pianowski

In one industry league where I'm not in the hunt, I did make it clearly known that I was shopping someone before I made a deal with a contender. But heck, my entire team is (in theory) available at any time. No one should ever be untouchable, that's just nonsense.

Cory Schwartz

Since I'm apparently in the very small minority I'll address a couple of points that have been made and hopefully clarify my own:

First, I consider myself a competitive person and always want to finish as high in the standings as I can, but it doesn't seem appropriate to me to trade with front-runners if I'm at the bottom of the pack. I'm not getting on my high horse, but it's not as important to me to gain to 2-3 points in the standings on a "good" trade as it is to maintain what I feel is the best method of assuring the integrity of the race at the top. I still have FAAB and sound roster management as avenues to improve my team.

Conversely, I'm currently leading in mixed Tout but when looking for trades recently I've focused on the mid- to upper-standings teams, rather than those near the bottom. While I have nothing but respect for those owners, it just feels like I'd be cherry-picking to try and work deals with them. Simply put, regardless of my place in the standings, I don't accept the argument that the last-place team and the first-place team stand to be benefit equally from a late-summer trade, even if it is the very epitome of a "fair value" trade. The "value" of winning the league is of far, far greater significance than the value of moving up a place in the standings to save a few FAAB dollars.

* Brian wrote: "Wondering why some seem to assume that every trade with a front-runner will be assured of helping that front-runner."

Respectfully, I find this to be disingenuous. The outcome of any trade is always uncertain for both teams at the time the deal is made. But, we are all skilled players in this league and I find it a stretch to think that anyone would make a trade that they did not think of as fair value that helps both teams. Obviously the first priority in making a trade is to help one's own team, and but if not offering something of value to help the other team, how could the trade realistically be expected to happen at all?

* Patrick wrote: "Doesn't it also affect the race to not make a mutually advantageous deal with a front-runner?"

Perhaps passively so, but if I'm in 13th and make a deal with the 1st-place team but NOT the 2nd-place team, how can it reasonably be stated that I'm NOT affecting the race to the benefit of one team over another? Certainly both teams have an equal opportunity to make trades, but there are plenty of other trade partners besides those with no reasonable shot at competing. And, as an aside, I've never heard of anyone accused of favoritism or (worse) collusion by NOT making a trade.

Moreover, while I trust in the integrity of this league above and beyond any other in which I've participated, and have no resentment towards any two teams that make any trade at any time in the season, that's not the case in every league. The further the gap between the teams in standings, and the later in the season, the more ANY trade will be likely to be viewed as favoritism or collusion. If we're trying to present ourselves as a model for the industry, I think the "trade with anyone at any time" standard is far, far more likely to lead to abuse in more casual leagues.

I don't mind if no one agrees with me on this, and I'm not trying to suggest my view should be legislated into any further restrictions on trading. But, that's my two cents.

Scott Pianowski

While I have a ton of respect and fondness for Cory, I think his post creates a lot of grey area. When is it too late in the season for non-contenders to trade with contenders? How far back do you have to be in the standings to be put on the trade embargo list? Who are the also-rans allowed to deal with?

Tout used to have a rule (I'm 99 percent sure it's gone now, but that rule book scares the hell out of me) that restricted who could trade with who - I think it had something to do with slots in the standings, late in the year. One summer I found my team fortunate enough to be in first place, and yet ruing that I didn't have access to some trading partners that other contenders did. That's not a good idea, methinks.

I don't like legislating this sort of stuff. Give everyone a full-season carrot, trust in everyone's desire to do as well as they can, or combine the two.

Cory Schwartz

To be clear, I'm not suggesting legislating any of this. The standard is for each team to determine on its own. Anything can happen in baseball, but I think there's a point in each season when an owner can look at his or her roster, YTD stats and place in the standings, and reasonably decide if they are "in it" or not … whatever "it" may be.

Patrick Davitt

Pittsburgh Pirates OF Travis Snider
With limited market, some flail

Cory said, "If I'm in 13th and make a deal with the 1st-place team but NOT the 2nd-place team, how can it reasonably be stated that I'm NOT affecting the race to the benefit of one team over another?"

Exactly so! If I have a deal in place to benefit the first-place team, which would add 3 points to its year-end total, but don't do it out of this sense of "fairness," and that team goes on to lose by 2 1/2 points, I affected the race (and hurt my own standing) by not acting.

Cory Schwartz

That's hindsight and your "impact" on the race was passive, by virtue of inaction. Making a trade is an active impact on the race.

Rick Wolf

We have made deals from last place in late July and moved to third place and thought we might challenge for a victory. So at the risk of mounting a high horse, play to win and this is a non-issue.

Patrick Davitt

All trades are only assessable in hindsight.

Anyway, this seems to me like a difference without a distinction. Team 7 trades with Team 2 and both gain 3 points. Team 14 has a trade with Team 1, a deal which would gain each team the same 3 points, but elects not to do it because of this concern. Team 2 wins because of what certainly seems like an *action* by Team 14: deciding not to deal.

Peter Kreutzer

The issue here, as Cory says, is that the team fighting to win the championship has the big prize in sight, call it eternal glory and all that, while the also-ran is trying to gain a few points that no one is going to notice, whether he succeeds or not. One of the reasons for adding the FAAB penalty and to rank the reserve draft order according to finish in Tout was to put a price on failing and a prize on succeeding, no matter where in the standings you are.

This has the benefit of actually rewarding teams that improve themselves as the season progresses, no matter what their position, and it adds a little balance to the cost-benefit analysis all teams do when they decide to trade, or not. A team may decide to give a star player to a contender for three big maybes who might help it climb out of the penalty, but that's with the knowledge that if the three maybes crap out the penalty will get bigger.

Absent that, it seems to me the also-ran always has to justify trades made with contenders. If you're providing the piece that could put a team over the top, are you getting enough? That's not to say you shouldn't make a deal, but I do think you have a little extra responsibility to make sure you put as big a hurt on as you can before pulling the trigger, because what's at stake for you is so much less valuable than it is for the other side.

One way to handle this, as I think Scott suggested, was to broadcast that you're making a deal. If you're offering up a star for three long shots, let all the contenders know so they can bid against each other. The destructive move is the also-ran dealing something to one contender for less than another contender would have paid.

Greg Ambrosius

This should be called the Michael Brown Discussion because I swear Michael won 3 AL LABR titles because he bugged the heck out of everyone to trade with him daily. Eventually you just made a deal with him to get him away. But he traded from first or second or last and he traded with first, second and last, just like every team should.

I hear what Cory is saying and it makes sense, but in these leagues you better be aggressive and you better not feel sorry for anyone or you'll finish out of the money which in these leagues is anything BELOW FIRST PLACE!!!

I'm with Rick; we're trading from first place and watching all of the other potential trades that could benefit teams below us and being ready for everything and in the NL we are ready to trade to move up from 10th to 5th if it helps us. It's up to the top teams to anticipate everything and react BEFORE you have to say "Oh crap."

Ron Shandler

When someone approaches me with a trade, I don't care to see where he is in the standings. It's completely irrelevant to me. I'm only concerned with the potential gains to my own team - because we can't predict the future well enough to know the real impact anyway.

Doug Anderson

To Cory's point of virtue of inaction, isn't inaction the LAST thing we want in our fantasy leagues? Don't we always complain about guys who lose interest when their team falls out of contention? As long as a team is ACTIVELY trying to improve their standing in the league, I believe there are no circumstances where that owner should hold back. Encouraging inactivity seems like a pretty dubious practice.

Lord Zola's Wrap-up

First off, a hearty thanks to my industry brethren for taking time out of monitoring and analyzing the deadline deals to contribute to this discussion. Your candidness is very much appreciated.

It's almost scary how much I mirror Cory's philosophy in this discussion.

While I am as prideful and competitive as anyone in the discussion, my moving from 10th to seventh is not as "important" as the fourth-place team leaping over the three in front to take the championship.

My conundrum is the final point we discussed - doing nothing is in fact doing something.

So I am deciding which something I want to do.

- Make trades so long as my team is positively influenced even if it impacts the top of the standings

- Do not make trades but run the risk of having my inaction also impact the top of the standings.

Honestly? My lean is still the latter.

But here's the deal. We all play in leagues where we vote on rules and while you may not agree with a rule, you follow it. While this topic is not a rule, it is a rule of thumb. As such, since it is obvious (at least using the respondents as the sample) that more Tout and LABR participants favor dealing regardless of placement, I am beginning to feel more comfortable making such a deal, even if it is against my philosophy.

Something that is conspicuous by its absence is how you, the general public, feels about this issue. I don't mean your personal philosophy; I mean what do you prefer to occur in industry leagues such as Tout Wars and LABR? Playing in a public league, should I have entertained the trade offer that precipitated this soiree? Please send your opinion to and you might be a guest Knight in next week's Fantasy Baseball Round Table.

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Something that is conspicuous by its absence is how you, the general public, feels about this issue. I don't mean your personal philosophy; I mean what do you prefer to occur in industry leagues such as Tout Wars and LABR? Playing in a public league, should I have entertained the trade offer that precipitated this soiree? Please send your opinion to and you might be a guest Knight in next week's Fantasy Baseball Round Table.

About Todd Zola,

Focusing primarily on the science of player valuation and game theory starting in 1997, Todd Zola and Mastersball carved out an important niche in the fantasy industry. In 2006, Todd became the Research Director for, and in 2009, he relaunched Mastersball and is now a managing partner.

Todd competes in Tout Wars and the XFL, and has been a multiple-time league champion in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. He has been a contributor to the fantasy content at and, is a frequent guest on Sirius/XM and Blog Talk Radio and is an annual speaker at the spring and fall First Pitch Forum symposiums. Fantasy Baseball

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