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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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.

This is the first year I've ever heard ...

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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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