Fantasy Baseball Round Table: How to conduct a fire sale

by Todd Zola, on June 4, 2014 @ 13:22:18 PDT


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Last week the esteemed knights offered me some ideas to help rescue my mixed LABR squad (public standings here) and I've been busy heeding their advice. So today, instead of our usual Round Table, I thought I'd offer an update as well as mixing in some words of wisdom of my own with respect to trade dynamics.

SS Jose Reyes, Toronto Blue Jays
Jose on his way out

By means of quick review, my Mixed LABR team is wallowing in last place, about 20 points behind the squad in front of me (happens to be KFFL's Tim Heaney), so finishing 14th is even a tall task. I've been beset with injuries as well as making some questionable draft picks. And to rub salt in the wound, I had the first pick and took Mike Trout.

The crux of the advice offered by the Knights was to focus on other teams that aren't in the upper portion of the standings and assess categories to maximize possible points. I both agree and disagree with those sentiments. My main point of contention is it's still too early to distinguish the contenders from the pretenders. If the offer is fair and I make sure the entire league has a chance to get in on the action, I'll have no repercussions dealing with those presently at the top of the standings. While I agree with the category management point, again it's still early so only under an extreme scenario will I opt to punt a category or two.

Here's the initial note I sent out to the league with "Mixed LABR Blowout Sale" as the subject:

Everyone's available -- looking to buy low but not recklessly. I know I have to take chances but they need to be within reason. I don't believe in the myth that you always need to acquire the best player in a deal -- the deal simply needs to make sense for both sides. In my case, this means trading a better player to get back multiple pieces whereby I also upgrade a weak spot on my roster (of which there are many). Maybe you have a strong reserve list or someone returning from the DL or called up from the minors giving you some depth.
Let me know who you want and I'll be happy to let you know what it will take. Or send an offer and we can go from there.
Some intriguing available names include
Mike Trout
Dustin Pedroia
Jose Reyes
Aroldis Chapman
David Robertson
James Shields
wait for it....
Corey Kluber!!!!!
Thanks for your attention.

The majority of the interest was in Mike Trout. The note was sent just before he missed a couple of games with a balky back. In fact, I had one offer I wanted to take right then and there but felt obligated to wait for the rest of the league to have a chance to respond. Do I now have non-trader's remorse? No, I don't. The trade-off is missing out on a deal that could have really helped me if Trout loses significant time versus not becoming public enemy one by going back on my word and taking the first offer I received and not letting everyone chime in. I plan on playing in Mixed LABR for a while, it would be bad form to alienate some fellow owners and be ostracized in later years when my trades can hopefully fortify a run for the Yoo-hoo and not 14th.

So with Trout leaving Tuesday's game early, my plans were really hindered. The goal was to deal Trout first so I had an idea of what I was now working with and where I needed to go with the ensuing moves. The best-laid plans of last place owners.

Todd strikes two deals!

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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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