The title of this article says it all. If you are not in first place and want to do everything possible to get yourself into first place, now is the time to start making those final trades to put yourself in a position to climb the standings throughout August and September.
If you are in a keeper league, the market to acquire players that can help you now is more defined. Trading away future talent for players who can help you in the present is a simple strategy that people have been using, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, for a long time. Even fantasy baseball banners fly forever.
In non-keeper leagues however, making such trades is impossible since every owner is, or at least should be, trying to win this year. Therefore your angles for trades that help your team now are more abstruse (not to be confused with obtuse).
One possible way is to use inception and try to implant the idea in other owner’s heads that they should trade you their best players; but as the people who have seen the movie Inception can attest, it can get extremely complicated. Looking into simpler options, the simplest and most effective way to improve your team through trading is to trade any unnecessary depth on your roster.
Depth is a luxury and luxuries are not something you can afford if you want to extract maximum value out of all your players.
For example, as you may already know from our Twitter feed, I recently traded Chase Headley with Gio Gonzalez as a throw-in for Colby Lewis in the Yahoo F&F League. Earlier in the year I was more hesitant to trade Headley—partly because he was batting over .300 with steals coming in impressive bunches—but also because he was the only player on my team besides Ryan Zimmerman with third base eligibility. If Zimmerman fell victim to one of his nagging hamstring injuries, I wanted the “luxury” of having Headley ready to substitute instead of whoever was available in free agency.
However, now with the season heading towards its climax, I understand that it is much more important to have Colby Lewis help my team gain points in the pitching categories than have Headley throw in the occasional hitting contribution but mostly serve as insurance to Zimmerman. If Zimmerman gets hurt, I probably won’t have a chance at winning anyway so, even though I’m putting myself in a riskier situation, the potential reward justifies the risk.
What you have to do, the sooner the better, is take a look at your own roster and try to identify players who aren’t getting utilized fully but are attractive enough to fetch in return players who can be better utilized on your team. Even if it stretches your team thin in certain areas, making such deals will give you the best chance to win come September.