Most strategies in fantasy baseball are almost universally known, making most strategy articles nothing more than boring reminders to the people reading them. Having said that, the strategy—or tactic, it might be better called—that I am writing about today is one that I think most people do not know about and hopefully after reading the title you were utterly and positively confused.
Here’s how you can trade players you don’t even own:
Everyone who has ever tried to negotiate a trade in fantasy baseball has gotten to the point where there is a sticking point in the deal. Often it is a player who is disagreed upon; the guy you are trading with demands a player be included in the deal, and you want no part of that player. We will say the player you do not want is Casey Blake because even though he is having a resurgence of a season, you are wary of his .333 BABIP and 14 percent HR/FB rate.
Now, you do not want Casey Blake, but perhaps someone else will. So what you can do is while the first deal is offered—let’s say it is Kevin Youkilis and Brian Roberts for Casey Blake and Chase Utley—you can start shopping around Blake as if you own him.
Technically you do not own Blake, but as long as that deal is offered from the other team you can pretend that you do in other trade negotiations. Say you find someone who really likes Blake and you negotiate a good deal, giving Blake and a decent pitcher like Carlos Zambrano for David Wright. Perhaps that second trade is a little unrealistic but the point is that if you come to a stopping point in a deal, while it is offered you can try to trade that stopping point for another player you like better, making the original deal now “accept-able”.
When evaluating the trades you can simply pretend Casey Blake never existed, so:
Kevin Youkilis, Bryan Roberts, Carlos Zambrano, and
Casey Blake for Casey Blake, Chase Utley, and David Wright
Becomes more simply:
Youkilis, Roberts, and Zambrano for Utley and Wright.
Implementing the trade-player-you-don’t-yet-own tactic can help you complete trades that otherwise might have been left uncompleted but should not be used unless you know the warnings.
As you probably can imagine, this tactic is ripe for creating disputes and controversy, so every step should be made crystal clear to both parties involved.
Make sure that the first deal is offered and the other owner is fine with you accepting it at anytime. Having his* written consent is preferable in case he tries to say afterward that he never agreed to letting you accept. Otherwise the argument can compound where the person with whom you negotiated the second deal demands you do his deal, but you do not have the players to do the second deal because the first guy rescinded the first deal.
*I know “hers” and “shes” play fantasy baseball as well, but I put only the masculine pronouns to keep those sentences grammatically correct (singular) and readable.
The other main problem that could arise occurs when you complete the first deal, but then the person involved with the second deal decides to back out for whatever reason. Then you are stuck with a deal you probably would have not accepted without the second deal already negotiated beforehand. Make sure the owner of the second deal understands exactly what deal he will be accepting and that he will, indeed, accept it.
So that is how you trade players that are not even on your team. The next time you are in trade negotiations that stall, try to shop around pieces of the deal and see if what you can get makes it worthy of acceptance. Just make sure everything is communicated clearly because I do not want to be the cause of controversy and maybe even broken friendships.