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Wednesday 29th Mar 2017

Okay, you have analyzed your fantasy baseball team’s strengths and weaknesses in each category and hopefully by positions. What now?

Well, you have to find a trade partner. Simplistically, that is a team (preferably behind you in the standings) that is strong in your weak category/position and could use help in a category where you have an excess.

Yes, as I mentioned last week, it might also be a category where you are buried but have one good producer. Let’s say for example that you drafted a lot of power but not much speed. Then you added Billy Burns as a free agent and he is stealing some bases for you (and will do more in the future as long as the Athletics leave him in the lineup – remember he stole 54 bases in the Minors last year and 73 the year before), but you are still buried in the category and have just two points with little hope of adding another and little danger of losing a point.

Okay, let’s say you have decided you want to trade either Burns or Francisco Rodriguez (one of your three closers) to get a starting pitcher. At that point, you have two choices – send a blanket e-mail to everyone in your league announcing that you will trade either player for a starter, or analyze all the rosters in your league to specifically identify the best trade partner or partners.

Personally, I favor the extra work of finding the right team to try and trade with so I can have a direct conversation with them about why getting K-Rod will gain them several points in saves for one of their second tier starters. But the lazy approach can work as well, sometimes in fact bringing a team you hadn’t considered to the table.

In the first case, I strongly suggest direct communication over an e-mail, which no matter how you meant it could be interpreted differently by your possible trade partner. If this is not someone you see often, pick up the phone and call them. And in today’s world, it doesn’t matter where they live (as long as you remember the time difference so you don’t wake them up or call during dinner).

The advantage is that you can start a casual conversation with them even if you don’t know their other interests or job situation or weather. You can start with just asking them how things are going before getting around to broaching your trade idea. If their response is not about their team or your league, again don’t immediately jump to the trade subject but ask them how their fantasy teams are doing or how their favorite team or player is doing. This will often lead to them mentioning their ideas about a trade and perhaps get you an offer better than the one you had in mind.

As in many other areas of communication, listening is often your best move.

Next week, we will look at some specific trade strategies.

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