The Trade Counsel: Putting Our Trade Theories Into Action (Part 1)

by Simon Jones

I’m aware that many of my columns deal with trading theory and different tactics behind trading, but I also spend a fair amount of time discussing and negotiating actual deals too. Often, I’m chatting to other guys in the leagues I play in about why I’m made a particular trade, or how trade talks culminated in a particular offer, so this week I’m devoting the column to the deals I’ve made since the start of the season as a way to show how I put the theories we discuss into action. It will break down how the trade came to be, what was driving my thinking and my thoughts in retrospect.

As background, I play in 4 leagues, most of which drafted a week before the season began. I’ll break down all the deals by league, and give a brief background to each league.

League 1: 12 team Roto redraft, 5×5 (QS instead of W)

April 7th: Trade away Zack Greinke for Jose Bautista
At the time of this deal it was nearly 2 weeks since my drafts, and I have to admit I was going a bit crazy due to lack of trade activity. I’ve been known to execute trades during a draft, so a 2 week barren spell post-draft is unheard of. This was a trade I was more than happy with at the time. Greinke fell at the right place in the draft, but I had no real trust in him. Bautista was a guy that I thought was undervalued, plus the other owner hadn’t drafted much pitching. This was just a simple offer and accept – no chat or counters. I’m still relatively confident in this deal, though Bautista hasn’t performed as I’d like after a strong spring.

April 15th: Trade away Trea Turner, Cole Hamels and Aaron Judge for Paul Goldschmidt
The one poor deal in the bunch. In my defense Goldschmidt, is the best player in the deal, and this league has very small benches and few DL spots, meaning that having reliable studs is even more imperative. The downside is that it was a borderline overpay from my intended offer (Turner/Hamels), but somehow I managed to add a 3rd guy in. I could have had the trade reversed, but it’s the price I pay for being careless. The plus point to this deal is that with the short benches, it did mean that the talent depth on the waiver wire was pretty much at the same level as Judge (players such as David Peralta), so that last piece isn’t horribly costly. There is also the worry that much of Turner’s value could be tied up in his speed, and I’m a bit wary when any speedster starts getting hamstring issues. For what it’s worth the other owner had Goldschmidt on the block and was short at both 2B and SP, and my roster could handle the positional loss. Again, just an offer and accept with no counter.

League 2: 16 team Roto keeper (8 players). 6×6 (inc OPS and K/BB)

April 10th: Trade away AJ Ramos and Mallex Smith for Hanley Ramirez
This is my longest term league, and I’ve played with a lot of these guys for 7 or 8 years now. As a result you get to spot certain trends and ways that the other guys think. Closers had gone pretty early in the draft and speed had also gone at slightly above value. Looking through the trade blocks one owner had made Ramirez available and was searching for saves and SB. I’d grabbed Smith off waivers, knowing that he’d get AB early in the season and hopefully steal some bases. As it happens it became a perfect storm of opportunity, as I know my friend is often a little impulsive on some of his trades, and Hanley was nursing an injury at that point. I won’t pretend that I wasn’t thrilled with this deal, and it still looks good a week further on.

League 3: 12 team Roto auction keeper (4 players). 6×6 (OBP, TB, QS)

April 13th: Trade away Wilson Contreras and Neftali Feliz for Dustin Pedroia and Mashiro Tanaka
This was the league where I deliberately took two good catchers in the auction (Lucroy and Contreras), with the aim of targeting the teams who missed out on a decent catcher themselves. It’s also a new league to me, so I don’t know how the owners value players or react to slumps. I actually came close to another deal just after the auction (a 2-for-1 for A.J. Pollock), but that never quite materialized. This deal was based around me targeting a buy-low on Tanaka. That is supplemented by Pedroia, as I noticed the owner has a surplus of 2B, as well as only having Yadier Molina as his catcher. Closers were really expensive in the auction, but I’d managed to pick up a few at the end by keeping aside some dollars, and so this deal seemed like a clear win for me.  The proof will be whether Tanaka bounces back to something like his 2016 self. Again this was just a speculative offer, as there hasn’t been much chat in this league yet.

I’ll round up my other four deals in part two of this column in a few days’ time. I’ll also pull together some common themes over what I’ve tried to achieve and the players I’ve been targeting in the earlier weeks.

The Trade Counsel is a weekly trade column – please leave feedback or any trade questions below.

19 comments

  1. Stephen says:

    I’m offering Jon Lester and Wil Myers for Mike Trout. Is this a fair trade or am I offering him too much or too little? Thanks for any advice.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      If I’m the Trout owner I wouldn’t do that. If I had Trout only way I’d even consider moving him is if I’m getting a 1st round talent and more back

    • Simon Jones says:

      It’s fair, as far as the values aren’t horrifically one sided. Who gets the better of it, depends on the size and structure of your league. Whenever you get into lop-sided, multi-player deals, you always have to consider the guy you fill the extra spot with.

      I like this deal much better in a very shallow league, than a deep one. If you are filling the gap with a top 150 guy, then the deal looks much better than if you are filling the gap with a top 400 guy. If it’s a keeper, then getting more than one year of Trout tips the scales in your favour.

      I hope that helps, but feel free to drop me further information.

  2. Conchtown Tinker says:

    Can u help me rank the struggling under achievers?

    Jose Abreau vs Justin Upton vs Matt Carpenter…

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      For me it should be Abreu / Carepenter / Upton. That said, can make the argument for Carpenter thanks to his positional flexibility

    • Simon Jones says:

      Struggling for different reasons. We’re less than 3 weeks into the season, so I’d hesitate to move too much from my initial rankings of Abreu/Carpenter/Upton. That said, Abreu has been pretty brutal this April, and a week or two struggling will drop him down quite rapidly. Not sure what is happening with Carpenter regarding the power, but I have less concern with him than Abreu. One to monitor though. Not a big Upton fan, but he’s hitting the best of the 3 currently, though not well enough to lift him above either of the other two yet.

  3. Stoli says:

    Your making deals like your on tilt. I don’t like any of them except maybe the last one. Your co owners probably love you.

    • Simon Jones says:

      Hey, that’s why it’s called the Trade Counsel – no point writing an article unless you’re going to trade to back it up. Having differing player values, is what makes the trades happen. Having an owner like you in a league, where my player evaluation is obviously different to yours helps get deals done, as it’s always much tougher to trade with owners who have very similar outlooks – makes everyone pretty cagey.

  4. Sam says:

    Ive made a few deals across my three leagues so far. What do you think:
    1) Car-Go, Salazar, Kenley, Drury for Votto, Kemp, Cotton, Snell
    2) Treinen for Bettances
    3) Sano, Tanaka for Arietta, JD Martinez

    • Simon Jones says:

      Am I right in thinking the left hand side is what you gave, and the right hand side was what you received?

      1) This is fairly even. Votto carries the biggest value. Kemp and Jansen are similar values (depending oh how saves are treated in your league). Th bottom 3 guys in the deal have marginal value depending the depth of your league, so it depends really on you like Votto more than Car-Go and Salazar.
      2) Treinen’s value is linked to saves, if he’s not closing then he’s the same value as 50 other relievers out there. Betances is more valuable.
      3) I like the Arrieta/Martinez side much better, even with the injury risk from Martinez.

      • Sam says:

        You are correct
        Under 1 – 12 man 27 player rosters standard 5×5. I had some closing depth and find I am attentive enough (mostly due to Prof’s daily post) to snag closers all year. Really dislike Car Go (took him because of auction value), wanted to move Kenley and Zar was the piece I had a hard time parting with big ok’d to make the deal (really like Votto’s floor)
        2 – 14 man 27 player rosters standard 5×5 – agreed. Had to move Treinen before he lost the job, hence, all value (he was just dropped today lol… made the trade Monday… feel kind of bad)
        3 – 12 man 21 player rosters 7×7 (total hits, OPS & QS and Holds)… yes agreed. I made an offer for Sale, got this back on the counter and immediately accepted

        • Simon Jones says:

          The most encouraging part of this, is the thought you’ve obviously put into the deals and how they sit with your rosters. Owners often don’t agree on player valuations, so it’s good that you are making the right moves for your roster, but getting fair market value (or better) in the process.

          • Sam says:

            Thanks man – that’s how I look at it too. Valuations is key and I always try and differentiate mine some. For example, I had McCullers as a top 20 SP (didn’t overdraft but was sure to get him everywhere)… love watching him chuck

  5. Ryan says:

    Would you do Noah Syndergaard for Gregory Polanco/Gerrit Cole? I would be giving up the latter but getting Noah back. Thoughts?

    • Simon Jones says:

      As I said before, the dynamics of a 2-1 (or any lopsided) deal really depends on the depth of your league. In shallower leagues, I like getting Thor in this deal. If it’s a very deep league, then the deal sways the other way. Obviously there is a significant upgrade from Cole to Syndergaard, but it depends on how you are replacing Polanco.

      • Ryan says:

        it’s a 12 team league with 7 bench spots… I would replace polanco with lorenzo Cain and I have bryce Harper and stanton… along with Strasburg and Baumgartner, I would have plenty of offense, I am more asking from a whether it’s going to be looked at as a fair trade

        • Simon Jones says:

          Oh absolutely – you shouldn’t get people vetoing, unless you’re in a league with one of those guys that objects to every deal, just in case in helps a team. It’s a trade that you can argue for either side, which is the sign of a good trade.

  6. Fred says:

    In H2H 12-team 8-keeper league. Thinking of offering Story, Duvall and M. Fulmer for Scherzer, Encarnacion and Moncada. Fair deal?

    • Simon Jones says:

      You can offer it, but unlikely it gets accepted. Scherzer’s the best player in that deal, and I’d still take Encarnacion over Story despite the early season struggles. Then there’s Moncada who is keeper gold. If I own the guys on the other side of the deal, I probably don’t pull the trigger even if Moncada isn’t included.

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