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.