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Proper Trade Etiquette
May 3, 2006

Now that the baseball season is a month old and in full swing, your fantasy team is starting to take shape.  You know where you have a surplus and you know where you are lacking.  It's still too early to give up on a category, but with the current roster you have, you know you'll never get close to the top in ERA or Saves.  That's where the art of the deal comes in.

One big factor about trading in fantasy baseball that is often overlooked is proper etiquette.  Anyone can dream about trading Mike Sweeney and Kerry Wood for Albert Pujols, but actually offering that deal will ensure that you NEVER obtain Pujols.  This brings us to a few rules about trading:

1. NEVER renege on a deal!
This will earn you the ire of owners everywhere, and suddenly you'll find you have no one else to trade with.  Owners talk, so pulling back a trade with one owner will earn you a quick reputation.  It IS okay to propose the following: "Hey, I could use a 3B and you need pitching.  I was thinking of a deal involving a combination of players A,B,C on my team and players D,E,F on your team if we can match up the talent.  Feel free to narrow it down more."  If the other owner comes back with A&B for C&D, it's okay for you to decline because you weren't making that exact offer.  It is NOT okay to propose the following if you decline the other owner's acceptance: "Hey, I like your guy.  How about A&B for C&D?"  If the owner says, "Sure, let's do that deal," you CANNOT renege and claim that you were thinking out loud, etc.  Basically, if you want a player from a specific owner, ask him what he wants in return.  If you choose to speculate and offer him a deal, you MUST follow through if he accepts.

2. Don't insult the other owners with lopsided deals.
Sure, we all have different opinions of players, but don't offer something you KNOW isn't close to fair.  No matter what the April stats are, no one is going to give you ARod for Ty Wigginton.  Know your owners, and if they are an experienced bunch, don't offer a deal that you would be offended to receive yourself.  It's okay to offer a little less than market value, knowing the owner will counter with something and hopefully land somewhere in between.  If your starting point is so far from equal, however, a deal will never get done and you will alienate yourself from the other owners.

3. Know the other owner's needs.
If the owner you approach already has ARod and Hank Blalock, don't offer him Garret Atkins for Edgar Renteria no matter how "fair" the trade seems.  If you don't take the time to know the other owner's needs, then you are wasting your own and you will fail to see why certain owners keep rejecting your so-called fair deals.

The easiest and most efficient method of trading is to identify a "sell high" candidate on your team that you are willing to deal, send out a group e-mail to all the owners expressing your interest in trading that player, tell them what you are looking for (pitching, help in steals, etc.), and ask for firm trade responses only.  This will maximize your value for the player and still give you the option to turn everyone down if nothing interests you.

If you have your eye on a specific player, e-mail that player's owner, ask what his major needs are, and offer a deal you know would entice him that you could live with.  If you can't come up with such a deal, then you don't want that player as much as you thought.

Whatever your strategy is in making trades, remember to practice proper etiquette and you may find yourself making better deals because you are a better owner to deal with.