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Fantasy Trade Deadline
August 27, 2003

September is right around the corner, and it is likely that your league's trade deadline is quickly approaching.  With just 5 weeks left in the season, it's time to balance realistic expectations with a willingness to pull off a major trade to move up.

Take a look at your standings and examine each category carefully.  Know your talent and the talent of your close competition.  If you have a legitimate shot to move up a spot or two in the overall standings, then do whatever it takes to make that happen.  If you are the team in need, you might have to give a little more than you receive to make the deal go through, especially if the other owner has less incentive to trade.

Even more important now than earlier in the year, it is imperative that you pay attention to the team with whom you are trading.  If you are making a deal to potentially move up a few spots in saves, but end up trading your best RBI guy to the owner right below you in RBIs, you will just be shooting yourself in the foot.  It's never a perfect match, but try to get what you need while trading away talent that can benefit your standings with the players on other teams.  For a more detailed explanation, check out this Fantasy Focus article from earlier in the year.

Another aspect of late season trading is the possibility of hurting your team through desperation.  As mentioned earlier, be realistic when looking at the standings.  Your starters will only throw about 7 or 8 more times, and your closers have only one more month to save games.  Innings and at bats have piled up to the point where it becomes increasingly difficult to pass other teams without a significant upgrade in production.  Therefore, if you are locked in a spot in the standings that pays money and you have no real chance of moving up, play it conservatively and do what you need to do to keep from falling.  That may mean starting a few middle relievers to protect your ERA and WHIP, or starting a catcher who won't get any at bats if you are happy with your average and you know you won't fall in the other productive categories.

Be aware of the consequences of late season trades, but if the reward outweighs the risk, then go ahead and make a move.  Good luck to all owners the rest of the way, and look for the August Fantasy Awards next week!