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Diamond is widely acknowledged as the most successful Fantasy Baseball Pick-up Artist in the world – applying the methods of female seduction to the art of winning fantasy baseball league championships. He travels cyberspace with his wing Saber, teaching those who play fantasy baseball how to be fantasy baseball players.

I don’t spend my days perusing the latest fantasy news.  I don’t spend my hard-earned money on the MLB package or pore through box scores like a Kabbalah follower.  I am not one of those ‘web experts’ that spouts advice from within the friendly confines of their mom’s basement or a Connecticut cubicle.

So who am I and why am I posting on Razzball?  Remember that trade you made last year that blew up in your face?  I’m the guy advising your trade partner.

He likely attended one of the many seminars I run across the country where I impart wisdom to my Fantasy Pickup Artists-in-Training via small group sessions.  And the question I get more than any other during my seminars:  “Diamond, can you teach me how to be an Alpha Trader?”  For your knowledge, an Alpha Trader is what we call a Fantasy Baseball Pick-Up Artist who can seduce another participant into making a trade that is more beneficial to your team’s needs than their own.

You may be thinking, “I believe a trade should help both teams equally” or “I’m in a league with friends and I don’t want to manipulate them just to win a league.” or “I’d rather do research and outsmart my trade partner rather than con them.”  That’s fine.  Organic trades and interactions with league members can often sprout positive results.  You may even win a league by chance (assuming you don’t play with any of my students).  So if you’re content being a ‘Trader Joe’ –  no need to read further.  But if you want to master the art of the fantasy baseball trade and transform yourself from winning by chance to winning by choice, you should study this article and bookmark it for later.

Assuming you absorbed the lessons from my previous post, you already have established a Fantasy Avatar™ that radiates power and confidence.  Working from this position of strength, we just need to identify our target.  Now most experts will tell you to peruse your roster and those of your leaguemates to find someone whose team is the inverse of your teams’ strengths/weaknesses.  Take a step back, Trader Joe, and think about what you really want to accomplish here.  You want to trade for superior players than those currently on your roster.  Everyone in your league must have at least one player that’s an upgrade over yours so why rule out anyone right from the onset?  Compatibility is not how we narrow in our target; susceptability is.

We do this by sending private messages to everyone in the league that allows us to gauge each competitor’s temperature.  We can then rank everyone based on the likelihood we can Trade Close on them.  This process is called Centigrading. This ‘Opener’ must be specially crafted to elicit a response that will determine trading temperature, maintain a position of power, and expose (or impose) any roster insecurities in your opponent.  Here are two Openers – let’s see if you can separate the effective from the defective:

  1. Nice draft.  You snagged a few players right before I was going to (K-Rod, Cruz).  Good luck in the league and hopefully we can make a trade at some point.  Any thoughts?
  2. Interesting draft.  A SS and 2B in the first four rounds – you must really like middle infielders.  Good thing you shored those up because it’s not like late round and free agent middle infielders ever work out (DeRosa, cough, Aaron Hill, cough, Jason Bartlett).  I like my team a lot but let me know if there are any players you want to overpay for…

So which do you think is the good Opener – #1 or #2?  Trick question – it’s neither.  The first one is too passive and complimentary.  The second is too heavy on the Negs.  Here’s the proper balance:

“I like how you held off on pitchers until the 10th round.  I had a couple of those pitchers on my wish list for upside 4th/5th/6th starters.  Glad to see someone else here has the balls to draft based on instinct vs. the default rankings.  Did any of my picks take you by surprise?”

See what I did here?  Let’s break it down line by line:

Line Subtext
I like how you held off on pitchers until the 10th round. I’m smart enough to recognize your strategy.
I had a couple of those pitchers on my wish list for upside 4th/5th/6th starters. …but it seems pretty risky.  A subtle but clear neg that might have Mr. Offense Is More Predictable feeling a bit worried by his staff.
Glad to see someone else here has the balls to draft based on instinct vs. the default rankings. I might not agree with your picks but I respect you have an opinion.  This is a great line because everyone likes to think they are mavericks even when they are show ponies.  It also sets up an environment where your trading partner can accept a lopsided trade and justify it based on their unconventional wisdom.  We call this the Disoriental Rug Gambit – disorient your trading partner and then pull the rug out from under them.
Did any of my picks take you by surprise? Three messages in this final sentence:  1) Elicit a response. It’s a pain in the ass to look at another team’s roster to find a potential trade but it’s easy to call out a pick you don’t like,  2) Reaffirm power and confidence. I realize you might not like all my selections.  That’s fine.  Not all my evaluative methods are apparent so I can see how you’d be surprised but I am confident they are right and 3) Trade Enticement. I’m cocky enough that I might be easy to get the better of in a trade.

I think I’ve given you all that you can absorb in one reading.  In the next post, I’ll go over how to Centigrade the responses from your messages to zero in on our target and my wing Saber will share his secrets on Carrot Theory ™.

  1. Chase says:
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    Ha, excellent post.

  2. GTS says:
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    “I don’t spend my days perusing the latest fantasy news. I don’t spend my hard-earned money on the MLB package or pore through box scores like a Kabbalah follower. I am not one of those ‘web experts’ that spouts advice from within the friendly confines of their mom’s basement or a Connecticut cubicle.”

    How do you know who to trade for then??

  3. nmdunkel says:
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    I’m jealous of that post. That’s just perfect.

    Just remember though, fantasy-ballers…..when you take his advice, ultimately your girlfriend will break up with you. (<— ohh, BURN, Erik!)

  4. EricB says:
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    I’ve just picked up Franklin Gutierrez (OF-SEA) in a 10-team mixed roto league. He’s been crazy hot lately. Problem is the rest of my hitters are studs. Anyone see a place where I can put him?
    C – C. Iannetta (C – COL)
    C – K. Suzuki (C – OAK)
    1B – M. Teixeira (1B – NYY)
    2B – B. Phillips (2B – CIN)
    3B – D. Wright (3B – NYM)
    SS – Y. Escobar (SS – ATL)
    MI – I. Stewart (2B/3B/OF – COL)
    CI – A. Ramirez (3B – CHC)
    OF – H. Pence (OF – HOU)
    OF – C. Lee (OF – HOU)
    OF – A. Soriano (OF – CHC)
    OF – M. Kemp (OF – LAD)
    OF – C. Granderson (OF – DET)
    U. – C. Figgins (3B – LAA)

    Bench
    F. Gutierrez (OF – SEA)
    S. Drew (SS – ARI)

  5. struggler says:
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    Back on waivers? is that a 4 team league?

  6. Sos says:
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    Is Dunn too much for cain? How bout dunn gollardo for lincecum?

  7. @Chase: You’re welcome.

    @GTS: I know enough to know that Justin Verlander is better than Jason Vargas. When in doubt, I ask Grey.

    @nmdunkel: If you take my advice, you’ll spend less time poring over fantasy baseball and more time taking care of that girlfriend.

  8. AM I MISSING SOMETHING… a guy in my RCL league picked up chris davis from texas and inserted him tonight vs. boston? he’s still N/A right? in the minors? LOL

    I looked on yahoo, espn, and cbs and i dont see anything about him getting activated….

  9. just read in cbs…. says he’s 10-27 in the minors, only 6 k’s in 27 ab’s…. and i guess its leaning toward he SHOULD be recalled at SOME POINT this year…. LOL

    so this guy i guess just wants to be first to snap him up… although inserting him into the line up when he’s not even on the roster? might be a BIT much…

  10. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @EricB: Wow, your team is stacked. Agree with struggler. You really don’t need him or trade some of your bats if your pitching’s not as good.

    @Sos: Dunn isn’t too much for Cain, if you need pitching. I’d prefer Lincecum there.

    @Tony Y: Yeah, he’s not back yet.

  11. EricB says:
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    I’m a little torn on who to start this week for a sixth starter. These are the options:

    Harden @ PHI (Blanton)
    Zimmermann vs. STL (Wainwright)
    Pineiro @ PHI (Happ)
    Kuroda vs FLA (Miller)

    I’m leaning towards Kuroda right now because of the matchup. Should I start one of the others? Thoughts?

  12. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @EricB: I’d start Kuroda, but they’re all borderline eh.

  13. Jonny says:
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    I like the idea of getting a dialogue going early. In my opinion, however, head games are no substitute for vigorous, thorough player evaluation. It’s one thing to be faking it for trade partners. It’s quite another to truly value a player differently.

  14. Jonny says:
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    I meant rigorous. Whatever. One letter off.

  15. SamYo says:
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    I need SP, i’m looking to trade Lee since I have Howard at 1st, who should i target ? Thanks.

  16. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @SamYo: A 2nd to 3rd tier starter. Aim for Wainwright, hope for Wandy.

  17. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    love the post,,my maine problem with trading is that besides rookie managers,everyone else seems to have learned over the years to target better players,its hard to pull the old 2 good for 1 great player thing anymore,but i still try

  18. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: Feelin’ good. On June 14 we had a brief discussion about merits of Aardsma vs. Bell. You slightly favored Bell. I boldly (and somewhat frivolously) stated that SD would be lucky to win 1/3 of remaining games. Guess what. 9-18 since June 15.

    Aardsma: 11S, 19K in 14IP.
    Bell: 6S, 11K in 11IP.

    Would be in 3rd instead of 1st today.

    Now watch Bell get traded and I wish I had him!

    Cust Kayin’ and having fun.

  19. Sos says:
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    Asked earlier about dunn/gallardo for lincecum. What about dunn/gallardo for halladay? prefer halladay side? Tryin to go after a top pitcher but of course takin the cheap skate route if possible

  20. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Sos: It’s a bit much for Lincecum, but I’d still take Lincecum there by a hair.

  21. Sos says:
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    @Grey: I have too many outfielders now and need some pitching. Is Dunn/Gallardo for Halladay too much then assuming Lincecum had more value than Halladay?

  22. Robert says:
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    Grey, is it time to let Rasmus go? He is a util. guy for me and has been it a little bit of a slump. Available to pick up: G. Anderson, Prado, Beckham, Stewart. Not much, really.

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Sos: Yes, Lincecum’s more valuable than Halladay.

    @Robert: Pickup Stewart.

  24. i’ve got C-Bills, Shields, Oswalt, Nolasco, and Danks all going in two days. I could start all five but I would have to sit a closer to do it. Do I start all five or sit one…which one?

    I started all five last week and they burned me britches!

    Bills vs Reds (what happened last week)
    Shields @ White Sox (shaky away from home)
    Nolasco @ Padres (autostart)
    Danks vs Rays (prolly lots of Ks)
    Oswalt vs Cardinals (been on fire)

    so I may have answered my own question but I wanted to get your opinion…thanks

  25. Robert says:
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    Grey, thanks for G. Jones. He has not disappointed!

  26. G says:
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    Great post! Who do you think the closer will be if Sherill is shipped? Baez or Johnson?

  27. big o says:
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    presently , i’m pleased with my penchant for withstanding change .

    if i had a cell phone , i’d call someone (maybe b.f.h) and tell them …..
    ” c.j. rides again ” !!!

    sagnof , brudda .

  28. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @danimal35: I’d sit Danks.

    @Robert: I’m glad he’s doing it too.

    @G: Johnson, but it might be Baez.

    @big o: Yup

  29. Mr Baseball says:
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    Justin Morneau for José Reyes in keeper league – I have reyes should I make the trade

  30. big o says:
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    @Grey:
    i’m starting to like pucker phizzer …. for the guy who ruins your pitching stats .
    has a nice ring to it .
    oliver perez is a notorious pucker phizzer ,
    but sometimes i have these weak moments .

    one of these days , i’ll swear him off , for good .
    and I MEAN IT , this time .

  31. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @big o: Hmm… Not sure about that one.

  32. Paulie Allnuts

    Paulie Allnuts says:
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    @big o: I went through two years of Ollie’s antics. Four perfect innings, then 3 walks and 5 earned runs in the fifth. Can’t take the angina. Speaking of angina…
    @Grey: Is it safe to pick of de la Rosa? He seems to have settled down a bit, although with less K’s.

    Thanks

  33. qbot says:
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    Would you consider Jayson Werth a sell-high at this point?

  34. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Paulie Allnuts: Sure, I’d own him.

    @qbot: Depends what you can get for him. I don’t think he’ll necessarily stop hitting though if that’s what you mean.

  35. big o says:
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    @Grey:
    22 hits !!
    yea , baby .
    let’s see the raiders top that .

    hey , grey …. did you happen to see stauffer against the marlins ?
    all i’ve got to go by is the box score .

    is this guy a bannister-type ?
    i.e. pitches to contact .
    stauffer’s gb/fb was 8-4 with 4 k’s (emilio twice , cantu , and the pitcher) .

    hopefully you’ve seen this guy in action and can clue me in .

    did i mention ??? …. the A ‘s

    PLAY AT THE PLATE .

  36. G says:
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    Is Rauch a necessary handcuff for owners of Quall right now if you have a roster space?

  37. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @big o: He looked safe at the plate. Stauffer is a GB pitcher, moderate on Ks.

    @G: Sure, if you have room.

  38. G says:
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    Im looking to conserve innings as I am currently on pace to go over the max so what pitcher can I get by giving up Jurrjens and Cook? In what range should I be targeting for? thanks

  39. G says:
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    Would you drop G. Parra(only bench player) to get Rauch? I have 3 solid closers but if Qualls gets shipped I dont like the feeling of only having 2. Grab Rauch?

  40. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @G: Wainwright? Drop Parra for him.

  41. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: Durbin came in top of the 7th for Phi with a 9-1 lead; went the last 3 innings. Credited with the save. If someone goes the last 3 they get a save, no matter what the run differential? (guess I’m a little foggy on my saves qualifications)

  42. BrianKennedy says:
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    Is Romero still a buy? Trade Francisco for him?

  43. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Simply Fred: They get a save, yup.

    @BrianKennedy: I’d trade Frank for Romero, sure. Though I’d look to get a bit more/better starter.

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