A good salesman can sell ice to an eskimo. Notice I did not say honest salesman. I also said salesman instead of salesperson. Hopefully that did not offend my one female reader. After all, she does make up ten percent of my followers. Sorry token girl reader. Back to the guy that’s going to sell you a mattress when all you came into the store for was a pillow. For years, used car salesmen have been considered the prototypical charlatan. I’m not sure if charlatan is the right word, but I really want to use it, so it’s been crowbarred into today’s post.

What in Grey’s name does this have to do with fantasy baseball? One word. Trades. When making a trade in fantasy baseball, what we are really doing is selling one or more players in return for other player(s). Your opportunity to make a favorable trade relies upon your ability to sell your players for more than they are worth, or buy your opponents players for less than they’re worth. And if you can do both, perhaps you should open a used car lot. Razzcars! They sound fast.

This post is less about advice and more an anecdote of how I turned Vincent Velasquez, Kyle Hendricks, Sean Manaea, Justin Upton and Aaron Nola into Madison Bumgarner, Michael Wacha and Adam Jones. However, this was not your traditional trade. Instead, I constructed this deal as a two-phase operation by making two separate trades. You can’t really call it a three-way trade because neither of the other teams knew about each others involvement and neither was contingent on the other.

Here’s how sh!t went down. The first trade I made was Vincent Velasquez, Kyle Hendricks, Sean Manaea and Justin Upton for Chris Archer, Michael Wacha and Jose Bautista. Yes, I was able to pull that deal off. Please bear in mind that this trade was made about three weeks ago. At this time neither Velasquez nor Manaea were injured, Archer was pitching more like current day James Shields, Wacha was an embarrassment to the Cardinals rotation and Justin Upton was the complete opposite of good. I don’t care how you spin it, I took home the mother load in this deal.

Here’s how I convinced my league mate. First let me say that in our league the scoring system is heavily tilted in favor of starting pitchers. Last year there were 17 starting pitchers with more points than the top hitter (Bryce Harper). Starting pitchers are rather valuable in our league. At the time Velasquez was a top ten pitcher based on points. He was pitching well above his head. The kicker was his RP eligibility. In our league that’s a huge plus. The next key is to know who you are dealing with. There are two teams in our league that love to throw as many starts out there each week as they can. These teams rarely employ a closer. Instead they fill the RP spot with an RP-eligible SP. Usually one that has two starts that week. It’s a strategy than can work, but often falls short. I will address that in a future post. Regardless these teams continue to roll this way.

Pointing out Velasquez’s value to one of these owners was like offering free McDonalds to a hungry fat kid. Hendricks was pitching well and Manaea was the next Randy Johnson who had success striking players out at every level. That left Justin Upton. How was I to sell high on perhaps that biggest let down so far in the season. The answer was simple. By pointing out that there was no way this trend could continue. Look at his stats the last several years. Every season he ended that season with about 400 points. More in some seasons. I also said that nearly every expert had tagged Upton as their top “buy low” guy. A little, believable lie never hurt one’s cause. Justin Upton was obviously going to hit 20-something home runs and since he only had two at the time, there were a lot more homers to come off his bat. I mentioned the cold weather in Detroit and a few other tid bits to boot.

But perhaps I should take a step back. This was not my initial offer. My initial offer did not include Velasquez. Of course it didn’t. He was the player I would use to seal the deal. Originally I believe it was Henrdricks, Manaea and Upton for Archer and either Wacha or Sonny Gray. Shortly after I dangled Vincent out there, but said he was too valuable in this league to trade and pulled him back. There was the hook. Soon he wouldn’t stop with how much he wanted him. That’s when I pulled Bautista into the deal and shortly after had an agreement.

Part one was accomplished, but the end goal was Madison Bumgarner. And now I had the additional resources to overpay to get him. And that’s exactly what I did. After a few rounds of negotiations, I managed to trade Archer, Nola and Bautista for Bumgarner and Adam Jones. Yes, I gave up more than I got. But I am ok with that. Here’s why. I wanted Madison Bumgarner. In this league we can only keep four players, and we can keep them for as long as we want. Bumgarner is a no doubt keeper, and at 26 years young, he’s got a lot of years left in the tank. I initially offered Zach Greinke and Aaron Nola for MadBum, but he passed. At 32 years old, Grienke will not be a keeper much longer. I tried to get Charlie Blackmon, but he was downgraded to Adam Jones.

Sadly my team is in next to last place. While I am only four games out of 4th in a league where four teams make the playoffs and we play two game per week, I still have a reasonable shot. My team is good, I’ve just been unlucky, playing the one or two teams that outscore me that week. This aspect of head-to-head points leagues drives me insane (another post coming on this soon). I definitely wouldn’t say I’m packing it in by making this deal, but I am looking more to the future. Considering my other potential keepers of Paul Goldschmidt, Stephen Strasburg, Gerrit Cole, Zach Greinke and Felix Hernandez, I just don’t see Archer, Nola or Bautista making the cut. But Bumgarner will be a member of my team for years to come. And since we only start four SP each week, it’s not like Archer or Nola were pitchers I were starting week in and week out. Madison Bumgarner will be in my lineup EVERY week. And yes, when healthy, I consider King Felix a strong keeper candidate. JB’s rank be damned.

Because I was able to get the better of one deal, I was willing to take the lesser of the next deal to get what I ultimately wanted. Instead of looking at it as two trades, I looked at it as one. And at the end of the day my team was better now and in the long run.

Remember, your bad player is going to turn it around. Their good player is going to come back down to earth. Know your league. Know your keeper rules. Know your opponents. Sell high. Buy low. And when needed, lie.

  1. knucks says:
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    Nice, I like this post man

    This tops my chump dump of Corbin/Ketel/Giles (to the Gregerson owner) for his Stroman last month. Turned around the next day and got Belt for Stroman. He’s out of the lineup today, but still very happy with the way that worked out for me. The poor Gregerson/Giles owner then missed out on Harris later in the week! Ouch.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @knucks: Ha! All is fair…

  2. Kyle says:
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    Trade question for ya!

    I have
    Samardja/Donaldson

    I get
    Degrom/Bryant

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Kyle: Make the trade!

  3. Fister Furbush says:
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    That’s awesome. There’s nothing like a good trade.

    I also acquired MadBum in my league that pretty much have the same scoring system as yours.

    I turned Carlos Gomez and Jose Fernandez into Chris Sale and Madison Bumgarner. I know, highway robbery. Here’s how I did it.

    I had JoFer(whom I drafted early) and Gomez on my roster. I offered those two players for Chris Sale and Michael Brantley. This was back in late April when Brantley was just about to get off the DL and when Sale was a possible “sell high” candidate after a strong start. JoFer at the time was showing flashes of his potential, so I knew I could use him as trade bate. He accepted the offer.

    I then struck another deal, acquiring a slumping Jose Abreu for Brantley. I still don’t know how I pulled that one off, but I did! Right after I made that trade, Abreu went on a tear for about 2 weeks.

    During Abreu’s hot streak, I offered Jose Abreu straight up for Bumgarner to a team who already had Greinke, Carlos Martniez, Sonny Gray and Rich Hill. He didn’t hesitate to accept the offer.

    So that is how I ended up with two potential Cy Young winning pitchers while giving up Carlos Gomez and Jose Fernandez.

    I still think there’s a chance that I’ll regret trading away Fernandez, but I still really like my rotation as it is:

    Madison Bumgarner
    Chris Sale
    Noah Syndergaard
    Jon Lester
    Steven Matz
    Gerrit Cole
    Taijuan Walker
    James Paxton
    and Jameson Taillon

    Unfortunately this isn’t a keeper league
    Fortunately though this is a money league!

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Fister Furbush: Nice work! I’m about to attempt a coup to acquire Fernandez…

  4. Andre says:
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    Neil Walkers back is made of string cheese….Segura had been on the wire before another owner snatched him. I can get Segura for a 5th round pick from that owner or I can drop Walker for Forsythe, Dozier, Jose Ramirez, Prado, Baez, Dietrich, or Merrifield

    H2H categories, keeper league. 10tm. Counting stats are Hits, Average, RBI, Runs, HR, Walks, and Steals. We have a limit of 50 moves including playoffs so this would have to be for ROS

    • Andre says:
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      @Andre: Devin Travis is also an option

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Andre: Personally I am leaning Jose Ramirez. I also like his multi-position eligibility…

  5. Matt says:
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    Acquired Giancarlo Stanton for Will Harris, Aaron Sanchez last week….. Our league uses OBP instead of BA and also adds Slug% as a category so Stanton hasn’t been *quite* as bad as he is in those leagues that only use BA.

    While I really was looking to having Harris since I haven’t had a closer all year, I was awfully surprised to see the Stanton owner so wanting to rid himself of that headache as to accept that offer. As we are a H2H league, I figure I’ll just try to find something else at the closer spot via trade/free agency sometime before our playoffs would start….

    While not as intricate as the deals you’ve made, I’m hopeful by the end of the year I can look back at that trade and gloat how I turned 2 free agent pickups into Giancarlo Stanton. If he doesn’t turn it around, well I could still accept that I at least took a shot on someone that could win me my league and didn’t wreck my current team in the process.

    Time to earn that paycheck and bring back some glory to any of those fantasy willing to take a shot on you , Giancarlo!

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Matt: Any time you can turn waiver wire pickups into a potential “keeper”, you’ve done welll…

  6. Spencer says:
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    Yo Malamoney,

    Great Article!

    Question for you-
    I drafted Salvador Perez to begin the season and he’s had his ups and downs. About a month ago I pulled Evan Gattis off the waiver wire and shortly after he gained catcher eligibility. I obviously don’t need 2 catchers on my team, so I’m looking to trade 1 guy. In your opinion, which catcher has better value and production over the course of the remaining season? Who would you recommend I hold onto and who I try to trade for something decent in return?

    Thanks!

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Spencer: Thanks! I prefer Sal Perez.

  7. Bye Felica says:
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    You need to find a competive league to play in lol

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Bye Felica: Every league has a stooge. It’s usually a race to see who can trade with him first. It’s actually a good league that I’ve been in for 16 years…

  8. Bye Felica says:
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    I traded Story for Machado straight up and he even threw in Josh Harrison.

    That’s when Story was destroying the ball. He said he had injury concerns with macho. I acted like story was the 2nd coming of Christ and sold the Coors effect hard. He wafled for a day but then story had that huge game the next day and manny had another 0-4

    He sent the offer overnight! I couldn’t believe it when i woke up hahaha

    Suprisingly Macho just now started separating away from Story recently. It’s been close for most of the season.

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @Bye Felica: After Kershaw, Machado is my top pick. GREAT trade. Way to use the Coors effect to your advantage. I would have jumped right on the Machado injury concern saying I’m not sure if I can give up Story because of that. Well played…

  9. Crapshoot Kershaw says:
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    don’t know who you are dealing with there, but any owner that sends a trade and pulls it himself when nothing’s changed (nobody got demoted/injured obviously, not counting those times, those make sense, and usually these guys pull these “offers” in less than 5 hours) is just done being dealt with by me, in any league. it’s asinine (to me), i’m not ripping on you for making it work though, good work there.
    Only reasons to pull your own trade (when nothing about the players’ values have changed, esp in the same day) include:
    1. being hustled (like you did)
    2. owner has no idea what he’s doing and is flighty
    3. clicked wrong button or added wrong name (a specific version of #2)
    often outting these guys in league message board/smack talk ends it. usually they reply with “i can send whatever offer i want and pull it whenever i want”, which is true, but good luck getting any intelligent person to listen to you ever again after doing it. about yours though, manaea 3 weeks ago would appear to be pretty close to a really bad time to get value from anybody, the day he was called up would’ve been pretty believable though (could sell using minor league #’s)

    • Crapshoot Kershaw says:
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      @Crapshoot Kershaw: also, anybody that “doesn’t stop with how much they want a guy you just pulled” is the definition of a mark. it’s like a dude showing up to a line of whores (without having any idea what fair market price is) whining out loud about how horny he is and how he just won a decent sized lottery, and how he doesn’t even need most of the money within earshot of the whores.

  10. Crapshoot Kershaw says:
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    if you want to lower the h2h vagaries of luck fantrax has the option i’ve always wanted (really more useful for FF) in which EVERY team plays every other team each week, so the 2nd best score does in fact get the 2nd best record, not the same 1 L that the worst team got. so it’s really like playing 23 (or however many matchup weeks your league has) separate roto seasons and averaging them together at the end. way more accurate to team value.

  11. David says:
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    H2H league with SP categories of W, Out, K, and ERA

    Which SP for the rest of the season?
    Michael Wacha, Kyle Hendricks, or Julio Urias?

    Thanks!

    • malamoney

      malamoney says:
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      @David: Probably Hendricks. Otherwise Wacha…

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