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Although I usually use this space to provide specific names for fantasy trade talks, this week I want to give some general tips on sending trade offers.
Let’s focus on the words you put in the message box when you send your offer, as they can make or break a potential deal. Here are my best tips.
1. Keep it brief
Few managers have the time or energy to read a short novel when receiving a trade offer. Get straight to the point by writing three sentences or less.
2. Explain yourself
Although you need to keep it brief, you also need to explain your thought process. This is your chance to get the other manager’s attention. You need to show that some thought went into the offer.
3. Don’t talk about yourself
The other manager is unlikely to be interested in the ways that the trade would help your team. Instead, you need to use your precious three sentences to explain how the offer benefits the team you are dealing with. This is where you can sell the idea of the trade and prove that you looked at the standings and rosters.
4. Don’t insult players
Insulting the other manager’s team will likely turn them off. Writing, “Your starting rotation is awful” is a good way to get a quick rejection. And the other reason that you shouldn’t insult players is in the next point ...
5. Don’t assume that you know everything
We are all wrong about baseball players on a regular basis. For this reason, you can’t assume that you know the future statistics of the players involved in the deal. For example, I don’t believe that Daniel Bard will keep his closer’s role all season. But that’s only my opinion. I can’t open trade talks by saying, “You need a closer since Bard is going to lose his job at some point.” Sentences like that one come off arrogant.
6. Provide options
Your opening offer may be accepted, but that usually isn’t the case. Instead, you need to think of it as the first step in negotiations. And you have a better chance of finding common ground if you provide the other manager with options. I like to write proposals such as, “I can trade you steals. I have four players on my team with at least eight swipes. If you don’t like the player I offered in this trade, let me know who you like better, and I’ll try to include him in an offer.”
7. Request a response
If you took the time to craft a trade offer, it’s fair to expect the other manager to send you a response. And if you want a response, you should ask for one. For example, you can end the offer by saying, “Please write back and tell me which of my four speedsters interests you the most.” At that point, they owe you some sort of response. If they don’t provide one, it likely means that they aren’t that interested in your league.
8. Tell them what you are looking for
Even though the sentences you send should be mostly about how the trade benefits the other team, it’s fair to include a brief mention of your motivation. After all, knowing where you’re coming from can help the other manager send a counteroffer. For example, you could write, “I have three closers, and I’m looking to trade one of them for a base stealer.” And after that sentence, you can explain why the offer makes sense for the other team.
Now that I have put all of those tips on the table, let’s use the remaining space to look at a couple players who could be involved in mid-June trades.
Player to acquire
Nathan Eovaldi (SP, Boston Red Sox)
For the third straight year, Eovaldi has one of the best K:BB rates in baseball (22.2 percent). The right-hander has benefited from an 89.6 percent strand rate, but even with normal luck, he should be a source of strong ratios going forward. With Eovaldi on the IL, there could be a small window to get him at a discount, even though he should return later this month.
Player to trade away
Marcus Semien (2B/SS, Texas Rangers)
With five homers, five steals and a .321 average in June, Semien is one of the hottest players in baseball. The easy narrative is that the middle infielder has recovered from a major early-season slump, but I’m not so sure.
A closer look at his stats shows a lofty 20.0 percent HR/FB rate in June, even though he has posted his worst hard-contact rate (16.3 percent) of any month this year. Semien could continue to thrive, but I’m open to the idea of moving him on the trade market for something similar to his original draft value.