TDG Roundtable: On Handling Bad Trade Proposals
The Roundtable is back! This week, Bob, Ryan, Chris, and Aaron pontificate on how they handle bad trades when they land in their inbox. It’s part of the game – but we all know if it can be frustrating as hell.
As always, thanks for reading.
We all know the feeling, you see the notification of a new trade offer, which should elicit excitement in a fantasy manager, but then you realize which league it’s in and you can’t help but roll your eyes and mutter, “Here we go…”
I always say trading is one of the best parts of fantasy sports, but it can also be one of the most frustrating parts as well. Finding a league full of individuals who are dedicated to roster construction and constant improvement via trades isn’t easy. This can result in trade offers going unnoticed and lacking responses. Other times, all you ever seem to get are ridiculous trade offers, typically from the same owner repeatedly. Now trade etiquette is a common topic of discussion in the fantasy community, such as how to construct a solid trade benefiting both sides, how to initiate the offer with a league mate, and also how to handle those annoying bad offers.
On the latter, I think there are a few ways to approach it. If it’s a first-time offense, and you see an opportunity for a match between rosters, you can simply treat it as an ice breaker. Send a more realistic offer back surrounding one or more of the players that were a part of the original trade. If it seems more likely that a completely new trade construction is necessary, I would suggest reaching out to the other owner and chatting before trying to progress further. Talk out what both sides are looking to gain in a deal, and what they are willing to give up. I am personally always a fan of initializing a potential trade via a conversation first instead of just sending out offers with no communication attached. Be careful not to sound like you are trying to talk the other manager into or through the deal, but explain your reasoning and why you think the deal works to better both teams involved. It may take some time, but this is typically the best bet at getting a deal done in which both sides are happy and feel satisfied.
Now in very special circumstances, and only when the other owner is a flagrant repeat offender of bad trade proposals, I will send back an offer just as lopsided to try and use it as a teaching moment. In the past, this has elicited some responses from the opposing managers rebuffing the egregious offer which at least offers some comic relief from the overall situation. I stress you must only use this tactic with care and only on specific occasions while trying to keep negotiations as diplomatic as possible. But sometimes enough is enough and it must be deployed!
Ryan Felix Fernandes
How do I handle a bad trade offer?
So you are in the middle of your workday and already in a bad mood. Your boss just spent the last ten minutes reprimanding you for being unproductive because you are spending too much time on your phone. You are just about to put your phone away to become the “model” employee and then it happens. A notification on your phone screen pops up saying that someone in your league has just sent you a trade offer. Your eyes light up. This can be the trade that takes you over the top! (You are obviously in first place because you subscribe to TDG). You look around for your boss, casually stretch your arms out, and say out loud “Man! Maybe I shouldn’t have got that tuna sandwich at the gas station!”
You run to the bathroom to keep the charade going and go to take a seat on the porcelain throne. You unlock your phone to check and there it is…. The bad trade offer! You scroll up and down thinking maybe you missed something. Nope! The team that is second to last in the league just sent you an offer that makes completely no sense. You laugh to yourself and say out loud, “Does this guy think I’m an idiot?” It feels like that person called your kid ugly. So now what?
I have had friends (ok… really me) call anyone else in the league that will pick up the phone at that moment. You blurt out before they can say anything, “Does this kid think I don’t know anything about baseball? I’m in first place! I know guys coming out in the 2026 draft that will be studs! Get the f*#k out of here!” After your friend calms you down or more likely laughs at you. The venting didn’t help and you are still steaming, gritting your teeth while staring angrily at your phone. You finally snap out of it for a quick second to realize you’ve been in the bathroom for about two hours. You get up and sneak back to your desk making sure your boss is nowhere around. You spend the rest of the workday thinking of the best comeback to that guy to make sure this shit never happens again.
You, my friend, are now in a spot where you can’t let your emotions get the best of you. You need to realize that you might have to deal with this person later on and don’t want to burn any bridges. So don’t block them or stoop to their level and send back a crazy offer or leave an essay on the league homepage about the trade. Just take a deep breath and play it cool. If you can’t come up with a counter offer that makes sense for both of you. Just press the reject icon on your phone’s screen as hard as you can and know you did the right thing. You can’t let this take any more of your time! Life is short! And you need that time to focus on looking for a new job because your boss was in the next stall the entire time you were in the bathroom. Idiot.
Trading is probably my absolute favorite thing with dynasty baseball. The nature of the format allows for every team to be active throughout the season, regardless of standings. I’ve been offered many trades over the years that have given me a solid chuckle. And to be totally fair, as an admitted trade-aholic I’ve likely sent out more than my fair share of bad trades. But when receiving a bad offer, the first thing I always need to remind myself is that not every league mate has the same player valuations as I do. And after that moment of zen, I get excited because despite the bad offer my trade shoes are laced up and I’m getting ready to tango!
The main goal for me is to do what I can to make sure it was just a bad INITIAL trade offer. I start by examining the specifics and looking at the players changing hands. Is my opponent going for hype names? Are they maybe chasing categories? Do they know something I don’t about these guys? I then investigate the offering team’s perceived needs and surpluses. How well do those match up with my squad?
Once all of that is outlined, I start chatting with the other owner. Whether via email, text, smoke signals, or whatever communication form the league uses I try outlining three items: 1) a succinct (and not condescending) summary of shortcomings in the initial offer 2) my assumed goals the first offer was trying to reach 3) my rebuttal and why I think that will reach the goals in item 2. I try not to just send the rebuttal directly, because #2 is an assumption and we all know what happens when we assume.
Since I’m explaining bad trade offers, this often is the sad end of the road. It’s difficult to reach an agreement when the starting point is miles away from my view of reality. Sometimes though the conversation continues, back and forth, and lo and behold – a positive swap happens! That’s the magic of dynasty baseball folks and one reason why I think we all play this wonderful game.
In dynasty baseball, we have the benefit of eliminating one huge unknown in the game we play: the tendencies of our fellow league-mates. You’ve known them for years, if not decades. They are your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your postal workers, your grocers, your soda jerks, your city council members. Sometimes this familiarity can make managers intrepid, and their eagerness can get in the way of equity.
Summer solstice is upon us. A turning point for nature and for your fantasy team’s playoff hopes. This is a time when the trade market is ignited by the sweltering heat of midsummer. Making the right moves now means everything, whether you are maneuvering for this year or beyond. There is no sweeter sensation than seeing a trade offer come in. But when that trade offer is truly offensive, you must remember one thing: they aren’t your family/friend/neighbor/classmate/postal worker/grocer/soda jerk/city council member any more; they are your enemy. And you have four ways to respond:
Give ‘Em The Goldschoulder: Silent treatment. Take your ball and go home. They don’t even deserve the time it would take to reject the trade; just let it sit there and fester. Change their contact name in your phone to “SPAM DO NOT ANSWER.” Relationship over.
Kyle “The Professor” Hendricks: Who couldn’t stand to learn a bit more? Much the same as Mr. Hendricks’ decision to get his Economics degree from Dartmouth while playing professional baseball, let’s take the time to look at the trade and figure out why our comrade would send such an offer. Maybe there’s more to the story with the players involved? Maybe you missed a key piece of news? Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and use it as an opportunity to dive deeper into these players and teams.
Madison Gum-Barter: Oh, you wanna low-ball me?? How about I low-ball you?! Here’s a pack of gum for Juan Soto. How about a gently used toothpick for Ronald Acuña Jr.? I just remembered I still have Carlos Zambrano on my roster, I’ll send him to you for Corbin Burnes if you throw in a bench piece. Get real.
Jerry “Can’t Say No” Dipoto: Last but not least, my favorite response. Just accept it! Who cares if it’s not a good deal? Trading is the most fun part of this game we play! Nobody can predict the future, maybe it’ll work out for you in the long run. Add in a caveat to the trade that your family/friend/neighbor/classmate/postal worker/grocer/soda jerk/city council member has to join you for dinner one day, and give them a firm handshake for a deal well struck.