Trade talks are perhaps the most enjoyable part of being an armchair general manager, but in single-season leagues you'll never turn a paperclip into a house. A key trade, however, could be the difference between winning your league, or finishing third.
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For "keeper" leagues, where players are kept for multiple seasons, trades play an even bigger role.
With this year's trade deadline just 11 days away, it seems like a great time to go over some do's and don'ts when considering a trade.
RULE 1: DON'T MARRY A PLAYER
It's not a good idea for fantasy owners to get too attached to any player.
If another owner "just has to have" Vladimir Guerrero, well, he can have him - perhaps for a Vernon Wells and Mark Buerhle package. May sound lopsided to you, but other owners could like a player so much that they'll mortgage the farm to get them.
RULE 2: AIM HIGH
If you are trying to initiate a trade you don't want your offer to be ridiculous, but it should at least get the other owner thinking. Also, try wording it so you'll get more than a two letter response (i.e., no). Maybe just a slightly different deal will work, for both of you. Ideally, you want to offer a deal, but also leave the door slightly open for negotiations.
RULE 3: DON'T QUITE ON A DEAL
Persistence and patience is the theme of tip number three. If two teams are a match, meaning they have opposite strengths and weaknesses, something can usually be worked out. If you get stuck, try involving a third team; real GM's do this all the time.
RULE 4: INFORMATION IS POWER
Look at how many points a targeted player has in the past 30 days. What have they done over the past three years? Is there a chance of them turning back into a pumpkin? You'll also want to consider any recent injury concerns. Know as much as you can about all the players involved in a deal.
RULE 4: GO FULL CIRCLE
Lastly, take a 360 degree approach. It's easy for you to assess what needs your team has, but you have to consider a trade from another owner's perspective. Offer players whom they might need, and you'll wrap up more trades in less time.
Way off topic, but since we're talking about trades I simply have to mention the newest Internet celebrity, Kyle McDonald. Young McDonald, a 26-year-old from Canada, began a quest last year to trade a single red paperclip for a house. Now, a year and just 14 trades later, he's trading a movie role for a house in Kipling, Saskatchewan.
Now that you've got some tips and some inspiration, start working the e-mail!