May 29, 2008
The first widely-derided trade I ever made involved the card over there on the right, a 1979 Topps Steve Garvey.
Lovely card. Excellent coloring. Terrific sideburn shot.
The image also conveys a sense that something remarkable is imminent, and that Garvey himself will be responsible for it.
I dealt that card for a '79 Reggie Jackson at some kid's eighth birthday party.
The details of the trade negotiations are somewhat murky, but I distinctly remember that a small crowd gathered to witness the transaction. Everyone quickly agreed that any reasonable collector would prefer to own the Garvey, not the Jackson.
You have to recall that at the time, Garvey was basically a paragon of goodness and virtue. If you had an issue with Steve Garvey, you had an issue with America. It was not OK to dislike him. (After '84, yes. But not in '79).
And back then, Reggie was perhaps a little overexposed. He also claimed to enjoy the taste of himself, which really pushed the boundaries of socially acceptable self-love:
So the trade was made, Garvey for Jackson, and I was thoroughly ridiculed.
It appears that I've actually earned a profit of $3.50 over the past 29 years, though, which makes the Garvey/Reggie deal my most successful investment decision, ever. By orders of magnitude.
The point is this: You shouldn't worry about how other people will react to a trade. (Unless you're in a league where owners can veto things, which is a horrible setting and a topic for a later post). Instead, you need to be concerned with a deal's impact on winning and losing.
As we mentioned last week, mid-season trades are about addressing team needs. To that end, you need to be willing to deal from whatever surplus you might have in order to correct any deficiency you might have.
This sounds simple enough, but in practice -- at least in competitive leagues -- it often means that you'll have to make deals that are not overwhelmingly in your favor. Many of you aren't willing to do that, and it limits your ability to improve your teams.
Lots of owners also refuse to deal now, in May, when the players you might acquire have four months of stats ahead of them. Instead, people tend to wait until deadlines approach in August...and then they realize that the 25 steals they need are either A) prohibitively expensive, or B) impossible to get from any single player.
Think about it for a moment -- a player added at the halfway point of the season will carry approximately half the weight over the course of the season on your team’s results as a player you add at the end of the first week. Thus, a rational fantasy owner should budget nearly twice as much for acquisitions at the end of Week 1 as they would for acquisitions at the end of Week 13. Of course, many owners do exactly the opposite...
So see, this blog is not the only place where early-season aggressiveness is encouraged.
If you're interested in seeing specific fantasy trades that can be easily mocked, please visit the Friends & Family League. My team was recently overhauled. Gone via trade are Ryan Zimmerman, Garrett Atkins, Jay Bruce and Erik Bedard (but not before last night's gem); added via trade are Billy Wagner, Carl Crawford and David Ortiz.
You can't fairly judge these things without knowing the free agent pool (pitching was available), the extent to which I've explored the trade market for other players (it's obscene), and, of course, what the final standings will look like (me on top, again covered in glory). But you're welcome to unfairly judge any and all transactions.
Without question, I did not "win" all of the individual deals. We don't award virtual trophies for winning trades, however, we award them for winning imaginary leagues.