Fantasy Baseball Trade Analyzer: Why multi-player deals make sense now

Before delving into specific players this week, I want to take a minute to go over the benefits of making multi-player deals in Yahoo! fantasy leagues. When we brainstorm trades, we often discuss 1-for-1 swaps, but the best value usually comes from complicating the deal by including multiple names. Here are some directions you can go:

The 2-for-1 offer

This is my favorite move during the first half of the season. You can come up with a 1-for-1 offer that is almost fair and then even it up by adding in another player. In doing so, you can try to include a player who doesn’t matter too much to you, either because you are expecting his performance to decline or because you have an abundance of talent in his area. The bonus of a 2-for-1 deal is that you create an extra roster spot that can be used to grab one of the many high-upside options that have recently emerged on the waiver wire.

The 2-for-2 offer

Once a trade gets to four or more players, managers often get lost in all the values and make poor decisions. For that reason, a well-thought-out 2-for-2 offer can return tremendous value. You can go in a direction of pairing an attention-getting star player with someone whom you don’t really value in return for two very good players. And you can also mix up the positions involved, which can take advantage of managers who don’t properly compare the various positions and skill sets that are involved in this complicated game.

No matter which direction you go in, try to get away from 1-for-1 offers this week and challenge yourself to think outside the box.

Now, let’s look at some specific players.

Players to Trade Away

Andrew Benintendi (OF, Kansas City Royals)

Benintendi hasn’t been great this season, but his .327 average is going to catch the eye of the many managers who are struggling in that category. But Benintendi is rarely producing hard contact (33.7 percent) and Statcast says that he should really be batting .254. In most Yahoo! formats, Benintendi is not an impact player and can be traded for anyone who a manager values.

Kansas City Royals' Andrew Benintendi has been just a one-category fantasy contributor
Andrew Benintendi has just been contributing to one fantasy category. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Alek Thomas (OF, Arizona Diamondbacks)

To be clear, I like Thomas. He has an enticing skill set for fantasy managers and should have a productive Major League career. But as Yahoo! colleague Scott Pianowski often reminds us, exciting rookies tend to be overvalued on the trade market. Thomas has plenty of potential but could also struggle in his Major League debut and end up back in the Minors at some point. The same can be said for Juan Yepez, Jose Miranda, George Kirby and many other recently promoted prospects. Trading these exciting youngsters for a stable veteran is often a good decision.

Daniel Bard (RP, Colorado Rockies)

In short, I don’t have much faith in Bard. Serving as the closer for the Colorado Rockies is a tough role every year, as trips in and out of Coors Field often leave relievers searching for consistency. To survive in this role, a closer needs to be either special or lucky. I don’t see Bard as special, and I’m not risking my season on his chances of being lucky. The right-hander sits fourth in baseball in saves and should be traded to any closer-needy team.

Players to Aquire

Yordan Alvarez (OF, Houston Astros)

A buy-low offer for Alvarez will still have to be substantial. After all, the slugger ranks sixth in baseball with eight home runs. But Alvarez should be doing even better in areas other than homers, as he is among baseball’s best in terms of average exit velocity (95.5 mph) and hard contact (62.5 percent). Statcast lists Alvarez with a .331 xBA, which is much higher than his .244 average. The 24-year-old has been good so far but could be terrific going forward.

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Whit Merrifield (2B/OF, Kansas City Royals)

I rarely include players two weeks in a row, but I’m going to make an exception for Merrifield, who continues to deal with terrible luck. The veteran is controlling the strike zone to a similar degree as in previous seasons, and his batted-ball tendencies are mostly unchanged as well. A buy-low offer for Merrifield can start with the fact that he has the lowest batting average and OPS of any player, while you conceal the fact that Statcast says he should be hitting .247. With steals at a premium in this game, many teams could use Merrifield once his bat heats up.

Jhoan Duran (RP, Minnesota Twins)

This is the time to acquire Duran, who may be one of the most coveted relievers in baseball in a few weeks. The rookie has been the best pitching option in Minnesota’s bullpen, having logged a ridiculous 24:3 K:BB ratio en route to collecting two saves. He is currently sharing the closer’s role with Emilio Pagan but is a much better pitcher and should have the ninth-inning gig all to himself in a matter of weeks.

To picture Duran’s upside, think of Emmanuel Clase from last season.