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How to successfully complete a fantasy baseball trade in April

The regular season is less than two weeks old, but fantasy trade talks are already flying fast and furious in Yahoo! leagues. Here are some of my best tips for making April deals.

You don’t need to wait

I have never been able to relate to the manager who says that they need to watch at least one month of regular-season action before considering trades. Let’s be honest: If you had drawn a different draft slot, you would have drafted different players, especially in the early rounds. For this reason, there may be players on other rosters whom you value more than their current manager and vice versa.

There were likely deals that made sense for both parties as soon as the draft finished, so there is no reason to wait on commencing trade talks.

Buy Low and Sell High

This one seems obvious but many managers struggle to put it into action. I find that many managers have the nerve to buy low. They can look at their opponents’ rosters and submit offers for players whom they believe in despite being off to slow starts. But selling high takes more guts. After all, these are players who the manager liked enough to draft. And these players are dramatically exceeding expectations, which creates the sell-high opportunity. But trying to get a king’s ransom for April overachievers such as Nolan Arenado, Seiya Suzuki or C.J. Cron is often the right move.

You can use the Yahoo! Trade Market page to get an idea of what players are fetching on the trade market.

Consolidate your assets

This is the time of year to chase the 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade. Roster spots have so much value early in the season, as we have many out-of-nowhere players who have found initial success and are sitting on the waiver wire. And while not all of these April surprises will sustain their early success, some of them will turn out to be useful long-term players.

To create roster space, a manager simply needs to bundle a couple of these hot starters for a star player who is having a less-than-memorable April. For example, a trade of Arenado and Cron for Kyle Tucker will open up roster space to add someone such as Nestor Cortes.

New York Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes (65) is a top fantasy pickup
Making room for a pickup like Nestor Cortes via a fantasy trade is a shrewd move right now. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Be willing to unbalance your roster

Some managers will miss out on helpful April trades by being narrow-minded. The reality is that there is plenty of time left in the season, which creates an opportunity to unbalance your roster in the right trade and then make up those stats later. For example, I don’t want to trade Raisel Iglesias if he is my only closer. But if someone offers Freddie Freeman for Iglesias, I’ll take the tremendous value in that deal and figure out a way to improve my saves situation later.

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Have an open mind

Repeat after me: “All players are available for the right price.”

When engaging in April trade talks, no one should be off the table. Sure, you were over the moon to get Trea Turner in the first round of your draft. But if someone gives you a Turner offer that blows your mind, then you need to make the deal. Some players will be harder to trade than others but are all available for the right return.

Identify desperate managers

In every league, a few teams are quickly falling far behind the pack. And while some of the slow-starting managers will correctly realize that there is plenty of time to catch up, there will be a manager or two in every league who feels the need to shake up their roster by rushing into a deal. Approaching managers who are off to a frustrating start could allow you to pick up important players for a diminished return.

Target those who have a surplus

Managers who have stumbled into a surplus at one position or one skill set are more likely to trade away players who they believe they do not need. This is especially true for players who accumulate stats in specialized areas, such as saves or steals. And because April trades are all about acquiring value, it makes sense to start with managers who may be willing to give up value in an attempt to balance their roster.

Don’t personalize trade talks

When engaging in April trade talks, remember that we are in the early days of a long season. Some of your competitors may not yet want to make trades and others may have heightened views of their players. Getting emotionally carried away with April trade talks will only serve to burn bridges that could be used to make important trades during the summer.