Making the right deals is what can make or break your dynasty team’s present and future outlook, and we can help.
When considering what type of deals you should be looking to make, it’s critical to be brutally honest about the state of your team in comparison to the landscape of your league. In this article, we explore how you should approach making trades based on the age of your team and its place in the standings.
If your team is all-in on competing for a title
At this point in time, your only focus as a fantasy manager is to create a dominant team that can withstand most injuries and/or performance obstacles. If you look around your league and truly believe you have the best team or at least a share of that title, now is the time. At this stage, your foundation is in place, and it’s really damn good, but it might not be good enough if you stand pat. The owner in this position should be identifying areas where they are shallow depth-wise because injuries or surprising slumps are going to happen… that’s just the way baseball is. If you deal your lower-level prospects and/or younger, less established Major Leaguers for the depth you need it largely eliminates the chances of the previously mentioned obstacles ruining your contention bid. Of course, there is also the option of consolidating depth and turning it into an upgrade if you are a deep team, but to do so would be taking on a ton of risk should an injury or slump occur later in the season. Personally, I recommend fortifying with depth or holding on to it if your team is dominating come trade deadline time, but sometimes major risks must be taken, so I would not fault an owner for attempting to consolidate instead
If your team is good but not elite with valuable young talent
An owner at this stage of the dynasty life cycle has two choices: 1) Utilize some of the young talent on the team to acquire stars that instantly make the team a real contender, or 2) Stand pat and/or sell off the oldest players on the roster with the expectation that next year is the real contention window. This choice is dependent upon the fantasy manager’s patience, and how they value their young and upcoming talent. If the manager doesn’t see a truly dominant team at the top of the standings and they’re more unsure about their high-value prospects/young MLB talent, then it’s likely the time to cash in on those young players and go after fantasy baseball stars. On the other hand, if there is a team or two that looks really tough to beat and the fantasy manager is very confident in the continued development of their young studs standing pat and waiting another year to go all-in is likely the right move. Having a young roster that is already close to competing is a lot of fun. The only real way to screw it up at the deadline is to make an ill-advised push when your competitors are too strong, so be honest with yourself when assessing the landscape of your league.
If your team is a middling squad that could go either way
Hopefully, you never find yourself in this position, as it’s about as precarious a situation as you can have come deadline day. You have a mix of young guys and veterans, not a ton of ammo in the form of top prospects, and your team isn’t close to competing even if it is good enough to flirt with a playoff birth or a top half of the standings finish. I once again see the deadline strategy here as being one that could go one of two ways. Option one is to plan on going all in the following year, in which case moves must be made. Specifically, the fantasy manager must capitalize on the value of their young talent that won’t be ready to contribute substantially to a deep run the following season as well as their veterans that are unlikely to produce the following season. Of course, the young talent you deal should be prospects or Gavin Lux types who are yet to produce like a player that can be built around. Oppositely, some examples of veterans to sell at this point are C.J. Cron types (his value is ballpark driven, and he likely won’t be playing for the Rockies next season), Ian Kennedy types (he won’t be in the closer role next season), and Zack Greinke types (he will be so old the following year that he can’t be counted on for the same production). As for option two, your other option in this situation is to blow up the team, like completely blow it up. In this case, things are fairly straightforward, you want to extract any value possible from veteran players, or even young players who don’t seem to have a big ceiling while holding on to impact prospects and young MLB players you can build around. In any deal you make you should be looking for talented prospects or very young MLB players in return. Taking this route feels like giving up, but sometimes it is the best thing to do and it gives you a shot at being a force a few years down the road.
If your team is older and near the bottom of the standings
You thought you could compete this year, you really did, but your stars from the past suddenly aged out of their primes, you have been dealing with injuries, and things just haven’t gone the way you had hoped. It sucks to be here, but you must get over the disappointment quickly before the trade deadline to salvage your future. Unless your veteran team was completely, and I mean COMPLETELY decimated by injuries and that is the only reason you are a cellar-dweller – you must activate fire sale mode. If that truly is the case and it was all injuries, then you could keep your group together for another run next year, but you better really believe in the team’s future if you stand pat. The more likely scenario is that you will be having a fire sale, so start finding competing teams desperate for impact additions. Your veterans can be the final pieces for competing teams, and those owners will likely be more than open to sending you stud prospects/unproven MLB players in exchange. It is essentially just trading veterans and lower ceiling players in their prime for young prospects/players with potential – rinse and repeat at this stage. Target prospects and young players you really believe in, because they will be the ones carrying you when you are back in it come 2024.
If your team is very young and in the midst of a rebuild
Rebuilds can be frustrating, but when they pay off there is no feeling like it. If you eventually want to experience that feeling you must capitalize in the trade market leading up to the deadline each year. If you do still happen to have veterans at this stage of course you should deal them, but you likely don’t have many on the roster. Focusing on how your young talent capital is assorted will be very important. Do you have a few prospective superstar prospects/young MLB players and a bunch of other lottery tickets? Or do you have just one or two potential superstars and a bunch of other prospects that project to be solid but unspectacular? In the first case, there’s not a whole lot you need to do, but I would recommend seeing if you can turn one of your elite prospects into a few really good ones. I say that because no matter how high a prospect is regarded, they are still a prospect and cannot be considered a sure thing. You can also look to turn an elite prospect into an established young MLB player if you can find a willing partner who may be going into rebuilding mode. If you’re in the other boat with just one or two elite prospects you might try to package three of four good, but not great prospects to pry a young MLB ready cornerstone from a team who will be going into a full rebuild (think an Eloy Jimenez type player who is young enough to be a part of a future contender but established enough to count on production). Overall there’s not a ton required in terms of trades at this stage, but you can always try to better your team regardless.