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The "looking or some baseball content" thread has gotten a little long so I thought I'd throw another entry out it a separate thread. At a little over 1,100 words, I offer my second attempt at a potential Rotoworld front page piece. Enjoy.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trader Personalities - The Abridged Version

Now is the time when some fantasy baseball leagues open their doors to off-season trading. Trading is an important part of fantasy leagues, but with so many different owner personalities out there, sometimes half the battle is knowing the other owners and targeting which ones might actually make trades. During my tenure as a fantasy baseball owner, I've encountered many different kinds of owners, and I've tried to make a deal with pretty much all of them. Some were eager to deal, some not so much. Presented for your reading pleasure are a few of my own trader personality definitions. I'm sure we all know someone who fits every category, but the question is, which one are you?

The Teaser: These owners will negotiate in good faith for weeks, and just when you think you have a deal done, they back out and decide they really don't want to trade after all. Once you've identified The Teaser, be sure to avoid him at all costs, unless you are a little twisted and actually like that sort of thing.

The Bridesmaid: This owner makes plenty of offers and is able to close a small deal here and there, but what he really wants is to be part of a multi player, team shifting, championship bringing deal. Despite his best efforts, he's forced to sit back, year after year, and watch as his competition announces blockbuster after blockbuster en route to title after title. This owner is ripe for the picking and will likely give up more than he should to finally become a bride.

Mr. Invisible: These owners show up at the draft, only to disappear during the season. Sure, they may make a roster move or two here or there, but trying to find them when you want to make them an offer is almost impossible. More often then not Mr. Invisible is a AAA Ho who only trades with his Pimp.

Mr. Constipated: Every year this poor owner leaves the draft with a below average squad and quickly finds himself near the bottom of the standings. Unfortunately he's all blocked up and can't make a dump trade because he refuses to see the writing on the wall, even when he's 30 points out of the money on June 1st. A distant cousin of The Teaser, Mr. Constipated will gladly entertain trade offers, only to end up deciding he can still turn things around.

Fernando: This owner lives by the "It's better to look good than to feel good" motto made popular by Billy Crystal back in his SNL days. He would rather finish out of the money and look good in the eyes of the other owners than take a chance, look bad and cash.

Mr. Paranoid: A close relative of Fernando, Mr. Paranoid is so afraid that he'll be "taken" in a trade that he rarely trades at all (unless he's a Pimp and he deals with his Ho).

Chairmen of the Board: Only teams with more than one owner can fit this description. These owners won't dare make a trade without consulting their partner, which often drags negotiations out longer than they should be. The chance of making a successful trade with the Chairmen is lower than with one owner teams due to their inability to totally agree on which way the team should go. Getting one of the Chairmen to actually agree to a deal with the "I have to check with my partner" stipulation is a huge accomplishment. Unfortunately, those deals fall through more often than not.

The Silent Partner: This guy is a part owner of a team, but is clearly second banana when it comes to running it. He pays his half of the team entry fee, takes notes at the draft, checks the standings when he can and is told by his partner when they're going to make trades. Never deal with the silent partner, go directly to the alpha male of the team.

The Sideliner: This owner hangs around on the fringe of the league and waits for trade offers to come to him. The Sideliner is usually too busy to initiate trade discussions, but he is a willing trade partner who will gladly entertain all offers that come his way. Knowing who The Sideliner is can be a big advantage, provided you initiate all discussions.

The Caterpillar: This owner slowly meanders through his roto existence, eating up a league slot, finishing around the middle of the league standings every year, waiting to enjoy the sweet taste of success. He will trade, but only if he can be talked into it (or if his Pimp has a strong hand). The Caterpillar is usually a really nice guy who gets along with everyone. He wants to transform into a Butterfly, but doesn't really know how to get there.

The Butterfly: After many years as a Caterpillar, the Butterfly starts managing his team a little more, finally puts some time and effort into his player evaluations, makes some solid (if unspectacular) deals, and begins to reap the rewards with money finishes.

Mr. Texas Hold Em: This owner is all in on every player nominated during the draft, even if he has a bad hand (aka no roster spot to put the player up for bids). This owner wants action and will gamble during the year, sometimes just for the sake of making a trade. If you need a healthy body to fill a roster spot, contact Mr. Texas Hold Em as a trade can usually be worked out relatively quickly. He may not always make the best trades, but sometimes he'll get lucky on the river and come out on the better end of a deal.

Mr. Can't Sit Still: This owner wants to make a deal two minutes after the draft ends. He is constantly working the phones, shooting his offers out of a shotgun, hoping to hit as many other teams as he can along the way. He is usually the first person to contact bottom feeders in May and he can't understand why they won't dump when they're out of it in June.

Albert Einstein : Clearly the genius of your roto league, this owner is consistently among the league leaders and is the envy of the other league owners. He has at least one title, and several other money finishes, under his belt and can be expected to do whatever it takes to try and bring another title home. Even though he's usually not looking to rip people off, dealing with such an owner can be tricky as he'll try to dazzle you with stats and other useless "scientific data" to prove his point and get a deal done.

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I'm the guy who usually butters up a few owners in my league. We make a few very minor deals where everyone walks away feeling satisfied. Late in the season, when they know they're out, they always come back to me and finalize the big deal that I clearly win.

It's all about personality when trading. I always make sure my leaguemates like me. If they need advice, I'm always available. They want to ride on my coat tails. Last year my perceived "farm teams" finished 2, 3, and 5th.

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The "looking or some baseball content" thread has gotten a little long so I thought I'd throw another entry out it a separate thread. At a little over 1,100 words, I offer my second attempt at a potential Rotoworld front page piece. Enjoy.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Trader Personalities - The Abridged Version

Now is the time when some fantasy baseball leagues open their doors to off-season trading. Trading is an important part of fantasy leagues, but with so many different owner personalities out there, sometimes half the battle is knowing the other owners and targeting which ones might actually make trades. During my tenure as a fantasy baseball owner, I've encountered many different kinds of owners, and I've tried to make a deal with pretty much all of them. Some were eager to deal, some not so much. Presented for your reading pleasure are a few of my own trader personality definitions. I'm sure we all know someone who fits every category, but the question is, which one are you?

The Teaser: These owners will negotiate in good faith for weeks, and just when you think you have a deal done, they back out and decide they really don't want to trade after all. Once you've identified The Teaser, be sure to avoid him at all costs, unless you are a little twisted and actually like that sort of thing.

The Bridesmaid: This owner makes plenty of offers and is able to close a small deal here and there, but what he really wants is to be part of a multi player, team shifting, championship bringing deal. Despite his best efforts, he's forced to sit back, year after year, and watch as his competition announces blockbuster after blockbuster en route to title after title. This owner is ripe for the picking and will likely give up more than he should to finally become a bride.

Mr. Invisible: These owners show up at the draft, only to disappear during the season. Sure, they may make a roster move or two here or there, but trying to find them when you want to make them an offer is almost impossible. More often then not Mr. Invisible is a AAA Ho who only trades with his Pimp.

Mr. Constipated: Every year this poor owner leaves the draft with a below average squad and quickly finds himself near the bottom of the standings. Unfortunately he's all blocked up and can't make a dump trade because he refuses to see the writing on the wall, even when he's 30 points out of the money on June 1st. A distant cousin of The Teaser, Mr. Constipated will gladly entertain trade offers, only to end up deciding he can still turn things around.

Fernando: This owner lives by the "It's better to look good than to feel good" motto made popular by Billy Crystal back in his SNL days. He would rather finish out of the money and look good in the eyes of the other owners than take a chance, look bad and cash.

Mr. Paranoid: A close relative of Fernando, Mr. Paranoid is so afraid that he'll be "taken" in a trade that he rarely trades at all (unless he's a Pimp and he deals with his Ho).

Chairmen of the Board: Only teams with more than one owner can fit this description. These owners won't dare make a trade without consulting their partner, which often drags negotiations out longer than they should be. The chance of making a successful trade with the Chairmen is lower than with one owner teams due to their inability to totally agree on which way the team should go. Getting one of the Chairmen to actually agree to a deal with the "I have to check with my partner" stipulation is a huge accomplishment. Unfortunately, those deals fall through more often than not.

The Silent Partner: This guy is a part owner of a team, but is clearly second banana when it comes to running it. He pays his half of the team entry fee, takes notes at the draft, checks the standings when he can and is told by his partner when they're going to make trades. Never deal with the silent partner, go directly to the alpha male of the team.

The Sideliner: This owner hangs around on the fringe of the league and waits for trade offers to come to him. The Sideliner is usually too busy to initiate trade discussions, but he is a willing trade partner who will gladly entertain all offers that come his way. Knowing who The Sideliner is can be a big advantage, provided you initiate all discussions.

The Caterpillar: This owner slowly meanders through his roto existence, eating up a league slot, finishing around the middle of the league standings every year, waiting to enjoy the sweet taste of success. He will trade, but only if he can be talked into it (or if his Pimp has a strong hand). The Caterpillar is usually a really nice guy who gets along with everyone. He wants to transform into a Butterfly, but doesn't really know how to get there.

The Butterfly: After many years as a Caterpillar, the Butterfly starts managing his team a little more, finally puts some time and effort into his player evaluations, makes some solid (if unspectacular) deals, and begins to reap the rewards with money finishes.

Mr. Texas Hold Em: This owner is all in on every player nominated during the draft, even if he has a bad hand (aka no roster spot to put the player up for bids). This owner wants action and will gamble during the year, sometimes just for the sake of making a trade. If you need a healthy body to fill a roster spot, contact Mr. Texas Hold Em as a trade can usually be worked out relatively quickly. He may not always make the best trades, but sometimes he'll get lucky on the river and come out on the better end of a deal.

Mr. Can't Sit Still: This owner wants to make a deal two minutes after the draft ends. He is constantly working the phones, shooting his offers out of a shotgun, hoping to hit as many other teams as he can along the way. He is usually the first person to contact bottom feeders in May and he can't understand why they won't dump when they're out of it in June.

Albert Einstein : Clearly the genius of your roto league, this owner is consistently among the league leaders and is the envy of the other league owners. He has at least one title, and several other money finishes, under his belt and can be expected to do whatever it takes to try and bring another title home. Even though he's usually not looking to rip people off, dealing with such an owner can be tricky as he'll try to dazzle you with stats and other useless "scientific data" to prove his point and get a deal done.

I think you are missing at least one category:

Paint By Numbers/Lego Builder/Jigsaw Puzzle Solver: Not a genius, but exceedingly patient and careful putting together deals and in crafting trade strategies. Believes that each little piece, no matter how small, has a chance to influence the entire picture of the team. Can be creative - but that creativity is only used to ensure he receives the key building blocks he believes he requires to make any deal. Tries to understand how each component of any trade links to the existing components of his team, or links to the next deal to be made to execute the trading or team building strategy. This owner is also extremely value driven - using $$ NUMBERS to either rationalize the deals, or the NUMBERS needed in different categories to drive either overpaying, or being overpaid. And this owner's patience is reflected in extreme stubborness, as well as persistence: No deal will be executed unless actually accomplishes the goals or startegies that motivated the initial trade negotiations - a deal will not be done SIMPLY because there is a value advantage, unless that advantage is so overwhelming it cannot be rejected - any deal MUST fit the puzzle that the owner sees his team as being.

I fall into this category. I hardly consider myself a genius. And though I love doing deals and wheeling and dealing, I will never make a trade merely to be involved in the action. I can easily pull the trigger on both major or minor deals. And I do not mind if the other team either gets benefit, or even believes they will get more benefit than my team. But I will only do so if I see that my usually very specific goals are accomplished - I am happy to help the other team meet their goals, whatever they are, as long as my goals are met.

For the record: I have won back to back championships in one perpetual/forever keeper dynasty league - but finished last this past seaosn in anotehr one. I have finished in the money the last 2 seasons in my NL-only auction keeper league (pretty good this past season, as I had very poor keepers coming into the auction), and usually finish in the money about half the time - but have never won a championship in the 9 -10 years I have been in that league.

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You may be the only one! I put a lot into my trade offer preparations, but even I don't go that deep.

I AM compulsively analytical about this and most other things. My wife calls me an "ANAL-yst." I did come by this relatively honestly: My professional training is as a financial analyst.

And I am also naturally stubborn and persistent about what I want.

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I wish other fantasy owners would put a little more thougth into their trade offers. Over the years I've received so many ridiculous ones that it makes me wonder if they just picked some players names out of a hat and e-mailed them to me.

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I guess I don't really fall into just one category here. I just try to talk to as many managers as I can in order to learn about who they want from my roster and who they are willing to deal. Many times a deal involving top tier players won't work out, but smaller deals can come out of negotiations.

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I love the article. I don't quite know where I fall yet. Maybe a few years back I was the caterpillar. I may have grown intot he butterfly, but in all seriousness, I have no problems making deals. I like major ones and minor ones. They just need to fit my team. I love when I see a trade offer on the board, or in my inbox. It usually isn't anything I would actually do, but it still excites me. If it is something I like, I still love the negotiations part of it. Rarely does an offer come in that I like enough to immediately accept.

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Mr. Paranoid: A close relative of Fernando, Mr. Paranoid is so afraid that he'll be "taken" in a trade that he rarely trades at all (unless he's a Pimp and he deals with his Ho).

This is me. Let me think on the recent failures..

2006

Traded A. Rios/C. Utley for T. Helton/I.Suzuki

2007

Traded C. Hamels/T. Saito for R. Oswalt.

A little gun shy now. Meh, at least they were not keeper leagues. B)

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This is me. Let me think on the recent failures..

2006

Traded A. Rios/C. Utley for T. Helton/I.Suzuki

2007

Traded C. Hamels/T. Saito for R. Oswalt.

A little gun shy now. Meh, at least they were not keeper leagues. B)

Again this is all based on the time of year the trades actually took place.

Where I wasn't an owner of any of the players you named in 2006, unless I had a decent option at 2B I wouldn't have given them up(well at least any time after mid-May or so.)

As for the second deal you named for 2007, I owned both Hamels and Saito, and there was no way in hell I would have traded both of them to get Oswalt. I actually tried to negotiate a deal for Oswalt, and I never closed the deal because I felt the price was too high. It wasn't even as high as what you paid. That being said, I think you need to do a better job of evaluating your own talent vs. what you are gettting in return. This is not a knock, we all make some errors in evaluations. I usually always come on here and ask either in a thread, or via a PM before I make a deal. Don't always run after the name! If you ever need any help, make a thread, or PM me and I will do what I can. Even if I know what I want to do, I always get an opinion or two. It never hurts. God luck in the future...

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Thanks, Yawk! When I was writing this I was thinking about the owners that have been in my league. As you can see, we've had quite the wide range of personalities. I think I fall somewhere between Mr. Can't Sit Still and Albert Einstein, heavily weighted to M.C.S.S. In our 8 years of existence, I've won the league twice and finished 2nd twice so I have a certain "league cred" among the other owners (for whatever it's worth) as an owners who sort of knows what he's doing. I'm never one to sit back and not try and make trades if I see a glaring weakness in my team so I'll usually e-mail at least 5 or 6 owners with offers (which I think are pretty good) and hope that one or two of them gets back to me with some interest so we can negotiate a little more.

The main point I was trying to make with the article is how important it can be to know the personalities of the other owners in the league. In my opinion it totally alters how you approach them with trade offers and what to expect during negotiations.

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That being said, I think you need to do a better job of evaluating your own talent vs. what you are gettting in return. This is not a knock, we all make some errors in evaluations. I usually always come on here and ask either in a thread, or via a PM before I make a deal. Don't always run after the name! If you ever need any help, make a thread, or PM me and I will do what I can. Even if I know what I want to do, I always get an opinion or two.

B)

Maybe I should have shed some light on the trade. The trade was after the draft but BEFORE the season started. My staff included Halladay, Sheets and Burnett; all with some DL history. Oswalt was a horse prior to the past season and Hamels was entering a sophmore season with minor injuries in his past as well. I already had two reliable closers, so trading a 37 year-old closer (expecting Broxton to take over) and a pitcher with "upside" for a proven pitcher that has been solid his whole career. This had nothing to do about evaluating talent as it is nearly impossible to gauge a rookie's sophmore season (see Oliver Perez and Felix Hernandez.) The trade made sense at the time, it just didn't work out.

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This is me. Let me think on the recent failures..

2006

Traded A. Rios/C. Utley for T. Helton/I.Suzuki

2007

Traded C. Hamels/T. Saito for R. Oswalt.

A little gun shy now. Meh, at least they were not keeper leagues. B)

While you lost the 1st trade, it was not awful on the face of it. With 20-20 hindsight, based on what actually transpired in 2006, you basically traded 25 HR and 55 RBI and received 20 SB, 10 Runs and an uptick by a LITTLE in BA. Not perfect, but if your goal was to gain SB and BA in exchange for power, that was not a terrible deal. In a keeper league it is aowrse deal because of the age of the players involved, but in a non-keeper league it actually makes some sense.

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Probably the sideliner.

I hunt the waiver wire and make the occasional trade offer, but I usually wait for other people to approach me before getting into serious discussion. I feel if they approach me, they're the one who looks a little more desperate and I can squeeze a little more out of them than they want to give up.

I draft really well, and I'm basically always riding in the top 3, so down the stretch I usually don't make any major trades with my team unless one of my guys suffers a serious injury.

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The only thing I can think of is, they are going to interview them all before they appear. Then, when they do appear, they'll have previous testimony at their disposal to potentially try to trip them up should they utter even the slightest inconsistency.
Exactly. That's the stupidity of it. All they are trying to do is catch someone in a "lie." Leave that to the courts and stop wasting my tax dollars.
B)

Maybe I should have shed some light on the trade. The trade was after the draft but BEFORE the season started. My staff included Halladay, Sheets and Burnett; all with some DL history. Oswalt was a horse prior to the past season and Hamels was entering a sophmore season with minor injuries in his past as well. I already had two reliable closers, so trading a 37 year-old closer (expecting Broxton to take over) and a pitcher with "upside" for a proven pitcher that has been solid his whole career. This had nothing to do about evaluating talent as it is nearly impossible to gauge a rookie's sophmore season (see Oliver Perez and Felix Hernandez.) The trade made sense at the time, it just didn't work out.

Ahhh, I see! I didn't mean it as an attack on your judgement, I think it just came out wrong. I did stipulate that the time the trades were made would have some influence on it. The second one makes sense now that I know the timing and reasoning behind it...again, sorry if it seemed I was calling you out...I truely wasn't.

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Good discussion, I have to add another category, since I don't fit into the categories (I asked, the others told me a while back what they thought....in a nice way, LOL):

1. The Open Book - I take this approach with several of my fellow owners - I tell them straight up what I'm looking for, what I *think* they might need, and then make my best offer. About 1/4 of the time, the deal gets done, end of story, and we both walk away happy. About 1/4 of the time, the deal gets shelved, then revisited and often done later. About half the time, the deal doesn't get done. However, what it also does is that often, in the deals that weren't done, it actually ends up that either some parts of the trade reasoning I present (weakness in certain categories) comes to light, or better yet, it actually ends up that the other party would have been better off making the deal. Taking this approach is risky, as some owners can try to up the price automatically, but overall it really helps promote trading IMO because at the end of the year, most of the offers made, whether accepted or not, show themselves to be fair, even if they were rejected. If we're close, then I usually won't make major additions to my offer, but may consider adding in extra components (minor-league draft pick swaps, etc.) that may swing it - but I essentially don't raise the offer substantially on the main components of the deal.

This approach differs from the Hold 'Em approach in that the Hold 'Em approach, by its nature, looks to gamble in each deal - the Open Book uses transparency in the offer (I always provide a reasoning for my offers, for both me and the other party), but also comes out willing to pay near-market value straight up.

There are two reasons to take this approach - doing the same approach for every deal lets owners know that you're serious about dealing, but also tends to eliminate the thought that you're trying to low-ball teams. Also, by making offers as such, there tends to be an accumulated memory of very fair & reasonable offers, not the "opening salvo" effect of making very low offers, and then trying to find common ground. As such, either you're close or not, and then if you're close you hammer out details, or otherwise you move on.

The second reason is usually giving your best offer early tends to result in more balanced trades overall - and while we'd all like to win *every* trade we make, when you're in a long-term league, you don't want to be known as the owner who only makes deals when they are ridiculously lopsided in their favor. In an ideal world, you win more trades that you lose, certainly, but also you'd like to see that trades also did address areas where owners needed help. The best scenario is when a team is rebuilding, and you carry a player they covet for the future - you can get a great return on trading him to that owner, and they're happy with getting their guy. Point is, make it a win-win for both teams, and you're more likely to get repeat business.

Finally, there can be a benefit by making your best offer and getting it turned down, and then looked back later in hindisight. For example last year in mid-June, I was offering my 1st-round minors pick, Jon Lester @ $5, and Carlos Pena $10 for a significant upgrade to win it all last year - no one bit, and several of them recognized the deal was more than fair, especially with Pena as the 3rd piece. As it turns out, I got the upgrade I needed and only had to include the minors pick, Lester and Al Reyes @ $1 (and frankly, if word had come out the Rays had a team option for 2008, I would have likely only had to include Lester & Reyes) 2 weeks later - by then, I decided to take Pena off the market. In the end, I benefitted twice by not doing the deals - I got to keep Pena @ $10 (which at that salary in AL-only, is gold even if he hits the bottom of his expectations), plus my reputation as a fair trader was reinforced.

By my own estimation, I clearly end up winning about half the trades I do, it's a wash in about a quarter, and I lose (but usually never by a *huge* margin) in about a quarter. Plus, there's probably only a handful (maybe 3) of trades I've made in the last 10 years where I was accused of robbing a team blind. Finally, because I do end up being the most active trader (along with one other owner), the reputation of being a fair owner willing to take some chances, and also to help out the other team, often gets deals done. In a keeper/dynasty league, your reputation gets you halfway in the door in trade talks, and that's why sometimes using the best offer staight up might cost you in having to pay a little more than guys were going to settle for in 1 particular deal, it also over the long run makes deals more likely to happen when they know you're serious and upfront with your first offer. If you're a smart owner, the willingness to do more deals in your league will benefit you over a 10-year period, and that's why I advocate this approach for owners that are active, and also have long-term leagues with stable ownership.

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Great addition, Rotobronco! I try and be as staright up with the people I make offers to, but I think my "problem" may be that I make them too early in the season. The other owners in my league like to ride things out for a month or two to see where they stand before wheeling and dealing. Everyone runs their team differently and takes different approaches to drafting, trading, making moves, etc. which is half the fun of being in a league with the same guys year after year.

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Good discussion, I have to add another category, since I don't fit into the categories (I asked, the others told me a while back what they thought....in a nice way, LOL):

1. The Open Book - I take this approach with several of my fellow owners - I tell them straight up what I'm looking for, what I *think* they might need, and then make my best offer. About 1/4 of the time, the deal gets done, end of story, and we both walk away happy. About 1/4 of the time, the deal gets shelved, then revisited and often done later. About half the time, the deal doesn't get done. However, what it also does is that often, in the deals that weren't done, it actually ends up that either some parts of the trade reasoning I present (weakness in certain categories) comes to light, or better yet, it actually ends up that the other party would have been better off making the deal. Taking this approach is risky, as some owners can try to up the price automatically, but overall it really helps promote trading IMO because at the end of the year, most of the offers made, whether accepted or not, show themselves to be fair, even if they were rejected. If we're close, then I usually won't make major additions to my offer, but may consider adding in extra components (minor-league draft pick swaps, etc.) that may swing it - but I essentially don't raise the offer substantially on the main components of the deal.

This approach differs from the Hold 'Em approach in that the Hold 'Em approach, by its nature, looks to gamble in each deal - the Open Book uses transparency in the offer (I always provide a reasoning for my offers, for both me and the other party), but also comes out willing to pay near-market value straight up.

There are two reasons to take this approach - doing the same approach for every deal lets owners know that you're serious about dealing, but also tends to eliminate the thought that you're trying to low-ball teams. Also, by making offers as such, there tends to be an accumulated memory of very fair & reasonable offers, not the "opening salvo" effect of making very low offers, and then trying to find common ground. As such, either you're close or not, and then if you're close you hammer out details, or otherwise you move on.

The second reason is usually giving your best offer early tends to result in more balanced trades overall - and while we'd all like to win *every* trade we make, when you're in a long-term league, you don't want to be known as the owner who only makes deals when they are ridiculously lopsided in their favor. In an ideal world, you win more trades that you lose, certainly, but also you'd like to see that trades also did address areas where owners needed help. The best scenario is when a team is rebuilding, and you carry a player they covet for the future - you can get a great return on trading him to that owner, and they're happy with getting their guy. Point is, make it a win-win for both teams, and you're more likely to get repeat business.

Finally, there can be a benefit by making your best offer and getting it turned down, and then looked back later in hindisight. For example last year in mid-June, I was offering my 1st-round minors pick, Jon Lester @ $5, and Carlos Pena $10 for a significant upgrade to win it all last year - no one bit, and several of them recognized the deal was more than fair, especially with Pena as the 3rd piece. As it turns out, I got the upgrade I needed and only had to include the minors pick, Lester and Al Reyes @ $1 (and frankly, if word had come out the Rays had a team option for 2008, I would have likely only had to include Lester & Reyes) 2 weeks later - by then, I decided to take Pena off the market. In the end, I benefitted twice by not doing the deals - I got to keep Pena @ $10 (which at that salary in AL-only, is gold even if he hits the bottom of his expectations), plus my reputation as a fair trader was reinforced.

By my own estimation, I clearly end up winning about half the trades I do, it's a wash in about a quarter, and I lose (but usually never by a *huge* margin) in about a quarter. Plus, there's probably only a handful (maybe 3) of trades I've made in the last 10 years where I was accused of robbing a team blind. Finally, because I do end up being the most active trader (along with one other owner), the reputation of being a fair owner willing to take some chances, and also to help out the other team, often gets deals done. In a keeper/dynasty league, your reputation gets you halfway in the door in trade talks, and that's why sometimes using the best offer staight up might cost you in having to pay a little more than guys were going to settle for in 1 particular deal, it also over the long run makes deals more likely to happen when they know you're serious and upfront with your first offer. If you're a smart owner, the willingness to do more deals in your league will benefit you over a 10-year period, and that's why I advocate this approach for owners that are active, and also have long-term leagues with stable ownership.

Great addition - I am ALSO an "open book" trader, in addition to being the Paint by Numbers/Jigsaw Puzzle Trader. It does sometimes drive my competitors crazy, because my e-mails usually are ratehr lengthy, as I explain my reasoning, why I want the players, why I think it helps their team, and the valuation I am using (usually from Baseball HQ which a number of teams in several of my leagues use).

I will admit, though, in one league, one guy basically told me to shut up - how dare that I should tell him what he needed, that he knew what he needed and it was none of my business. Just give him an offer, and he would answer me. Oh well, I guess it does not work for everyone.

And in every situation, sometimes alterntive views of what any one player is worth just cannot be overcome. For example, (and this is a minor situation), I have a deal being discussed that likely won't get done because the otehr team claims they cannot find anyone to waive that would not tilt the deal too far against them (a potentially fair comment in a 2 for 1 deal). So I pointed out that Elijah Dukes is pretty useless in Wahsington, since even without his temper and other issues, Washington has Milledge, Wily Mo Pena and Kearns to start, and if Nick Johnson is actually healthy (which it appears he may finally be) then Dmitri Young will have to get some playing time in the OF as well, plus Washington likes Nook Logan, a poor starter but a good #4 or #5 OF ... and they just signed BOTH Mackowiak and Willie Harris, back up OF's. His response? Duke's talent is just too intriguing to give up by merely waiving him. Whatcha gonna do, sometimes?

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Great addition - I am ALSO an "open book" trader, in addition to being the Paint by Numbers/Jigsaw Puzzle Trader. It does sometimes drive my competitors crazy, because my e-mails usually are ratehr lengthy, as I explain my reasoning, why I want the players, why I think it helps their team, and the valuation I am using (usually from Baseball HQ which a number of teams in several of my leagues use).

I will admit, though, in one league, one guy basically told me to shut up - how dare that I should tell him what he needed, that he knew what he needed and it was none of my business. Just give him an offer, and he would answer me. Oh well, I guess it does not work for everyone.

And in every situation, sometimes alterntive views of what any one player is worth just cannot be overcome. For example, (and this is a minor situation), I have a deal being discussed that likely won't get done because the otehr team claims they cannot find anyone to waive that would not tilt the deal too far against them (a potentially fair comment in a 2 for 1 deal). So I pointed out that Elijah Dukes is pretty useless in Wahsington, since even without his temper and other issues, Washington has Milledge, Wily Mo Pena and Kearns to start, and if Nick Johnson is actually healthy (which it appears he may finally be) then Dmitri Young will have to get some playing time in the OF as well, plus Washington likes Nook Logan, a poor starter but a good #4 or #5 OF ... and they just signed BOTH Mackowiak and Willie Harris, back up OF's. His response? Duke's talent is just too intriguing to give up by merely waiving him. Whatcha gonna do, sometimes?

You brought up 2 excellent points about trading in general - first, if you can't convince owners to make trades, *even* when they would clearly benefit in your opinion, there's nothing you can do about it. I personally understand that it's frustrating, but in *most* cases, teams don't absolutely *need* to make a trade (the lone exception being when a team is out of the playoffs, and the players in question that they have will not be returning - in that case, getting *any* value back is the only logical answer, and getting the best value is desirable, but it likely means taking the best available offer, not the desired offer). One point I strive to make is that I will say I think it's a win-win, and I will sometimes point out late in trading season that I don't believe the other owner will find a better offer, and if they can, then if I am at my best offer (which I usually am), then the other owner *should* take that deal. I've walked away from enough deals to also establish credibililty about using the Open Book approach that if we're very close, teams also know when I say I'm done making counter-offers, I'm done - this then leaves them the option of accepting, walking away, or they have to make a counter-offer.

But in the end, teams never *have* to trade with you - that's the one message that sometimes doesn't seem to sink in with a lot of owners. No matter how unwise it may be, owners have the right to do as they wish. So, I also *never* say to an owner they *have* to do the deal - if I feel strongly it's a win-win for both sides, that's how I put it, but even ending it with "let me know if you're interested or not" tells them that I recognize I may feel that way, but it's still their call. It seems like a small thing, but it's funny how perception of the message is more important than the actual content of the message.

Secondly, there is a small risk of giving all your information, in that owners can feel they're being duped by your rationale. I respect that, but unless an owner comes out with that *specific* response, I don't change my style - owners usually appreciate when you are upfront about your rationale. And, even if they don't agree with you, the fact you are taking the time to actually consider what they need, that usually helps - I can't tell you the number of times I've received offers from a couple of owners (mostly in football) where the offer does *nothing* to meet my needs. But, if an owner *really* only wants the offer, then fine - I don't see how getting more information is a bad thing, but to each their own. Personally, I think any owner that doesn't want that kind of information must feel threatened by it, because to me, more information gives me a better idea of where the other guy stands, and that can only help - I let the other owners have my information simply because I'm willing to stand by the offers and rationale, and feel comfortable enough to let both pass the test of their scrutiny and analysis. Any owner that feels insulted by getting more information is short-changing themselves IMO, but that's their right.

Great thread so far, btw.

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Secondly, there is a small risk of giving all your information, in that owners can feel they're being duped by your rationale.

When I send someone an offer I try to put a few lines in there as to why it would be good for them ("player X would lead your team in RBI right now", "you have a DL guy at this position on your active roster", etc.). If they seem interested, then I open up with all the goodies as to why it's good for them. I've found it to work pretty well most of the time.

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When I send someone an offer I try to put a few lines in there as to why it would be good for them ("player X would lead your team in RBI right now", "you have a DL guy at this position on your active roster", etc.). If they seem interested, then I open up with all the goodies as to why it's good for them. I've found it to work pretty well most of the time.

Agreed 100% - I was more referring to jellyman's example of the owner that got offended. I personally can't see why anyone wouldn't want more information in a trade offer - at worst, you ignore or disagree with it, but even then, you get a real good perspective on where your potential trading partner is coming from. As I said before, if anything it puts the other owner in a position of advantage to have your cards on the table. I just happen to be 100% comfortable for the offers and my rationale to be reviewed by the other owner with total transparency - even if the deal doesn't happen, I believe smart owners will come to realize that I'm obviously both serious enough to put some thought into the offer, and by revealing my hand, I feel pretty committed to the offer as it is.

For the above reason, I can't recommend the Open Book for owners that like to go back & forth and do deals, as this removes much of the room to go up or down. Also, I can't recommend the approach for those who try to squeeze *maximum* value from every deal, as again you never know if you're giving up more than the original owner would have accepted. But, as I mentioned, in the long haul, I believe this gets more deals done, and if you're a smart owner, getting more deals done will benefit you in the long run.

On a final note, I've never run into a situation where an owner said "I just want an offer, don't bother posting anything else" - to me, any owner that doesn't want *more* information from a trading partner's position is just shortchanging their ability to determine if they can get more from the deal or not. Frankly, any owner that is offended by another owner sending them their rationale for the trade is missing one vital point - even if they don't agree with the rationale, they are still getting valuable information on the other guy's stance. Any owner that *doesn't* want that, well either they're afraid of their own ability to evaluate deals when faced with another opinion (even it's obviously not objective), or they're owners that are afraid they might be swayed completely by a trading partner's rationale (which means they're pretty horrible negotiators, IMO). But, if that's their request, I have no problem doing it - it only hurts them IMO, but to each their own.

Now, one caveat to the above - if the *way* the rationale is posted is that "you'd be a fool not to do this deal", well, I can see teams getting offended - that's equally foolish on the owner making that kind of offer. As ssmarsh alluded to, even if I think that, I'm never going to say it - I will always simply say, "I think the deal is a win-win for both of our needs, but let me know either way how you feel" - in the end, no owner *has* to do a deal, and to post otherwise is just disrespectful. I've had owners come out and say "I'd be a fool *not* to do this deal" after we complete the deal (usually a win-now vs. build for later deal where both needs are clearly met), and I'd agree, but I would *not* recommend posting "you *have* to do this deal, and you'd be a fool to do otherwise". Even if that were the case, you just alienate the owner - better to leave the ball up to them, and then later on, if the deal doesn't get done, and it's clear it would have helped the other guy out, then it's just more credibility for your trading reputation.

(FWIW, I'm not disagreeing with ssmarsh or jellyman in any way, I just find this is a topic that comes up *all* the time - and my kids are asleep, so I've got time to get this off my chest. I feel much better, thanks. B) )

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Agreed 100% - I was more referring to jellyman's example of the owner that got offended. I personally can't see why anyone wouldn't want more information in a trade offer - at worst, you ignore or disagree with it, but even then, you get a real good perspective on where your potential trading partner is coming from. As I said before, if anything it puts the other owner in a position of advantage to have your cards on the table. I just happen to be 100% comfortable for the offers and my rationale to be reviewed by the other owner with total transparency - even if the deal doesn't happen, I believe smart owners will come to realize that I'm obviously both serious enough to put some thought into the offer, and by revealing my hand, I feel pretty committed to the offer as it is.

For the above reason, I can't recommend the Open Book for owners that like to go back & forth and do deals, as this removes much of the room to go up or down. Also, I can't recommend the approach for those who try to squeeze *maximum* value from every deal, as again you never know if you're giving up more than the original owner would have accepted. But, as I mentioned, in the long haul, I believe this gets more deals done, and if you're a smart owner, getting more deals done will benefit you in the long run.

On a final note, I've never run into a situation where an owner said "I just want an offer, don't bother posting anything else" - to me, any owner that doesn't want *more* information from a trading partner's position is just shortchanging their ability to determine if they can get more from the deal or not. Frankly, any owner that is offended by another owner sending them their rationale for the trade is missing one vital point - even if they don't agree with the rationale, they are still getting valuable information on the other guy's stance. Any owner that *doesn't* want that, well either they're afraid of their own ability to evaluate deals when faced with another opinion (even it's obviously not objective), or they're owners that are afraid they might be swayed completely by a trading partner's rationale (which means they're pretty horrible negotiators, IMO). But, if that's their request, I have no problem doing it - it only hurts them IMO, but to each their own.

Now, one caveat to the above - if the *way* the rationale is posted is that "you'd be a fool not to do this deal", well, I can see teams getting offended - that's equally foolish on the owner making that kind of offer. As ssmarsh alluded to, even if I think that, I'm never going to say it - I will always simply say, "I think the deal is a win-win for both of our needs, but let me know either way how you feel" - in the end, no owner *has* to do a deal, and to post otherwise is just disrespectful. I've had owners come out and say "I'd be a fool *not* to do this deal" after we complete the deal (usually a win-now vs. build for later deal where both needs are clearly met), and I'd agree, but I would *not* recommend posting "you *have* to do this deal, and you'd be a fool to do otherwise". Even if that were the case, you just alienate the owner - better to leave the ball up to them, and then later on, if the deal doesn't get done, and it's clear it would have helped the other guy out, then it's just more credibility for your trading reputation.

(FWIW, I'm not disagreeing with ssmarsh or jellyman in any way, I just find this is a topic that comes up *all* the time - and my kids are asleep, so I've got time to get this off my chest. I feel much better, thanks. B) )

All good points.

I never tell another owner that he should or should not any particular deal - like Rotobronco, I always try to explain why it helps both teams, and is therefore worth consideration. I also like the open book style becasue I feel it shows that I am not trying to shortchange someone, or make ridiculous offers (though sometimes owners do feel that way, regardless).

The guy who wanted no information ... well, I will admit I was a bit taken aback. I did apologize to him, telling him I did not mean to offend, and he came back saying just give him the deal offer, and he will either accept or counter. Since I actually believe that every team can gain in any deal, and that those are the best deals, it will recuce what I can do with that one team, since I will never know what he actually thinks he needs. It will also lead to more lopsided proposals on my side to him - since I am going to make sure I am not ripped off. He'd get better offers if I knew what he was actually looking for.

I do disagree on one thing in this last post by Rotobronco: "I can't recommend the Open Book for owners that like to go back & forth and do deals, as this removes much of the room to go up or down." I actually strongly disagree with this statement. I find that when I give a lot of information about what my teams needs are as the rationale for making any one trade offer, and share what I think the other team's needs are, I can get MUCH more fun and creative counter offers. And when a team shares what they think their ACTUAL needs are, after I have explained my assumptions ... that allows for a GREAT back and forth. I have ended up doing deals with completely different sets of players on BOTH sides of the deals as a direct result of that "open book" approach, as teams share what their needs are, and work to match up the value to meet each of those needs.

I have also ended up making trades with completely different teams as a direct result of creative counter offers in the initial exchange of offers. Being open can really stir the creative juices. For example, I made a proffer of Eric Byrnes and Kouzmanoff, with a lesser starter like Ervin Santana or Villanueva (young guys with some upside) for Harang and A-Ram. I explained how I was looking to upgrade my starting pitching, and upgrade my 3B, while he clearly needed speed for 2008. He turned me down, and countered with A-Ram and Harang for Johan Santana, a 2 for 1. Now that would only address half of my needs (which he admitted). And I have a very strong rotation (Webb, Hamels, Smoltz, Lincecum to start, even without Johan), so I could give up Johan if I got back a strong starter and my 3B upgrade. We did not do that deal ... but it got me thinking. The offer for Johan was a VERY good one (overpaying me, or paying a premium for, Johan). SO I offered up Johan around the league, in a targeted way: I required a Top 15-20 starter, PLUS an elute hitter, even if I had to put something else in. Eventually, I did trade Johan, along with Kouzmanoff ... for Matt Holliday and Verlander (another one of my needs was improving my 10th place finish in BA - and I was closer to 12th place than 9th place). I was not ecstatic about giving up Kouzmanoff, but Holliday is a Top 10 hitter, and Verlander is a Top 15 starter who is just 25 years old with the potential to become a Top 10 starter.

And then, armed with that experience, in another league, I went after Johan ... and got Johan, Pierre, Cust and Mike Jacobs for Teixiera, Verlander and Bourn. And am VERY happy with that deal (I already had Berkman and Pujols in that league, so Teixiera was a good trading chit). I know Pierre has a little incertainty with playing time until a trade is made, but who the heck knows what Bourn will deliver?

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I do disagree on one thing in this last post by Rotobronco: "I can't recommend the Open Book for owners that like to go back & forth and do deals, as this removes much of the room to go up or down." I actually strongly disagree with this statement. I find that when I give a lot of information about what my teams needs are as the rationale for making any one trade offer, and share what I think the other team's needs are, I can get MUCH more fun and creative counter offers. And when a team shares what they think their ACTUAL needs are, after I have explained my assumptions ... that allows for a GREAT back and forth. I have ended up doing deals with completely different sets of players on BOTH sides of the deals as a direct result of that "open book" approach, as teams share what their needs are, and work to match up the value to meet each of those needs.

I didn't actually mean the Open Book approach will limit your maneuvarability in trading by giving more information, but rather the part of the Open Book approach where you give your best offer straight up (and is thus transparent as well). That's what ends up limiting going up & down in some cases.

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