When going through a long season of fantasy baseball you inevitably will receive bad trade offers. Some trade offers are more offensive than others. None more so than when someone offers you a recent waiver wire pickup as a key piece in a trade. There are exceptions to this rule (big time prospects like Yasiel Puig and Wil Myers, or guys who were prematurely dropped such as Jason Heyward or Josh Hamilton), but most of the time you will be offered names like Jedd Lowrie and James Loney. (Sigh!)
I feel like sites should have built-in controls where GMs can’t offer waiver pick ups with out a two week waiting period. Maybe a little disclaimer next to the players name that says he was picked up on this date. Like a freshness label on a bottle of beer. It would be like a little scarlet letter that would eventually wear off after certain amount of time. This would relieve a lot of aggravation as well as help inexperienced GMs save a little face.
While two weeks might be a nice start, the real waiting period for seeing if a waiver pick up is truly a trade asset is right around six weeks. The six week sample size is enough to weed out the occasional hot stretch for a veteran hitter and soft schedule for a pitcher. For example Vernon Wells started out on fire (.300 6 HR and .910 OPS in April) and was widely picked up in 12 and 14 team leagues after week 2. He has since gone back to his late career ways (hitting around .230 and popping out constantly) and can be seen on your local waiver wires. While experienced fantasy baseball players knew this was just a streaking player other GMs actually tried to capitalize on his hot start and offer him in trades around their leagues.
The subsequent message board and social media ridicule after a bad trade is offered should be enough to discourage naive GMs, but some seem to be immune to these tactics. They plug away week after week picking up the Jhoulys Chacins and Ricky Nolascos of the fantasy baseball world and think they can turn them into Cole Hamels and Doug Fisters through trades. God bless their tiny little brains and their efforts, but something has to be done.
I try to chalk it up to naivete or ignorance, but stupidity shouldn’t be ruled out. The topper of these bad offers was recently brought up during a Twitter conversation with @fantasytrade411, when he was venting about a GM actually offering him someone he had just dropped! I can’t say this has ever happened to me, but if I did receive an offer for one of my cast offs a day after dropping him my eyebrows may jump clear off my forehead.
Even with prized prospects I don’t generally offer them in trades until they have played at least a few weeks in the bigs. I don’t want to burn any bridges with other GMs if the prospect doesn’t at least stay in the bigs for an extended showing. Plus I would rather know if I am in possession of a stud before I sell a player. With rookies the six week waiting period would be ideal. You need four to six weeks to see if the league makes adjustments to the player or if the player is able to make adjustments to the league. (Didi Gregorius a perfect example) Jackie Bradley Jr. had many GMs jumping the gun when he got off to a fast start with the Red Sox in April after he surprisingly made the big club out of spring training. If you were unlucky enough to trade for him, chalk it up to a lesson learned.
You can never sell too high for a recent call up, and Puig is a perfect example. His value couldn’t be higher right now and selling is a must. I recently made a trade that netted me Chris Davis, Desmond Jennings, Cole Hamels, and Chris Sale. My side of the trade was centered around Puig, and included Kyle Seager, Patrick Corbin, the versatile Todd Frazier, and Justin Masterson. While my haul may seem a little one sided, it is not the most I have seen traded for the Cuban phenom. I have seen dinged up stars such as Bryce Harper, Matt Kemp, and even Roto golden boy Ryan Braun sent packing for Puig. While all of these scenarios are slightly ludicrous and reactionary, you can see the value people see in Puig’s unique talents.
Veterans picked up off the waiver wire are a completely different story. Most GMs like myself will pick up and ride a streaking player, but never think about trading him because the value just wouldn’t be there. It takes a few months of a veteran playing well above his career numbers before he attains any trade value. James Loney, Jedd Lowrie, and Michael Young have all had some hot stretches, but you wouldn’t see me trying to trade for any of them. I might lose my mind completely if I get offered Matt Joyce for Jason Heyward again in my deep league.
(I need at least another month of Heyward struggles before I entertain that one.)
If I offered another GM the hot hitting Adam Lind in a trade right now, what would he be worth? He’s 29 and has hit 35 homers in a season before, but he has always been unable to consistently hit lefties. He most likely won’t be able to touch his 2009 numbers again in his career. Even though he is hitting .350 and will hit over 25 homers he would barely fetch me a light hitting Eric Hosmer in a trade right now.
The real swings in trade value come when former top prospects seem to turn a corner. They can go from waiver wire riders to trade untouchables in less than half a season. Carlos Gomez and Chris Davis flipped the switch last year, and Dominic Brown seems to have unleashed his full potential this year. Just a few weeks into the season Brown could be seen on the waiver wire, but with his unbelievable May you would be lucky to get him in a trade for Jay Bruce. Could you imagine those words being said on draft day? “I’ll trade you Jay Bruce for Dominic Brown.”
I can’t wait to see what Wil Myers will command in a trade if he goes deep in his first game with the Rays. Without even taking a swing I can already see GMs trading Rios or Cruz for him. If he gets off to a fast start it could be Beltran or Holiday. And if he even comes close to Puig’s start the sky is the limit.