Thursday, September 02, 2010

More on Roto Etiquette (Trading)

It is apparently Rotisserie etiquette week at Roto Think Tank. Toz posted a comment about a situation in the CBS Sports A.L.-only Analysts league from earlier this week:
As an example in a non-keeper league, I was offered a trade in the CBS AL Analyst League right before the deadline. Frankly, the trade would have helped me move up from my blech 8th place spot to perhaps as high as 6th, but I likely would have handed the other team a title. I turned down the trade on that basis alone, and I think I made the right decision.
I was not in exactly the same position in N.L. Tout Wars (Nate Ravitz of ESPN is running away with it), but was lukewarm on two potential trades because I didn't see much of an opportunity to move up or down with only four weeks left.

This is a thornier issue in keeper leagues. Most leagues have a trade deadline of July 31st or earlier for this reason. At the very least, some leagues use the Byzantine contiguous trading rule (like my home league A.L. does) in the month of August. In theory, a middle of the pack team can pack it in and dump to a team in contention, but usually the contending team has a very poor chance of winning anyway.

If your league is a keeper league with a late trade deadline (or no trade deadline at all), I can't really blame you if you make a move to improve your team for next year that helps your opponent out in the standings. If you're getting a player who is a freeze next year, then you are acting within the confines of your league's rules.

The best way to deal with this is to have an earlier trade deadline or some kind of penalty for finishing toward the bottom of the standings. I like the American Dreams League model of penalizing teams that finish 9th through 12th with fewer freezes. A team is less likely to trade two studs for a $10 Carlos Carrasco if that trade is going to cost them keepers.


Observer999 said...

Not sure I like the idea of either penalizing owners for finishing near the bottom nor earlier deadlines.

Problem with penalties like taking away keepers is that it creates a class system. The haves- and have-nots. You want teams to be engaged, not make them less competitive going forward. If you create significant handicaps for owners to compete next season, there's no guarantee they'll see the wisdom in coming back.

The problem with earlier trade deadlines is that it may exacerbate the problem. Dump deals are hard enough to stomach whenever, but if you move the trade deadline earlier, there's no guarantee that teams won't just get an earlier start to dumping. Consequently, the effects would be much larger as teams would have more weeks to enjoy their newfound superstars.

I think the best method is not to penalize, but rather to incentivize improvement in the 2nd half. Award teams an extra keeper at a salary discount equal to the proportion of their improvement from mid-season to the end of the season.

Non-competitive teams make trades to attain keepers. Give them another outlet towards that goal.

Toz said...

Excellent comment.

I haven't had the chance to chime in on the subject yet this week, but a couple of quick observations.

One, I have always liked the idea of penalty for the last place teams. I do have an issue with penalizing those teams with "keeper" penalties (I usually thought of the penalty as monetary), though I believe the point is that the penalty would essentially be a choice: do I trade for the $10 Carrasco on August 30 and lose 1 keep by finishing last, or do I get my full slate of keepers, not impact the race and trade for Carrasco in the off-season? Your point, however, is quite valid - it seems backwards to penalize the non-contending team that is attempting to improve itself. On the flip side, isn't this how we alter behavior? While we force the non-contending team to consider the impact on its own team, we also discourage (without actively saying it as such) late impact on the pennant race.

Two, dumping is dumping. It is part of the culture and part of the game. Many teams build for exactly that contingency, even in our home AL where we have a $350 cap...I have been playing the dumping dance all year. The dump trades that are difficult to stomach are: the July 31 3 for 1 dump trade, where the dumping team decides it will just take what it can get for next year; the August 31 5th place to 4th place dump or 4th place to 3rd place dump, where there is an instant impact on a close race.

This is a good topic for discussion.

Anonymous said...

Is great topic, thanks. This year, I ran into something I had not seen before. Trades over last week before August 31 bar on trades - facilitated by the close (3 points separating 1 to 4, and changing every day) - deals between the top four teams. Not dump deals, but deals to, arguably, hedge bets for next season given the crap shoot we all seem to think the final finish may be. Expensive keepers (V Mart at 26) and O year guys (like M. Young) going for cheaper keepers like Wieters (10) and A Rodriguez (36). Figgins (24), Duensing (2), Hafner (5) and O year Quentin for Pennington (8), Vazquez (22), Cuddyer O year and Fox (1). Or, Figgins (24), Damon an O year, Greinke in O year, Overbay (8) and Sweeney (5) for Teixeira (48), Peralta (13), Galarraga (2), Snider O year and Troug (2). Just to make it even odder, all of those deals involved my team as I either was feeling no way can win or maybe can. Gonna be an ugly finish - all four stil bunched - sheer luck as to who wins. So I went for guys I will keep or trade for keepers.