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Fantasy Trading: The Art of Negotiations Part I

by Ryan Kaltenbach

I recently stumbled across an article about negotiation and found parallels that can be applied in fantasy sports.  I was amazed that virtually every point the author made is applicable for us.  So in 5 easy installments over the next 5 days we will dissect Thomas Noble's article, "Improving Negotiation Skills: Rules for Master Negotiators".

"Rule 1:  Attitude"

Where is your head when you come to the table to deal?  Are you trying to rip someone off or make a fair deal that can help both sides?  This matters.  Of course, we want to win the deal but in order to make it happen we need to approach it with the right attitude.

"Rule 1.1 Everything is negotiable all of the time" 

You might know an owner (sometimes by looking in the mirror) who isn't willing to deal top players.  Shouldn't we be willing to look at any deal that we feel makes our team better?  Of course.  So, regardless of your league being a keeper or non-keeper don't take anyone off the table.  This is especially applicable in keeper leagues where people are less willing to deal off top talent.  Sometimes the thought of having a top player through his peak years is enough to squash a deal that can put you over the top this year.  Remember, flags fly forever.  Win now and worry about keepers later.  If you can actually make your team better by trading off A-Rod or Johan, then pull the trigger. 

"Rule 1.2 Compromise is omnipresent"

If you have a need and they have a need, there will always be a way to find a middle ground.   Middle ground may not come after the first or second offer but it can be found with patience.  However, if you're towards the top of your league and trading isn't a must don't settle.  Use the leverage from your position to your advantage.  Only in times of desperation do you NEED to compromise.

"Rule 1.3 ‘Fair' is a range"

"...when I negotiate, I look for the favorable middle ground - where my client is pleased with the resolution and the other party is satisfied enough to do the deal."

When you're negotiating with a rational owner you can find a deal that will satisfy both needs.   I just wish there were more rational owners out there.  Although my man love for Jacoby Ellsbury is nowhere near rational at the moment.

Coming tomorrow, Rule 2:  Communication Skills