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Fantasy Trading: The Art of Negotiations Part II

by Ryan Kaltenbach

Day 2 of breaking down Thomas Noble's article, "Improving Negotiation Skills: Rules for Master Negotiators".  He wrote it for Lawyering, we'll adapt it for Fantasy.  Click to read Day One.

"Rule #2:  Communication Skills"

Communication is key to getting any fantasy trade done.  Are you communicating when you send over easily misinterpreted trade offers?  No I won't trade you Jacoby Ellsbury for Skip Schumaker and Placido Polanco!  At least have the decency to tell me what you're thinking when you send over a trade offer like that.  Sorry, I had to get that out somewhere.  Within Rule #2 we'll go over ways to make your communication more effective. 

"Rule 2.1:  Lines of communication are critical"

There are many ways to communicate in fantasy leagues - message boards, trading blocks, email, phone, IM, Facebook walls, get the point?  There's a lot.  The familiarity of your league mates matters too.  I'm in a league where I don't know any of them outside of our league and another league with family and friends.  I've found I actually talk more trade in the league with strangers because we have a league directory with names, phone numbers, emails, and AIM screen names.  I've found instant messaging to be the most proficient way to keep in contact, get to know each other's tendencies, and talk trade. 

"Rule 2.2:  Be cooperative, but don't let your guard down"

"To negotiate well, you do not need to be tricky. But it helps to be alert and prudent. The best negotiators play it straight, ask a lot of questions, listen carefully, and concentrate on what they and the other party are trying to accomplish at the bargaining table."

I'll take a moment on alertness.  When a key injury takes place an owner is more likely to deal out of panic.  Without rubbing it in find out if the opposing owner knows Felix and Marcum went down on back to back days and that his 2nd and 3rd starters are hitting the shelf for a while.  Then take the opportunity to make the move to strengthen one of your weak areas to deal out of depth (hopefully starting pitching in this case).  Basically, anytime you have depth in an area and a player gets injured on another team in that same area, use it to your advantage.

"Rule 2.3:  Listen"

Is he actually interested in dealing for an OF or are you just throwing out offers?  This is where communication through IM or email can really help.  Rather than sending out blind offers find out what the person is in the market for.  Listen to them.  Then decide if you're good trade partners.  If you're not, move on.  You could end up in a 4 for 4 mess when all you wanted to do was trade an OF for a SP.

"Rule 2.4: Pare Down Large Groups"

For the sake of this article we'll call large groups "co-owners".  When dealing with co-owners try to find out the similarities and differences between the two.  Is one partner more risk averse?  Does the other love to stock up on speculatory closers, see Bucholtz, Taylor?  Get to know each owner as to play them off each other later.

Coming tomorrow, Rule #3:  Planning