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Fantasy Trading: The Art of Negotiations Part IV

by Ryan Kaltenbach

Day 4 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.  Read Day One, Day Two and Day Three.

"Rule 4:  Evaluation"

"Rule 4.1:  Look beneath the surface"

"So when you formulate your goals, consider carefully what really matters to you. . . . . identify your underlying interests and needs carefully."

This could also be called, Look beneath the name.  Don't just target Jeter or Johan because they're fun to have on your team.  Target skill sets, not names.

"Rule 4.2:  Break the problem up into issues"

If you have multiple holes to fill don't feel the need to address them all at once.  We've talked briefly about the pitfalls of large and complex trades involving 8-9 players. When these trades occur many times a trader is looking for one thing and ends up with another.  See if you can't make two or three trades to address your two or three issues.   It's unlikely the team you're trading with has the perfect players to fill all your weaknesses. 

More times than not the two negotiators are looking to even things up by increasing the number of players in the deal and initial needs are forgotten.  Getting the deal done becomes the goal rather than upgrading your weaknesses.  Still to simple deals to avoid this from happening.

"Rule 4.3:  Look for multiple solutions"

Again, there are many different players who can fill your area of need.  If you need speed, do your research and see which guy with a certain number of steals so far looks to continue running wild.  Let's say there are 10 guys in this category.  Maybe 3 of them are 1st round talent and you don't want to give up the farm.  Then another 3 of them have OBP's hovering around .300 and you think they'd hurt you in all the other offensive categories.  So there are 4 players out of the original 10 who may not cost too much and still fill your need for speed.  Then breakdown the remaining 4 by looking at peripheral stats to see if their future is more likely to have progression or regression.  There should be at least 2-3 players out of the last group you can target by sending out feelers to multiple owners and finding your best fit. 

"Rule 4.4:  Evaluate people, interests, options and criteria"

"Begin your preparation for negotiation by considering your own underlying needs and interests"

"Rule 4.5:  Evaluate the leverage"

What place are you in relative to the person you're negotiating with?  What month in the baseball season is it?  Each of these questions should be considered.  Your position relative to your trading partner can make a big difference.  A simple saying in Vegas and Wall Street says, "Strength loves certainty, weakness loves risk."  If you are in a place of strength and your trading partner's in 11th you know he needs to take risks.  Take advantage by making the trade to pick up Mariano Rivera while giving up this year's Cole Hamels or Jered Weaver.  Later in the season you can really use this principle to your advantage.  At the all-star break the team in 7th knows it's now or never so decide which of his more reliable players fits your needs and let him take on the high risk-high reward rookie.

 "It's the ability to walk away from the table if acceptable terms can't be worked out that puts backbone into your bargaining posture."

As an owner towards the top of your standing use your ability to say no at any time.  Lean on the other owner's desperation and take advantage of your leverage.

Coming tomorrow morning, Rule #5:  Closure