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Fantasy Trading: The Art of Negotiations Part V

by Ryan Kaltenbach

Day 5 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, Two, Three and Four.

"Rule 5:  Closure"

"Rule 5.1:  Don't blow the end game"

When it comes to fantasy trading the end game can be touchy.  You've come to an agreement in principle and both of you are thinking it over one last time.  Try not to be too pushy.  You don't want to scare them off by appearing too aggressive.  Even if you think you're killing him in the deal try to appear a little unsure.  You can let him know why you think the deal is good for both sides.  If your trading partner doesn't get back to you when they say they will, give them another couple hours.   Play it cool and don't scare him off.  If someone kept bugging you over and over about a specific deal wouldn't you look at it with a little more skepticism?  Me too. 

"Rule 5.2:  Strive for a ‘wise agreement'"

"A wise agreement can be defined as one that meets the legitimate interests of each side to the extent possible, resolves the conflicting interests fairly, is durable, and takes community interests into account"

In this case we can think of "community interests" as the rest of the league.  Think to yourself, Is this a dump trade?  Are you colluding or could it appear that way? 

Definition of Dump Trade - A trade taking place in a keeper league where a team playing for this year gives up a great player for a package of very good players.  The team towards the top of the standing giving up the best player picks up needed depth and strengthens his weak areas.  The team towards the bottom acquires a "keeper" and gives up players that aren't keepable next year.

Definition of Collusion - Two teams working together for the benefit of one team.  Example: Matt Holliday and Mariano Rivera for Mike Aviles and Eddie Guardado.  Get the picture? 

The difference between a dump trade and collusion is the justification of playing for next year.  Collusion is much worse but dump trades can alter league standings just the same.  There's nothing inherently wrong with being on either side of a dump trade but the rest of the league doesn't have to like it.  Dump trades can cause swearing at the computer screen and collusion can cause bloody noses.  Not "wise agreements."

"Rule 5.3:  Pay attention to details, but don't sweat the small stuff"

Of all Thomas Noble's point's this is the one that doesn't fit.  I'd always recommend sweating the small stuff.  It's the small stuff that wins leagues.  It's filling out your roster on Monday/Thursday, it's the ability to look at your team with a skeptical eye when you get off to a hot start, it's checking the starting lineups right before game time to make sure your players are playing that day.  These and more encompass the small stuff you need to sweat if you want to win your league.  Remember, you can lose your league by 1 homerun, 1 steal, or 1 save so make sure you dot your I's and cross your T's everyday.

When it comes to trades the small stuff is the research into each player included in the proposed deal.  Players have ebbs and flows throughout the year. Do your research and make sure you're not buying at the top and selling at the bottom.

This closes the book on Thomas Noble's article, "Improving Negotiation Skills: Rules for Master Negotiators".  For the past five days we've taken his 5 rules of Master Negotiating and applied it to fantasy trade negotiations. I'm still amazed at how many parallels exist between fantasy sports and the everyday life that so many of us spend so much time trying to avoid.

Happy trading and avoiding everyone!