Fantasy baseball: How to pull off trades for struggling stars

There is blood in the fantasy baseball waters, and the feeding frenzy is about to begin.

The season has opened in exactly the same fashion as it does every year — panic in the streets and virtual general managers ready to blow up their draft plans not even 10 games into the season. The inspirational words of Ted Lasso tell you to “be a goldfish,” but as anyone who has ever won a fantasy baseball championship can attest, you need to be a shark.

Heading into the weekend, Francisco Lindor is batting just .042, Jackson Holliday is in the minors and Nico Hoerner hasn’t even attempted to steal a base. George Kirby just got pasted for eight runs in 3 ²/₃ innings by the Guardians, Logan Webb has an ERA north of 6.50 after two starts, and Josh Hader has yet to earn a save.

People who walked away from their drafts brimming with confidence are now standing at the Cliffs of Insanity, begging for you to be Dread Pirate Roberts and plunder their team.

The key to being a shark is to never let them see you coming. Many believe an initial trade offer is the first step in a negotiation and it should be a lowball offer. Unfortunately, a bad first offer typically does more harm than good and rather than open a dialogue, it slams the door shut.

Even the newest of fantasy managers can tell when an offer is bad, and you immediately become someone not to be trusted. Even the biggest newbie in fantasy knows your Jeremy Pena and Ronel Blanco for his Lindor is laughable. Offer that and all future emails from you will be ignored.


Angels outfielder Taylor Ward could get packaged together with others in fantasy football trades.
Angels outfielder Taylor Ward could get packaged together with others in fantasy football trades. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

There is nothing wrong with testing the trade waters, but you have to do it in a way that makes you appear to be the good guy. Offer players who have opened the season well and have the potential to continue some of that success. Not as much as what you are expecting from the player you are trading for, but just enough to make you look genuine.

Taylor Ward is off to a great start and has 20-homer power. Offer him in a deal for a struggling Cody Bellinger or package him up with a starter like Garrett Crochet and see if you can’t acquire Aaron Judge and his bad toe.


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The key to trading for struggling superstars is to be opportunistic without coming off like a jerk. Fantasy GMs routinely speak to each other, and a bad trading reputation spreads a lot faster than a good one. Swim silently through these chum-filled waters, and strike with savvy and persistence. By the end of the month, you’ll be your league’s apex predator and eventual champion.

Howard Bender is the head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on X @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball news and advice. 


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