Alright, so I added a part to that saying. The statement is still true, mostly. Well lets be honest, somehow none of them are true anymore. I am sure that there are many divorced people and other scorned lovers that have found that courts do not agree with this saying. The war part still gets me every time the media talks about the rules of war. The Geneva Convention was last updated in 1949 and set the guidelines for war. Finally, we have the veto rules for trades that hopefully keep teams from working together.
It sounds great to have the rules to keep people civilized. What we find is that people will do what they want when it comes to these areas. Love is such a strong feeling that you can not hardly stop yourself from doing foolish things. Most of us have been there and if you have not I hope you are someday. It is great to feel a love that makes you act in foolish ways, even if that love is lost at some point. War is a horrible thing that unfortunately we may never get rid of. The rules try to make it more civilized. The rules only work if both sides play by the same rules. Because, at some point people will get desperate to win and all the rules are forgotten by one of the sides. Same is true in fantasy baseball. We all want to win and sometimes people have been known to cross the line of fair play. Long standing leagues have fallen apart due to this need to win.
But who says what is fair?
In redraft leagues this is much easier to recognize. As everyone should be playing for this year. The real problem comes in those keeper and dynasty leagues. How do you tell what is a fair deal when it can affect teams for several years to come? This is why I believe that All is Fair in Keeper League Trades! Lets say a team is dumping salary and getting little in return, this does not make it unfair and can actually hurt the team taking on the better players in the long run. This is one team selling out to win this year while another packs it in to set themselves up for next year or years. It is what makes keeper leagues so interesting. Leagues that have salary, contracts, or rounds tied to players give fantasy baseball so much more depth in strategy.
It is always frustrating when you are in a dogfight for the championship only to see that your rival just loaded up on hitters from an also ran. This is just means you now need to either hope for the best and trust your team or up the ante. This can make for some wild trading after all star break. Whenever you can you should be trying to win now. Just know that if you are out of it in a keeper league there is so much to be gained. This is why I think that there should almost never be a vetoed trade in keeper leagues.
Now what I did not say is that you should drop your veto rules. Maybe adjust them or clarify what type of trades should be looked at as vetoable. You do not want to lose a long standing league over something that is clearly wrong. So don’t let your feelings get hurt when your fellow owners make a trade where one team is looking ahead while the other is playing for right now. Even if it really hurts your chances of winning that year, don’t organize a veto party. A veto can hurt this type of league as much as a bad trade. Realize that it was a missed opportunity for you to make a trade and then try to counter it if you feel your team needs it. This is what keeper leagues are all about.
What we find in the saying, all is fair in love and war, is that when people are passionate about something it can cause them to act in ways that are not appropriate. So, we find ourselves trying to regulate them. This may work to a point but it will never keep everyone in line. Lovers will still do things that no one understands. War still causes men to do unspeakable things to others. The fantasy team owner will still try to win at the cost of his league. Passion is what makes life great and dangerous. Try only to tame the passion when it truly hurts others(in keeper leagues anyway). Remember that they will need to live with those decisions and how it affects their teams in the years to come.
Keeper leagues are my favorite fantasy league to be a part of. There is always a reason to check your team, do research, and dream of your team taking home multiple titles. As a whole, I find that keeper leagues keep people’s attention which creates an environment favorable for trading. I have used this time of year to make trades that have pushed my teams to titles and also to build for the future. Just last year I found myself in no mans land in the rankings. I had a limited chance to make a run to just get in the money. I decided it would do me better to build for the future. It was time to have the great sell off. The thing you want to make sure of in your sell off is that you have a plan for the future.
How do you build that fantasy dynasty? First rule is to always build with position players. The amount of injuries that pitchers have along with the fact that there are very few pitchers who year in year out are great. The ones that are constantly good are already priced at a level that lessons their keeper value. Hitters have a much more steady track record. You still have the ups and downs with some(Jason Heyward), but there are many more hitters than pitchers sustaining a certain level of production.
Now that we are focused on hitters, lets look at your current keepers? Where are you strong, and where do you have holes? The last thing you want to do is handcuff yourself with 3 first basemen. Do not limit your roster flexibility, even though they may all be values. Find the positions you need to fill and then start looking for players that have good keeper value at that position. Hopefully, you will find one on a team in or near contention. Putting that team in the WIN NOW mode.
Next, you need to KNOW the team and the owner of the player you covet. No not who they are, but how they run their team, what type of players they like, what they think they need to win, and how much do they like the player you want. If this is a keeper league, you probably have been playing more than this year. If so, I always look back and try to see how that owner builds their rosters. Who they bid on. What kind of players they bid an extra $1 on. This will give you an idea of what type of player to offer them. Also, look at what trades they have made in the past. Have they given up young talent in the past to try to win now? Have they traded a star player for a closer before? Do they have a log jam at a position? Do they have a significant lead in a category? Is there a category where they are close to or bunched up with other teams. Last, is to find out how much they like the player you want and if there are any guys you have that they want. Its great when you get a chance to talk to the guys in your league about baseball. There is always information to be gleaned from these conversations. They want to tell you how this guy they drafted is amazing, or how they are not sure what to do with the three first basemen they have. People want to tell you their thoughts on their team. Let Them!!!
This seems like a lot of research, right? Well, yes it is. However, if you want to build that dynasty, you need to take the time to find a player with keeper value. One that will turn a profit for years. You then need to move players that are not going to have keeper value to you. Remember, for every team that is trying to rebuild there is one trying to WIN NOW. That guy does not care if he has to dump a bunch of players at the season’s end. His goal is to get that trophy, yahoo bath, bragging rights, or cold hard cash NOW. Help him win today, let him help you win next year, and the next year, and …
It is not easy to decide to rebuild. I had to make that choice last year in my Home league. It was time to rebuild after finishing in the money two out of the last three seasons and a near miss in the other. My team had some cap issues and contract issues. I had been that WIN NOW guy. Which is what you should be almost every year. I hate giving up. Even worse is looking at the standings for the last month and seeing my team drop to dead last. I ended with one of the leagues lowest point totals ever. It is worth it now as I have just moved into first place in that league. Amazing that one year ago I chose to rebuild and ended the season in dead last. I feel good about my team, and think I am set up for the next few years. However, I will be working those trading lines from the other side this year. Back in my WIN NOW mode!!!!