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June 19, 2014

TTO Scoresheet Podcast

Handling Lopsided Trades

by Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

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We’ve all been there. You open up your email or check your league’s transactions and find a newly reported trade. Only, wait. That can’t be right. Mike Trout for a Pu Pu platter of scrubs? Polanco for an 18th-rounder? And it isn’t Placido Polanco? Yu Darvish for some tortillas and a roll of paper towels?

Reactions typically follow the five stages of grief:

  1. Denial: “Surely this trade is a typo. Or a bizarre joke, maybe?”
  2. Anger: “Man, that guy who owns team 2 is such a schmuck! It isn’t fair. Why do I get stuck in the leagues with the idiots?”
  3. Bargaining: “Maybe I can organize a veto. Or figure out a trade to bilk team 2 even worse.”
  4. Depression: “I hate everything.”
  5. Acceptance: “There’s always next year.”

Haha, just kidding. Maybe you get five seconds of denial before going straight to pure, unadulterated rage. Where you’ll stay. For days, possibly.

We understand. Believe us, we’ve been there. And we aren’t just talking about the times where we were on the wrong end of an immediately lopsided trade. But we’d humbly like to suggest you take a little bit of time to step back and breathe before doing anything rash.

In almost cases, we strongly oppose vetoing trades. The only big exception is for collusion. Most Scoresheet players have been playing the game for years, but regardless, we’ve all ponied up serious cash to play. Which doesn’t mean everyone knows what they are doing, but it does seem highly unlikely someone would pay good money to simply troll people in Scoresheet.

Most of the time, someone simply made a bad trade. All of us have at some point, right? Even if it may have kinda sorta looked OK at first. We certainly wish we could have that Jhoulys Chacin for Oscar Taveras trade back, but that doesn’t mean it should have been vetoed. The larger point is that in the vast majority of cases some actual thought went into completing a trade. Maybe you disagree with the line of reason. Maybe most rational people would disagree with the line of reason. But it is a little presumptuous to tell an owner his thinking is poor.

Because that’s essentially what you are doing with a veto. Telling an owner he isn’t capable of running his own team. That he needs extra oversight because he can’t be trusted on his own. There’s probably a political metaphor somewhere in there, but we kindly suggest you don’t make it. Why would anyone want to be in a league where the other owners tell them what trades they can or can’t make?

Come to think of it, why would you want to be in a league where you feel like you are way smarter than the other owners? Sure, winning is nice, but at a certain point, defeating a bunch of four year olds loses meaning. Every year there are plenty of leagues with strong owners looking to fill orphaned slots. There’s always abandoned charity cases. Rebuilding a team and taking it to a championship is always a satisfying challenge. So why waste your time in leagues with owners you don’t respect?

Of course, there are always special circumstances. What do you do when a Scoresheet newbie gets fleeced? Or when a Scoresheet veteran new to a league with complicated rules makes a trade suggesting he may not entirely understand those rules?

One always-tempting option is to call out their stupidity over group email or the message board. In a league consisting entirely of friends or people who have played together for at least season or two, yes, a good public insult of the trade is a must. But when dealing with a newbie, perhaps a gentler touch would be advisable. A private message explaining what sort of impact the rules of your league have on trades will more quickly make the erring owner competitive and potentially gain you a trade partner for the future.

In worst-case scenarios, such as the prospect of collusion or someone continually taking advantage of the one weak owner, blaring out “J’accuse!” may not be the best course of action. Here, we recommend turning to the man with the most thankless job of all: the commissioner. Commissioners can more diplomatically investigate and guide leaguemates toward a more harmonious solution.

Lopsided trades are going to happen. One option is to respond based on your immediate, visceral reaction. While that might provide the best short-term relief, we suggest taking a moment to consider what might make you best off in the long term.

In the podcast: This week the Outcomes discuss lopsided trades in the form of actual reader questions and theoretical constructs. They also discuss the World Cup, because, come on, how could they not?

Download Here (52:33)
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Related Content:  Podcast,  Scoresheet,  Fantasy

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