If you want to be a successful fantasy baseball player, you have to know the rules of the league you are in. Know what statistics are used, innings minimums/maximums, at-bats minimums/maximums, that kind of stuff. That should go without saying, but too often people are left clueless over things they should know (“I would never have drafted Jay Bruce if I knew that Ks against was used”). Members of a league also need to know how a trade goes from two parties agreeing on it, to actually becoming official.
In the case of some leagues, the LM has all of the power. He’ll see a trade, look over it, and approve it or decline it. This is not something that I recommend, as there’s too much potential for someone to complain about a Conflict of Interest. No, I like the veto system.
First of all, I rarely ever vote a trade down. Normally, I am of the mindset that two people who know the game entered into an agreement, let that be the end of it. I know that both Clave and Nash share that attitude far more often than not.
That attitude is fine 99 percent of the time. Even if a trade ends up being one-sided, it doesn’t mean that it was a bad move when it was made. After all, you can’t predict that someone’s going to get hurt, or go through an awful slump. Every now and again, I will see a trade between two people who are related, or I know to be close friends. If said trade is blatantly one-sided, then I will vote it down, especially if the team getting the better end of the deal is contending while the other isn’t.
But maybe you’re a little more proactive, or up in the air on the issue. I am here to tell you that it’s fine to be that way. There is nothing wrong with looking at a trade and voting it down, even if you don’t think collusion was at play.
It’s also okay to try to get the league’s attention on the matter. Go to the message board and say something like this.
“Hey, I noticed Person A traded Matt Kemp to Person B for J.P. Arencibia. I would really like to know what Person A was thinking, because this looks like a horrible trade to me. Unless I hear something good, I am going to vote it down and think the other owners should do the same.”
That is a perfectly fine post to make. Where league mates get annoyed is if a person makes a post that somehow makes it seem as though this trade was done to screw him over. I guarantee that there isn’t a league with 10 or more people in it that doesn’t include at least one of these guys. If there’s a way to quarantine these kinds of players, I would love to hear it. But if we’re looking at potentially vetoing a trade, don’t be that guy. That’s where people get annoyed and tune you out.
It is also not okay to just decide to vote down any trades that involve someone you don’t really care for, or to accept any moves that involve friends of yours while taking a hard line on others. If I am running a league, the quickest way for someone to get the boot out is to show inconsistent effort, and those kind of actions certainly qualify.
So, if you’re an LM (or a prospective one), this is a blueprint for what to do in the veto period.
- Give a period of time between 24 and 48 hours between an accepted trade and a processed one for league members to approve it or vote it down.
- Make it so just under half of the league has to vote it down for the veto to take place. If you’re in a 10-12 league team, four people works well.
- Don’t ever automatically process a trade. There are two problems with doing this. One is that you don’t give the rest of your league a chance to be heard. Two is that you leave yourself vulnerable to be accused of something, even if you’re not doing anything wrong. Think about it. If the trade involves you, you know about it immediately and will process it then. If the trade involves two other members, it may take you a few hours to process the move, meaning that the players won’t show up on their new teams until the next day. This can make a huge difference, especially in a weekly head to head league. Make the period of time between the trade being accepted and processed consistent and known to the whole league. They have no room to complain when this happens.
- Don’t veto a trade as an LM unless it’s obvious collusion. Obviously, if we’re talking about someone who is about to quit the league unloading his best players to a friend of his, step in and explain why. Otherwise, your vote shouldn’t count any more than any of the league’s other members.
- If you’re trying to decide if it’s obvious collusion, talk to a league member that you trust. Better yet, talk to someone not involved in the league in any way, but who knows the game. There’s a difference between obvious collusion (which needs to be struck down by the LM) and a bad trade (which needs to be left open to the rest of the league). If you’re having a hard time placing which group a certain trade belongs in, seek a second or third opinion.
- Make the period of time known to the league members. Usually, 24 hours is plenty, as it gives everyone a chance to check the league at a reasonable time of day, regardless of time zone. Depending on how active your league us, you may want to move it to 36 or 48 hours. Don’t go beyond 48, the people who are involved in the trade need to know what their team is going to look like. If a person goes two days without voting or making his opinion known, he has no right to complain.
- Be consistent. Again, don’t express outrage when a guy you really don’t like ends up on the right end of a bad deal, but endorse another bad deal that benefits a friend, or hurts a person you don’t care for. If you are inconsistent in any way, I suggest you look for other leagues to play in, because you shouldn’t be in that one for a long time.
- Don’t be afraid to be active, or campaign. If you think a trade is bad, make it known to other people in your league. Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t, but there’s nothing wrong with sticking to your guns.
- If you decide to let all trades through, keep your mouth shut if a team gets hot as a result of it. At the risk of getting political, this is similar advice I would give someone who doesn’t vote in an election. If you don’t take the time to vote or care, that’s your business and I won’t question you on it. But I also won’t be too patient to listen to you complain that things aren’t going the way you wanted them to. Be active or get out of the way. Either as fine, as long as you stick to the same guns throughout the course of a season.