Nothing is more of a power play than when you are at a poker table, face to face with a buddy (or maybe a guy you don’t like) and you push all your chips to the middle and saying the classic line, “All in!”
I think it is safe to say that with the acquisitions of Hanley Ramirez, Shane Victorino, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford the Los Angeles Dodgers are ‘all in’ on this year and for the short term.
The difference between the two which makes the poker play more dynamic is that your opponent doesn’t know if you are bluffing, have the nut (best possible hand) or if you just have good enough hand to provide a little hubris.
In poker your opponent decides right then and there whether to play it out or just fold. In sports – real or fantasy – our opponent is not likely to be pushed into just folding. The hope is that every team will play it out at least.
So the true key to going “all in” in fantasy baseball is to give your opponent less time to counter that move.
I made a trade in a fantasy league today. It’s not a blockbuster by any means, but it is a play to make sure the other owners know I am serious going into the deadline. The other owners now have four days to make a move if they feel they need to.
Likewise, I still have 4 days to make a real “all in” move. I certainly have a handful of guys that can be kept that would make nice trade chips, and there are a few nice options among players that cannot be kept next season. These types of scenarios always give you a better shot at making a power play for this year!
The trick is to not give up too much (read more here). Essentially a guy who cannot be kept for next year with only 5 weeks left in the fantasy season should be worth only about 65% of their normal trade value. Maximum.
In no world would I ever offer Nelson Cruz straight up for Adrian Gonzalez or Joey Votto and expect another owner to take it. Unless those guys cannot be kept and Cruz can be kept. Then this becomes a good trade for both sides.
You just have to know what is going to help you. Normally you wouldn’t trade Tommy Hanson straight up for Jose Valverde. But if you need the saves to put you over the top for a fantasy baseball title then it is a money trade scenario.
Finally, when going all in you need to figure out if your shot at the top is worth even sacrificing your future. Say you have your keepers set as Brian McCann, Albert Pujols, Dustin Pedroia, Jose Reyes and Yoenis Cespedes, yet you desperately need steals. Maybe you need to go all in send your absolute favorite player, Yoenis Cespedes, to a guy that can give you Michael Bourn. If the steals get you the championship you have always wanted, then the move won’t hurt so much the following season. Then again if you don’t win and don’t have your favorite player as a keeper, then you might be REALLY bitter.
Just some things to consider.