As a fantasy owner, I’ve always been in a bit of a pickle when I see a bad trade. What do I do? Do I vote against it? Make a post on the league message board? Talk privately to some friends in the league about it? Talk to either of the two parties involved in the bad trade? Just let it slide?
More often than not, I’ll just let it go, although that frequently does come with talking privately to some league mates about it. Every now and again, I’ll simply vote against it. Trades usually take four no votes to be vetoed and honestly, that’s extremely rare. Voting no is more symbolic to the league, especially the player who benefited so much from the bad deal. It’s just good to let people know that while a bad trade was made, it didn’t go unnoticed. Sometimes that serves as a deterrent for a future bad trade, which is the ultimate goal.
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve written about vetoes. Honestly, I doubt it will be the last, as this is something that comes up just about every year. This time, it was brought up by our friends and partners at the Dear Mr. Fantasy Podcast via their Facebook Page. The question was simple and direct. “Trade vetoes… Should they stay or should they go?”
Let’s delve a little deeper into this.
There are two kinds of vetoes that can take place. One is the scenario brought up earlier, where enough league members vote the trade down. The other is when an LM looks at the trade, deems it unfair, and says no to it. My opinion on these two things differs, so allow me to elaborate.
- The League Veto
These are very rare occurrences. While I have no problem with owners who generally stay away from voting these trades down, I also have no problem when these occur. The reason is simple.
Let’s say that you’re in a 12-team league and the scenario above is also true, where you need four votes to overturn a trade. For a trade to be vetoed, a third of the league has to look at the trade and probably not only rule that it’s a bit one-sided, but so bad that it shouldn’t be allowed. Actually, it’s less than one-third of relevant voters. Assuming the two parties involved in the trade aren’t vetoing it, you’re looking at four of 10 people saying that. Now, factor in that there are people who NEVER vote trades down, and others who even in competitive leagues don’t really pay much attention.
People do have a right to try to keep the league competitive and prevent one team from loading up in unfair trades. Again, trades usually take four or more people to vote down. Honestly, if anyone more than one or two people vote a trade down, it’s probably a sign that the trade just shouldn’t be happening.
- The LM Veto
These should never happen, with these three exceptions.
- One owner meant to reject the trade and accidentally accepted it. Usually, there’s a warning screen after that, but not always. In this case, it’s up to the LM. If he wants to be a good guy and reject the trade, it’s his call. If he wants to take a “No means no, yes means yes” stance, it’s also his call. As an LM myself, it would probably depend on the trade. If it’s just a little biased towards one team, I’d probably say no to the idea of rejecting it. I just can’t trust that the person actually made a mistake. What’s more likely is that he accepted it and later regretted it and is now looking for a way out. If it’s a horribly one-sided deal where saying yes was clearly a mistake, I’ll likely veto it. I couldn’t imagine anyone ever trading Miguel Cabrera for Brandon Crawford and Ricky Nolasco. If I see that trade accepted, I’d guess that it was an actual mistake and overturn it.
- In the time after the trade was made but before it was processed, one of the key players sustained a major injury. The timing of this has to be perfect. On May 25, 2011, Buster Posey got hurt. It was abundantly clear to anyone who saw that that he would not be returning any time soon. It wasn’t announced until the next day that he’d be out for the year, but anyone could tell immediately that he wouldn’t be back any sooner than a few months. If someone made a trade for Posey that morning, I’d say that that trade should be overturned. I do appreciate and understand the buyer beware theory, and I know that injuries are a part of sports. But if you’re talking about a trade that hasn’t even been processed, I’d say it’s okay to veto it. If the trade happened on May 20 and had already been punished, then the owner who acquired Posey has no real room to complain. Injuries are a part of the game. Also, if someone acquired Matt Kemp just before he got put on the DL, I’d say that that trade should stand. The injury isn’t though to be a long-term thing, so there’s no real reason to veto it.
- The trade clearly benefits one team over the other. This one can be a little more complicated than people think.
The natural word that comes to mind here is collusion. There’s a few ways collusion could happen. Maybe a few owners are friends/family and compete in multiple leagues together. Something like, “You help me win this league, I’ll help you win the other.” Maybe it’s a return league and they alternate years. It can be tricky to prove this but if it happens, both players need to be kicked out of the league immediately, no exceptions.
There are a few other scenarios that aren’t quite as cut and dry. Nash and I run a cash league together. In the first year of that league, there were a lot of beginners. One of them quickly realized that fantasy baseball was not for him and quit a month in. But before he quit, he offered me a trade that was about the equivalent of paying $10 for a Ferrari. It was late at night and I accepted. The next day, I told Nash what was up and said that he should actually veto the trade (I was not yet an LM). Nash vetoed it and that was more or less the end of it. I shouldn’t have accepted that trade, but it wasn’t something I should have been kicked out for, either. Again, I accepted the trade, it was offered to me. The trade should have been vetoed, and that should have been the end of it, which it was.
That’s not the only time a trade should be vetoed but with no more action taken. Some people just don’t know as much as others and feel the need to make trades. So, maybe they’ll offer an abysmal trade to someone. Of course, the other person will accept and it should be vetoed, but that’s the end of it. By the way, that scenario seems crazy, but it happens more than some may think. A relatively inexperienced player gets into a league with guys who know what they’re doing and make trades. I actually understand the idea that someone like that feels they need to make a trade to keep up. Again, I’d veto a terrible move, but nobody needs to see the door.
With the exception of those scenarios, I just don’t think LM’s should ever veto trades. Now, if you have an LM who’s not a league member, I might take a different stance. But if someone’s willing to be an LM in a league they don’t even participate in, I’d say that person has WAY too much time on his hands.
But remember, with that exception, LM’s are members of the league, and probably on competitive teams. That’s where them stepping in and vetoing a trade gets dicey.
Right now, I’m an LM of a league that I’m in first place in. Other than the trades I’ve made, I literally have not seen one trade this year that didn’t make me roll my eyes. For lack of a better phrase, paranoia sets in. You not only think that the second through fifth place teams are gunning for you (which they should be), but also that the teams at the bottom are specifically out to get you, so they’re trading their best players for nothing to the next best teams.
If you take fantasy baseball seriously and have spent a good amount of time in first place, I guarantee that you’ve had similar emotions. They’re not rational. I have no reason to believe that any of the other owners at the bottom dislike me. Actually, it’s a dynasty league that I’ve never won, so the notion that they may be tired of one guy winning and want to see someone else win doesn’t even hold up. Again, there’s rarely anything rational about these thoughts, but they exist.
So this is why I don’t like one guy deciding to veto the trade, with very few exceptions. Even with those exceptions, one guy is doing the actual veto, but I guarantee he’s hearing from other league members. It’s officially his decision, but he’s not making it one his own — and never should.