A Trade Odyssey – Tout Wars Style

It started with trade talks involving Carlos Gonzalez, Jered Weaver, Kyle McClellan, Carlos Beltran and A.J. Burnett in late June.  Over 200 emails were exchanged in slightly over a month, including close to 50 in a 24-hour period ending at 7:00 pm on August 1st.  And finally, Nando DiFino and Fred Zinkie were able to complete a fantasy baseball trade!

This deal came closer to the deadline than the U.S. Budget Crisis, with the final trade being agreed upon by a slightly sweaty DiFino following his Monday gym workout while an exhausted Zinkie forwarded the details to the league commissioner on an overused and slightly greasy Iphone before finishing making Monday’s dinner.

You see, neither Nando nor myself would budge over the past month.  We started with a simple premise.  I had recently traded C.J. Wilson so we wanted to send some of Nando’s pitching depth my way in an effort to upgrade his hitting roster by obtaining the surging Carlos Gonzalez.  But, we just couldn’t agree on the names.  And then Gonzalez gut hurt.  And then my pitching staff surged ahead without Wilson.  And then Nando’s hitters caught fire.  And then Weaver lost his cool in Detroit. O.K., that didn’t have anything to do with the trade talks but it made for a really interesting baseball game on Sunday!  Nando got cold feet on dealing Weaver.  I decided that I would stay married to Gonzalez, limp wrist and all.  And through the month of July, the following players’ names popped up in trade offers between Nando and myself:

Geovany Soto, Mark Teixeira, Chris Davis, Alexei Ramirez, Neil Walker, Howie Kendrick, Michael Bourn, Curtis Granderson, Andrew McCutchen, Eric Thames, Melky Cabrera, Aubrey Huff, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Ellis, Carlos Gonzalez, Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Jhoulys Chaci, Jaime Garcia, A.J. Burnett, Dillon Gee, Carl Pavano, Kyle McClellan, Evan Longoria, Edwin Encarnacion, Chase Utley, Elvis Andrus, Dan Uggla, Carlos Beltran, Brett Gardner, Josh Hamilton, Torii Hunter, Mitch Moreland, Justin Smoak, Chone Figgins, Jered Weaver, Ricky Romero, Drew Storen, Zack Greinke, Kyle Farnsworth, Trevor Cahill and Carlos Carrasco!

I’m not exaggerating, all of those players were included in at least one trade offer over the past month!  And, most of them came up in multiple proposals.

At this point you have to be asking yourself, why would these two idiots continue to negotiate a trade for such a long time after so many failures.  Well, maybe Nando and myself are just really, really comfortable with being failures!  But I think the real reason was that we each knew that the other guy was putting a lot of effort into trying to find a deal.  All our emails back and forth were returned in a timely manner.  And, neither of us sent back “trade killing” emails such as, “sorry, that doesn’t work for me”.  When you get that email back from a fantasy owner what he really means is, “your offer stinks and I don’t even feel like talking with you”.  Or, “I’m too lazy to even put time into looking at your roster and making a suggestions on a way to change your offer”.  Neither of us sent emails of that nature.  Every trade that was turned down (and there were a lot of them!) was countered or at least declined with some suggestion on what needed to be changed.  So, we both stuck with it.  We usually took mental breaks from negotiating from Tuesday to Saturday each week and then fired the trade machine back up on Sunday and saw what it came out with.

Over the month we both got the evil eye from the wives for negotiating during movies, TV shows and late into the evenings. I personally became an expert on how to hold a one-year-old in one hand while emailing Nando on my phone with the other hand, all while singing songs from Sesame Street to keep “Junior” entertained and simultaneously scanning Nando’s roster within the deeper reaches of brain to put together the next offer.  I have his current roster memorized – you can test me on it!

We reached a breakthrough on Sunday afternoon when I emailed Nando the concept of swapping Mark Teixeira’s power for Kevin Youkilis’ batting average.  Knowing that he craved Youkilis, he wrote back that if I could sweeten the pot a bit we would have a deal.  50 emails later, it came together with just moments to spare on Monday evening.  The deal:  I receive Mark Teixeira and Melky Cabrera for Kevin Youkilis and Shane Victorino.  On the simple premise that I needed power and Nando needed speed we were finally able to make a trade.

We both commented that our brains hurt when the process was finished.  I’m not sure who will “win” the trade but I hope that both of us make out alright.  I’m worried about taking on Cabrera but he has been great this season and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.  I just need this career year to flow all the way to the finish line. He’s a top-10 outfielder on the ESPN Player Rater and I’m hoping that at worst his production slows down and doesn’t fall off a cliff. If he’s a top-30 OF the rest of the way I’ll be satisfied.  And I’ll be honest, I can’t stand Kevin Youkilis.  I traded for him to fill my third base at the expense of Chris Young back in June.  But I never liked him.  I feel like he’s day-to-day every three days with some ailment.  There’s a fine line between gritty player and whiner and I’m not sure which side of that line Youkilis fits on.  If he didn’t hit cleanup in the best offense in baseball, I wouldn’t want anything to do with him.  I’ll be honest about another thing – I hate the Yankees as much as Youkilis.  I now own the heart of their order with Curtis Granderson and Teixeira but I still won’t watch them play unless they are taking on my beloved Blue Jays.  I’m hoping to get about seven extra homers by switching from Youkilis to Teixeira and that Cabrera’s numbers will be at least similar to Victorino’s.

A final note:  They say that football is a game of inches.  For obvious reasons, I’ll say that fantasy baseball is a game of centimeters.  I said that I spent weeks working with Nando on a deal to get more homers.  Watch what happened in the six hours following the deal:

1. I started Jhoulys Chacin last night.  The Rockies were one strike away from securing my Tout Wars team a win when Huston Street served up a two-run shot and blew the lead.  The following inning Victorino (who I traded five hours earlier) goes deep.  Down one win, down one homer.

2. I bid $2 on Lucas Duda.  That bid was matched by Scott Swanay, who won Duda based on a lower place in the standings.  I could have argued that my toonie was worth slightly more than his $2 U.S. but that would earn me a one-way ticket back to a free, 10-team ESPN league!  Three hours into Duda’s first game on Scott’s roster he goes deep.  Two homers down.

3. Aubrey Huff had hit one homer since June 3 (while on my bench, off my closer at the time Heath Bell, costing me a save, by the way).  I use Huff almost every week but decided to sit him down, picking up Laynce Nix and his 14 homers to use instead.  Five hours into this week’s action Huff smacks a solo shot.  Three homers down.

Little things…..an extra dollar on Duda…….passing up on Nix and sticking with my boy Huff……Nando finishing his workout ten minutes later……..and I have three more homers this morning.  But, over a 162 game season these things will all even out, right??!!


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