Indecent proposal

choo.jpgIn fantasy baseball and real life alike, everyone wants to “win” trades. The logic isn’t difficult. Everyone wants to get as much in return while giving up as little as possible. I’m sure there’s some obscure economic theory that sums this up far better and more succinctly than I can. The Mets stole Keith Hernandez from the Cardinals many moons ago and pulled off one of the worst swaps in recent memory in deal Scott Kazmir to the Rays for the one and only Victor Zambrano (last seen pitching for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic).

In my rookie year of fantasy ball in 2K7, I gave a competitor Miguel Cabrera for Tim Lincecum, Chris Young of the D-backs and Adam LaRoche. Three contributing players are better than one stud, right? Let’s just say I learned that to not be the case the hard way. I atoned for it last year, however, giving up Zack Greinke and — symmetrically — Gordon for Mark Teixeira.

The fact is, If you partake in fantasy baseball, you are bound to come across bad trade offers, for a variety of reasons. If your team is struggling, some shrewd contender will come along, looking to fleece you of your few desirable players. Others might look to fatten up their rosters on account of you’re being an idiot — an especially insulting assumption.

Such was the case in one of my leagues recently, when I happened upon an e-mail containing a trade proposal from a fellow GM. Curious, I thought, that an owner was already looking to wheel and deal just days after our draft, with Opening Day still nearly a week off.

It’s always exciting when you find a trade offer nestled safely in your inbox. What might it contain? Who is the owner — a chief competitor?

My excitement, however, soon gave way to incredulity.

The owner of You Are Killing Me, Smalls was dangling the prized “package” of Edgar Renteria, Mike Cameron and Travis Hafner — what essentially amounted to a heaping pile of waiver-wire fodder — for a pair of my starters, Mark DeRosa and Shin-Soo Choo.

Now, I would never argue DeRosa and Choo amount to much more than complementary fantasy players. Coming off a career year at age 34, DeRosa is now considered a prime regression candidate in a tougher league, and Choo, who had fallen from prized prospect to mere afterthought before breaking out in the second half of ’08 with the Tribe, is hardly a shoo-in to put up big numbers.

But Renteria, Cameron and Pronk? In 2005, sure, I’d be all over this one.

Now, I’m not naive. Many degenerates people live by the mantra that it’s immoral to let a sucker keep his money. Can the same be said of inept fantasy owners? It’s immoral to let a hack keep his best players? That’s why trades must be approved by commissioners or league vote, I suppose. You can’t fault a shrewd owner for trying … or can you?

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