Option to not use Vickrey auctions

Hi Niv,

Has there ever been discussion on allowing a league setting to change the bidding to a style where you pay what you bid? The current system is great but I’ve had a few bidders that seem to ruin the fun a bit because they bid $8-$12 on every player and usually end up only paying $3 because nobody else in the league thinks the player is worth $8-$12 dollars (and they are not). There are counterbalances to this and some nuances but having the option to just make people pay what they bid if they win instead of just $1 more than the second highest bid seems like a nice feature.

Thank you.

Vickrey auctions are a core part of the Ottoneu experience and there will never be an option to not use them.

There are a lot of conversations about why Vickrey auctions are essential to the Ottoneu experience in the forums:

Vickrey auctions are the best method to getting a market-like pricing without having everyone available to live bid in a marketplace setting. The fact that players that aren’t worth $11 aren’t going for $11 is a feature, not a bug. If someone predictably overbids on every player, you can also catch their hand in the cookie jar and punish them, but the fact that it is risky to do stuff like that is again a good thing.

You can read more about the theory behind Vickrey auctions on Wikipedia:


Hi Niv,

Appreciate the feedback and explanation. I do agree that Vickrey Auctions help players get paid their true value at the time. My hesitation is I’m worried there is a “loophole” in aggressively betting high on a lot of players and then simply cutting ones that don’t pan out. Yes you rack up a lot of cut penalty but the surplus value of a $4 Spencer Strider or $3 Shane McClanahan easily makes that back… this is a theory not saying its concrete.

The other part is that the bidding of one person is souring the experience for the rest of the league. I think I’ve talked myself into the simpler solution though, remove that manager!

Thanks for the support Niv, Otto just gets better every year!

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Based on what you’ve shared, in the abstract bidding aggressively for free agents and then cutting them when they don’t work out is a perfectly valid strategy in Ottoneu. In fact, thats what it looks like in most leagues, particularly those that are comprised of Ottoneu veterans. The most successful teams are often the most active on the FA market, which invariably leads to higher prices on players they don’t win. While that can get annoying, it really isn’t a legit reason for booting someone from a league midseason, IMHO.

For a variety of reasons, Ottoneu is more of a quasi dynasty than a true dynasty, so there will be a good deal of more nontrade in-season player turnover compared to a true dynasty league. Again, seems to me like this guy is just playing to win within the rules of the format and every Ottoneu league is better off having highly active, aggressive FA bidders. There are other formats that reward more conservative buy-and-hold strategies that lead to far less nontrade in-season turnover. Some people prefer those sorts of leagues to Ottoneu.


I agree with you that it is perfectly valid and within the rules. It has just gotten to the point where it is lessening the enjoyment for the rest of the league. As commissioner I don’t want to boot someone for playing by the rules but also have to take into account the enjoyment for others. When you have someone bidding $13 on someone else’s Harold Ramirez auction and then cutting them 2 weeks later it can be a bit tiring. If it were there own auction it wouldn’t be so bad but you know he doesn’t value Jonathan Aranda at $9. Is it not out of the norm to have 75 cuts by this point in the season?

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Why is that tiring? That person can no longer bid on that player, they have a cap penalty (unless someone else immediately signs them, in which case it seems they are still valued appropriately.) It can only happen once per player and they are still beholden by salary cap/roster spots.

This strategy is countered easily by the rest of the league being active/engaged/bidding similarly. In my own experience, this only turns into an advantage if the rest of the league is trying to get cute and save $1 or $2 habitually and never takes any risk.

Certainly not knocking the request and I can understand the frustration watching your league allow it to happen over and over again but that seems a failure of engagement/proper player valuation by the rest of the league, at least in my experience.

EDIT: Also stating, I love the Vickrey system. IMO it forces you to put your money where your mouth is and allows you access to any player you want at any time if you are willing to pay the price.


This, exactly this!


The problem is the rest of the league is not valuing Harold Ramirez at $13 nor should they IMO. Vickrey is supposed to encourage bidding close to what you think the true value is and I don’t think that’s the case here.

It can be countered with the rest of the league bidding a lot higher than what they think the true value of a player is but then we are all changing our bid tendencies and valuations for one guy?

Say He bids $20 on someone worth $5 and someone else catches his hand in the cookie jar and forces him to pay $12. Well he then cuts that player and once they go on waiver for $6 and are claimed for what people would actually pay he’s off the hook.

Just seems like a toxic way to bid IMO!

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In this scenario, he missed out on adding an appropriately valued $6 player and boosted his opponents by providing a price controlled fairly priced asset. He is objectively worse off than before the auction began. I don’t think that’s “off the hook”.


I think one of the gaps is that true value of a player and the price you pay for that player are two separate things and the true value of a player is league specific. One league I am in, Jhoulys Chacin went for $37 dollars with a max bid of $52 in 2019. This bidding was between two teams fighting for 1st place the last few days of the season and Jose Altuve was cut to make the cap work.
This was my 1st year and I was shocked to see this. Point being value changes throughout the season.

Without context of what place in the standings this team is in it’s hard to know their motivation for bidding high. If a team high in the standings really needs OF help and wants Harold Ramirez then they know it’s gonna cost em and hard decisions will need to be made on who to cut. Or Ramirez becomes a trade asset with a loan. No doubt it’s frustrating, but there’s ways to make it a benefit.


In this scenario he gets to wipe his hands clean and the other team isn’t really boosted if they aren’t getting surplus value all else being equal.

If he does this all the time eventually that player is worth $45 and he gets a phenomenal asset. It’s like a free trial period on all players.

I definitely agree with this, value depends on context. I can tell you there is not context to these bids it’s just consistently bidding very high.

I think you both have valid points but both would also not enjoy having this team in your league lol!

When I initially read the post, I was wondering if the owner in question was Big Papi. I’m in several leagues with him. Very good, active owner who is in like half of all Ottoneu baseball leagues. Reasonable to deal with in my experience. I will concede that his FA bids can be frustrating because he’ll go all in to get someone he believes in, but not really in a bad way.

FWIW, I think you made a mistake giving him the boot. Looking through the transaction log for his former team, nothing really strikes me as unusual. I wouldn’t have done some of them (e.g., cutting Arozarena back in May), but I’m not seeing any sort of unusual activity that would have caused me to remove an owner in the interest of preserving the competitive balane of the league. But that’s just me.


Putting this on the record: I think kicking someone out of a league because you don’t like the way they bid is astoundingly poor form. The answer, as multiple people have said in this thread, is to adjust your valuation of players.


The owner is not Big Papi and I haven’t booted the team. Going to talk to the manager and league before I do anything. Was just wondering if this was an option. I’ve come around to wanting to keep the Vickrey system regardless. Thanks Niv and everyone else for feedback.

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I did look through the transaction log a bit and it is kinda similar to what I’ve seen.

Are you telling me that you think he values these three guys all at $12? Or is it more likely that he knows their value is closer to $3 and will automatically win the auction?

Moises Gomez
Alec Burleson
Oswald Peraza

If the league were to adjust their bidding in this system then all of the sudden these AAA non prospects are worth $12? Seems a bit inflated to me when across Otto they are $2 on average…

There’s definitely a strategy out there of bidding closer to what their upside is instead of bidding to current value. Then you can secure the lottery ticket for yourself and if they pop, you have a little surplus. If they don’t pop, you are stuck with a cap penalty but at least you got the first chance to see.

Once another team or two get that same idea in their head and enough of those lottery tickets don’t hit, it tends to change. But if a couple of those guys somehow got starting jobs (at one point possible for any of them) they’d be worth closer to $15 than $3.

To be clear, this is not the strategy for me, I’d rather someone else take that risk. But we have a couple of teams that like doing that in league 1 from time to time.


Just to add another opinion here, this is also the time of year that I personally will bid or hold overpriced players so that I can cut them in the off-season and let them enter next season’s auction. In addition to guaranteeing I get that player what it also does is prevent someone from getting a low cost keeper or a free low cost add that helps them compete this year. If I win, hold, cut then the entire league gets the opportunity to bid on that player at the draft or better yet that player has a stellar ROS and now they’re a trade chip.

For example I have a team that has no business competing this year but I still bid $10 for Lars Nootbaar, not because I think he is a $10 player but because I could afford to carry him through the rest of the season without hurting my squad in the future. Two other teams bid and one bid was to help compete ($5) and the other was to add as a likely keeper ($4), but because I won the auction now I control the future of Nootbaar in this league. There’s a lot of strategy involved with the Vickery auction format and it’s one of my favorite parts of Ottoneu so while it can be frustrating that one manager is consistently overbidding to control the market, you never really know what they’re trying to do and it’s really just part of the game.


Thanks for the insight guys. I appreciate the other points of view.