Support for no loans and loan maximums

I’m in two leagues with rules that limit loans. One makes loans illegal, and the other limits net outgoing loans for any team to $50 ($350 cap floor).

It would be nice to have some official support for these types of rules. First, an option to disable loans, and second, an option to set a salary cap minimum, where if a team goes below that minimum, they enter an illegal state.


I agree here with David. As add ins like this become more prevalent the ability to set these parameters inside the system would be extremely helpful.

I’m in the first 20 team ottoneu league, and as we discuss competitive balance I had a thought. Is it possible to either limit loans say a max salary including loans of $425 or not allow them post auction until, let’s say, the end of May or something. My thought is this could potentially help keep someone from dumping a bunch of talented players for a cheap prospect a month into the season.

I agree that would be an awesome function to add.

My first instinctive reaction is to agree, because special options can make a league unique, which can be a selling point for people who dislike something in the standard settings or want to try something new. However,there is something special about Ottoneu’s unique economy and I would want to have a clear label for “standard” Otto leagues, to make comparison possible across the Ottoverse. For example, I would want in my standard FGP league to be able to see average salary across just the standard FGP leagues.

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Could someone make an argument as to why no-loans leagues and loan minimum leagues are good? Just for the sake of posterity, if nothing else.

There may be an argument for a global loan limit lurking out there.

It seems to be the common reactionary response when people don’t like the prospect heavy side of a swap for star players.

Personally I think it limits potential strategies and would dramatically decrease trading in most Ottoneu leagues. How does an owner who screwed up their player valuations while drafting, move those flawed assets to rebuild?


I agree with Leif that standard Ottoneu leagues experience this reactionary response. However, the two main arguments I’ve seen for special rules is that tanking should only be allowed after you’ve tried to win and failed (e.g, the no loans before end of May version above), or that tanking with loans allows those who trade prospects for stars to dominate a league at the expense of those who draft well. The second version seems like a misunderstanding of Ottoneu or a wish for something like Ottoneu but without the free-wheeling trade economy. If you want to accommodate that wish, I hope you will label standard vs non-standard, so player values can be differentiated.

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I’ve never heard of “no loans before June 1” but that sounds kind of neat.

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Right. To acquire stars with prospects requires that that team have accumulated those prospects to trade in the first place, most likely via the draft. As with all commodities, there are two types of values: use value and exchange value. And then that’s compounded by a temporal dimension. “Draft(ing) well” requires a balance between the two types of value that is aligned with your current set of competitive goals. Maximizing across those dimensions subject to multiple constraints is the whole point of Ottoneu.

For example, if I drafted a $1 Royce Lewis last year and then trade him midseason for a $20 (or whatever) Zack Greinke with the goal of winning that year, then I’ve drafted well (even if I cut Greinke in the off-season). Or at least better than the guy who spent his $1 on Derek Holland instead of a prospect and then complains about loan trades year-after-year where he consistently finishes in 5th place. Now Holland had a very good year last year and yielded a high ROI, but I’d still rather have the prospect who can net me a half-season of Greinke midseason.

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The biggest benefit of no loans is that it prevents a team from buying a win at the deadline and also prevents a team from a complete firesale.

While you would think it’s harder to rebuild and trade, that has not really been the case in our no loan and limited loan leagues. Cutting players that aren’t worth their salaries is much more common. Free cash becomes a serious asset. Rosters just turn over in a different way.

When we started the league, it was a calculated decision rather than a reactionary one. After 3 seasons, it’s now my favorite way to play Ottoneu.

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For years I have been against the notion of limiting loans because I believe it actually hampers teams from rebuilding they way they want to. If teams want to cash in high priced players early in the season because they don’t project to compete (rightly or wrongly), don’t limit their ability to do so. Overall, smart owners are better for a league than competitive mechanisms.

That said, I’ve been warming this year to the idea of a scaling loan limit that would not fully eliminate loans but gradually allow greater loans throughout the season, by month. I believe this was originally an idea by @hernandez17 but it’s essentially a hybrid of no loans and loan caps.

As an example, in @Brinksmanship we have an excellent league full of very savvy, experienced owners. They can build and rebuild any way they like and for the most part we just let it happen because we all respect each other. However, as of 4/30, I now have $217 in in-coming salary YTD, and I still have the attractive, cheaper pieces I’d need to buy another ~$100 in expensive players if I wanted to go all, all in on the 2019 season.

I can argue that it was a combination of skill, luck, and good planning that allowed me amass the young, cheap, attractive building block pieces needed to acquire so much value via loan, and that my leaguemates know that I can sustain long-term success only so long if I keep cashing in those chips in a single season, but I’ll be honest: a part of me feels a bit dirty “buying” a real shot at the championship this early in the season (and this league also contains coupons and MiLB incentives that push against these types of sell offs).

A gradual loan limit system would essentially limit the total amount of incoming loans a team can acquire each month throughout the season. As an example only:

April MTD: $25 total
May MTD: $50 total
June MTD: $100 total
July MTD: $175 total
August MTD: $275 total

This type of system would still allow rebuilding teams to sell off pieces, but would slow that process down for the entire league. It would force more creative trade proposals to stay under the total cap without completely altering the standard format of the game.

I’m sure there are other ways to do this, and this concept has been argued for and against for years, but this seems to be one of the better, simpler ideas I’ve seen. I think it may help prevent new owners from being taken advantage of early in the season, too.

Curious what the @Community discussion looks like on this topic.

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We talked about implementing some form of a graduating cap in 430 since every year the winner was basically a race to 600+ in salary, but instead decided we’d start a new 2nd league - 1011.
This is our first year, so I don’t think we’ll really feel the different effects until next year.

So it’s basically a $675 cap, right? Better than 800.

I would strongly be opposed to a system like this in any league I would be in. You need a way to even value post auction. If I bid $60 on Cutch this year and decide he’s not worth it, my only option would be to cut him and have the league benefit and get him for around half the price.

One major flaw I see is the incremental loan proposal really hurts rebuilding teams. In one of my league a rebuilding owner grabbed Trout, and having no hope to win he sold him for a prospect haul. Under the proposal his large loan wouldn’t be valid until a good portion into the season. By that time young cheap prospects could prove themselves and the contending teams no longer see the point since the performance is similar.

Example: team A trades $10 Vladito and $6 Tatis and $4 Whitley for Team B $80 Trout and $36 Kluber $96 loan.

Side A likely is a top contender for this year and team B gets three stud building blocks and $96 in cap space to use to quicken their rebuild next draft. This would promote other trades by contenders to match the talent recently obtained and increase the return for building teams.

If the incremental loan system is in place by the time that loan would be valid Tatis Vladito and Whitley could be scoring more points than Trout and Kluber. Team A gets to keep the best building blocks in the game and lead the standings.

In my view, this is a solution in search of a problem. From what I’ve seen, newer owners are more averse to loans than experienced Ottoneu players, so I don’t know that it would accomplish the objective of preventing them from getting ripped off. Market-wise, the expensive veterans are most valuable at the beginning of the season (when they can contribute a full season’s worth of stats) and steadily diminish in value as the season progresses, which is precisely the opposite of what this cap would allow.


There are two dynamics at play here that have always been a beef of mine with the game- although I do immensely enjoy the design as-is as well!

  1. We call these “loans” when they never have to be ‘paid back’ to either the team or the league
  2. The economic system does not reward/track team “savings”

Regarding both points, one solution might be to integrate loans into the Arbitration system:

  • First, set each team’s Arbitration allocation dollars each off-season according to the inverse of the amount of money a team has “loaned” to other teams the previous year (by rank or by degree over/under $400, not necessarily dollar-for-dollar). So the more money a team has traded to other teams to take on higher-paid players who likely won’t be selected as Keepers, then the less amount the team can allocate on players in Arbitration.
  • And second, make player “Arbitration Coupons” a universal feature based on team “savings”. So how much money under their team’s cap an owner saved at the end of the year would transfer (dollar-for-dollar or fraction-of-dollar, or by rank/degree as with Arb allocation dollars) to Coupons they could use to discount the Arbitration increases of their players (and then teams might be able to better hang-onto certain individual players a little longer before being priced off their roster).

As this is a general economic issue regarding player salaries, I’ll also give a shameless plug for a Wishlist item I posted last year regarding the Automatic $2 base salary increase for players. I’d actually like to see a scaled approach to the auto inflation increase, where the Top X% scoring Hitters and Pitchers (ranked separately) each year increase by (say) $5, then the next Y% increase by $4, and the next Z% increase by $3 (etc.), with the bottom 50% of scorers increasing by $0. That way teams can hold onto their younger/ prospect players at the salaries they acquired them for longer, while the top-performing players each year would be more likely to be priced-off rosters and be available for the draft. The bonus effect would be that owners might have more freedom in allocating Arbitration dollars with regards to fair market value rather than to try to price a player off another team’s roster (e.g., fewer Arb allocation dollars spent on a $80 Mike Trout and more on a $5 Fernando Tatis Jr).

All-in-all, if loans are an issue, instead of a tweak of the current system I’d rather see an alternative economic system developed that better strung each franchise’s moves together year-to-year than with the current complete financial re-set at the Keeper Deadline (although, again, I love the current format as well!)

I like the idea, but am also very happy with the current system. In concept I think a system like you proposed would increase trade activity and decrease heartburn over lopsided deals, both of which are good things shoot for.

Instead of a monthly total, maybe a gradually increasing transactional limit would be easier. Hypothetically that would allow an offeror to propose a trade to an offeree that is the current recipient of a loan from a separate trade not involving the current offeror, without bumping into any transactional limits created by those separate independent trades.

What if loans had to be paid back?

Call it the payday loans league.

Every seven days after a loan goes through, the receiving player has to give back 10% of the loan.

Say I trade Rafael Devers for Manny Machado and a $44 loan. My salary cap goes up to $444.

One week later, I have to pay back $4.40. My salary cap drops to $440.

Two weeks later I have to pay back $4.40. My salary cap drops to $435.

In 10 weeks, the loan is gone.

At 5% payback, a loan will last 20 weeks, which is good for a whole season, but with increasing crunch on the borrowing player.

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