What should you expect when trading away a superstar?

Because it’s fun, possibly instructive (to those new to Ottoneu), and because the @Brinksmanship league is fully of some really smart dudes who are all good sports, I’m going to attempt to do something here I haven’t done before and negotiate a trade out in the open, welcoming feedback from all.

Entering 2018, I expected to retool my roster for 2019, and in doing so I purposely wanted to carry both Trout ($81) and Goldschmidt ($58) to flip in-season. I’ve made this clear to the entire league from even before the draft. I’ve agreed to cover the entire difference in salary with a loan, and I’ve even stated that I would be willing to package Trout and Goldy together to get exactly what I want in return (with a full intention of being competitive in 2019). My preference is to moving Goldy before Trout if a sell them separately.

That’s the context. Now, I’m going to attempt to make an opening offer (or at least set a baseline for discussion) with as many teams as I can. The real purpose of this post however is to try and answer two key questions that come up often in the Ottoneu community:

  1. How do you calculate the value of a trade during the (the net gain in points for the rest of the season)?
  2. What is that net gain worth in future value (players, prospects, etc.)?

I know @joecatz is a good sport and since we’ve already started this open trade debate on Slack, here was our an initial discussion after he expressed interest in one or both of Trout/Goldy:

My opening point: “Would you move a $3 Gleyber Torres, $3 Max Fried, and $1 Christian Villanueva for Goldy ($58)?”

Joe said “No, that isn’t enough of a rest of season (ROS) point gain for my roster to move those players for Goldy.”

My quick math:
Goldy @ 7.3 P/G x 135 games ROS (Depth Charts) = 985 points
Villianueva @ 5.3 P/G x 110 games ROS (Depth Charts) = 585 points
Net ROS point gain: 400 points

My response: a 400 point gain is worth at least a $3 Gleyber Torres and $3 Max Fried if I am sending Goldschmidt to you for the cost of just $7 for the rest of the season.

Again, key questions for anyone trying to trade away or for a superstar player:

  1. How are you calculating the ROS net gain?
  2. What is that gain worth in terms of future value?
  1. Net ROS point gain needs to be based on equivalent usage. For example, your calculation of 400-pt gain assumes Joe was going to leave UTIL spot open for the other 25 G. Actual pt gain is less than 300, even if he only fills the spot with replacement level player.

  2. Future value is much trickier to calculate. Interested to see what people think.

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A very excellent point. I think in discussion @joecatz stated he would expect to play a combo of Longo/Hanley in that Util spot. He estimated he could get 6.0 P/G from that package, or 810 points over that 135 games.

New ROS point gain: 175 points

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Per @LuckyStrikes there were a couple massive superstar for prospect trades yesterday:

Do any of the parties involved want to discuss the process behind these blockbusters?

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I’d love more details, do these leagues use arbitration? This is my first year in Ottoneu, but it seems I’d want the stars in any of these deals. Also, $40 feels really really cheap for Kluber, seems like keeper gold!

My quick take:
Trade 1: I like the Goldy side.
Trade 2: Probably need more info, but Grand Theft Votto got hosed, we are 3 weeks into season, why punt now?
Trade 3: I’d probably go Kershaw now, since its week 3 and I want to win, but at least Kick Boras should get to see 3/4 of his prospect return play most of the season.

In general, I really, really dislike packaging superstars together when selling. Unless there are no other buyers or no other buyers have ANYTHING to buy with, you’re better off splitting them up and getting lucrative packages from multiple teams. It diminishes the value of the second or third superstar, in my mind.

I’m very much not into the Grand Theft VOTTO side in that first trade.


So I never could come to a deal with @joecatz here. We had various differences of opinion but I think we both see each side. Theoretically the team selling Trout (or any superstar) early (April) should be able to get a more significant return, but in practice it doesn’t always work that way.

In fact, this article about how BAL should probably be selling Machado soon applies almost perfectly to Ottoneu too:

In July, selling teams often get the best value for their players because buyers become more certain about the value of a win. In April, a hopeful contender isn’t sure if an extra win will do them any good: they might be out of the race by the middle of July or, alternatively, so far ahead of the competition that an extra win or two would help them little. That’s balanced against an early season trade benefiting the buying team more because they receive four or five months’ production from a player as opposed to just two months in a deadline deal.

I ended up trading Trout in two leagues yesterday:

The first with @rocco034 in @Brinksmanship

Mike Trout ($81) for

Cesar Hernandez ($4)
Teoscar Hernandez ($1)
Reynoldo Lopez ($1)
Juan Soto (5MiLB)

The second with @tarheelhitch in @BullDurham52

Mike Trout ($77) / Ken Giles ($9) for

Christian Yelich ($23)
Jose Martinez ($5)
Josh Hader ($4)
Jack Flaherty ($3)