Bargain Time

The winter months are the best time of the year for making trades. With careful skill and planning, you can make some valuable swaps while the other owners in your league are waiting around for the next season.
One good thing about off-season trades is that they are easier to execute. You don't have to balance your trades by positional needs. You can trade two prospects for a quality pitcher. You can trade two good pitchers for that superstar outfielder. Whatever you do is not going to hurt you at this time. There's plenty of time to build roster depth or cover key positions at our league's rookie draft and free agent process.

In effect, winter trades could often bring forth the best deals for your team. The restrictions of trading away players and not have to worry about their at bats or innings pitched allow you to more effectively shape the character of your team. The longer you wait, the less likely that this situation occurs.

Winter trades are also less subject to the scrutiny of other owners. What you do will not be seen as a threat to the other owners in your league at this time. Your divisional opponents are also not likely to be too concerned if you enhance the quality of your team. Even more, they probably will not feel like they have to improve their teams at this time.

For example, your divisional opponent will know if you're lucky enough to pick up Shawn Green. But he's probably not going to spend a lot of time thinking about what that means for his team.

The spirit of winter also brings out the "warmth" and "compassion" of individuals. Many owners don't fret as much over the values of players in the off-season and they are not as worried about alienating you with counteroffers and refusals.

Another reason that you want to trade now, and not later, is that a majority of SOM players are not exclusively concerned with baseball. They've moved on to football, hockey, and basketball. A significant number of them remember who's on their team and their record from the previous season, but they're not exactly sure about everything that has happened to actual major league players during the off-season or the changes in your SOM league rosters. Let me put it another way. The rule of thumb for off-season trading is that players aren’t likely to scrutinize every move or deal. Use that to your advantage. 

There is a short window of opportunity here. The closer you get to the release of the new card set, the less chance you will have to pull off something spectacular. The wonder and consternation of unexpected changes makes this one of the best times to improve your roster. 

Of course, no one is saying that trading in the off-season is easy. Some guys are not going to be receptive to any offers. There’s also the possibility that some of your fellow league owners will think you are trying to pawn off damaged goods or players who are dropping in value. To stem this potential problem, you might just want to send a short note about the reasons you are making inquiries about a potential trade.

For example, you could send a short message stating that you are looking to improve a particular area or that you believe you have quite a bit of depth at one position. This will help other owners understand your rationale about wanting to make a trade.  

It’s OK if you don’t want to trade now. But It might just be easier to make a trade or two now so that you don’t waste most of your draft picks trying to plug all of the holes or soft spots on your roster.