As the commissioner of the Shark Leagues, I often get unsolicited requests for help from my fellow commissioners. Occasionally those requests have a broader impact, and when they do, I plan on sharing them. Or maybe it is my ego that drives me to share. In any event, here is an interesting question that just might impact a league near you:
Dear Mr. Smith,
I am the Commissioner of a 12-team league and am having problems with trades in the league. In the last two weeks, two trades have been vetoed:
Can you please give your opinion on whether these trades are fair? Also, what is your opinion on when a trade should be vetoed?
Thank you for your help. I appreciate it greatly.
Please, call me Pat. I am honored that you would turn to me for an opinion on this sticky issue. This question is a great example of why trade vetoes are a bad idea. So long as two owners are not colluding, regardless of the perceived equality or inequality of a trade, all trades should be allowed. Lots of cliches apply here - “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” “one man's trash is another man's treasure” - and the bottom line is, the two owners like their ends of things or they would not have done the trade. Allowing vetoes lets people vote their own self-interest instead of examining the merits of the trade, and further lets the league know-it-alls tell others how to run their teams. Both are bad things, in my opinion.
But none of that answers your question, well except for the part where you asked what I thought of trading. So here goes. I do not think either of these trades smack of collusion, and further think that a case can be made for both sides in each, so I will I leave it to you to figure out which side of my arguments I agree with!
Trade 1: Williams is an underperforming stud on a lousy team, but with the potential to really turn it around (he was No. 1 in the second half last year in nearly all formats after all). Rice is in a good situation on a much better team, but lacks the track record of Williams, and up until now has not met his perhaps too-lofty expectations. If I am looking to move Williams, oh, say I think last half season was a fluke and that I know his team sucks, then getting Rice and some depth at wide receiver is not a bad return. On the other hand, dumping a couple of waiver-wire wide receivers for a stud running back for what is in effect a time-sharing second year player works too.
Personally, I say this is what you call a three-quarters-for-a-dollar trade, and my final vote is - trade stands.
Trade 2: Fitzgerald is the best wide receiver in football and was the No. 1 receiver on most draft boards. But he has not cracked the overall Top 10 producers list at his position. If my fear is that Boldin stays healthy all season and Fitzgerald fails to shine in his non-absence (much of his production last season came when Boldin was hurting) maybe I want to get rid of him, if I can get enough. Driver is the Energizer Bunny and slides right into my starting roster, and who knows, if I lack another quality wide receiver maybe Royal does once in a while too; he’s a bounce-back candidate if ever there was one. Adding a contributing, if overrated, running back is always nice in-season. And, since I have Fitzgerald, I am potentially thin at running back, as I had to have used my first rounder to get him. Bottom line, if my faith in Fitzgerald is waning, this is a very good offer. But if I LOVE Larry (see “best wide receiver in football” comment above) it is not enough.
I don't love Larry that much, and see this as more of a two-dimes-and-two-nickels-for-a-quarter trade, and my final vote is - trade stands.
Hope that helps.
Now, regarding collusion. Collusion is cheating, and if a majority of your owners are ready to vote that two owners are cheating, then they should be tossed and alternative ownership solutions sought. Harsh, yes, and possibly a league breaker, but if you have cheaters in your league it is broken already. And letting owners know they are not just voting on a trade, but are voting to expel two owners from the league can help with vetoes too. After all, it is much easier to call your buddy stupid and undo his trade “for his own good” than it is to call him a cheater and boot him out. Such power would perhaps be wielded more judiciously.
If you have a question or comment for Pat, send it to him at email@example.com. Be sure and indicate it is an “Ask Pat” question in the subject line. Then watch your inbox for a prompt reply, and watch for it to appear here too!