Here’s a cost of living reality check: the average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in Denver is $744. In Minneapolis that same apartment will cost you $815. But that’s not so bad because rent for a one bedroom apartment in New York City will set you back a lean $2453 a month.
Rent isn’t any cheaper when playing fantasy baseball. I had someone expect me to give them both Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen for a one month rental of Buster Posey. Look, I love Buster Posey but I can’t pay that kind of rent. I’d rather sleep in my car.
Before we go any further we should probably define terms. ‘Rent’ in fantasy baseball means pretty much what it means in real baseball. A team in the hunt will often give a couple expendable young players for a veteran to push them toward the title. The final piece of the puzzle is called a rental, because you just roster him for the last couple months of the season.
A team in the top spot in a fantasy baseball league will often package a couple players to get a rental that they feel will enable them to bring home the title. Teams within striking distance of first will often up-the-ante, going all in on a rental as a hail mary to catch the leader. Teams in the bottom of the fantasy baseball standings are more than happy to take a couple young players to help them build for next year’s team.
The secret to a good rental, however, is to get them on the cheap. It’s counterproductive to trade valuable assets for a rental. You would be better served riding what you got and a potential trade partner shouldn’t be expecting a large return for a player rostered for just a few weeks.
Still, trade partners will ask for the moon (I once tried to rent Matt Kemp for 5 weeks and the other team asked for Evan Longoria, Huston Street, and Billy Butler). Below are a few quick tips to help you get cheap rent:
- Roll off someone where you have the category nailed. If you are winning the stolen base category by 30 steals then it makes sense that you could offer your Michael Bourn to a team looking to rebuild and to ask for a slugger in return. Remember, don’t trade away players who are producing in the categories you are competing in. That’s one step forward, but two steps back.
- Don’t overpay. This may seem obvious, but you have to know when to walk away from a rental opportunity. If another team is near last place and expecting top value for a player you’ll have on your roster for a very short time then you need to pass. You’re better off going with the team that put you near the top to begin with, rather than make an anxious move for a rental just because you feel like you should.
- Take advantage of non-keepers, fan boy picks, and youth for veterans. Renting works best in keeper leagues with a limit. If a player can’t be kept the following season then he is a perfect rental candidate. The trading team would be foolish not to try and get some keeper value from him if they’ll lose him in a few weeks anyway. Offer them a young player with keeper eligibility or one of their favorite players.
- Reciprocate. Build good trading relationships with these owners. Often it’s the same owners working together year after year because they’ve built up a level of trust. I recently offered Manny Machado to another owner who could use a SS keeper next year for one of his players that couldn’t be kept. We’ve always traded fairly with one another so it’s easy for us to find good negotiation points in trading.
A good rental player can certainly be the difference between first place and a late season slide into second, so certainly be looking for opportunities to upgrade and make your team better, even into the dog days of summer.