Monday, July 28, 2014

Anatomy of a Deal... by topoftheworl

Unless otherwise stated all commentary is mine.

All times are in Alaska Standard Time. 4 hours earlier than the East Coast

10:21pm Friday (henceforth labeled as “F”): St. Nick writes “I’m open for trades people, not truly in a building phase but looking for some young future ML keystones. Will trade all but 1 (you’ll know him when you see him).

I see it soon thereafter and look at my spreadsheet at his team. My spreadsheet is what I sent out plus some formula that give every hitter a score for their bat and every pitcher a non-stamina/durability based score for their arm. 2 guys catch my attention. Diory Diaz who scores as a #2 starter and Jesus Gutierrez who scores as a #1. It turns out Gutierrez has ultralow stamina (10) and is oldish (32) and I already have too many ML quality relievers with my Fausto Rodriquez IFA signing. He should have gone directly to the ML, but there is no innings there for him yet. However Diaz is 29 and in the last year of his deal. I like that if he is willing to sign because I’m happy to lock him up for 5 more. Right now I have a #1 (Bronson), 2 #3’s (Chang and Mays), and a #4 (Rodriguez). Adding Diaz allows me to move everyone by Bronson down and gives me a slightly better than average rotation. Plus, at 29 Diaz still has at least 4 high quality seasons after this one. His stamina/durability is a little low (which is why he is only a 76 overall), but I have quality bullpen arms coming out of my ears so that matters less to me than it otherwise would.

11:22pm F I ask him who the 1 guy he will not move is. I also state my interest in Dorey Diaz, but only if he’ll resign.

11:51pm F I learn the guy is Ike Allen and that Diaz wants 5/30mil

I had no interest in Allen anyway. He’s amazing, but I have corner OF covered. I’d have given Diaz 5/40 without blinking so I’m pleased.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: At this point in the season I was surprised to have a winning record and be in first place in the NL West. As much as it pains me to say it, since I left the Blue Collars in the NL East - several seasons ago - I had just been drifting along in Hobbs. Realizing that I had to return to my old form, I took a long look at my entire system and was not overly pleased. My system was lacking the talent necessary to sustain a winning organization and the "Lothbroks" are a winning organization. For those of you who watch the Viking's series and know the "Lothbroks," you know that Ragnar Lothbrok is no drifter. So, having realized my needs I announced to the world my intention to begin trade talk and immediately sent numerous trade chats/offers to various owners. At the time Topoftheworl contacted me about interest in Diaz, I had not specifically thought about trading him but true to my word, all but one was on the block. I looked over Topoftheworl's roster and discovered a lot of young talent. In particular, I noticed Reagan (who I saw as a long shot), Matos, Hoiles and Bagley. I decided to shoot for Matos.

12:23am S He asks for Miguel Matos

The two positions not settled on my ML roster are SS and 1B. I have guys playing out of position covering 1B which is fine for now. Matos can just plain hit and he’s only 20. I need to redirect St. Nick. It is at this point I notice that he has a better record than me.

12:31pm S I tell him I intend to start Matos next season and that while I won’t say he’s off limits, I would want to see if I stayed in the race before making that deal. I tell him I am thinking about centering a deal around Fausto Rivera. I also state that he has a pretty good team.

On my screen I have Fausto Rivera, Henry Coleman, and one other guy on my screen for Diaz, but haven’t offered him yet.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: I can see that Topoftheworl appears to want to deal around Rivera, a SS. I know that losing Diaz will hurt, but I conclude it will not hurt nearly as bad if I can get an impact prospect in return. Looking at Rivera I realize he is a "solid prospect" but do not view him as an "impact" one, at least for my system. At this point I doubt I will get to Reagan, but want to test the waters some concerning his tradeability. At this point I know that if I trade Diaz, Matos must be part of it.

12:50pm S He tells me likes Rivera, but that he is also interested in Don Bagley, Kevin Holes, and Woody Regan. He also tells me that he thinks his team is playing well, but he wants to add a few prospects.

1:06am S I seek to affirm that he does not want a ML back and that I will send him an excellent 4th OF because I’ll need the roster spot anyway. I also state that Reagan is not available and that I don’t want to move Bagley unless I am going to stay in the race.

I’m stalling for time at this point. He has a taste of the deal and I am hoping by pulling back a little he will strive for it by taking Rivera instead of Bagley or Matos. Rivera is a good player, but he kind of lacks a position. Not enough glove for SS, not enough bat for a top flight 3B. He’s still getting better so he may grow into it, but probably not with me.

I send him Rivera, Kevin Hoiles, and my wonderful 4th OF Eckenstahler. I want him to send 5mil back.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: I review his offer and immediately notice that Matos is not a part of it. I know we do not yet have a deal. Looking at the offer, however, I look at Eckenstahler and plug him into my own player evaluating system. The result: he's not a starter and has a serious health risk, but I really like him. I view him as an excellent outfield/infield sub who can come off the bench and steal bases. I like to have one of these players on every team, and like that he will also replace the ML roster spot I will have trading Diaz. But not for Rivera.

1:27a S He tells me he thinks the deal is fair, but hesitates because he’s pretty deep at SS.

1:29a S I reply that he should feel free to counter but think that he will take my offer in the morning.

Getting a #2 SP for 4th OF, a solid young RP prospect, and a SS/3B is pretty awesome.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: I do not hesitate at all about declining the offer. I know what I'm after, it's Matos. So, I counter swapping Rivera for Matos and while I'm at it, why not cut the cash from $5M to $2.5. My reasoning: Looking at the finances, I realize that the deal is fine financially but also want to leave room to possibly contract a SP from the free-agent's board since I will not be getting a replacement ML pitcher.

10:38a S He let’s me know he has countered and I don’t like it at all!
He wants Matos instead of Rivera and he cuts the cash in half.
10:42a S I tell him that I can’t see myself giving up Hoiles and the cash.

I’m winning on the Guerrero negotiations. Funny, I think I overpaid for my first IFA, but think Guerrero worth at least 3 mil more that I do not have. Even in this deal I’m in trouble in terms of signing my 1st round pick, but I’m within a million. I can’t give up the cash, but don’t want him knowing that so I try to make it sound like it’s about Hoiles. I like Hoiles, but he’s a future Setup A. I gamble that he will want Hoiles more than the cash since Hoiles would be a 6 millionish IFA if we was on the market.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: I'm also gradually increasing my bids with an IFA Guerrero, but receive his last insult as he tells me something his mother says - I don't really listen and brush it to the side - and then he informs me that he will be wearing another teams uniform unless I offer him the green. His passive aggression is offensive to me and I wonder in the back of my mind whether his Mother is his agent. I decide to stop my bidding on him because he's immature and get back to dealing for Matos. I figured I'd probably have to pay $5M, so was not surprised there.

10:54a S My gamble pays off and he gives the cash back.

11:00a S I’ve negotiated myself into a corner by getting him to concede on the cash with a concession from me. I’ve kind of hinted that I will accept now by that move. I ask him if he sees Matos and Bagley as equivalent. I like Bagley a lot, but like Matos better and will probably do it if he will take Bagley. Getting a SP I am going to lock up for 5 seasons makes Bagley less necessary. I also ask for time. Finally, I ask if he actually wants the 4th OF as at this point I am not pleased with the thought of overpaying and will try to get someone else to overpay for my OF.

11:13am S He expresses a clear preference for Matos, though concedes there is a health risk. He says that he likes the 4th OF (Eckenstahler) a lot too (he’s really quite good).

11:15am S He informs that Indy has expressed an interest in Diaz too, but that he does not see a deal being made at this time. We make fun of Indy for a while, but really we are both just jealous. I tell him he should lie to Jibe about what I am offering to see if he’ll over pay.

I REALLY don’t want Indy getting him and he has to know that. stnick is wiping the court with me right now. I look for some way to get myself back in the driver’s seat and not give him $1.25 on the dollar because I need the deal more. I see that Cam Ford has 30 million coming to him over the next 2 seasons but is only worth half that. I have payroll flexibility in droves. I go fishing to see if he will pay me to take Ford.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: I google "skilled negotiator" and read that building confidence an rapport is important. Google says "common interests" and "flattery", so I immediately think back to my time in the East with the Scranton Blue Collars. We discuss the challenges that the Indianapolis Cougars present, I am also currently playing the Cougars and kicking their asses, although I fail to mention this. I attempt to convince Topoftheworl that with Diaz he is sure to improve his chances of "staying in the race" and then ask whether he would like to "go big" with this deal, referring to a possible deal for Diaz and Ford, in which case I think I may have a chance at Reagan.

11:47a S He doesn’t bite and plays Ford as if Ford has value.

12:26p S He goes fishing and tries to see if he can get me to include Reagan. He says some nice things about having been in my position against Indy before.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: I have now discussed common interests and exercised flattery, I think I'm sure to land a deal now, once again discussing the possibility of throwing Reagan into the mix. I think it might be squashed, which it was, but figure it was worth trying.

12:40p S I restate that Reagan is not in play.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: Topoftheworl unequivocally informs me that Reagan = Ike Allen, the one player that I stated from the beginning as untouchable. This registers loud and clear. Still, it takes me 5 minutes to convince myself to not bring Reagan up again, at all, lest my rapport with Topoftheworl and all the flattery will be all for not!

12:47p He offers Diaz, Ford, and 10 mil for Matos, Bagley, and Hoiles over two deals.

1:25p-1:35p We go back and forth about how valuable spreadsheets are in HBD

2:41p I tell him that including Ford just doesn’t add up for me. According to my formula he is only a little better of a hitter than Matos right now.

2:50p I pull out of the deal as currently constructed.

I feel bad, but it’s just not a good value for me. I look one more time for something we can do. It’s only at this point that I see Herm Stein. I missed him the first few times looking at my SS because while it lists the defensive stats, it doesn’t score them. I just pull up his top 3 overalls to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I’m like holy **** 97 range. 23 years old, on a minimum deal. 21 + plays? I go to my SS. He’s bat is would be the 4th best on my team and he’s only 23. I compare him to Arthur Bryant (who I really, really like) and except for health and batting eye (their durabilities are close enough) Stein wins across the board. An all-star at 22, I think he’s probably a top 3 at his position guy right now and he’s still getting better. I want him BADLY.
3:12p S I tell him I am offering him a deal with Bagley and Matos

I then futz and fiddle about how to get him to do Stein, Matos, and Bryant for Diaz, Stein, and 5 million. In the end I send him an offer without Bryant and with Hoiles instead knowing he’ll say no, but giving me somewhere to counter to.

3:41p S He tells me he can’t do it. It’s a fair offer, but that Stein is his one good young ML’er.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: After our discussions and much time attempting to reach a compromise, I simply feel that I cannot give up Stein. In declining the offer I point out that he simply is the best CF I have had, ever. I begin to think of my enjoyment in seeing frequent + and ++ as I scroll down the game logs. Although I fail to mention it, I know that I will not get the same results from Bryant, although he's a very close replacement. I deny the offer and tell Topoftheworl that I cannot do it because he is my only youth ML guy.

3:47p S I reply that I included Bryant he would still have a plus CF’er. He counters that while that is true, Bryant is no Stein.

Well, I tried.

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: I read his remarks and think, "That is true." I mean, my only concern was having youth, which really is the only reason I could not pull the trigger on the deal. I feel cornered, a bit trapped. In fact, I feel as Dakar apparently did in a previous negotiation with Topoftheworl, "in a headlock."

4:01p S With the family in the car I go back in the house just to tell him that I am heading to a BBQ on the beach (of the Arctic Ocean).

STNICK'S COMMENTARY: I read that Topoftheworl is going to a BBQ, and I have a moment of sheer panic as the envy sets in. I also arrive at the realization that Topoftheworl too must have googled "skilled negotiator" and was using his knowledge of "commonalities" against me. I too have a family and a car, and who doesn't like BBQ's. Realizing that we've negotiated hard, that I frankly did not enjoy the headlock, and truly wanted to help him dismantle the Cougars as I was currently doing, I immediately began a counter offer to surprise him upon his return from his BBQ. I plated the deal for Matos, Bryant and Bagley, giving up Diaz and Stein. I'd note that in the latest offer, Topoftheworl had reduced his cash demand to $4.25M from $5M. Out of the kindness of my heart, and having determined that i would not need to employ the services of another FA pitcher, I upped the cash back to $5M, and submitted.

All in all, I agreed very quickly because the deal was extremely fair. He received to quality ML players who will definitely improve his team, and I was receiving 2 quality prospects and an extremely good CF to replace my CF stud. I'll miss Diaz and all of Stein's plus plays and above average, actually great, bat, but this was a great negotiation and a lot of fun.

6:45p S I come to see that he has offered me the deal I thought I was going to have to talk him into.

7:03p I thank him for being such a pleasure to work with.

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