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When To Veto A Trade
Posted by David Martorano at 5/9/2008 12:23:00 PM
View more posts by this author


I am the commissioner of one of my fantasy baseball leagues. At the beginning of the season, I told the league that I would review trades and would only veto a trade on the basis of collusion. I believe that if people want to make foolish trades, that is their right to do so and a commissioner shouldn't interfere and use his veto power simply because he doesn't think the trade is balanced. However, recent events have led me to believe that using the sole basis of collusion to veto a trade isn't a good idea.

The following trade took place:
Team A traded Mark Teixeria and Jeremy Bonderman to
Team B for Prince Fielder and John Maine.

It is my opinion, as well as the rest of the league's opinion that this trade is "BS" because Team A benefits from each swap of players. Fielder is young, not injury prone and is projected to hit between 50 and 60 homeruns this season. Teixeria is a talented player but has not been a model of consistency since being traded to Atlanta. It is my belief that no reasonable fantasy player can value Teixeria higher than Fielder. The swap of Bonderman for Maine is even less acceptable. Maine is coming off a career year and many fantasy experts believe he will build on last seasonís success. Bonderman had a disappointing 2007 season and has not been having a great year thus far. It is my belief that no reasonable fantasy player could argue that this trade was fair. In addition, certain other circumstances seemed to suggest to everyone that this trade was "BS" and should be vetoed.

For the following reasons, I considered vetoing the trade:
1. This trade is suspiciously uneven on it's face and does not pass "the smell test".
2. The entire league has communicated to me that they view the trade as "BS".
3. The benefiting party has a history of suspect behavior in fantasy leagues from prior seasons.
4. These two specific parties have had trades vetoed as recently as last fantasy basketball season.
5. The two parties to this transaction are roomates.
6. The owner getting the "short end of the stick" is in last place.

My initial reaction was to veto this trade, when I was contacted by the benefiting party. He told me that his roommate had actually proposed the trade to him and that he honestly believed this would help his team. This was verified by his roommate who got on the phone and told me, "I proposed this trade with the belief that it would improve my team".

Now, I couldn't exactly veto this trade on the sole basis of collusion because both parties told me that they didn't collude and that they were acting with the interests of their own teams in mind. I suppose it would be possible to veto the trade, making an argument that the 6 aforementioned factors outweighed the testimony of Team A and Team B and create a presumption of collusion. However, this would create a controversy with the two trading parties and would become a source of unwanted aggravation.

My conclusion is that a proper basis for vetoing a trade should be any transaction that reasonably appears to a substantial majority of the league to be "BS". This would be a sufficiently broad basis where any highly suspect trade could be vetoed. All the circumstances of a trade could be considered and the league owners would have a voice in the matter. It would also be effective because it would encourage fantasy owners to act righteously with the understanding that unrighteous behavior could complicate their ability to trade in the future. It would also work because the veto basis would not be too specific and would not require me to get a specific amount of owners to agree on the trade appearing to be "BS".

It is my understanding that the role of a commissioner is: to find quality owners to make up a league; to decide on effective settings and rules and stand by them for the duration of a fantasy season; to avoid controversy whenever possible; and to utilize veto power only where the integrity of the league is at stake.

Because of my decision to reject trades solely on the basis of collusion, my ability to safeguard the integrity of the league and to maintain itís competitive balance was compromised. I created a loophole and Team A and Team B were able to take advantage of this loophole. This will be a lesson learned and next year, similarly suspect trades will not be allowed to compromise the integrity of my league.


I think the first mistake was letting roommates into your league. While I know all of my league members pretty well, pretty much the rest of them have no contact with the other.

While I am the only person who can veto a trade, we go by a league vote. If 6 of the 12 would like to veto the trade, I go ahead and click the "veto" button, even if I think the trade is fine. I think giving the commish 100% vetoing power is pretty much saying to the owners, "you don't know enough to have an opinion."
Posted by foxymophandlpapa at 5/9/2008 1:07:00 PM
If you believe that collusion is the only reason to veto the trade, then consistency outweighs changing the rules during the season. Otherwise, how many other exceptions are you going to make? You state that one of the managers may be acting suspiciously. How do you define this? If collusion is the rule, then collusive behavior has to be demonstrated. I would take a laissez faire approach and more clearly define what constitutes a fair trade next season.
Posted by jhermann at 5/9/2008 1:43:00 PM
This trade dosen't make that much sense to me for either team but I don't think that you can conclude that one team is a clear winner. Personally, I would value Teixeria higher then Fielder. He has a longer track record, is more likely to hit for a higer average, and has consitantly put up monster second-halves. This deal is close enough that I don't think any reasonable person could say that one side is "dumping" players. In vetoing this trade you would basically be telling the league that your evaluation of player values is the only acceptable method of evaluation and if that is the case what is the point of playing in this league? Next will you start vetoing draft picks when most of the league feels that a player was selected two rounds too high?
Posted by baseball12 at 5/9/2008 2:08:00 PM
"No reasonable fantasy player" would believe that trade was fair? Prince Fielder will hit between 50 and 60 home runs this year? John Maine and his 33:21 K:BB ratio are the next best thing since sliced bread?

Look, I might not disagree with you that I think that Fielder might be better than Teixeira and Maine better than Bonderman. But your belief that "no reasonable fantasy player" would believe it to be true is absolutely false -- unless you don't consider the friend you invited to the league to be a "reasonable fantasy player." In that case, why don't you boot him from the league next year? Especially if he and the other guy were caught colluding in past years?
Posted by bscwik at 5/9/2008 2:37:00 PM
I agree with everything baseball12 said, except maybe for the fact about valuing Teixeira higher than Fielder, but of course, he's entitled to his valuation.
Posted by bscwik at 5/9/2008 2:38:00 PM
Well I don't have a problem with that trade....I don't see your collusion nor do I see it as being lopsided to the point of veto.

I strongly disagree with your theory of only vetoing trades on the basis of collusion. I think that sets a real sh*tty precedent. Most deals I have vetoed are from the view of protecting the "dumb" guy in the league. Every league usually has at least one....He usually loves to trade just to trade, buys, high, sells low, and trades his 1st round pick to Liss for 4

Collusion in the first week in May I would also say is rare as hell too....To me Fielder and Tex are a wash and Maine and Bond are a wash....and I thought I was just proved me
Posted by Zenguerrilla at 5/9/2008 2:46:00 PM
No way I would veto this trade. Teixeira is in a walk year and is playing for big $. Fielder is slow and fat and could regress at any moment.

Bonderman has the talent and plays for potentially the best offense in baseball. Maine is coming off of a career year and will fall back down to league average.

I'm just playing devil's advocate but I can see a case for making this trade. It would have to be eggregious to veto a trade and this trade is ok in my book.
Posted by gooski at 5/9/2008 3:00:00 PM
Leave it alone. Teixera is better than Fielder.
Posted by 18mmnikkor at 5/9/2008 3:20:00 PM
Oh and Milledge is on pace for 4 HRs and 14 SBs.....
Posted by kevinccp at 5/9/2008 3:42:00 PM
I would pick Tex over Fielder. Although I would rather have the combo of Fielder and Maine, there is no reason to veto the trade.
Posted by elk42 at 5/9/2008 4:57:00 PM
I'm in a bunch of leagues, I have never heard of (being in over 100 leagues) having only 1 person (the commish) being the dictator. That is just strange....
Posted by kevinccp at 5/9/2008 6:12:00 PM
The veto power is in place for deals like Ben Broussard for Lance Berkman, not for deals like the one you mentioned.
Posted by statorama2005 at 5/13/2008 4:50:00 AM

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