A: The side receiving Davis/Holt would be gaining better value in this trade. Blackmon was sensational in the first two months of the season, when he totaled 10 homers, 10 steals, 37 RBIs and 36 runs scored. But his play has fallen off dramatically since the beginning of June, as he has produced four homers, nine steals, 17 RBIs and 20 runs scored in that span. In other words, outside of the steals and batting average categories, Blackmon's production has been roughly cut in half across the past two months. He still belongs in mixed-league lineups, but he is not a difference maker.
Davis has underperformed this season, but he is still a respectable power hitter who offers the upside of potential elite status. Since the beginning of June, Davis has collected 10 homers, 26 RBIs and 17 runs scored. He will never produce the steals and batting average that Blackmon can, but Davis is a much better power hitter. As disappointing as Davis has been this season, Holt has been equally as surprising. The undersized sparkplug has hit .304 with six steals and 40 runs scored in 299 at-bats. It's fine for fantasy owners to question Holt's long-term value, but he should be a viable option in most leagues in the coming weeks.
It is not out of the question that Blackmon will be better than the combination of Davis and Holt for the final two months of the season. But the two-player package offers a better combination of depth with Holt and incredible upside with Davis.
This trade question leads to some key points that fantasy owners should keep in mind:
1. Make offers: If there are 12 owners in a league, there will likely be 12 values on each player. It's impossible to know how other owners feel about a player without sending out offers. Don't be afraid to send out offers to four or five clubs with the same player. It is a good way to find out which owners are interested. Sending out offers is much better than posting a note on the league message board. "Looking to trade David Wright," is a lazy way to try to make a trade. Once that note has sat on the board for a few days, every other owner in the league will know that there were not any good offers for Wright. At that point, you are trading from a disadvantage. By taking the extra time to send out a few offers involving Wright, you keep the curtain closed on his value around the league. A fantasy owner who is doing everything possible to win the league should have at least one or two offers out at all times.
2. Assess the needs of the other owner: Other owners will not care about what you want to get out of a deal. They are looking out for their own squads. Also, owners get annoyed when they receive trade offers that don't make sense. It is worse to get an offer that does not fit the needs of the team than to get a lopsided offer. The lopsided offer could be a difference in opinions on the value of a player. But it is a quick path to a dead end to offer Wright to an owner who already owns Evan Longoria and Josh Donaldson. That owner has no need for a third baseman. It also does not make any sense to offer Davis to the team that is leading the league in homers and RBIs. When sending out a trade offer, look at the place of the other team in the standings for each category, and look at the composition of its roster. At that point, figure out what that owner might be looking for in terms of position and skill set. It is also a good idea to look at the other team's disabled list spots. Owners who recently suffered injuries may be looking for replacements at those positions.
3. No one should be off limits: So many fantasy owners limit their trading possibilities by closing their minds to trading certain players. It closes off negotiations quickly when an owner says something like, "Sorry, Clayton Kershaw is my ace and I cannot trade him." It is possible that the other owner covets Kershaw so much that the return package could be Adam Wainwright and a valuable hitter. There is a drop-off from Kershaw to Wainwright, but it is small enough that a strong hitter would make up the difference. It is important to keep all options open in order to make the best trade.
4. In the first half, trade for value; in the second half, trade for need: Between free agents, injuries, slumps and streaks, there are so many things that can change during the season. In the first half, it makes sense to try to come out of every trade with an increase in overall value and then figure out the positions and categories later. But as we draw close to August, the focus of deals should change. Owners should be looking to fill a positional hole or to pick up a player who can help gain points in a tightly bunched category. It is fine to look at the standings only rarely in the first half, but now is the time when the races in each fantasy category become very important.
Every owner wants to win his or her league. So spend some time researching the standings and rosters of your competitors and then send out some offers. There is a good chance that the hard work will pay off with an improved squad.
Fred Zinkie is a fantasy baseball writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.