following are excerpts from discussions on trading etiquette/ethics posted in mcscoresheet
during the summers of 2005 and 2006. The comments weren’t necessarily made in
this order. I aimed to piece them together to make as cohesive a giant
discussion as possible.
JRM is John R. Mayne a District Attorney and
Rotowire contributor who framed much of
MC is Dan Young, a.k.a. Medea’s Child
the moderator of mcscoresheet.
– that’s me: John Carter
– Garth Hewitt
– Ari Houser
Andy - Andy Cleary
JRM: Let's try a few examples for our Trading Ethics workshop:
get offered Belliard for Ellis
other owner says, "Nah,
changed my mind."
the original statement was phrased as an offer, the deal is enforceable and
made. Commissioner should step in and enforce.
Agree, though, I'm a bit reluctant
absolutely affirm that the Commissioner should step in and enforce,
particularly if he's a member of the league and might have a vested interest,
and also if there's not specific written proof (an e-mail) evidencing the
How many leagues have commissioners?
Do they or anyone have a mandate to settle such disputes? Vetoes? But, yes, it
is generally unfair of that owner to change his mind in one day without
notifying the other owner before he got back to him. Generally though, the only
punishment is that reneging owner loses credibility.
JRM: I get offered Belliard for Ellis
week later] I accept the offer.
is not an enforceable acceptance because there is an implicit presumption in
the offer that it is open for a reasonable amount of time. I think that's two
days or before the next period starts, whichever is earlier. You could
reasonably set different deadlines. But I think if I wait six days, I'm making
my own trouble.
MC: I think [the] two day suggestion is
reasonable . . .
Garth: Nothing is done until both have
confirmed it. There is no problem changing your mind. You make an offer, the
other guy must decide in a day whether to accept or not accept. (No answer in a
day is a not-accept.) A choice to wait is simply a "No" with the
knowledge that you are interested. Five days later, he is welcome to ASK if you
are still willing.
Wiz: There ought to be sufficient time for
someone receiving an offer to carefully consider it - especially if it is a
multi-player or big name trade - without the offer being taken back other than
due a change in circumstances as discussed. Otherwise the person who receives
the offer a) wastes an X amount of time weighing the offer and b) is at a huge
disadvantage - the person making the offer would then know the person getting
the offer is favorable to the deal and could then ask for more.
. . . If someone makes an offer,
be allowed to revoke it at any time, prior to acceptance, for whatever reason.
. .. If the original offer maker didn’t get a
message back to you that the offer is off before you accepted it, then it would
be unfair for the original offer maker to renege on the deal if the deal was
accepted within x days, where x is 1, 2, 3, or 4 depending on the value and
complexity of the deal, the time of year, the make-up of the league, etc.
I agree with this. But it's also
the person receiving the offer to communicate this. I will usually lay low
while I consider – if you email me instead of calling or showing up at my
office, you are implicitly agreeing to me not dropping everything and
responding immediately -- but if I think I need a lot of time (>1 day for
sure, less than that in some instances) or have been in frequent email contact
just prior, so my delay in responding would be odd, I'll say "I'm thinking
about it, I'll let you know."
Folks I trade with a lot will often say: "Just got your offer. I'll look
at tonight and get back to you" or something like that. It can be
frustrating, because I'm usually either juggling multiple proposals I've made
to different teams, or am waiting on their response before I offer another deal
to another team, etc, but at least I know what to expect and when.
MC: Although I believe a good point was
made that "I"ll think about it" can be construed as a request
for extension of time which arguably allows the original offerer to back out,
in the end, I tend to agree that such a message is really equivalent to no
JRM: "I will think about it," is
an implicit request for an extension of time. Unless you reject that request
(as by saying, "Think faster," or, "Come back when you're ready
to deal; I'm shopping my guy,") you've implicitly consented.
1: JRM: Kendrick for Brazelton
Sid: I'm going to seriously think
Day 4: Sid: Sold!
think this is a deal.
Day 1: JRM: Kendrick
Sid: I'm going to seriously think
Day 2: JRM: Don't think too long, you
Brazelton-hogger. I could change my mind at any point without notice. If you
want to do it, let me know, and I'll tell you if I'm still so inclined.
functions as a revocation of the original offer and an invitation to the other
owner to make an offer.
Ari: You've got to let them know
you're pulling the offer and give them an opportunity to take if they respond
Me: Brazelton for Kendrick
JRM: I'll think about it
strikes me as wrong, unless there's significant time or circumstance change
between 2 and 3.
Andy: I think it's a little
annoying, but surely an offer can be rescinded any time *before* it has been
accepted for whatever reason you want? I certainly think so.
rather than go into all of the various cases, I'll say what I've always said:
there is no substitute for clarity. . . I mean, come on, we're all males here,
we've all dealt with - either personally or through the mass media - the
phenomena of a woman expecting us to read minds and come to a detailed complex
conclusion based on a word or a look from them. Do we need to do this *to each
JRM: One of the owners in our league
always couches his acceptances with, "If you're still interested, I'll do
[offer]" which is nice, but I think unnecessary. If you make an offer
where there hasn't been a significant change in circumstances, and the other
guy accepts timely, that's a deal. The offeror can't back out.
. . . the
two owners could conceivably get hung up on what constitutes a significant
change in circumstances.
JRM: I get offered Belliard for Ellis
6 p.m., Ellis announces his true
age of 37, noting that "I thought no one would find the records in that
third-world frozen area we call South
Dakota, but I'm caught."
I then accept the offer.
circumstances radically change the situation, and the other owner should have
an opportunity to refuse to complete the deal.
MC: Absolutely agree.
changes automatically signal that a deal is not necessarily still on the table.
While it is still best for you to confirm that you are withdrawing an offer,
these events constitute a change in the situation:
start by any pitcher in the deal
injury -- no matter how slight -- to anyone in the deal or anyone on either
team that might be affected. (e.g. if you offer a 2nd SS and your first gets
trade is made by you or the other guy. In fact, any trade in the league that
that might change your situation.
on your team is called up or sent down.
major league transaction which impacts playing time or park effects of any of
the players involved
previously unknown personal circumstances revealed about a player such as a lie
about his age (see above) or a psychological problem (think Greinke)
what hour on a Monday such an offer expires depends, perhaps, on whether the
trade was made on a Sunday night or the known habits of the managers involved.
However, no matter how well it is defined, there could be a level of
interpretation or subjectivity as to what constitutes a significant change.
Then you have to rely on communication and decency. Afterall, a trade isn’t a
trade unless confirmed to Scoresheet by both parties, but there are
consequences to being untrustworthy in a Scoresheet league.
the other trade and the injuries affect the desirability of the deal from your
end, I think you can say "sorry, circumstances changed while you were
waiting." And in the future, be sure pull back your offers if you no
longer want to do them, especially if you have an "I'll think about
Correct etiquette on his part would be "I know XX and YY just got hurt and
you traded with team Q, but if that offer is still on the table I would do
a poll taken among 27 responding
mcscoresheet members, 2/3 (18) agreed that:
make a trade offer. The other
owner sends an e-mail saying he'll think about it. He later accepts--without
asking if the deal is still on the table. In the meantime, circumstances have
changed for you. However, you did not explicitly revoke the offer or set a time
limit in any way. You should not feel pressured to make the deal. His asking
for more time should allow you to reconsider, too.
other option offered for that scenario was:
You should make the deal. You made
offer and didn't qualify it in any way. The offer was still open and he has
every right to accept.
Andy: It does depends on the wording
though: there's a difference between "I'm offering X for Y" and
"would you be interested in X for Y"?
Wiz: I get annoyed by those coy
unofficial offers. Obviously those managers are just trying to weasel out from
you how much you like those players so he can adjust his real offer to get the
most out of you. The only defense is to be vigilantly on your guard and say,
“sorry, I’ve been burned in the past by answering that sort of question. Make
me a firm offer, please, and I’ll let you know”. Am I being paranoid?
JRM: I get offered Belliard for Ellis
send a response, "I'll take
Belliard and a 31 for Ellis."
Trading partner: No.
OK, then I'll do Belliard for
partner has a right to do this because I've implicitly rejected his offer with
MC: . . . if a trading partner is going to go down
that road, turnabout is certainly fair play.
Wiz: That seems a bit harsh to me, but if
you guys say so, it must be acceptable.
JRM: All of this may sound like
lawyer-talk to some, but the laws of contracts are exceptionally useful when it
comes to trading discussions and avoiding hurt feelings. In all these things,
if you have a reasonable, objective baseline of a standard of behavior, all
league members will be happier.
So, I don't get upset when someone indicates they might do a deal with me on
Monday and then radically reconsider the next day; I don't mind if offers get
revoked or reworked. But if there's an offer and acceptance, there's a deal.
- except under all the circumstances
described above. When is an offer no longer an offer? What constitutes
all this reasoned discussion, there are still disagreements and gray areas.
Suffice to say there is a trade-off in the gray zone between getting the deal
the way you want it and keeping good will and your reputation spotless.
Communication clears away most of the gray, but there is a trade-off there of
sounding like an undesirable wheeler-dealer. (One poster said he wouldn’t trade
with someone who imposed a deadline unless it was heavily in his favour.) At
least, I hope this article gives you a better understanding of what others