Ever wish CSFBL had a cheat sheet? Some place you could go for advice on how to evaluate players or build a winning team? Maybe you’re thinking about making some major changes to your roster and aren’t sure how to go about it. Well you’re in luck, because all of that and more is explained in the new 'How To' pages.
I'm not suggesting an owner should never trade for a vet pre-FOA lock, but rather to be very careful about it and try to minimize your risk. CSFBL almost always has more sellers than buyers in leagues, so as someone who wants to buy vets, try to pit sellers against each other. Chances are one of them will be so desperate to sell that your trading position will improve.
Additionally, consider the cap in a hard cap league like Sweetness. If an owner is over the cap and forced to sell, don't rescue them with what you'd consider a fair deal in normal circumstances. They have to deal for something or cut for nothing, so as the buyer you hold the trading chips here and thus you don't have to offer a top pick, even for a top player.
Finally, if you are determined to trade a top pick for a pricey vet in the hopes of making a big run in a season, you don't have to make that trade before 4/1 and the FOA lock. Top picks are the platinum of CSFBL, and owners will most likely trade you that pricey vet after 4/1. This will save your scouting and/or development for the season.
The Legend of John Gardner (From Luke_T)
So when new owners take over a team, they like to look at what they’ve got, and immediately make a move up or down the standings. No one likes standing pat, they want to make their mark on a team. I had just taken over the Kingston Clownfish in the 2017 season. We were 51-58 on 8/1, so I decided I was going to start selling pieces and start a rebuild. My best player was John Gardner (https://www.csfbl.com/player/view.asp?playerid=4360742) so I put him and others up for trade. (https://forums.csfbl.com/showthread.php/264331-former-barracudas-block) He was 28 years old at the time, so I figured he had maybe 5 good seasons left in him. But he was a classic FI/SY pitcher rated at 79/99/53/71 with 70 EN. Those guys are usually built to last. And had I checked to his player history, I would have seen that he was still developing in PO. (Unfortunately, we didn’t have access to player history back then. You had to keep track in excel.)
Anyways, the owner of Jamaica Me Crazies messages me, inquiring about Gardner’s availability. He was the first person to inquire, and I foolishly made a deal right away. In return for Gardner, who was running some crazy numbers at the time, I got back a backend starter (https://www.csfbl.com/player.asp?playerid=4428077) that was just about ready to be called up and a first round pick for the following year. (It turned into this guy: https://www.csfbl.com/player.asp?playerid=4485695)
Immediately, I heard back from my mentor (owner of the Belize Great Blue Hole) asking what in the world I was doing. I started to defend my trade, saying well I got back some good pieces. And I did, but I could have gotten so much more if I had been patient. Gardner went on to appear in 8 all-star games, win 4 Cy Young, and more importantly carry Jamaica to 5 World Series wins. He didn’t start to decline in FI until the age of 36 and continuously haunted the entire conference for a good decade after being traded.
The morale of the story here is to be patient. Realize that aces under 30 are among the most valuable trade chips in the game, and that people will do anything to get their hands on one. You dream of drafting a guy like Gardner with the #1 pick in the draft. I could have taken Jamaica’s entire draft for the next two years as well as obtained a better prospect or two. But I took the first offer I got, and have never lived down trading away the guy after more than 18 months.