Here’s a reality check on the cost of living: The median rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Denver is $ 744. In Minneapolis, that same apartment will cost you $ 815. But that’s not so bad because renting a one-bedroom apartment from a room in New York City will cost you $ 2,453 a month.

The rent is not cheaper when playing fantasy baseball. Someone was hoping I’d give Giancarlo Stanton and Andrew McCutchen a month’s rent from Buster Posey. Look, I love Buster Posey, but I can’t afford that kind of rent. I prefer to sleep in my car.

Before continuing, we should probably define terms. “Rent” in fantasy baseball means more or less what it means in real baseball. A team in search will often yield a pair of expendable young players for a veteran to push them toward the title. The last piece of the puzzle is called rent, because you simply sign it up for the last few months of the season.

A first-place team in a fantasy baseball league will often pack in a couple of players for a rental that, in their opinion, will allow them to take home the title. Teams that are within attacking distance of the first will often up the ante, going with everything in a rental as a salute to catch the leader. Teams at the bottom of the fantasy baseball rankings are more than happy to have a couple of young players to help them build next year’s team.

The secret to a good rental, however, is to get them cheaply. It is counterproductive to trade valuable assets for a rental. You would be better served with what you have and a potential business partner shouldn’t expect a great return from a registered player for just a few weeks.

Still, business partners will ask for the moon (I tried to rent from Matt Kemp for 5 weeks once and the other team asked for Evan Longoria, Huston Street, and Billy Butler). Here are some quick tips to help you find a cheap rental:

  • Roll someone where you have the category pinned. If you are gaining the stolen base category by 30 steals, then it makes sense that you can offer your Michael Bourn to a team looking to rebuild and ask for a slugger in return. Remember, don’t trade players who are producing in the categories you are competing in. That’s one step forward, but two steps back.
  • Don’t overpay. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to know when to walk away from a rental opportunity. If another team is close to last and expects the best value for a player that they will have on their roster for a very short time, then they must pass. For starters, it’s better to go with the team that put you near the top, rather than making an eager move for a rental just because you feel like you have to.
  • Take advantage of non-goalkeepers, fan picks, and youth for veterans. Rent works best in goalie leagues with a cap. If a player cannot stay the following season, then he is a perfect candidate to rent. The exchange team would be foolish if they didn’t try to get some goalkeeper value from him if they lose him in a few weeks anyway. Offer them a young player with goalkeeper eligibility or one of their favorite players.
  • Correspond. Establish good business relationships with these owners. Often times, the same owners work together year after year because they have built a level of trust. I recently offered Manny machado to another owner who could use an SS goalkeeper next year for one of his players who couldn’t keep. We have always traded fairly with each other, so it is easy for us to find good bargaining points in the trade.

A good player for hire can certainly make the difference between first place and a season finale slipping into second, so you certainly look for opportunities to improve and make your team better, even on gray days of summer.

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