If you haven’t already noticed, this is a hard time of year to make trades in fantasy baseball circles. About as hard as finding snowmen in the Sahara.

That’s because the marathon that is fantasy baseball has hit its fizzle time for owners who are looking at a losing season. Fantasy football drafts and NFL preseason buzz is heating up, which lures too many frustrated fantasy baseball owners away from the mid-summer classic.

It doesn’t help that we are all facing the dreaded fantasy baseball trade deadline. How do you handle the pressure? How do you make the most of the trade deadline? Here are some tips. After reading these, don’t miss our companion piece on some specific players worth targeting.

1. More than ever, it is important to assess your team’s strengths and weaknesses. At this point in the season, you should have good idea of where your team is solid and where it needs help.

Most leagues hosted by major sites, such as ESPN or Yahoo, offer easy-to-sort standings that allow you to pinpoint your team’s place in the grand scheme of things.

It is time to face the reality that your squad may be hurting in one or more categories, and admit that you need help – hopefully through a trade that catapults you up the standings.

2. Using the same means, look at the rest of your league. At this point, you should have an idea of which teams are active in the trade department, and which owners are more content to fish in the free agent pool.

While you may be able to talk a mostly non-trading owner into making a big move, you also are running out of time for discussions. This means you will likely need to focus on the more active league owners.

Analyze each of these teams in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. Again, be sure to use the software built into your league host to minimize the workload and time needed to break down each squad’s needs and excesses.

3. Make your intentions known. E-mail the league in mass message that you are looking to make some deadline deals and are willing to make some big-time moves. Make the note clear and precise.

Mention actual players on your squad that are available for trade. Be specific in what you need. Again, this is no time to beat around the bush. Being open and honest to all owners up front will facilitate a potential trade quicker than being coy.

Make yourself available to talk with other owners. Let them know when you’ll be online and if you will be on IM, in a chat room or perhaps on a social media site like Facebook. The more accessible you are, the better the chances another owner will track you down.

4. You need to be open-minded about offers. Other owners don’t want to give up their studs for your scrap-heap guys. You will need to sacrifice a player or two that you were originally hoping to keep until the end.

5. Be steadfast on your core players, though. Certain guys, such as Luke Scott and Aaron Hill, are finally achieving their full potential in fantasy circles.

While many owners will come drooling for such players, you need to acknowledge that certain players will likely continue to play at an elite level.

6. Work on needs-for-needs trades. From your analysis in earlier points, be sure to pinpoint deals with teams that match up best with your needs and vice versa.

For instance, in one league, my team was desperate for saves but loaded with quality high-strikeout pitchers. While I kept the lines of communication open with all teams, I spent more time and energy on the squads that desperately needed strikeouts and wins, but also had an excess of saves.

7. Don’t get greedy. I can preach this point from experience. Plenty of times, I’ll be close to making a deal that helps my squad, but then notice an additional player or two from the other team that would make great cherries on the trading hot fudge sundae. Let me be the first to point out that these extra last-minute requests typically don’t help expedite a deadline deal.

While another owner may be desperate to make a move, and you can squeeze some extra players out of him, don’t squeeze so hard that you strangle off any chance of a deal.

8. Continue to get trading advice from unbiased sources. It can be very easy to lock into a trade at the deadline that seems to fit all your team’s needs, but the fantasy trading sort can sometimes find themselves with blinders on.

I always run trades, especially the bigger ones, past people I know and trust from fantasy circles, whether it is ep at www.chinstrapninjas.com or fantasy baseball café members, I always get some last-second advice.

For the rest of this article, including the final two tips to successful fantasy baseball trade deadline dealing, go here.

For a list of players to target in trade deadline deals, with explanations for each, go here.

Tired of fantasy baseball and ready to jump ship? Check out our rapidly growing list of solid fantasy football advice for the 2010 season.

For all your hard-hitting fantasy baseball and fantasy football advice, go to www.chinstrapninjas.com

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