Tout Table: Correcting an Inadvertent Drop

This week, the Touts address an administrative conundrum:

How should it be handled when someone inadvertently drops a player?

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): As long the person immediately admits the issues, they should be added back. Weird stuff happens. If the league or commish is going to be an ass about it, make sure they state their hardline take in the league rules. At least everyone knows the rules Nazi will be watching.

Alex Chamberlain (Rotofraphs, @DolphHauldhagen): As a dingus who has done this more than once before (big thumbs, small phone screen, cut me some slack!), I think as long as you announce it to the league and/or commissioner immediately after the transaction occurs, there shouldn’t be an issue. If you don’t notice that you accidentally dropped someone and then make a fuss over it after another owner claims him (which, if you have FAAB or even an 48-hour waiver claim buffer, is PLENTY of time to notice), then that’s on you. Technology is meant to facilitate our fantasy baseball experience but sometimes it can backfire.

AJ Mass (ESPN, @AJMass): I used to work at a casino in the poker room and we always operated under the concepts of “immediate reporting” and “significant subsequent action.” That same standard should be applied here. If a fantasy manager inadvertently drops a player and immediately reports the mistake to the commissioner (or other appropriate authority), he should be returned. Mistakes happen. If the report comes a few hours later, he should also be returned, so long as there hasn’t been anything significant to happen in the interim (news that said player has been promoted from Triple-A or will become the closer, etc.). Easy peasy.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru Elite, @BaseballGuys): Here is the link to my write up about the poll, and the question. https://www.fantasyguru.com/rays-ramblings-reversing-drop-mistakes

Anthony Aniano (Rotoballer, @AAnianoFantasy): In the average league an accidental drop should be reversed as long as the accident is brought to the league’s attention immediately after it occurs. Days or even hours later is too long not to notice the mistake and at that point the released player is now fair game.

Brad Johnson (Patreon/BaseballATeam, @BaseballATeam): Typically, I’ll undo the move so long as I’m informed immediately of the mistake. Same for accidental trades. If there’s a delay that makes it seem as if the owner is maybe pulling a fast one, I might refuse. I’ll also add language to our constitution when necessary to govern these sorts of scenarios. If you care enough about your league to make a fuss about undoing an accidental add/drop, then you should have a constitution.

Anthony Perri (Fantistics, @Anthony_Perri): It all depends on the circumstance. If it’s brought to the attention of the league commissioner within the first few minutes, there should be no question. However there are special circumstances that should be taken into consideration, including the website commissioner product.. For instance, one website commissioner product that I’m in, has a setup that separates the difference between a drop and a reserve as “Res” and “Rel” (when setting the lineup). I dropped Mike Trout one year and wasn’t aware until someone pointed it out to me, my league mates were sympathetic and understood that it was a clear mistake.

Ariel Cohen (CBS Sports, @ATCNY): If the fantasy owner immediately gives the league notice, the player should be awarded back by the commissioner. Certainly, if the mistake is alerted to within the hour – there should be no issue to reverse the transaction. I think that reversing an inadvertent drop should also be allowed for the overnight right after a waiver period before lineups come out the next day. The exception would be if some “news” – good or bad – has come out about any player involved. The main idea is that if it can be determined that it was accidental, an owner should not be penalized – whether it be in a big money league or just in a social league. As an example of a correction rule – In one of my leagues, we instituted a “Four Hour” rule for lineups (which all lock at the start of the scoring period). If you inadvertently set a wrong lineup, you can alert the commissioner to make a change on your behalf up to 4 hours thereafter.

Bret Sayre (Baseball Prospectus, @BretSayreBP): Your league commissioner should have a period of time during which they’ll reverse inadvertent drops (I would recommend an hour or two), during which the owner can raise the issue if it was indeed inadvertent. In the end, we’re supposed to be having fun here. That said, if the player has any playing time or any news comes out during the period between the drop and the notification that it was inadvertent, they’re out of luck.

Seth Trachtman (Rotoworld, @sethroto): As a commissioner, I prefer to give the owner a mulligan if I catch the drop before someone else picks up the player. The same goes for an accidental pickup, like picking up the wrong Rougned Odor (cough, cough). However, if another owner picks up the player before the accidental drop is identified and the accident impacts multiple owners, usually at that point I’d let the moves stand. I qualify all of this by saying I think each unique situation should be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Honest mistakes do happen, and decisions should be made with that in mind.

Derek VanRiper (Rotowire, @DerekVanRiper): As long as there is quick, near immediate acknowledgment of the erroneous drop, it should be corrected.

Michael Stein (Fantasy Judgment, @FantasyJudgment): As the Chief Justice of Fantasy Judgment, I have had this scenario submitted to me for resolution in the past. I believe a GM who inadvertently drops a player and immediately recognized the error by alerting the commissioner and entire league should be allowed to have the player placed back on their roster. Mistakes happen and people click the wrong buttons at times, so as long as the error is acknowledged right away with valid justification then it is fine to revert them back onto the roster. The exception to this is if there is breaking news about that player which would lead one to believe it was not an error, but rather seller’s remorse. The commissioner will have to use his/her discretion in evaluating those circumstances and decide whether it is more likely a mistake or regret.

Brian Walton (CreativeSports2, @B_Walton): If the problem is brought up in a timely manner, the move should be reversed – PLUS – the commissioner/SWAT should inform the league what happened so there is no misunderstanding later. This latter point is often disregarded, but the best leagues have open communications.

Jason Collette (Rotowire, @jasoncollette): If the issue is raised within 30 minutes of the error, make the change. If the person didn’t realize the move until later that day or the next day, too much could have happened in that time to reverse it. Every site gives you a confirmation step before you do something, so two-click accidents are tough to make.

Jeff Zimmerman (Fangraphs, The Process, @jeffwzimmerman): Per Collette Another major industry league is hosted on a website which doesn’t have this safeguard. I know because I “tested” it out this year.

Howard Bender (Fantasy Alarm, @RotobuzzGuy): This actually just happened to me as I ‘fat-thumbed” my way into dropping Domingo Santana while using a site’s app. I reached out to the commish who said he understood and told everyone in the league to not put in any waiver claims. If the person who made the mistake reaches out to the commish immediately, then the commish should be able to simply reverse the transaction. Unfortunately, some websites do not allow the commish to override a transaction which means it drags out and, like in my case, when an owner who “forgot” to withdraw his waiver claim gets the player, it then becomes a headache to make a series of transactions to right one simple wrong.

Michael Beller (Sports Illustrated, @MBeller): This one is pretty simple. So long as the offending owner addresses it in a timely manner, the move should be reversed. This is fantasy baseball, and while we all want to win, we’re mainly here to have fun. It’s no fun being ruled over with an iron fist.

Greg Ambrosius (NFBC, @GregAmbrosius): In the NFBC and NFFC we realize that mistakes on cuts can happen, especially with so many people doing transactions from their phones. If contacted immediately, we do allow the cut player to be replaced and we tell the league members what just happened. The FAAB pickup can NEVER be altered, whether that involves the price spent or the player that was picked up. But the cut is easier to replace and is allowed in high-stakes for the fairness of the league and the fairness of the overall contest. Having a superstar in one league’s FAAB pool due to a human error doesn’t help the integrity of the overall contest. Correct the error and keep that league whole. A few years ago in football some teams owned both Adrian Petersons or both Steve Smiths and there were some owners who cut the wrong Adrian Peterson or the wrong Steve Smith. Simple correction and one that just uses common sense to correct.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): As others have stated the process should be explicitly written in the league’s Constitution. Admittedly, Tout Wars fails in this regard, at least for now. I’m sure we’ll formalize our policy which is to indeed reverse moves if notified right away. As a few have shared, not all sites are as user-friendly as others and we’re in an era where many manage teams over their phone. As a desktop guy, i often need to remember this is the case. That said, the overriding approach used in Tout Wars is each participant is ultimately responsible for his/her team so if the mistake isn’t caught immediately, it may not be reversed. It then becomes incumbent open the fantasy manager to “check their work”, especially if they’re playing one one of the more error-prone platforms.

Tim McCullough (Baseball Prospectus, @TimsTenz): As much as we all compete with one another and hope for our opponents to “give up” on a player and put him on waivers, this is supposed to be a friendly game. If a mistake is made and reported in a timely manner to the commissioner, then a mistaken drop should be reversed. Timely is where the sticking point is but a few hours shouldn’t be a big deal.

Dr. Roto (Scout Fantasy, @DrRoto): If the person catches the mistake quickly enough I am always open to reversing the move. No sense punishing someone for a minor error. If it gets caught after 2-3 days, that becomes more or a case by case issue.

Patrick Davitt (BaseballHQ, @patrickdavitt): I’m all for returning the inadvertently waived player if the Commish is notified immediately. The issue is what “immediately” means. I’ve seen references to “half an hour” “quickly enough,” “before anyone else picks the player up,” etc. I hate to be a stickler for “da rules,” but it’s important that there BE a rule here so there’s no post-move bickering about how soon was soon enough. Where the waste solids hit the A/C is when the player is picked up by someone else. Personally, I think the move should be final and irrevocable after the transactions deadline has passed.

Grey Albright (RazzBall, @razzball): I once drove my wife to the airport but dropped her off at the mall by accident. We’re still happily married

Rudy Gamble (Razzball, @RudyGamble): There are two scenarios to think through IMO. If we are talking about an average to mediocre player, as long as the owner recognized the mistake before another owner picks him up, I am okay with giving him back to the erring owner. If we are talking a top player, I would rather give him back to the original owner than potentially decide a league’s fate because one guy was on his phone when dufus owner dropped Trevor Bauer.

Tim McLeod (PattonandCo, @TimothyLMc): Fess up right away, and simply fix the error.

Ian Kahn (Rotowire, @IanKahn4): In all of theses cases it seems that common sense should prevail. If a player were to drop a top player by a slip of the finger, and not notice till the next day, I would always try to rectify the situation. This is a fun game. It’s important to keep it that way.

Rob Leibowitz (Rotoheaven, @rob_leibowitz): I’m with the majority. As long as the error occurs before anyone picks up the player again, I will correct it. Playing too cutthroat is a way to destroy a league. Correcting mistakes and keeping the game fun and non confrontational is more important in the long run. Also I consider it more of a commissioner’s discretion situation which doesn’t need to be explicitly stated in the rules. The commish should always have the ability to make decisions that are in the bests interest of the league.

Ray Flowers (Fantasy Guru Elite, @BaseballGuys): What if a league has a N/A spot for minor leaguers. Someone drops Mallex Smith. Then, they notice he was sent to the minors. Then, the ask for the drop to be changed cause it was a mistake. Was it a mistake, or did the person just not pay attention and note that Smith was sent to the minors? How could we then know if the person actually made a mistake by hitting the wrong button, or, perhaps they just didn’t do their homework and didn’t notice that Smith had been demoted?

Ryan Hallam (Fighting Chance Fantasy, @FightingChance): As long as the error is brought up right away, I definitely think the person who made the drop should be able to get the player back. Are we really that serious that we are trying to take advantage of someone’s error to win? Everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes, as long as it isn’t hours later, put the player back on their roster.

Charlie Wiegert (CDM Sports, @GFFantasySports): Depends on the game. Friend leagues ( like Tout, FSTA, Labr), no harm, no Foul and if caught before any other moves get affected, change it back. But in bigger money leagues ( like NFBC, High $ leagues, etc.), where there are rules are established , rules have to be followed or the games operator has to maintain the integrity of the games.

Lenny Melnick (LennyMelnickFantasySports, @LennyMelnick): Common Sense should prevail

Michael Rathburn (Rotowire, @FantasyRath): As long as the mistake was recognized within timely fashion, (24 hours) the move should be ok to reverse.

Steve Gardner (USAToday Fantasy Sports, @SteveAGardner): Even the best players occasionally make a mistake. As the commissioner in LABR, I always give the owner the benefit of the doubt if the error is identified promptly. No one wants to win or lose a league on a technicality.

Mike Sheets (ESPN, @MikeASheets): I’m with the consensus here. If it’s a mistake and the owner alerts the commish of the mistake within a reasonable amount of time, it should be reversed. I’ve made this mistake before, and I’ve known other experienced players who have made this mistake, too. Fix it and move on.

Tristan H. Cockcroft (ESPN, @SultanofStat): Echoing a lot of what’s been said: so long as the manager in question reports the error to the commissioner promptly, the player should be returned to that team. As to what “promptly” means, it’s almost always easy to tell when it was an honest mistake versus regretting the drop. As to Ray’s follow-up question, moving players into IL or N/A spots on mobile can often trip some people up, myself included, so I’m understanding with that. But specifically with the Mallex Smith example, it’d come down to what time the drop was made. If it was at noon ET on Tuesday and I get that e-mail at 6 p.m., the drop needs to stand because Smith’s demotion wasn’t formally announced until just after 5. And, yes, I do occasionally get managers wanting to reclaim a player whose status changed after the drop — that shouldn’t be allowed.

Phil Hertz (BaseballHQ, @prhz50): Not much to add. Even in cutthroat leagues, if the owner reports things right away, then correcting the error is fine. A couple of notes, I might still charge for the move or impose a fine, since it will be extra work to correct. Also I might come out differently if the same owner did this more than once or (or twice).

Justin Mason (Friends with Fantasy Benefits, Fangraphs, Fantasy Alarm, @JustinMasonFWFB): I think this depends on the league you are playing in. If this is a fun league with friends, then you take it back. If there is serious money involved, then you don’t.

Mike Podhorzer (Fangraphs, @MikePodhorzer): I included a rule in my league’s constitution that if the owner who made the mistake notifies me within 10 minutes of the error, I would reverse it.

Scott Swanay (FantasyBaseballSherpa, @fantasy_sherpa): I think it depends on how competitive the league is/how understanding other owners are. I generally try to put myself in other owner’s shoes and give them the same benefit of the doubt I’d want to be shown if I were the owner in question. I think the timeliness of notification and common sense should be the 2 overriding criteria in such cases. A companion problem that just came up in a home league (AL-only) I play in that has $100 FAAB – the other owner won some marginal player with a bid of $55, then claimed he’d meant to bid only $5 on the player in question but had fat-fingered his entry. After determining that no other owner had bid more than $5 the Commissioner let him keep the player for $5, which seemed fair to all of us.

Ray Murphy (BaseballHQ, @RayHQ): If identified immediately, then I think it’s fine to roll back an inadvertent drop. They are generally easy to correct with no consequence to other players. Other categories of errors, like fat-fingered bids, are obviously tougher to undo. But when it’s a clear error identified in a timely fashion, I’m a benevolent commissioner.

Adam Ronis (Scout Fantasy, @AdamRonis): As long as the mistake is made publicly on the message board or in an email to the league immediately, it can be fixed. Unfortunately, in a league with significant money on the line this might not be good enough. As always, address this mishap now and come up with a rule so there’s no controversy in the future.

Jeff Boggis (Fantasy Football Empire, @JeffBoggis): If a league manager makes a mistake of dropping a player, I have no problem adding them back to their roster. But the league manager must contact the commish immediately and inform him of the mistake. It would also help if the league manager emails the league to explain the mistake. We’ve all done this.

Nando Di Fino (The Athletic, @nandodifino): I’d like to link to Ray’s link. If I can’t, I’ll say that I don’t see the side of the argument where a fantasy player shouldn’t get the dropped player back. This game was designed to be very personal — calling in and faxing moves to the commissioner, scoring by hand, etc. An inadvertent drop would never happen in its original iteration. But on a cell phone, with changing UI… I could see where an inadvertent finger move could lead to a drop instead of an IL move, or a wrong player being put into the drop box. So I’m for the return of the player. But you need a window. Four hours max.

Vlad Sedler (Fantasy Guru Elite, @rotogut): It should depend on the type of league. In friends and family league, it should be forgiven if the person clearly states it was done in error and he/she is not a repeat offender. In all other types, the rules of that league or site takes precedence.

Todd Zola (Mastersball, @toddzola): Reading through the replies, I haven’t changed my mind, an inadvertent drop should be returned, however as someone who as been on the administrative side of as many league as just about anyone, it isn’t cut and dried. I’ve always felt the same action should have the same repercussions, regardless of the outcome. I also want as many rules to be black and white as possible, especially in a league like Tout Wars where we are governing 81 teams in six different leagues with three different SWATs handling the work. The less subjectivity, the better. The obvious approach is to set a hard deadline for reporting a mistake. The problem is,my colleagues are all over the place in this regard, though it is league contextual. Having a deadline to report the error puts the onus on the person to check their work after it’s entered. This is perfect since ultimately, especially in a league like Tout Wars, we all need to be responsible and accountable for our own teams. RARELY, there may be a move reports disingenuously. In the short window, news broke, affecting the decision. Or, the individual changed their mind from what they would have done. I’d like to think we don’t have any of this in Tout Wars. However, even if we did, the incredibly rare instance someone took advantage is significantly trumped by the occasional correcting of an accidental drop.

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