This Trade Deadline Is Going to Be a Mess
Image courtesy of © Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY SportsThe first issue is that teams mostly will not know just how good they are. Surely, the Yankees and the Dodgers know that they’ll be menaces, but what about teams like the Rangers and Angels? The fringey teams that most need the 100 some odd games of observation and analysis will have to compact their decision making process into a relatively minuscule sample. Keep in mind that these are teams headed by executives who sometimes plan moves years in advance. Weird stuff is going to occur when the safety net of long-term evaluation is removed.
Another one of the problems that occurs when barely any games have been played is that teams just don’t know how good some of their players actually are. The Twins need to know where some of their riskier players are at so they can decide whether to add or be satisfied. For example, a guy like Tyler Clippard might lose it halfway through September. In a normal season, the Twins would use this information to go get a replacement because the breakdown would have normally happened sometime in May. Now, all they can do is swear under their breath and mutter while kicking dust.
Yet, there remains more that screws up this trade deadline! MLB announced on their opening day that playoffs would be expanding to include eight teams from each league. This decision can be its own discussion, but the important end result is that the market will now be entirely skewed to favor sellers. I’m also not actually sure if there will be any true sellers in MLB.
Consider this; the typical trade deadline consists of teams who can clearly identify where they are at in comparison with every other team. This is the point of every single game played before July 31. But with a shortened season and an expanded postseason, just about every team in baseball could conceivably make the playoffs. If the Tigers are sitting in second place on August 31, why in the world would they drop guys like Matt Boyd and Jonathan Schoop? They’ll take their shot at the playoffs because they know that anything can happen.
The playoff picture will obviously become much clearer in the coming weeks. Or, at least it hopefully will, because the Pittsburgh Pirates are currently the only team that is essentially already out of the race (can’t wait to eat these words in a few weeks when they suddenly become the ‘27 Yankees). Anyways, that means that either ten teams are going to fight for Joe Musgrove and marginally improve their rotation or they’ll take their chances with what they have.
The point is that cutting out the middle teams altogether from being sellers almost completely saps the market of worthwhile players. Bad teams generally don’t have good players, that’s why they’re bad after all (I do actually get paid for this kind of analysis, by the way). The few good players they do have will have such an astronomical price attached to them that the naturally conservative front offices members of other teams won’t meet that price. A few might out of desperation, but desperate front office members are few and far between.
Of course, fringe teams who can make the playoffs might still sell. It would be one hell of a thing to say “we’re giving up this chance to make the playoffs so that we have a chance to make the playoffs in the future”, but MLB teams have hid behind “the future” for years now anyways. Ultimately, I don’t see that happening and instead we will have the slowest trade deadline to ever exist. I hope I’m wrong! I really do. This just happens to be the most apparent end game of everything that has made this season so strange. At least in regards to the trade deadline.
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