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Considering the 2020 Trade Deadline

Twins Daily Contributor

As we come within reach of a 2020 baseball season, the stage is set for a whole lot of weird outcomes. With a new season length and a mess of new rules, the trade deadline being announced for August 31st was almost overlooked. In what should be an exciting season, I believe the trade deadline could be a highlight to look back on.Are Trades Worth It?

We’ve seen an August 31st trade deadline before, but never like this one. We used to have a revocable waiver trade deadline prior to 2019 which some teams did take advantage of. Before underestimating the amount of craziness we could see at the deadline this year because of there only being a month left, consider this: In regards to the MLB as a whole, September 2020 will be the most interesting month of baseball we’ve ever seen. Trades only impact twenty some odd games, but the percentage of the full schedule this represents is huge. Many teams will likely be hanging around looking for a jolt on the trade market.


The Astros pulled off a trade for Justin Verlander on July 31 of 2017. He made 5 regular season starts for them going 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA to finish the season. Acquiring a superstar at the deadline in a normal year is huge. Doing so in a shortened season could take a fringe team and allow them to coast into the playoffs. Get excited for what could be one of the most influential trade deadlines in MLB history.


Who’s available?

So I’ve created a bit of a fallacy in my logic. If a bunch of teams are surprisingly hanging around at the deadline, who will even be available to trade for? The beauty of this season is that we have absolutely no idea! Not a clue! Every team is a bad month away from selling. Every team is a decent month away from buying. If the Yankees are 6 games under .500 at the deadline with the Rays and Red Sox looking unbreakable, why hang onto James Paxton? If the Marlins go off in August leading up to the deadline, why not look for some bats to complement their impressive young rotation?


The bottom line is that this could all come down to how aggressive each team wants to be. An emerging team like the Reds may want to make a push while hovering around .500. Another team with a similar record could feel like they’re nearing the end of their winning cycle and look to retool such as the Indians with Francisco Lindor. Negotiations are probably going to be outrageous, and I wouldn’t rule out some big names being available.


Evaluating Need

How do you evaluate team needs in such a short amount of time? Some teams enter the season with obvious holes. Others like the Twins feel fairly solid in every aspect of their roster. We feel good now, but how many starts does Berrios need to struggle in before we’re clamoring for an ace? (If you’re on Twitter you already know the answer is one) This will again come down to aggressiveness by each organization. The Twins for example shouldn’t save bullets in my opinion. We’ve lost enough of our 2020, don’t forfeit the entire year by being conservative. The window for improvement is small and if teams are serious about winning, they should address weakness externally as soon as it shows up.


Another consideration is injury. Hamstrings, obliques, etc that normally sideline a player for a few weeks now puts their season in jeopardy. Good teams with an injury to one or more of their starters will be looking for high level replacements if their player’s return is at all in question. If Polanco sprains his ankle, it may make sense to go get more of a consistent producer at shortstop than Ehire Adrianza for example.


My not so hot take is that we’ve never seen anything like the 2020 trade deadline and we probably never will again. Even if the volume of trades drops, the impact of each trade will be infinitely higher than baseball has ever seen. We’re bound to see some surprise moves that could push teams you’d never have expected into the driver's seat as they hit a stride. We were clearly looking forward to baseball being played in general in 2020, but the trade deadline in particular should be something for fans of every team to dream about.


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I agree that trading will likely be sparse.


The shorter the season, the more volatile things are in terms of outcome. All it takes is one great/terrible week and things change. The impact of injuries is magnified. Data becomes skewed.


Then, there’s the pandemic. Revenues will be down. Parting with a cheap prospect for a big contract becomes less appealing from a financial standpoint. A resurgence of the virus could shut down the game at any point. There has to be all sorts of new contractual considerations. For example, who wants to acquire an expiring deal for prospects without some recourse if the season gets called a week after the trade.


It’s a totally different game. I’m excited to watch it okay out.

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I too don`t think that anything big will materialize at deadline, at least for the Twins. IMO where our greatest need is at impact pitching, I believe anyone w/ impact pitching will be in the hunt for  a position in post season. Therefore I don`t see anything will be available. It`s hard to figure out if CLE will or can trade Lindor in this crazy season. We`ll have to see

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I expect either almost no trades at the deadline or some really big trades.  First, it will be hard to evaluate history of trades for value of these trades.  Normally, we look at years of control and cost of control to help decide what return should be.  Less time with team getting player less they would give in return.  However, as pointed out, the impact could be even bigger this year. 


In terms of years of return, we do not what next year will bring, the assumption is full season at full pay, but what about fans.  We hope life will revert back to some level of normal by next April, but we do not know.  So there may be very reduced fans for next year.  Owners will be less likely to want to take on big contracts for next year.  Also, there is major expectations of work stoping the year after, so even if you have player under control for that year it may be wasted.  That means a team may be less likely to give up a prospect if that year was going to be factored into years of control.


Conversely, if a team feels that a player this year will get them over the hump in the crazy season that it is, and trading for a hot player for rental may be worth more than any other year.  This could lead teams to making trades you would never expect.  I bet, most of the trades in that situation will be international signing money and less of prospects as we have no clue how some players will be developing. 


The last thing to think about is that most teams see a bump in attendance after a WS win, but if that cannot happen, then will teams want to give up future assets for chance at win in a year of a crap shoot that you will not see a boost in revenue that you normally would.  

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One unique aspect of the traditional prospect for veteran trade that we typically see at the trade deadline, as I understand the rules for this year, is that only prospects included on the team's 60 player pool are eligible to be traded.  I wonder if this might lead to some prospects being included in the pool as potential trade capital.

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Twins Daily Contributor


I'm not sure if it's going to be worth trading for anyone this year. Many prospects won't be playing, the playoff run will be short, and I just don't know if it will be worth it. I expect few trades to happen.

I've seen that argument as well. I don't think the prospects not playing is a factor. The second half of the season is essentially going to be a pennant race for a ton of teams normally out of it I'd guess and it may give incentive to make the move that puts them over the top.

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I see the deadline being crazy, if the Twins start out slow, they have a handful of players to trade and IMO they would be happy getting anything for them if they are not going to sign them. Rosario, Odo, Cruz, Romo, and others.

I think if there is a few surprise teams that have been rebuilding that get hot, they would love to trade for players they are only getting for this year, opposed to the Twins being hot and they could trade for players they need giving up very young prospects that might be 4-5 years away but might be willing to take on players that have a few years left on their contract.



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The Twins need to be opportunistic, and aggressive, if a bottom-feeder team throws in the towel for competing in 2020 and wants to divest of blue-chip talent that doesn't fit into their plans, for reasons that bottom-feeder teams sometimes have but which I fervently hope our Twins don't currently feel apply to themselves at this point in their cycle.


Otherwise, I don't expect a very active trading season. Blockbuster, or small stopgap deal to fill a need that arises, or nothing,


/ edit - just on a hunch, I ran that first sentence/paragraph through a series of readability tests. The worst outcome was a whopping 30.9 on the Automated readability index. According to that metric, tenured college professors would come away from reading my prose, unenlightened and weeping from shame. If any of you have a clue what I just wrote, up there, please explain it to me. :) I am happy to report that this present paragraph earns a much more decipherable score of 5.4.

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Just read this on MLB.com:




Can teams make trades?

Yes, though not every player in an organization can be dealt in 2020. The Trade Deadline this season has been moved from July 31 to Aug. 31, but unlike years past, teams will be limited in which players they can deal.

Only the 60 players in a team’s Player Pool will be eligible to be traded, limiting the number of Minor League players who will be moved this summer.


Minor league prospects who are not on the 60 man roster cannot be traded, and that on top of the other reasons is likely why few if any trades happen this year.

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2021 SHOULD be something close to a normal season. But what happens beyond that is a huge question at this point. And teams will have illness injury and shots at still winning in this short, weird and crazy 2020 season. However...


1] Does anyone really want to take on

additional payroll with all the anticipated financial losses for 2020? Much less committing $ for the future?


2] Trading for a prospect you might like who is not playing right now might not initially sound like a huge obstacle, but you ARE probably losing development time for that player as of now. Further, teams will invariably know LESS about their OWN similar prospects that could be as good or better than those acquired. If you're a bottom team with no chance, this might not be a concern.


3] Trading for help this season is akin to making a trade about the end of May as the timetable is accelerated. Teams will still want to win. And yes, a 60 game sprint could push a few extra teams in to "buy" mode as they feel they have a chance. But the time frame for assistance is also limited, especially in regard to SP. You are trading for probably 5 starts, not including any post season opportunities. Does that get it done? Non contending teams may be really disappointed about trade opportunities.


We could be surprised, of course, but I'm just not expecting much to happen here.

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