MLB Trade Deadline Approaches
We are mere days away from one of my favorite times of the sports calendar year, the MLB trade deadline. At the stroke of 4pm, teams will know what they will have going forward for the rest of the season and for ten teams, the postseason. This is not to say that trades don't happen after the deadline, but making significant moves happen through waivers is increasingly difficult.
The beautiful part of the trade deadline is this is one of the greatest examples of the business side of sports and helps make the sport more interesting. Both buyers and sellers are looking to improve their team in this scenario. The buyer is looking to improve their team for their immediate playoff run, while the seller is looking to improve their team for the long term future. However, for fans this can be a constant source of frustration.
Increasingly so, many of the fans of baseball have begun to look at the Minors for their upcoming players. They look to see who will come up to the team and improve their roster. They need to know who will be on next year's team or who they have that are untouchables. They want to be able to know who they should look to have that next breakout season.
The Atlanta Braves spent four years of trade deadlines touting their untouchable pitchers. The fans of the team knew they were just waiting to have the next great Atlanta rotation. They were awaiting the arrival of Julio Teheran, Randall Delgado, Arodys Vizcaino, and none greater than Tommy Hanson. The crazy part to fans is that Teheran is the only member of that group that still wears an Atlanta Braves uniform and the man, MIke Minor, which fans wanted to be traded is still a strong member of the Braves rotation. This is one example of many where the nuances of baseball's business world come into play.
In this year's example of trade frustration is the Oakland-Chicago trade. Jeff Samardzija is arguably baseball's most improved player and was one of the top two available starting pitchers at the trade deadline. Oakland was baseball's best team at the time, but many felt that this would be another example of a great regular season without the roster to finish in the postseason. Billy Beane must have felt the same way as he traded for two pitchers who will most likely anchor their postseason rotation. Oakland fans should be thrilled. However, how can you be thrilled about losing "Barry Larkin with more power?"
In order to complete the trade for Samardzija, a player under team control only through next season, they had to give up Addison Russell. Russell is THE shortstop. He is the guy that Oakland fans hung their hat on and a five tool player. These are the things that baseball fans want to look at when they look for the next guy up. However, in order to pay Peter, they had to rob Paul. They walked away with one of the jewels of this year's trade deadline, but they also lost one of the jewels of the entirety of baseball to do it.
This is the conundrum of the MLB trade deadline. Do you in fact rob Paul to pay Peter? Many teams face this decision every year as borderline playoff teams and this year is no exception. In both leagues this year, there are 8 teams with a winning record. That means there are 16 potential buyers at the trade deadline and 14 potential sellers. In situations like this, the price for available players at the deadline goes up making the decisions that these general managers face even tougher.
Each year, the trade deadline passes with fans both happy and disappointed. This year promises to be no exception. With names like David Price, Jake Peavy, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Elvis Andrus, Jon Lester, Ben Zobrist and many others available there will be plenty of attention from teams to improve their ball club. There will also be plenty of attention from fans about what they are giving up unlike some of the years in the past.