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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Neyer: Does anybody really need to do…anything?

Neyer declares war on “need.”

So you’ve got all those contending teams and all those late-July trades, and I can’t find a single compelling instance of a player who really made a difference.

Is this normal? No, and yes. Last season was atypical, just in terms of how few division races wound up being even remotely close. But let’s just think about the math for a moment. Leaving aside Mike Trout, your typical great player is worth about six wins above replacement over a whole season … which means he’s worth only two wins after the trade deadline. How many races come down to two wins or fewer? Not many. How many of the teams in those races ultimately win the World Series? Even fewer?

Here’s the problem with using the word “need” ... According to Baseball Prospectus’s latest Playoff Odds Report, the Blue Jays have a 4.7-percent chance of winning the World Series. That is, a title. Let’s say they add a starter and a reliever. Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. Which would really be something, wouldn’t it? That’s about as well as they could possibly do!

If they added both those guys, made a true blockbuster deal, their chances of winning the World Series might jump all the way to eight or nine percent. But probably more like six or seven.

Which is why I don’t buy into need, but rather want or good to have. Because I’m pretty sure the Angels aren’t listening on Trout.

Addendum: Everything above refers to contenders. As we’ve seen, it’s difficult to make a trade that actually makes a real difference in the standings, let alone in October. But if you’re the Phillies or the Reds or one of another dozen or so teams that’s got very little chance of playing big games in September, let alone October? Then, yeah: I’ll go ahead and say you need to get something done. If you ask me, late July is a great time to be out of contention. Because all those teams with prospects think they need your veterans.

JE (Jason) Posted: July 25, 2015 at 05:41 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: postseason, trade deadline

 

 

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