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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

MLB will now have only one trade deadline: July 31. What will that mean?

Trades like that will become a thing of the past, starting this year, per Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic:

The switch to a single non-waiver deadline on July 31, which according to sources will be among the rules changes Major League Baseball and the players’ union adopt this season, will eliminate the indecipherable trade waivers in August, baseball’s version of the U.S. tax code.

The idea, first proposed by the union, is to protect the competitive integrity of the 162-game regular season, create more certainty for players and force teams to decide earlier whether they are buyers or sellers.

Sure, changing to one deadline on July 31 will do that — force teams to get into buyer or seller mode earlier. It’ll change the August “who’s on waivers this week?” questions and answers, as those will no longer exist.

However!

But another general manager labeled the pending change a “huge mistake,” warning of unintended consequences and saying if baseball is going to switch from two trade deadlines to one, it should move the date from July 31 to mid-August.

Playing the final two months without the ability to fill holes through trades is too risky for contending clubs, the GM said. Teams that suffer a rash of injuries at one position – say, catcher – might be forced to promote a minor leaguer who does not belong in a pennant race.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:38 PM | 30 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: trade deadline

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   1. Man o' Schwar Posted: March 13, 2019 at 08:13 PM (#5822616)
Playing the final two months without the ability to fill holes through trades is too risky for contending clubs, the GM said. Teams that suffer a rash of injuries at one position – say, catcher – might be forced to promote a minor leaguer who does not belong in a pennant race.

Sounds like a good reason for teams to pay 30-something FAs as backup policies, with the understanding that they may spend some portion of the season (or all season) at AAA. Then if an injury happens post July, you've got veteran presence at the ready.
   2. PreservedFish Posted: March 13, 2019 at 08:52 PM (#5822625)
Also, watching a team in desperation turn to someone unlikely, like a rookie in over his head, is classic compelling sports viewing.
   3. O Tempura, O Morays ('Spos) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 09:18 PM (#5822630)
might be a difference between ownership and front office here. owners get a bit more cost certainty and front offices have a little less to do.
   4. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 09:20 PM (#5822632)
Playing the final two months without the ability to fill holes through trades is too risky for contending clubs, the GM said.
I like the use of the term "risk," as if a plane might crash or a reactor might overload. The only "risk" is that a team might have to use a player who isn't as good.

But this change seems like a solution in search of a problem.
   5. Nasty Nate Posted: March 13, 2019 at 09:38 PM (#5822637)
In the past, teams could trade players in September - they just weren't postseason eligible. Will those deals be allowed after 7/31?
   6. Walt Davis Posted: March 13, 2019 at 09:48 PM (#5822638)
My instinct is for a Aug 15 deadline too but ... is the GM right? Is it that you can't make any (waiver) trades or is it that any player acquired in trade after 31 July isn't eligible? The old Aug 31 deadline was a deadline on eligibility, not trades. The Giants picked up Bill Mueller from the Cubs on Sept 4 2002, knowing he wouldn't be eligible. Not sure why they didn't make the move before the deadline and I suppose they felt his extra bench bat couldn't hurt (he made only 2 starts at 3B down the stretch). (I have no idea if Mueller had to clear waivers first but I would assume so.)

So in short, if your Cs go down after July 31, are we sure teams can't still trade for some guys to fill that hole for the rest of the reg season, they just can't play in the postseason? If you can still do that, then this is just moving up the deadline for playoff eligibility by a month and thereby adding an extra month of risk for this rare event to occur.
   7. Meatwad Posted: March 14, 2019 at 12:51 AM (#5822661)
The most annoying part about the article is claiming that waiver trade process is too hard for most to figure out. Have to admit its pretty damn simple. Team put player on release waivers if not claimed can be traded to any team, if claimed either let them go or you have one team to make a trade with. If it doesnt meet what you want no deal and the player stays put. Not a tough concept.
   8. John Reynard Posted: March 14, 2019 at 05:05 AM (#5822672)
The complex thing with waiver trades was two-fold:

1) who was placed on waivers was basically opaque. you couldn't see it unless a claim was put in.

2) players could be placed a second time but the second time the waivers were non-revocable.

Opacity + mild complexity = people think it is really complicated.
   9. Rally Posted: March 14, 2019 at 06:47 AM (#5822674)
My goodness, teams forced to call up rookies early? Think about the service time implications! We can’t have that.
   10. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2019 at 08:55 AM (#5822680)

Sounds like a good reason for teams to pay 30-something FAs as backup policies, with the understanding that they may spend some portion of the season (or all season) at AAA. Then if an injury happens post July, you've got veteran presence at the ready.


Except you can't do that without exposing him to waivers and veterans can decline a minor league rehab stint if you put them on IR.
   11. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 14, 2019 at 09:34 AM (#5822698)
I think the danger of losing your vet to waivers isn't a huge deal. You sign him to a minor league deal out of spring training with the understanding that he's probably not going to get called up before August unless someone is lost for the season, but that unless he completely shits the bed in AAA he'll get a callup when the rosters expand in September. (EDIT: I just remembered the 28 player expanded rosters next year. So you can't promise the September callup.) Waivers would then only be an issue if (say) you need injury coverage for the first half of half of July only and then need the player again later in the month. (It's also a problem if you're a cheapskate team who doesn't want to shell out the $150,000 or whatever you'd have to pay Chris Young for September/October, but those teams don't have my sympathy.)

You can also get coverage AAAA players and other minor league vets who have options left.

Also, are minor league trades legal after the deadline? Could a team trade a bag of balls for a 30-year-old in AAA and then call him up?

Personally, I hope this spells the return of the Pat borders-type. He played in 17 major league seasons and 15 minor league seasons. We need more of that.
   12. Zonk Totally Exonerated by Total BS Posted: March 14, 2019 at 09:54 AM (#5822703)
I think it's a dumb rule change -- classic solution in search of a problem -- but I'll admit that I like it strictly from a fantasy perspective.

We moved our trade deadline to 8/7 some years back as mirroring the MLB 7/31 deadline became a nightmare.... but increasingly, it seems like we've seen a lot more waiver trades. This has likewise caused us some real problems -- i.e., we're NL only keeper and use a FAAB and we've had some.... allegations of collusion with drifters and rebuilders playing games with leftover FAAB. I.e., teams with the most FAAB $$$$ passing on high dollar pickups so someone else could grab the league switcher. This solves a somewhat rancorous problem for us.
   13. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2019 at 09:59 AM (#5822710)
Veterans have an out clause in their minor league deals that allow them to become free agents if they are not on the major league roster come the beginning of the season. The union would have to negotiate that away and I don't see why they would.
   14. Ziggy's screen name Posted: March 14, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5822718)
1) who was placed on waivers was basically opaque. you couldn't see it unless a claim was put in.


We know who was placed on waivers: everyone. As long as they're revocable, there's no reason not to put all of your players on waivers, and that's what everyone did.
   15. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 14, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5822768)
In the past, teams could trade players in September - they just weren't postseason eligible. Will those deals be allowed after 7/31?
I too was wondering what this rule change meant. Do they literally mean that all trades are banned?

And as TFA notes, does that mean that waiver claims are also banned? Free agent signings? Or what?
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: March 14, 2019 at 11:46 AM (#5822770)
Veterans have an out clause in their minor league deals that allow them to become free agents if they are not on the major league roster come the beginning of the season. The union would have to negotiate that away and I don't see why they would.
Isn't that already negotiated on a case by case basis?
   17. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 14, 2019 at 11:53 AM (#5822778)
I don't think the veteran out clause has to be negotiated away, I think teams would just need to sign veterans who understand that they're going to start off in the minors. You won't wind up with someone good enough to make a major league roster out of ST, but we're talking about people who only exist to cover potential injuries that occur after July 31. Guys who project as replacement level.
   18. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5822782)
It's a service time issue. If you're a veteran (6 years of service time or more) and you sign a minor league deal in the offseason/spring training if you're not on the major league roster by something like 5 days after opening day you can be released. Now obviously if you want to stay on you can at which point you're locked in, though again the team is severely limited on how they bring you up and then bring you down. As in they really can't unless no team views the player as a valuable enough chit.
   19. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 14, 2019 at 01:21 PM (#5822809)
So you could only do this if you had a player who agreed beforehand that he'd be a minor leaguer, and then you could only call him up once without either keeping him up or losing him. (Unless he was so bad that no one else wants him.) IOW it's possible, but in so narrow a set of circumstances that it would almost never be practical. Thanks.
   20. Bhaakon Posted: March 14, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5822824)
I think it's a dumb rule change -- classic solution in search of a problem...


From MLB's perspective, perhaps. But every August we get stories about how annoyed players are with the waiver process (and, occasionally, GMs), both because there's uncertainty and because, like arbitration hearings, being placed on waivers feels like a personal slight. It just seems weird that baseball would just throw the players this bone without getting anything back.
   21. McCoy Posted: March 14, 2019 at 02:39 PM (#5822837)
So you could only do this if you had a player who agreed beforehand that he'd be a minor leaguer, and then you could only call him up once without either keeping him up or losing him. (Unless he was so bad that no one else wants him.) IOW it's possible, but in so narrow a set of circumstances that it would almost never be practical. Thanks.

He could agree to it beforehand and then some other team loses two players to an injury and they're looking around for a someone to occupy a roster spot. You could trade him at that point but if team B isn't willing to give you what you want they can just wait you out and pick up the guy when he gets released. It's possible the player would not want to be a major leaguer for team B and stay a minor leaguer but he can't waive his ability to become a free agent in order to get the minor league deal. Meaning you can't create a condition where the player in order to get a minor league deal has to waive his right to the release.
   22. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 14, 2019 at 02:49 PM (#5822839)
It just seems weird that baseball would just throw the players this bone without getting anything back.

They gain a lot from not having expanded rosters in September anymore, right? If only because fewer players will make their major league debut at that time and get the benefits that go with being a Major Leaguer.
   23. TDF, trained monkey Posted: March 14, 2019 at 03:37 PM (#5822850)
But every August we get stories about how annoyed players are with the waiver process (and, occasionally, GMs), both because there's uncertainty and because, like arbitration hearings, being placed on waivers feels like a personal slight.
Well, there shouldn't be any uncertainty since (as mentioned in #14) every player is placed on waivers since they're revocable. Also, it shouldn't be seen as a slight since (as mentioned in #14) every player is placed on waivers since they're revocable.

Seriously - unless you have a NTC or you have 10/5 rights, it's always possible you'll be traded; why would being traded after going through waivers be any different?
   24. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 14, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5822857)
They also gain an increased media frenzy at the trade deadline, because all the deals have to be made by then. The way it's been, teams wait to trade for big-contract players because they know they'll get through waivers.
   25. Bhaakon Posted: March 14, 2019 at 09:49 PM (#5822926)
Well, there shouldn't be any uncertainty since (as mentioned in #14) every player is placed on waivers since they're revocable. Also, it shouldn't be seen as a slight since (as mentioned in #14) every player is placed on waivers since they're revocable.


Your first point makes no sense. Of course there's uncertainty for the players who pass through or get picked by a team willing to deal. For them uncertainty is continued trade rumors. Uncertainty is the fact that there remains a mechanism to trade them and they have to endure another month of swirling rumors. I can see the argument that they should suck it up as a consequence of doing business, but then the unions exists in part to protect their interests, even the relatively petty ones.

As for the second, so? Feeling slighted is not necessarily a logical response.
   26. TVerik. Old Java Rodney. Posted: March 14, 2019 at 10:21 PM (#5822929)
Think of it this way; what value does the waiver process add to either the fan experience or the players themselves when it comes to stuff like this?
   27. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 15, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5823003)
Think of it this way; what value does the waiver process add to either the fan experience or the players themselves when it comes to stuff like this?
Do you mean what value does it add over the alternative of no trades at all, or over the alternative of unrestricted trades?
   28. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: March 15, 2019 at 12:15 PM (#5823021)
They also gain an increased media frenzy at the trade deadline, because all the deals have to be made by then.


I strongly suspect that this is the main motivator for this move. Trade deadlines are good TV.
   29. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: March 15, 2019 at 12:27 PM (#5823025)
Think of it this way; what value does the waiver process add to either the fan experience or the players themselves when it comes to stuff like this?

If you don't know why the fence is there...
   30. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: March 15, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5823076)
The most annoying part about the article is claiming that waiver trade process is too hard for most to figure out. Have to admit its pretty damn simple.


Agreed, but everything has to get dumbed-down for the Twitterverse.

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