It might be difficult for you to believe now, but major-league teams used to have to make non-waiver trades before June 15 every year. They did so between 1922 and 1986; here's a brief history of the trade deadline via SABR. The Lou Brock deal was consummated on June 15; so was the Cubs' acquisition of Rick Sutcliffe in 1984.
The deadline has been July 31 for three decades, but Commissioner Rob Manfred says he's open to changing that:
"I think that the July 31st deadline is something that we may want to revisit in the context of the revised playoff format," Manfred said Wednesday. "Obviously when you have two additional opportunities to be in the playoffs, you have more teams in the hunt and they may want to wait a little longer before they make decisions." "On the other hand, you've got to remember, we want teams that the core of which have been together for the year playing in the postseason," he said. "So you have to just balance those two issues, I think."
Well. That does raise some interesting questions and possibilities. As of now, teams can still make trades through August 31 if they acquire major-league waivers on players, and frequently dozens of players are run through waivers so they can be traded. In the last two years alone, Alex Rios, David DeJesus, Marlon Byrd, Jason Kubel, John Axford, Justin Morneau, Michael Young, Roberto Hernandez, Kevin Correia and Gordon Beckham were all traded, mostly to contending teams, during August.
On July 31, depending on when the season begins (sometimes late March, sometimes early April), most teams have completed somewhere between 98 and 106 games, not quite two-thirds of the way through the year. August 31, the waiver-trade deadline, seems too late. Most years, most teams have played 130 games by then, leaving less than a quarter of the season past that date.
August 15 might work as a compromise date. Or, how about this: each season, choose the date on which all teams (on average) will have played 108 games, two-thirds of the year and that would be set as the deadline. This year, that would work out to August 7.
Do you agree with Manfred and think the non-waiver trading deadline should be extended? If so, to when?