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Should MLB move its trading deadline to before the All-Star break?

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There’s a proposal on the table to do exactly that.

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This off-season has silenced me, to an extent. The Cubs have signed few players. They have eased up on the DFA wire roulette. when Ian Clarkin hasn’t been involved. It’s been a bit difficult to find anything to get enthused about discussing. The recent discussion of possible rule changes has been, at the very least interesting, though. As I often discuss transactions, I’m intrigued by a single deadline for trades. Do you think baseball would be better-served by fewer later trades? Here’s how it might work:

The union proposed having a single trade deadline as early as before the All-Star Game as a way to force teams to try to win early and not sell off late. Currently the non-waiver deadline is July 31 and the waiver deadline is Aug. 31.

The late August trades in baseball have a degree of history in the game. Seemingly regardless the season, a few teams trade assets late to another, more rebuilding team, to help for the stretch run. Those exchanges don’t always help the contender. The Cubs added Victor Caratini in 2014 as Atlanta made a last attempt at contention that season. The Cubs were in a bit of a similar spot with the Daniel Murphy and Brandon Kintzler exchanges last August.

Giving up a little something was made easier recently with the 10-day disabled list. Teams seemed to be able to stow a handful of players on the list, and add whichever veterans they wanted. On September 1, players became healthy. Young prospects might get the designated for assignment treatment, while teams would have 12 veteran relievers ready for September. That seemed to be the wave of the future. It’s how I’d do it.

If every game matters, and all the pieces added in August were postseason eligible, a team was well-served knowing which of their umpteen playoff ready options should be included on the 25-man postseason roster. If the goal was to cut off that trend, which team radio announcers were regularly decrying in my September listens, something had to go.

The most logical way to stop the bullpen logjam would look to be ending August trades. The way I saw games progressing, they were less “watchable” with teams having 34-40 guys preparing to play every night. The reliever shuffle extended games that weren’t especially close. However, the plethora of trades seemed the right thing to from a competitive perspective. Hide four to six relievers on the shelf in August, and come September, some of them are “fresh as a daisy,” conveniently.

An August limit on trades would curtail abuses along those lines. On the other hand, unintended consequences tend to pop up on occasion. Teams who fall out of contention ten days after the break would seem to be stuck with their talent they no longer value. That may be a good thing, as may be a harsh limit on “veteran-for-prospect” trades in August.

In other major sports, trade deadlines trend earlier than in baseball. The NBA is currently staring at a trade deadline, and the NFL has its cut-off just shy of the regular-season midway point. Even with any potential edits, nothing is official until the ink dries on the agreement. Would you prefer an earlier deadline? Are 12-man bullpens bad for the game? Should spare pieces be trade-eligible until late-August? I’m more good with an adjustment thinking that an over-react would be tinkered with later.


Should the trade deadline be moved to limit 12-reliever bullpens?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    The deadline has been too late, but not because of bullpens.
    (13 votes)
  • 29%
    I like the August 31 deadline.
    (37 votes)
  • 10%
    That teams used so many players late last season was a drag.
    (13 votes)
  • 6%
    I loved last September, except for how a division rival played.
    (8 votes)
  • 42%
    The All-Star Break is a good trade deadline
    (54 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (leave in comments)
    (1 vote)
126 votes total Vote Now