MLB Trade Deadline Brings Little Action As Teams With Wild Card Hopes Stand Pat
The MLB trade deadline saw just three trades completed and there "wasn't even any great expectation of any huge deals," according to Danny Knobler of CBSSPORTS.com. The introduction of a second wild card last year "certainly tempts some teams into thinking there's still a shot to make the playoffs." However, the "bigger issue is that the game's overall financial health makes it easier for teams to hang onto even high-priced players." Also, teams that "sell plenty of tickets ... aren't anxious to tell their fans that the rest of the season doesn't matter." The "feeling among some executives is that a later deadline would make it easier for some teams to decide to sell, allowing better players to get to the market." The argument against moving the deadline "will be that starting pitchers dealt in August would make so few starts for their new team that the prices could actually come down, and inhibit selling" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/31). ESPN's Tim Kurkjian said the trade deadline was a "pretty big waste of time for a lot of us," as the second wild card "has kept a lot more teams in the race." Instead of "selling off players, they're all looking to buy players and there simply were not very many good players available." In addition, teams are understanding that the "best way to build your team is to keep as many of your prospects as possible, go through the draft." Kurkjian: "The days of the four-for-one trade, they're not over, but they're pretty close to being over." He added a lot of teams "have money where they don't have to unload salary" ("PTI," ESPN, 7/31). Reds GM Walt Jocketty said yesterday "was completely dead -- nothing." Jocketty: "This was the quietest deadline day I've had" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 8/1).
INDICIATIVE OF CURRENT STATE OF MLB: In N.Y., Joel Sherman writes, "Everything you wanted to know about the major leagues in 2013 was revealed in how the market played out." Even smaller-market teams "have enough cash coming in now to lock up a core player or two," so fewer situations "arise where non-contenders have players getting too expensive in arbitration or heading to free agency, forcing dumps to get something in return before losing them for nothing or draft picks" (N.Y. POST, 8/1). In Buffalo, Mike Harrington writes GMs "need to push the deadline back, from July 31 to perhaps Aug. 15, because of last year's addition of the second wild-card." Only eight teams entered today "as many as 10 games out of that final playoff slot." With 55-60 games games to play "for basically everyone, there were simply too many teams not willing to sell" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/1). S.F. Chronicle columnist John Shea said MLB should "push it back a couple of weeks, because there are a lot of teams that just don't know if they're going to contend." Shea: "It was really a dead trade deadline. There should have been more action" ("Yahoo Sports Time Live," Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, 7/31).
ALL EYES ON ME: MLB Network's Peter Gammons said the trade deadline is "almost like a holiday." Gammons: "People kind of get used to it, 'Okay, what's going to happen, what's going to happen.' Players talk about it incessantly. It is fun. It's another sort of promotion. ... It's a great day for the game for people to be focused on what's going to go on" ("MLB Tonight: Trade Deadline," MLB Network, 7/31).