Lessons learned from trade deadlines past

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Jonah Keri is writing for Grantland — eventually he’ll write everywhere; people from Quebec just get into everything if you let them — and today has a good piece looking back at some major trade deadline deals of yore.

Rather than just slag on the people who got the Larry Andersen end of the stick, he talks about the lessons learned from the trades and, long-term effects aside, whether the trade made sense at the time.

In related news, I learned last week that there’s a baseball equivalent of Godwin’s Law, called Smoltz’s law. It’s purpose: to caution folks against comparing trade deadline deals to the wonderful John Smoltz-Doyle Alexander trade from 1987. Unfortunately I fear that, like Godwin’s law, it’s most notable achievement will be to scare people out of making perfectly useful comparisons for fear of overstating their case or making moral equivalences when they aren’t truly intended rather than to actually improve the discourse.

Hey: sometimes Nazi analogies make sense and provide a nice explanatory framework. Sometimes Doyle Alexander trade analogies makes sense too.  Let us not go through life with one hand tied behind our backs.

Report: Brewers have put together a trade offer for Christian Yelich

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Craig Mish of SiriusXM reports that the Brewers have put together a trade offer for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich. He describes the club’s interest in Yelich as “strong,” and notes that other teams remain in the mix.

Yelich’s relationship with the Marlins was recently described by his agent as “irretrievably broken” following the trades of Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon. His agent said Yelich “needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win.” Understandably, teams have been calling the Marlins asking about him.

The 26-year-old hit .282/.369/.439 with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, 100 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases in 695 plate appearances last season. He’s in the fourth year of a seven-year, $49.57 million contract of which $44.5 million remains. Given how slow the free agent market has been this offseason, it’s difficult to say exactly what he would get if he were to hit the open market, but it is safe to say that his current contract is very much a bargain for his team, which only makes him even more attractive to inquiring teams.

The Brewers are an interesting team to get involved in the Yelich sweepstakes. Their outfield already has three capable players in Ryan Braun, Domingo Santana, and Keon Broxton. Yelich would still be an upgrade, but the Brewers’ resources may be better spent in other areas like the starting rotation.

Given Yelich’s displeasure and Jeter’s insistence on stripping the Marlins bare — including, potentially, the iconic home run sculpture — it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see a trade happen.