Philadelphia Phillies v San Diego Padres

We need a later trade deadline next year

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With 10 teams now reaching the postseason and more than two-thirds of the league still thinking it has a shot as of July 31, it’s time for the trade deadline to be pushed back, at least until Aug. 15.

Too many teams were too afraid to sell to make Wednesday the lively affair we were hoping for. Even the Phillies and Mariners, both six games under .500 (now seven) couldn’t be convinced they were out of the race. The surging Royals could have used a couple of more weeks to figure out whether they should go for it or not.

Of course, waiver deals can be completed in August, but those give an unfair advantage to lesser teams. If the Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox all claim Michael Young, why should only the Yankees, the team with the weakest record in the bunch, be able to trade for him? Plus, waiver deals are subject to complications. While a prospect not on a 40-man roster can be traded at any point, a prospect on the 40-man roster has to clear waivers in a deal, just like a major league veteran. And that typically doesn’t happen.

Yes, there are integrity issues that come into play with a later deadline. It wouldn’t be best for the league as a whole if a contender suddenly lost eight in a row in August and decided to sell off all of its free agents to one team. Aug. 31 would probably be too late. Aug. 15 seems like the reasonable compromise; instead of the deadline coming two-thirds of the way through the season, it’d come at the three-quarters mark instead.

Leonys Martin feared for his life from alleged human traffickers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30: Leonys Martin #12 of the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 30, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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Leonys Martin, outfielder for the Seattle Mariners, testified yesterday that he feared for his life after he was smuggled from Cuba by a group of men prosecutors say worked for a sports agent and a baseball trainer currently on trial for human trafficking in Miami.

Martin took the stand at the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who face felony charges. He said that, after getting to Mexico from Cuba, men threatened to take him away. There was a kidnapping attempt against one of the men who had taken him from Cuba as well. Martin said that, eventually, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border into Texas without any valid papers because his life was in danger and his safety was at risk.

Players like Martin who fled Cuba often hole up in Mexico while waiting to be declared free agents by Major League Baseball. There is pitched competition to sign agreements with the players in question, seeking to obtain promises of a cut of future baseball earnings for their services. Those promises can come under the threat of violence. Eventually, Martin promised to pay Hernandez and Estrada, but ceased paying them later, fomenting a lawsuit from them. In the wake of the suit, the allegations of threats and smuggling arose, leading to this trial.

Martin has been late to Mariners camp as a result of having to testify. He’ll likely report in the next day or so. The trial continues.

Josh Hamilton leaves camp with a tweaked knee

SURPRISE, AZ - FEBRUARY 28:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers poses during a spring training photo shoot on February 28, 2016 in Surprise, Arizona.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton was already a long shot to make the Texas Rangers roster, but his shot got even longer today, as he left camp to have his reconstructed left knee examined after experiencing pain.

As Jeff Wilson reports, Hamilton felt discomfort in the knee during the Rangers’ first full-squad spring training workout yesterday. Hamilton has had 10 knee operations in career. Which is a lot of knee operations in case you were unaware.

You have to wish good luck to Hamilton, but at the same time you have to be realistic. The guy has not played in the major leagues since 2015 and even then he didn’t play well, hitting .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 50 games. He appeared in one game last year for Double-A Frisco, on April 30. He’ll be paid $24 million this year, mostly by the Angels. One suspects that this will likewise be his last spring training.