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.