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.
After giving up 11 runs and pitching just 10 innings in his last three starts, Barry Zito is apparently on his way out of the Giants rotation. The team has listed its Sunday starter as TBA.
Zito, whose seven-year, $126 million contract finally expires at season’s end, came up big in the Giants’ postseason run last year, going 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA during the regular season and then 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA in the playoffs for the World Series winners. However, he’s slipped to 4-8 with a 5.09 ERA and an ugly 1.68 WHIP this year.
Despite the poor record, Zito has been an effective pitcher more than half of the time this year. Check out his splits:
Home: 4-1, 2.66 ERA, 4 HR in 74 1/3 IP (12 starts)
Road: 0-7, 9.97 ERA, 8 HR in 37 IP (nine starts)
That includes his “road” start in last week’s doubleheader against the Reds counted as a home outing. The game, originally scheduled for Cincinnati, was played in San Francisco with the Reds as the home team.
Zito’s next turn was scheduled to come in Tampa Bay against a Rays team that has an average 36 points higher versus lefties than righties, so it makes a ton of sense to skip him, at the very least. However, with the Giants hoping to get Ryan Vogelsong back from the DL next week, it could be at least a semi-permanent trip to the pen. Guillermo Moscoso could be the choice to start in his place Sunday.
But, don’t worry, it’s just for Chris Getz.
The major criticism with the Royals’ decision to buy and not sell at the trade deadline was that they did nothing to address the black hole in their lineup at second base. Now they’ll be forced to try something a little different after Getz suffered a sprained knee in a collision with Adam Dunn over the weekend. Getz was hitting just .209/.280/.281 with one homer and 14 RBI in 153 at-bats on the season.
Remarkably, it’s only the second time the Royals have used the disabled list since Opening Day. It’s truly a remarkable run of health, though it hasn’t led to a better-than-expected record at 53-51. Reserve outfielder Jarrod Dyson was the only other player to go on the DL; he missed a month with a sprained ankle in the first half. They also had pitchers Felipe Paulino and Danny Duffy start off on the 60-day DL after both underwent Tommy John surgery last year.
Getz’s exit makes room for the newly acquired Justin Maxwell on the Royals’ roster, Johnny Giavotella is on the shelf in Triple-A, so he wasn’t a candidate to replace Getz right now. There wasn’t room for him anyway with the Royals carrying five outfielders. They’ll go with Elliot Johnson and Miguel Tejada at second base.