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.