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.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.