A very quiet (boring) Trade DeadlineIs the new playoff system to blame?
What we may not have realized initially, though, is how easy it is for teams to be "in the race" come August and September. For example, if I were to ask you right now if the Mets were in the race…what would you say? My guess is that you would say no. Well, they're actually ten games back in the Wild Card--and with two full months left to go in the season--they actually have a shot.
Same goes for teams like the Washington Nationals. A hugely disappointing season for the team with an anemic offense…but they're only seven and a half games back from the Wild Card. And how about the Yankees? A team that has gone almost the whole season without Jeter, Teixeira, A-Rod, Youkilis, Granderson, and Cervelli. They are somehow only THREE games back from a playoff berth.
So when July 31st arrived and it was time for lesser teams to sell their best players to contenders for a youngster or two…we saw almost nothing. Why? Because of pride. Why would the Mets trade a guy like Marlon Byrd? Why would the Mets give up on a season when, technically speaking, it's not even close to over? What kind of message does that send to your fans?
And that's the story of the 2013 Trade Deadline. Teams like the Mets, Mariners, Blue Jays and Giants decided not to sell because it wasn't worth giving up on a season that is far from over. Before the Wild Card rule changes, all four of those teams would probably have dumped plenty of pieces in hopes that they could get something back for a lost season. But why should these general managers give up hope this season when things are so tight? The chances are that if they give up hope…so will their fans.
For those that were bummed by the lack of deals yesterday, the only advice I have for you is to be patient. With the new Wild Card rules, the biggest deals may actually happen in August, when players with high salaries are put through the waiver wire. Some may say that pushing the deadline date back one month would be interesting…but that would probably result in less trades because of the incredibly short remainder of the season. Deadline deals are already considered "rentals" and that would just make it worse.
The phrase that killed the Trade Deadline was "what if." What if we get hot and go on a ten game winning streak? What if the team ahead of us plummets? What if some of our injured guys come back and bolster our team?
So yes, the Trade Deadline was boring. But guess what won't be boring? The rest of the season.