The MLB non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, but aside from Jake Peavy finding a new home with the Boston Red Sox and Bud Norris ending up with the Baltimore Orioles, there weren’t a lot of trades that will make the front pages. It’s not that this is a down year for trades in baseball; the issue is that trade deadline is too soon and needs to be pushed back.
The point of the non-waiver trade deadline is for teams to prepare for the stretch run and a possible postseason appearance; that’s why players acquired after the deadline without going through waivers are not eligible for the postseason. However, MLB changed the rules of the postseason by adding an extra wild card spot, but they didn’t change the rules of the trade deadline, which was a mistake.
With the added wildcard spot, mores teams (at least believe they) are contenders by the end of July. This creates a situation with a lot of buyers and few sellers at the deadline, when the league should be more balanced with an equal number of buyers and sellers. With so many buyers and so few sellers, demand is high for players that can be difference makers, which causes the price to obtain those players to increase, making contending teams less likely to pay those high prices to obtain marquee players.
The solution to this is to move the non-waiver trade deadline back at least two weeks, until the middle of August. This will give teams two more weeks to decide whether they are buyers or sellers this season, as the dog days of August will allow the real contenders to emerge.
Of course, moving back the trading deadline won’t guarantee anything, but it will at least open the door to more movement, as more teams will have a clear idea of what they hope to get out of the rest of the season. If MLB wants to stay relevant on the national stage in Augusts amidst preseason preparations for the NFL and college football, making it easier for blockbuster trades to happen later in the season is a great way to do that. Pushing back the trade deadline is a no brainer for Bud Selig and MLB.