Ever since the inception of the two Wild Card era a few years ago, a major peripheral discussion around the Trade Deadline has been whether July 31 is simply too early for teams to have to make buy/sell decisions, given how compacted the standings might still be.
And, given that achieving the Wild Card might mean only one game for a playoff-bound team, the decision to buy or sell aggressively in late July is all the more difficult.
So, many have suggested bumping the Trade Deadline back a week or two, to give teams a little more time to make their decisions.
How does new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred feel? He could be into it.
Speaking at a conference last week, Manfred said that the July 31 date is “something that we may want to revisit in the context of the revised playoff format.” (Sporting News)
“Obviously,” Manfred continued, “when you have two additional opportunities to be in the playoffs, you have more teams in the hunt, and they may want to wait a little longer before they make decisions. On the other hand, you’ve got to remember, we want teams that the core of which have been together for the year, playing in the postseason.”
In other words, MLB doesn’t want to see a bunch of late-season mercenary teams, to which fans have lesser connection, dominating the headlines in October. I’m not sure that’s a huge concern, given the economics of the game, and I especially wouldn’t worry about it with a mere additional week before a new deadline. Maybe if the deadline didn’t come until September or something, then you could see some really twisted and distorted teams showing up. But August 7 or 10, for example, seems like a pretty reasonable balance between protecting team integrity and giving teams a little more time to sort out how they want to proceed.
Given how many teams are, this very week, waiting to see the outcome of a final three or four games before deciding whether to buy or sell, you can see how pushing the deadline back even a week would help clarify things.
Among so many other issues, this will likely be discussed with the upcoming collective bargaining agreement. The current version expires after the 2016 season.