Tag Archive | "Trade Deadline"

We Will Not Waiver

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We Will Not Waiver

Posted on 05 September 2012 by Dennis Lawson

President Selig

President George Bush said this.  Actually, he said something slightly different, and he was not speaking about baseball or revocable waivers.  However, he had a good idea, if you change the words and apply them to MLB.

“We will not waver, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail. Peace and freedom will prevail.” -George Bush in 2001

MLB’s revocable waiver period represents a rather illogical extension of the non-waiver trading period.  Teams play a rather ridiculous game of cat-and-mouse using this period after the pseudo-trade deadline expires to dangle players, rid themselves of bloated contracts, or just tease opposing teams with a glimpse at what could be.  The travesty of this lies in the way teams play this demeaning game and in doing so also game the system.

Consider first a scenario in which a team has already concluded that contending for a playoff spot falls into the realm of “pipe dream”.  The team has a few high-profile players signed to deals that run for another 3-4 years.  If they make overtures to trade said players, they risk offending the players as well as the fan base.  If they try to quietly make it know that players “A” and “B” could be had for the right price, someone will inevitably let that information slip to some media person who will tweet the information before concluding the conversation with the “high-placed, reliable source within the organization”.  Get the drift?

Then contemplate a second scenario in which the same team waits until past the trade deadline to make a few calls (or send texts/emails/candygram).  Both players “A” and “B” get quietly placed on revocable waivers.  When someone finally realizes that both players have hit the waiver wire, the GM or a patsy acting on behalf of the GM can always say the move was a strategic one to smoke out potential buyers and better assess weaknesses other teams have.  Also, the team owns some oceanfront property in Arizona and a bridge that it deems fit for sale.

Of course, the waiver process involves teams making claims (or not) which get prioritized from the bottom of one league to the top and repeated from bottom to top in the other league, if no team makes a claim.  This highly sophisticated form of calling “dibs” on a waived player amounts to a lot of sound and smoke that typically signifies absolutely nothing.  Some teams simply use the opportunity to cast off roster fodder in hopes someone else will pick up the tab.  Other teams scour the waiver wire for a guy like Randy Wolf who can handle giving the team a good 6-8 losses by the end of the season.  Then you have what the Dodgers and Red Sox pulled off recently.  Almost a quarter of a billion in payroll changed from one set of books to another.  No issue with that here, but it merits mentioning that under a slightly different system of rules, that deal may have been put together sooner.

That’s not to say that the Dodgers “deserve” to have the services of one Adrian Gonzalez for an extra month, but for another team in another time a similar deal could make a huge difference.  Why not consider either pushing the non-waiver trade deadline back, or changing some of the trading rules to make the waiver period much longer and easier to navigate?  Make this whole process a bit more exciting by making a few not-so-subtle changes, too.

  • All players without no-trade or limited no-trade protection clauses get to create 3 tiers of trade preferences.  Each tier consists of 10 teams.  If the player gets traded to a team in the 1st preferred tier, he gets a pat on the back and plane ticket out of town.  If the player gets traded to a team in the 2nd preferred tier, he gets a bonus equal to 10% of his base salary for the season.  If the player goes to a team in the 3rd preferred tier, he gets a bonus of 20% his base pay and a coupon to 20% off his next meal at Olive Garden.
  • Either the trade deadline gets moved to the end of August, or the entire period from opening day to August 31st becomes a really long, revocable trade period.  Move the trade deadline back, and teams can push off the “fight or flight” decision about playoff legitimacy until the races really take shape.  Go with the waiver plan, and teams have more flexibility to be active without inviting public relations nightmares to surface.

Why all the trouble?  Legit question.  The current system worked fine for a while, and few would complain about keeping it a while longer.  However, the addition of 1 more wild card spot in each league completely changes things.  Maybe the first wild card spot projects in mid-July to go to a team that hits 91-92 wins.  Under that condition, a lot of teams hovering close to a .525-50 winning percentage have to seriously consider whether to buy, sell, or hold.  Let us then say that the 2nd wild card spot projects to go for around 88 wins.  That brings a lot of potential contenders back into the conversation.  Unfortunately, mid-July and early October are separated by an awful lot of games on the schedule.

What if a team decides on August 1st that it can really make a run with just a little added help?  The current system makes it very difficult for that team to finagle a #3 starting pitcher or a middle infielder who can hit .270.  Seems like a real shame to me.  Give the waiver/trade system more flexibility, and maybe the redistribution of talent will increase the number of games that “count” later in the season as more teams than ever before consider themselves contenders.  What is there to lose?  Sure, the gap between the “haves” and “have nots” could widen at first, and the 2012 Dodgers might be the case study for that happening.  However, the 2015 Dodgers might produce the case study for how talent redistribution via the exchange of bloated contract obligation tranches brings down a franchise for years.

Let the big money players make the same moves big money players have always made, but give the small market teams more chances to dump contracts onto them.  It could help effectively level the playing field without altering the luxury tax system or the revenue sharing process.  Think about it.

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Who’s Hot: Trade deadline edition

Posted on 29 August 2012 by Chris Caylor

For this week’s edition of Who’s Hot, Who’s Not, we journey back in time…about a month. The Dodgers-Red Sox mega-deal got me thinking: first, about that whole “let’s move the trade deadline back” media movement I addressed a few weeks ago. The blockbuster trade proves that the trade deadlines are just fine where they are, just like I wrote. Second, I was reminded about the deals made before the July 31st deadline. Which players have given their new teams a boost? Which players have fallen flat? There are some of each. Before we dive in, let’s just acknowledge that any stats from July 31 to now constitute a small sample size and should be regarded as such. At the same time, though, this time of year, those SSS (small sample size) numbers may make the difference between October baseball and October tee times.

Who’s Hot

Hanley Ramirez, Los Angeles Dodgers – There must be something about guys named Ramirez being traded to LA. This year, it’s the enigmatic HanRam, a frequent loafer while with the Marlins. Since joining the Dodgers, Ramirez has been worth 0.7 WAR in just 32 games (thru Tuesday), whereas he was worth 0.5 WAR in 93 games with Miami. Fantasy owners may never again see the days where Ramirez hits over .300 or steals 20+ bases, but they have to be much happier with his stats in LA than the end of his tenure in South Florida. With Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier batting around him and the allure of a pennant race, Ramirez should be a top performer for the Dodgers and fantasy owners.

Paul Maholm, Atlanta Braves – There are low-profile acquisitions every season, whether by trade, free agency or minor league recall, that give teams an unexpectedly pleasant shot in the arm. Maholm has been guy for the Braves. In his 8th season, finally in a pennant race, he is enjoying his finest season. Since being traded to Atlanta, Maholm has responded by averaging over 7 innings per start and spinning a 0.98 WHIP. His H/9 and K/9 ratios are career bests as well. Atlanta has struggled with injuries to its rotation all season, but Maholm and Kris Medlen are helping to steady the ship.

Marco Scutaro, San Francisco Giants – Here is another example of an under-the-radar trade that has paid big dividends for the buyers. Scutaro was scuffling through a hum-drum season in Colorado before Christmas came early in the form of a trade to San Francisco. After putting together a .271/.324/.361 line for the Rockies, a revitalized Scutaro has posted a much more respectable .331/.359/.430 line. As a Scutaro owner, I had been considering dropping him altogether, even though he was playing half his games at Coors Field. Now that he is playing every day for the Giants (and hitting well), he is a decent middle-infield option for NL-only leagues and deep mixed leagues.

Lukewarm

Francisco Liriano, Chicago White Sox – With the exception of one clunker of a start against Oakland on August 11, the former Twin has pitched pretty well for the Pale Hosers. While with Minnesota, Liriano compiled a 77 ERA+ in 22 games. Since being dealt to Chicago, he has pitched to an ERA+ of 102, or just a tad above average. Accordingly, his ownership percentage in roto leagues has increased since the trade. He was forced to leave last Monday’s start against the Orioles due to leg cramps, so he should be fine for his next start.

Shane Victorino, Los Angeles Dodgers – The Flyin’ Hawaiian was already having a down season with the Phillies, and he hasn’t taken off since arriving in L.A. His batting average and OPS numbers would be the worst of his career if the season ended today, while his WAR numbers would be the worst since becoming an everyday player for Philadelphia in 2006. He is capable of a hot streak in the season’s final month, and he continues to be an excellent source of steals. With Ramirez, Kemp, Gonzalez and Either to drive him in, all Victorino needs to do is get back to career-average numbers and he will return to elite status.

Wandy Rodriguez/Travis Snider/Gaby Sanchez, Pittsburgh Pirates – After the Derrek Lee/Ryan Ludwick trades failed to boost the Pirates to the postseason in 2011, Pirates GM Neal Huntington went in the opposite direction this year, trading for players whom the Pirates will control beyond 2012. The three players acquired in July all fall into the lukewarm category:

 Snider – The most intriguing player of the three, Snider has taken the opportunity and run with it. His improved plate discipline (lower strikeout rate, higher walk rate) has led to better pitches to hit, especially with men on base (1.117 OPS). Clearly, he is enjoying batting ahead of Andrew McCutchen in the Buccos’ lineup. The power isn’t showing up yet, but he is still just 24. Count me as a Snider fan. He is most definitely worth a roster spot in NL-only roto leagues and even as a matchup play against lefties.
 Rodriguez – I list Wandy here in the lukewarm category after watching him deal six shutout innings in a critical game Wednesday night against the St. Louis Cardinals. That had to be more like what Pittsburgh had in mind when they dealt three prospects for the former Astros southpaw. Prior to that start, Rodriguez hurled career-worst numbers in H/9, BB/9 and K/9. I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve already dropped him from your fantasy team (if you even had him in the first place). Keep an eye on him for the next start or two, though, and see if he can build on his gem against the Cards.
 Sanchez – He fell out of favor very quickly in Miami, despite hitting 19 home runs each of the past two seasons. Sanchez has been a part-time player in Pittsburgh. While he hasn’t exactly proven the Marlins wrong yet, he has improved, raising his batting line from an embarrassing .202/.250/.306 to merely a below average .250/.291/.365, which is no worse than the Pirates were getting from the now-departed Casey McGehee. Either way, Sanchez has no business being on your fantasy roster unless you’re in the deepest of fantasy leagues.

Who’s Not

Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Angels – Greinke might be the biggest bust of the entire trade season. The Angels were expecting the ace worthy of a 2.4 WAR with the Brewers; instead, Greinke has depreciated in every critical pitching category. A -0.1 WAR was definitely not what the Angels had in mind. He isn’t just on a run of bad luck; his pitches are getting hammered for major damage. The worst thing for fantasy players is that benching or cutting Greinke is not really an option. He is capable of an 8-inning, 1 ER, 10K gem at any point. Like the Angels, you’re stuck waiting for it to happen.

Hunter Pence, San Francisco Giants – Someone show Pence the way to San Francisco. The always-entertaining outfielder energized the Phillies lineup in 2011 with an OPS+ of 157 after being acquired from Houston, but it hasn’t happened for the Giants. Pence is slugging a puny .324 and whiffed in nearly one-third of his at-bats since the trade. To me, Pence has always been a bit overrated by most fantasy owners (similar to Nick Markakis in the American League); as such, he probably cost a either a mid-to-high draft pick or auction price tag. If you own Pence, you probably can’t just dump Pence unless you’re in a ridiculously shallow league. If that’s the case, you need to find a more challenging league.

Ryan Dempster/Geovany Soto, Texas Rangers – The Rangers swooped in at the last minute and poached Dempster from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but you have to wonder if they would like a do-over. Dempster has not adjusted well to the junior circuit (83 ERA+, 1.47 WHIP). His struggles are less surprising considering that he had crafted a career-best ERA+ and WHIP at age 35, but the Rangers had to be expecting better. He’s not undroppable like Greinke, but he should be a matchup play in head-to-head leagues. Keep him active if you’re desperate for wins in a roto league, but only if you can stand the hit in the other pitching categories. Soto replaced Mike Napoli, but has not done much better than Yorvit Torrealba, who was cut loose to make room for Soto. He looks like a shell of the player who won the 2006 NL Rookie of the Year award.

As we jump back to the present, this is what we see: Ramirez has worked out well for the Dodgers, but the other high-profile acquisitions have not made the desired impact for their new teams. It’s the lower-profile deals that have worked out best: Maholm, Scutaro, even Edward Mujica has been a demonstrable upgrade to the Cardinals bullpen. Meanwhile, the Angels have lost ground in the playoff hunt since Greinke joined the team (not that it’s solely his fault by any stretch; he’s had plenty of help). The Giants are in first place, but Scutaro has been a bigger contributor to their recent success than Pence. Nate Schierholtz has been as productive (read: not very) as Pence, and the Giants wouldn’t have had to surrender any talent. Dempster was 98% on his way to Atlanta; how different would the Braves rotation look if Dempster ended up there and pitched the same way he has in Texas? What would the Rangers have done to upgrade their rotation?

This isn’t to say that making deals at the trade deadline doesn’t work. Just last year, the St. Louis Cardinals made a huge trade – sacrificing a talented young center fielder – which fortified the starting rotation and bullpen and led to an exhilarating World Series championship. In 2010, the San Francisco Giants picked up Cody Ross as a spare part and he helped lead them to their first title in 56 years. Making a trade – especially a blockbuster – is a calculated roll of the dice. We won’t know the true impact of the trades until after the season at the earliest. These are just first impressions of the deals made a month ago. The storylines are still being written.

Hit me with any feedback (well, unless you’re a Red Sox fan). Follow me on Twitter @chriscaylor.

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Drew Stubbs, Reds OF, Sell his stock

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch: Buy Jose Reyes Now

Posted on 06 August 2012 by Patrick Hayes

After a week off due to vacationing in the great state of Meeeeechigan, Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch returns to wheel and deal on a few interesting major leaguers. I do realize that the trade deadline in your fantasy league may have passed already but for those that haven’t, I suggest you take my following predictions and reactions to the bank, but not the one in Greece. Yeah, yeah, enough rambling, here we go:

Jose Reyes – SS, Miami Marlins

Jose  Reyes, Marlins SS, Buy his Stock

#1 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SSs

Jose Reyes is one of the last few remaining “names” on a dissipated Miami team that was ravished before the non-waiver trade deadline. He also happens to be completely on fire of late, to the tune of a .434/.474/.755 slash line in his last 14 games. Outstanding right? Right. He also has swiped six bags in this time frame and has touched home thirteen times in this span. The only lack of production has been his six RBI’s, with a majority of these ABs coming from the three-hole. I’m not too concerned about that from a fantasy perspective though, as with any shortstop position (outside of the injured Troy Tulowitzki), you aren’t expecting jaw-dropping power numbers anyway.

Manager Ozzie Guillen has gone on record saying that with the pending return of Giancarlo Stanton expected in the next week, Reyes will continue to bat third, which is good news for current owners. Adding to the optimistic outlook is the season BABIP of .304 that Reyes has currently, which is down a tick from his career average of .313. The only downside is that the rest of the lineup is one that draws blank stares and has nothing to play for, but nonetheless, Jose is finally playing the way he has in the past and what we have came to expect.

My verdict: Buy Now Candidate

Drew Stubbs – OF, Cincinnati Reds

Drew  Stubbs, Reds OF, Sell his stock

#27 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for OFs

Drew Stubbs, synonymous with being part of a group of players who has all the potential in the world, gets drafted high each year, and still continues to disappoint and break hearts. When looking at the season in a whole, that previous sentence is dead on. However, Stubbs has been on point of late. Blasting 4 HRs in the past 14 days along with 5 SBs, these are the type of power and speed stats that makes scouts and fantasy owners go gaga. The accommodating slash of .362/.415/.660 is mighty appetizing as well, which makes now the perfect time to maximize take your gains and head home.

Have you looked at his season stats? .238/.307/.399 wreaks of a havoc. If you have kept him lingering around to experience this explosion of unsustainable hope, then you might have more patience than me. Striking out at a rate of over 27% is disgusting, as well as his walk rate of 8.7%. I’ll give you credit that his BABIP is well below his career average (.300 in 2012 to .328), but I just can’t fathom putting him in the lineup for the long haul. Sure, he may get a few SBs and pop a HR out here or there, but he will also frustrate you even more so once he and the Reds start to cool down. Do the smart thing here.

My verdict: Sell High Candidate

Chase Utley – 2B, Philadelphia Phillies

Chase  Utley, Phillies 2B, Hold his Stock

#9 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for 2Bs in the last 30 days

Oh, where to begin. Chase Utley has been an injury riddled shadow of what he once was. After starting the year on the DL for those terrible knees, he got off to a slow start but has been steadily getting his swagger back. Three homeruns, six RBI, two stolen bases and a line of .297/.458/.622 in the last 14 days. He knows how to draw a walk too, his eye has remained sharp as ever and is at a rate of 12.5% this year (in line with 2009 and 2010).

While the second base position might not be as scarce as it used to be in his heyday, Utley is proving to be valuable in your fantasy lineup of late. It’s almost impossible to expect a sudden reemergence of his capabilities from his peak years, but it’s equally impossible not to root for him to regain those marks. I love looking at BABIP’s and so far this year, Chase’s is well below his career average, .253 in 2012 vs .308, which provides that glimmer of hope that maybe it’s possible. But seriously now, he had a cameo in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, you should hold onto his bandwagon for the rest of the year just because of that.

My verdict: Hold while nostalgically grasping your shersey from the depths of closet in remembrance of yesteryear. 

Reactions and opinions are always welcomed. Find me on twitter: @pf_hayes

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Los-Angeles-Dodgers

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3 Up and 3 Down: Los Angeles Dodgers and more

Posted on 04 August 2012 by Gary Marchese

It is that time again for the weekly 3 Up and 3 Down column.  As always, thanks for reading and you can contact me through facebook, twitter @gmarchesej, email at gmarchesej@aol.com and under this article.

The three up for this week are the Los Angeles Dodgers, who flexed their financial might,  Matt Harvey, as he made his major league debut and one other successful start and Joba Chamberlain, who returned to the big leagues after 14 months away.

3 Up

Los Angeles Dodgers:The Dodgers were sold to a group led by former NBA player Magic Johnson earlier this year.  They are ½ a game out of first place in the NL West and they made several moves at Tuesdays trade deadline.  They acquired reliever Brandon League from the Mariners.  They also acquired Hanley Ramirez from the Marlins and Shane Victorino from the Phillies.  Things are looking up in Hollywood for Donnie Baseball and the Dodgers.

Matt Harvey has looked very impressive in his two major league starts with the Mets.  In his first start he struck out 11 batters.  He struck out seven in his second start, the 11 in his first start were the most by a Mets pitcher in his debut in franchise history.  He is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA.

Joba Chamberlain made his return on Wednesday coming into a blow out game.  He didn’t pitch particularly well but he did pitch 1 1/3 innings and get his feet wet.  He could be a huge factor down the stretch for the Yankees bullpen. He could become the seventh inning guy and really shorten the game as he, Dave Robertson and Rafael Soriano can close out the games.

3 Down

Josh Hamilton has been going through a tough stretch and finally came out and said he is attempting to quit tobacco and it is really affecting him right now.  His numbers have just been awful and it might be because he has struggled with quitting tobacco.

Ivan Nova has really been hit lately and he has been losing a lot more then he has in a long time.  Nova got knocked around the other night by the Baltimore Orioles.  He gave up nine runs and then said he just pitched in bad luck.  It looks like he may need to mature a little more and learn.  It may have come to easy to him in the beginning and this is what happens.  He is 10-5 with a 4.53 Era this season.

The Miami Marlins are down because they haven’t lived up to expectations and now traded away their team as the trade deadline came.  They traded their star Hanley Ramirez.  They traded Anibal Sanchez one of their pitchers, Gaby Sanchez and more.  They just got their new stadium and they are already tearing their team apart.  I don’t know how they expect to sustain a fan base in South Florida.

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Leave the MLB Trade Deadline Alone

Posted on 03 August 2012 by Chris Caylor

In the aftermath of another busy trade deadline in MLB, I have seen a few national baseball writers call for the non-waiver trade deadline to be moved into August. Their primary rationale is the second wild card team, which thus far has achieved its desired goal: to keep more teams in the hunt for the postseason (or at least allow more teams to believe they have a shot, even temporarily). Indeed, eight AL teams are within six games of the wild-card, while five NL teams are within six games. That’s 19 teams with a reasonably realistic chance to play some October baseball – the best kind.

With more teams in the hunt, you might logically conclude this situation would lend itself to more intense, frenzied trading activity. Bidding wars for players conducted by the bottom-feeder teams in an attempt to turn their fortunes around; smaller market teams going for broke by acquiring a stud player stuck on a bad team.

Sadly, that conclusion is incorrect. The new collective bargaining agreement signed in November 2011 changed how the trading game is played. The Bleacher Report article by Zachary Rymer does a terrific job breaking down the details.

In short, Type A and Type B free agents no longer exist. If Team 2 signed a Type A free agent from Team 1, Team 1 was compensated with Team 2’s first-round draft pick. If a Type B free agent were signed, then Team 1 was awarded a “sandwich” pick between the first and second rounds of the next draft.

Example: Ryan Dempster is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the 2012 season. He likely would have been classified as a Type A free agent. If he signs with a team other than the Rangers, Texas would have received that team’s first-round draft pick AND a “sandwich” pick between the first and second rounds. If Dempster were a Type B free agent, the Rangers would have gotten a sandwich pick only. Under the new agreement, Dempster is strictly a rental. The Rangers get no draft picks if he leaves as a free agent after the season.

From this point forward, pending free agents that spend the entire season with the same team can be offered one-year contracts equal to the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players from the prior season. The team would only get a draft pick if the player turns down that offer and signs with a new team.

The draft pick compensation is completely different now too – picks are now called “competitive balance” picks. I don’t even begin to understand that part of it yet. My brain already hurts from the whole qualifying offer business.

The bottom line: these changes have completely negated any potential uptick in trading activity the second wild card team would have generated. Teams are understandably reluctant to part with young talent (the game’s most valuable commodity) for what might turn out to be a one-game-and-done appearance in the postseason. So some baseball writers suggested moving the trade deadline back to, say, August 15, to allow the races to sort themselves out and the true contenders to emerge. While that reasoning seems defensible at first, there are several reasons to keep the deadline where it is.

First of all, the new draft-pick rules and second wild card are big adjustments by themselves, but they both came about this year. Some teams are proactive; others reactive. Some teams probably did not plan on being in the hunt in 2012 (Orioles, A’s). Some time to adapt should be expected. Major League GMs are smart people (well, except for Dan O’Dowd). I would expect by next July that they will a much better handle on using the new rules to assemble their ballclubs. Let’s see how the strategy develops over the next few years before we start clamoring for deadline date changes.

Second, moving the deadline back lessens the overall impact a player can have with his new team. Jeff Sullivan of SB Nation recently called a trade made at the end of July “skee ball in the dark.” Teams already think long and hard before giving up prospects or younger players for two months of a marquee player (plus October if all goes well). Moving the non-waiver trade deadline into August would be like putting the skee ball targets on wheels. Imagine getting only six weeks’ production from a guy in exchange for six years of team control for each prospect traded away. That is a massive risk. Those 2-3 starts, 5-6 saves or 50-60 at-bats lost in late July/early August might be the difference between reaching the postseason and hitting the golf course. Also, if a player slumps or adjusts slowly to his new team, he has less time to make up for it.

If a team isn’t going to get as much use out of a rental player, they will be unwilling to pay such a premium for one. Accordingly, teams with rental players to trade likely will be unable to obtain the bounty of talent they seek. If they want the draft picks, they will need to keep the player all season and then make him a qualifying offer. Players under team control beyond the current season will become even more valuable.

Finally, trading season in baseball isn’t over. Players who clear thru waivers still can be traded to any team. If a player is claimed, a deal can be worked out with the team that claimed him. Some fascinating deals have happened in August over the years. Cliff Lee is a prime example of a player who could be dealt this month. Cutting the potential August intrigue in half would be a mistake.

Considering the questionable decisions Bud Selig has made in the past – All-Star Game/World Series home advantage, disavowing instant replay, etc. – the idea of changing the non-waiver trade deadline should be dropped ASAP. I, for one, definitely do not want him tinkering with it.

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