Each year, Major League Baseball confuses legions of casual fans when it comes to trades. There’s a “trade deadline” on July 31 that’s technically called a non-waiver trade deadline and then trades can still happen in August. A Justin Verlander possibly getting dealt in 2017., notably when I called
All of this appears to be going away, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The switch to a single non-waiver deadline on July 31, which according to sources will be among the rules changes Major League Baseball and the players’ union adopt this season, will eliminate the indecipherable trade waivers in August, baseball’s version of the U.S. tax code.
The idea, first proposed by the union, is to protect the competitive integrity of the 162-game regular season, create more certainty for players and force teams to decide earlier whether they are buyers or sellers.
Though some might not realize it, there are a good number of players traded in August every year. Blockbusters like Verlander to the Astros are rare, but last season we saw Josh Donaldson, Daniel Murphy, Andrew McCutchen, David Freese, Gio Gonzalez, Curtis Granderson and a host of other players traded to eventual playoff teams.
On one hand, ridding the league of this practice makes sense. There’s a trade deadline and it now will be more of a hard deadline, which likely means a lot more action. Teams would be forced to assess their rosters and organizational depth with more finality. If a major injury happens after that, well, it’s time to test that organizational depth.
On the other hand, some might view this move as fixing something that isn’t broken.
For me, I’m glad the trade deadline will be an actual deadline. If teams are looking beef up, they need to make sure to do it earlier in the season instead of waiting until the last week of August.