Some teams may argue it's unfair to pick the buyer or seller label by July 31.
There has been plenty of discussion in the last several weeks about the timing of MLB's trade deadline. July 31 is a day known for craziness and unpredictability, but even with the buzzer-beating blockbuster that sent Zack Greinke to Houston, a lingering sentiment remained that this year's deadline lacked the firepower of years past. This season also brought a new wrinkle that teams could no longer conduct August waiver trades, forcing clubs to make all their additions by the last day of July.
Would an earlier trade deadline spark more player movement, or less? How about a later one, such as Sept. 1? What if the "deadline" became the last day of the season?
Everything is on the table as our writers address this question: Should MLB move the trade deadline?
Leave the deadline where it is. We just had a great trade deadline day, with more than 70 players moved. It played out exactly as was hoped by MLB: to force action rather than allowing teams to defer. So why move? In fact, giving teams one deadline worked so well that now we need an offseason deadline for trades: 4 p.m. of the last day of the winter meetings. That would prevent the meetings from being the snooze fest they've been and truly become a branded week on the sports calendar for baseball.
There should be no trade deadline. Let teams restock on the eve of the playoffs. The return wouldn't be huge, but surely someone would go get Madison Bumgarner on Sept. 30. And then October would be wild. Players would be introducing themselves to each other while they poured Champagne on each other.
I don't think so. I don't feel like we saw a big difference this year with eliminating the waiver deadline on Aug. 31—other than getting all those fun fringe-y depth additions crammed into July 31, rather than spread throughout the month of August—and I don't think we would see a significant change in teams' strategy if the deadline were moved to July 15 or August 15 or August 31. Would any of these moves tweak specific teams' specific moves from year to year? Sure. But would they spark a fundamental change in, say, the level of executive risk-aversion? Probably not.
I vote no, but less because I have a strong opinion one way or the other and more because I genuinely don’t think it would make a difference. Moving the deadline back may lead to more deals, as teams will be more set in whether or not they’re contending, but those trades would have less impact with fewer games to be played. Moving the deadline forward would give more time for players to have an effect, but front offices would likely be more leery of making moves if they’re unsure whether or not they’re a real title hopeful. Ultimately, MLB might as well leave the deadline where it is; a new date probably won’t goose the market. Only changes to the basic economic model of the game will accomplish that.
To echo Steph's idea, I think a "deadline" on the last day of the regular season would be fascinating. Even for just one season, it's probably too radical for MLB to consider. But imagine the Giants being eliminated on this season's final day, then flipping Madison Bumgarner immediately to one of the wild-card teams for the do-or-die game. Talk about completely turning the playoffs upside down, right? That's the kind of earth-shattering transaction the NBA seems to replicate every year. I love this idea.
I think it’s too soon to tell if MLB should move the trade deadline. It’s only been one year of having one deadline, and for all the complaints that the end of July may be too early for teams to gauge their needs, we won’t know how legitimate that argument is until we’ve seen a few years of this new format. Sure, there are so many teams still in contention and that wild-card logjam could clear up by the end of August, but MLB knew all of that could be the case when it kept the July 31 deadline and eliminated the later one. For now, consider this new deadline still in its trial period.
I'd like to see the trade deadline moved back about two weeks until mid-August. MLB should be trying to stir as much action as possible at the deadline, and the extra two weeks can give teams additional time to declare themselves buyers or sellers. Twenty or so games after the All-Star break isn't necessarily enough data to push teams on one side of the fence. Two more weeks of sorting out the standings could create a greater flurry of deadline deals.