Electric trade deadline ignites MLB playoff push

I think we can all agree that the 2020 MLB season should be omitted from the record books. The 60 game sprint after enduring almost 4 months of nothing was grueling. The lack of fans, games, an All Star game and a true trade deadline left a void across the sport. Yes, there was flair and the play got better, but overall it was painful for everyone.

As Spring Training 2021 arrived, the annual feeling of hope was multiplied. Major League Baseball not only had the perennial big market clubs loading up for a run, but youth phenoms such as Fernando Tatis Jr, Vladimir Guerrero Jr, and Ronald Acuna Jr are leading their clubs. The energy around the game was bursting with excitement and then it truly went international with Shohei Otani fully healthy.

The one intriguing item coming into the season was the potential for a crazy free agent market in the fall. This target to extend a cornerstone of your franchise or trade the asset for future growth depends on various factors. The names of potential free agents are Bryant, Rizzo, Story, Seager, Marte, Scherzer among many others. These players know that a huge 2021 season could result in generational wealth, so the pressure to perform individually and in the team setting is monumental.

As the 2021 season arrived at the All Star break, a significant number of these players were on teams barely hanging onto contender status. The short comings in the standings are compounded by the clubs lack of financial resources to offer an extension. As in sports and poker, you need to know when to hold em and when to fold em.

This brings us to the week of July 26th and a hard trade deadline of 4pm EST on July 30th. In years past, there was a trade deadline at the end of July and a waiver trade deadline at the end of August. Another staple of previous years was the roster expansion from 25 to 40 players in September. A holdover from the 2020 season is that the daily roster is 26 players as opposed to the previous 25. Going forward, the July 30th deadline is the only trade deadline and the rosters will only increase to 28 in September. These new rules put stress on teams to make moves because there isn’t another chance to boost your depth or clear payroll outside of the waiver wire battlefield.

The week of the trade deadline saw a flurry of moves with blockbusters galore. Deadlines spurn offers and action and if you followed the Rumor Mill, some players were traded to at least 6 different teams prior to the official move being announced. A record 10 2021 All Stars were traded this past week. The movement was must watch TV and Twitter was set a blaze with rumors and reported deals. This excitement saw the Cubs and Nationals clean house. The result of those deals are making for quite the race in the NL West. The Dodgers, who apparently have so much money, the luxury tax is nothing more than an annoyance. The Dodgers acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to add to an already stacked roster. Turner will play 2nd, while 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager, ( free agent after season) maintains his SS role. The Scherzer moves gives them Kershaw, Buehler, Urias, Scherzer and Gosslin in the rotation and David Price in reserve. The rich keep getting richer and that brings us to the third place New York Yankees.

The Yankees have been littered with injuries and sub par play all year. There desire to go big is a product of franchise pride and that there are 2 Wild Card spots. The Yankees traded for Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo. Two powerful left handed bats that are perfect for the short porch in right at The Stadium. The hitters were also brought in to help wake up Judge, Sanchez, Torres and most importantly, Giancarlo Staton. The Red Sox and Rays also made their share of moves, acquiring Kyle Schwarber and Nelson Cruz respectively. The AL East is a gauntlet of quality teams and somebody has to be in 4th place, that squad is the youthful Toronto Blue Jays. As I write this article, that talented squad is 8.5 games out of first, but only 4.5 games back of the second wild card spot. To pair with their long awaited return to actually playing games in Canada, they acquired Jose Berrios, Brad Hand and others to bolster their exciting clubhouse. The moves made in the AL East are great for the game and it shows teams aren’t backing down.

The Cubs, like the Nationals have been on life support, so just like the Nats, they cleaned out the Clubhouse. They made so many moves the Jason Hayward looked around the empty room just like Will Smith in the series finale of Fresh Prince. We mentioned that the Yankees got Rizzo, but a few other contenders picked them clean like vultures. The Giants acquired Kris Bryant to combat the Dodgers and Padres as they try to hold onto their division lead. The Mets, another division leading club has been hit with injuries and sub par offense. In an effort to spark their squad until DeGrom and Lindor return, they traded for Javy Baez. Javy is a free swinging show who I believe will be on fire the next 2 months playing for a contender and his best friend Francisco Lindor. The Cubs sent out a few others, nobody more well known than closer Craig Kimbrel. Unlike the others being sent to the coast, Kimbral was put on the L and sent to the Southsiders. The White Sox are a loaded squad, but now try coming back on them with Hendricks and Kimbrel.

These blockbuster moves weren’t the only moves this past week. The NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers traded for All Star Eduardo Escobar to add to their lineup, as well as 2 relief pitchers to add arms to the bullpen. The Phillies upgraded their pitching staff by bringing in Gibson and Kennedy to bolster their pitching staff. The Braves on the other hand, literally brought in a whole new outfield. The loss of Acuna Jr has been felt in that lineup, so they hope the rentals of Jorge Solar, Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario can provide that depth.

The one name that wasn’t dealt was Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies. His name was thrown all over the baseball world, but come 4pm on Friday, he was still the starting shortstop of the Rockies. This brings up the notion that you don’t have to trade assets if the return isn’t worth it. At season’s end, the Rockies will offer him, he’ll cash in somewhere else and the Rockies will get a first round comp draft pick that comes with a ton of team control.

In the end, if these teams make the playoffs and beyond, the acquisitions are worth it. The worst is if you gave up a ton of prospect talent, miss the playoffs and the player cashes in somewhere else. We’ll know very shortly which deal pays off in October.

My predictions are as follows:

AL East: Boston Red Sox

AL Central: Chicago White Sox

AL West: Oakland A’s

AL Wild Cards: Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays

NL East: New York Mets

NL Central: Milwaukee Brewers

NL West: LA Dodgers

NL Wild Cards: San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds

World Series: LA Dodgers vs Chicago White Sox

2 months to earn October baseball, bring on the excitement!


Host of The Irrational Confidence Podcast and Contributor to Spinnable Sports #CollegeFootball #NFL #MLB #NBA #NHL #EPL #UCL On Twitter @SS_2FRESH

Check Also

Alabama Coach Nate Oats

Alabama’s Disappointing End to the Season: What Went Wrong Against San Diego State?

The Alabama offense struck first in the match, but they faced challenges from the outset. Hindered by messy play and turnovers, they inadvertently provided opportunities for the Aztecs to score.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: