‘Growing sentiment' among MLB general managers to move trade deadline back, starting next season


MLB’s trade deadline is Wednesday at 3 p.m. CT, meaning the baseball world is anticipating a wave of deals to go down over the next 48 hours or so.

The first big domino from the trade market fell on Sunday, as the Blue Jays sent All-Star starting pitcher Marcus Stroman to the Mets for a pair of prospects. Ironically, the Stroman deal is not the biggest piece of news to come out of the trade deadline madness thus far. Instead, that title belongs to a report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale on Monday, regarding the deadline itself.

According to Nightengale, there is a “growing sentiment” among MLB general managers to push the trade deadline back from July 31 to Aug. 15, and this possibility will be discussed in November at the General Managers Meetings.

Nightengale’s report is quite ironic, as MLB essentially held two trade deadlines in the past. Prior to 2019, July 31 was referred to as the “non-waiver trade deadline,” meaning players could be dealt from one team to another, straight up. However, deals could still happen after July 31, though any players involved had to go through the waiver system. Also, players had to be traded ahead of Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason.

A good example of how the waiver trade system works is the Cubs acquiring Daniel Murphy from the Nationals on Aug. 21 last season. The Cubs claimed Murphy after the Nationals placed him on waivers, and the latter then had three options:

-Pull Murphy off of waivers and keep him
-Let Murphy go to the Cubs for nothing, aka a standard waiver claim
-Work out a trade with the Cubs for Murphy

The Nationals obviously did option No. 3, though moving the deadline into August would basically undo the decision to eliminate the waiver trade period. According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, MLB eliminated the waiver deadline "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."

Here's why moving the deadline back to Aug. 15 from July 31 would make sense, though.

Under the current rules, teams have less time to decide whether to buy, sell or stand pat at the deadline. This is problematic for teams not quite at the top of the standings, but not out of the postseason race altogether. The Giants were 12 games under .500 on June 29, but an 18-5 July has them in the thick of the NL Wild Card race.

The Giants were long-thought to be sellers at the deadline before they got hot in July. Although two weeks isn’t much longer, a team in their position could benefit from more time to decide what to do with its trade assets. If the Giants were to trade potentially available pieces -- such as starter Madison Bumgarner and reliever Will Smith -- only to keep winning over the next few weeks, they’ll have hurt their own playoff chances.

Players would face the most consequences under a pushed back deadline, as they'd have to uproot themselves and possibly their families for just a few months of games. This may not seem like a long time, but one has to remember the human side sports, not just the on-field stuff. At the same time, pushing the deadline back two weeks isn't that big of a change.

Come Aug. 15, teams should have a clear idea where they stand in the postseason race. If MLB does move the trade deadline back to this date for 2020 and beyond, there should be more good that comes from it than harm.

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