What is the point of having a trade deadline if teams are allowed to still trade players after the trade deadline passes? There are players every year who switch teams after the “deadline”. This year the most notable so far has been Justin Morneau, who was sent to the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Minnesota Twins. Although I have no problem personally with the Pirates acquiring him, it just seems strange that a player of his caliber would be able to pass through waivers, which is the typical requirement, and not be claimed by any other teams.
There are other loopholes and fine print that allow players to get sent to a new team after July, but why not just eliminate the trade deadline and keep the ability for teams to make deals up until the last day of the season? There is always hype and a build up of who could get traded, and teams that are in discussion for player X, and how player Y is almost guaranteed to be gone in the next 24 hours. However, there doesn’t seem to be a reason for the trade deadline if teams are able to still make acquisitions in August and September.
The New York Yankees recently acquired Brendan Ryan from the Seattle Mariners in lieu of the news of Derek Jeter being out for the remainder of the season. The Yankees knew about Jeter’s health all year long and had the ability to make a trade before the deadline. Yet they now were able to acquire a new player who has Major League experience to insert into their lineup. They didn’t receive an all-star caliber player like Morneau (although the Yankees have pulled some late season deals in the past), but it is still the principle of why there is a trade deadline in the first place.
There have been very few times I can recall a trade being attempted after the trade deadline that was cancelled because a player would have been claimed by another team beforehand. Is there really a player that is trade worthy that only a team in a playoff run thinks can benefit by acquiring him? While the main reason for teams getting rid of players such as Morneau is for contract reasons and simply wanting something in return, there could be the unspoken agreement among general managers that “you don’t claim a player we are getting, and we won’t claim a player you are getting.”
The Yankees trading for Brendan Ryan means that the Orioles, Indians, Royals, Rays, and any other team could have made a claim on him. What if one of those teams then needs to acquire someone else and tries to make a trade for a certain player? The Yankees could retaliate by claiming this new player involved in the trade. It would be a never ending battle from year to year for players at the end of a season who probably won’t be there after a few months anyways.
Whatever the reason for teams being allowed to make trades after the trade deadline and whatever reason teams do not make claims on players, these trades do happen. Although they do not usually have the big names and star power as trades that happen earlier in the year or in the off-season, there is still the potential to make a difference in any given game.
In baseball, one game can make all the difference in the world. It can be a switch in the standings, give momentum to one team that lasts the rest of the season/series, and it can mean that this new player will forever be cemented in the history of a team whom he played for only a few weeks. All of these are extremes and hypotheticals, but if it happens against your team, you will think back to this article and demand that trade deadline are strictly enforced! Until then, I honestly don’t have a problem with post trade deadline trades; it just seems ironic that Major League Baseball would have a “strict” deadline but still allow for teams to acquire players from other teams.