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Why a singular trade deadline won’t change much for the Yankees

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The Yankees rarely make August trades anyway.

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Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Earlier today, Ken Rosenthal reported that Major League Baseball intends to adopt a single trade deadline for the 2019 season. The July 31st date would mark the final chance for a teams to swing deals. August waiver trades would become a thing of the past.

The details emerged in Rosenthal’s story in The Athletic (subscription required):

“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.”

In theory, teams will have to decide earlier to take action. They can’t make reactionary moves due to injuries in August, or make a mad dash to acquire pieces for a playoff push. Business will have to be settled in July.

For the Yankees, this doesn’t change a whole lot. Consider the notable August transactions the Bombers made over the last five seasons:

2018

2017

  • Acquired C Erik Kratz from the Cleveland Indians

2016

2015

No August trades

2014

  • Acquired Josh Outman from the Cleveland Indians

2013

No August trades

Some context helps here. The 2016 trade deadline fell on August 1, so the Ivan Nova and Carlos Beltran trades don’t get listed. The series of moves made in 2018 look notable, but Kontos appeared in a single game, and Urshela never played for the major league squad. McCutchen came over because Aaron Judge sat on the shelf with a broken wrist, and Hechavarria proved a prescient move on Cashman’s part. Didi Gregorius missed some time in September with a cartilage tear in his wrist. Those made for extenuating circumstances.

Before that, the last impact trade the Yankees made in August had to be landing Chad Gaudin in 2009, right? Brian Cashman typically doesn’t do any heavy lifting after the non-waiver deadline.

If anything, it may hamper the number of clubs with whom they can do business. A fringe contending team in mid-July may decide to buy instead of sell. Perhaps they will even stand pat. A glut of those teams caught in the middle could dry up the market. In that case, the Yankees would have fewer trade partners, limiting their options and driving up the price in prospects. That appears the only visible downside.

Overall, though, this adjustment seems fine. It shouldn’t get in the way of the Yankees adding reinforcements. Plus, this removes the complicated waiver period, which probably is good for baseball as a whole. The more straightforward the better, I suppose.

What do you think about the decision? Does this make more sense? Share your thoughts in the comments section!