I’m sure a lot of people have their own opinion of the new July 31 trade deadline, or rather the ability to no longer trade a player on the 40-man roster during August. Whether you are for the new deadline or against, the rule has already brought to light a new tactic by the front offices. The important thing to mention is that trades are not completely voided during August, just trades dealing with players who have a big league contract. That’s where upper-minor league players have come into the picture.
After a deadline that would have been the worst deadline of recent memory if it wasn’t for the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, the trend has been the acquisition of Quad-A type players. Players who have reached the majors but didn’t last and had to sign a minor league contract, or players who have been in the minors for five years about to become Rule 5 eligible. Organizations have deemed these types expendable through trade for the exchange of cash considerations.
Playoff contention teams are filling holes the only way they see possible now and it’s to the advantage of these players. Take Joe Mantiply for example. He was just acquired from the Cincinnati Reds organization having pitched just over 30 innings in the minors this season and is already in the Yankees bullpen. Both Brandon Barnes and Ian Miller were acquired by the Minnesota Twins for outfield depth, and even though they have not been added to their major league club, they could very well be promoted soon.
It might be the fact that Joe Mantiply, Brandon Barnes, and Ian Miller were all acquired for cash considerations, but this all seems to be right up Brian Cashman’s alley. He has been able to add castaways to the organization and see them flourish. Granted, plenty of the successful players Cashman has added recently were already on 40-man rosters, but it would be foolish to believe he is not capable of finding a needle in a hay stack as he dives a bit further into other organizations. This is not to say Joe Mantiply will be a break out reliever for the Yankees over the next two months, but the trend to add Quad-A players feels like something the front office will take full advantage of.
The new trade deadline rules forced teams to make decisions quicker this season. The Mets became buyers and added Marcus Stroman. Everyone scratched their heads as to why they would even think they had a chance. A week and a half later, the Mets took a series from the Washington Nationals and found themselves half a game back of a wild card spot. The Mets put themselves into contention while other teams have fallen out.
Overall, things can change quickly in baseball and maybe Major League Baseball will revisit the trade deadline date, but until then Quad-A players will have something to hope for after July 31. Understandably, these players aren’t as interesting as Justin Verlander or Andrew McCutchen during August trades, but it does allow a player the ability to showcase his skills on the major league level with the possibility of sticking around. The Yankees could very well trade for the next Gio Urshela after the July 31 deadline.