Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Good and Bad for Buyers and Sellers at the Trade Deadline

The trade deadline is one of the best times in the baseball calendar. Whether a team is a buyer or a seller, the trade deadline is essential to teams’ success. Obviously teams would like to be buyers because that means you in playoff contention, but being a seller isn’t all bad. It actually can be quite good for a struggling franchise. With that here are the reasons its good (and bad) to be a buyer or a seller.
Why it’s good – If a team is a buyer that means that they are in a playoff race. Those teams are looking for that one piece to complete the team or that piece to push a border line team over the top. There are usually not that one huge superstar like Carlos Beltran on the market. When there is a superstar that is acquired it have a huge impact on the playoff race. One of the best examples of this being CC Sabathia in 2008 with the Brewers. CC carried the Brewers going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and 7 complete games in 17 starts down the stretch. Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies can make these types of trades because one they have the money needed to pay the big contracts; and two have the top prospects needed to acquire these stars. These teams are willing to risk their future because those teams want to win now. All they want is the World Series title and will risk potential superstars to get a current one.
Why it’s bad – The worst thing the front office of a buying team can do is not acquire anyone. This is bad because every team has holes. Very very few teams have ever been built to perfection. GM’s are always looking to make their team better. Now not making any trades is bad it can prevent much worse things from happening. Not making trades prevents teams from trading top prospects for a 2 month rental. Trading top prospects is fine for teams that are in win now mode but for surprise teams like the Pirates or Indians it can be devastating. Both the Pirates and Indians were not expected to contend for another couple of seasons. Risking future contention for one year is the wrong move. It is not going to help the future of the franchise to trade 6 years of a potential superstar for 2 months of a current one. Teams in these situations should hold their prospects and wait for them to develop. Then when those prospects reach the majors and the team is contending, that is when the team should go out and acquire that piece to complete the team. Until then just keep your prospects.

piece to complete the team. Until then just keep your prospects.
Why it’s bad – Clearly if a team is a seller that means they are doing poorly. Whether that was expected or if the team underperformed, either way it’s not the best position to be in as a GM. When a team is selling that means they are trying to trade their veteran players who usually will be free agents at the end of the season. The immediate impact of this is that the team, already underperforming will in most cases get worse. Doing worse yes is bad but it can be tolerated if a good prospect or two can be acquired. Getting a good prospect can be a very difficult task for a GM. Every team has a value that they put on their players and players in other organizations. Knowing that selling teams have to try and make teams overpay for their players. This is now just simple economics, the more teams that are interested the higher the price will be. This is very difficult to do because if other players that are out there that are better than your player then the price will be lower. If enough alternatives are available then teams may be stuck with that veteran who will leave at seasons end.
Why it’s good – Being a seller is very good for a struggling club. As said in the bad it is quite difficult to get a good prospect if other better players are available. But if a team is lucky enough to possess the best player on the market than maximum value can be gotten fairly easily. Majority of buying teams will trade 1-2 top prospects for a rental. Prospects are very important for a rebuilding team. Not all prospects will succeed, but the more you have the more likely that one will succeed in the Majors. The higher the prospect is rated the likelier he is to have MLB success. The best way to acquire these prospects is to trade veterans at the deadline. The best thing about trading for a prospect is that they are much closer to the big leagues than say a top draftee. When a player is drafted it may take 4-5 years before he makes the majors. When a prospect is acquired via trade he is further along in his development and much closer to majors. In some case the player may be MLB ready or only 1 year away. These players will be able help the team much quicker than a drafted player.
In conclusion being a buyer and a seller can be both and bad, the best thing a team can do evaluate the position they are in and make proper decisions that will help the franchise in both the short term and the long term.
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