One of the interesting possibilities coming out of the GM meetings is not a potential deal, but a big change to the MLB trade deadline.
MLB is considering moving the non-waiver deadline back from its traditional July 31 date. In the process, the waiver deadline of August 31 would be eliminated.
“I think it’s a great idea,” former MLB GM Dan O’Dowd said on the MLB Network. “I think it allows clubs the chance to say, ‘are we in or are we out?’ But they don’t get a chance to go back in again at a later time. They have to decide on their clubs when we’re far enough out from the end of the season that they’ll really have to make a decision.”
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 6, 2018
O’Dowd also noted that the draft could also be moved back to the week of the All-Star Game.
Moving the deadline back would need to approved, even if the GMs unanimously agreed. But it feels like something that’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
With the advent of the second wild card team in each league, very few teams are truly out of contention by July 31. With two months to play, even a five-game deficit feels like it could be made up.
That not only limits who’s willing to sell, but also who’s willing to buy. No team on even the fringe of contention would want to trade some of its best players. But at the same time, a fringe contender isn’t going to give up much in the way of prospects to get dramatically better in the short term.
Moving the deadline to some time in mid/late-August would give teams more time to really assess themselves. But it would also give the players more of a chance to make a big impact with their new teams than they’d have if traded at the August 31 waiver deadline.
Whether this move will happen remains to be seen. But if it does, it’ll certainly make sense.