Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This guy thinks the trade deadline ruins baseball

Here's an article out of Fox Sports Detroit that says the real loser at the trade deadline was Baseball.

It's not a 162-game grind anymore. It's a 100-game push for teams to position themselves as buyers or sellers by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

It's making quitters out of some teams, the so-called sellers.

There were reports last week that the Chicago White Sox, 4-1/2 games out of first place at the time, had to win the final game of a series against the first-place Detroit Tigers to avoid a potential fire sale. Meanwhile, baseball's worst team, the Houston Astros, were depleting themselves of major league talent in hopes of a better future.

Yeah, that really hurts Baseball (which has apparently been humanized) - to be able to evaluate your team and adjust in the middle of the season like that. Baseball doesn't like it when a struggling team has a piece they can trade to get better down the road. You would think that a journalist would not equate "selling" with "quitting." The Astros have made some ignorant decisions over the past five years, and were able to remedy some of those mistakes with trades. Sure, the Astros got rid of the franchise's most popular and recognizable players, but were able to bring in much-needed prospects.

Let's keep reading:
You also might say it's exciting to be a fan of a team that strengthens itself for the stretch run. Clubs with deep farm systems are rewarded because they can afford to give up prospects for immediate help.

That's all true, but it still irritates me to see teams throw in the towel with two months to play.

I would say it's exciting to be a fan of a team that strengthens itself for the stretch run. The days of Randy Johnson and Carlos Beltran were among the most fun times to be an Astros fan. Good teams are good because they have developed former prospects into solid major-league talent. And good teams are excellent when they can help themselves in the short-term when they have good, expendable prospects to deal for a missing piece (see: Braves, Atlanta; Phillies, Philadelphia). Clubs with deep farm systems can help teams with weak farm systems. That's how it has worked since Branch Rickey invented the farm system, and Marvin Miller came off of Mt. Sinai with the stone tablets of free agency.

The Astros did what they did because, while the prospect side is improving, they don't have the top-of-the-line major-league talent (Maybe they do, that's why Martinez, Altuve, and Paredes were in the lineup last night). Even with two good players in Pence and Bourn, they still had the worst record in baseball. The System allows teams to trade those players - by a predetermined date - to a team who had a better plan, in order to get better in the future? The first step to becoming a good franchise is to get better in the farm system, which is what the Astros did. At the trade deadline.

For the integrity of the pennant races, teams should play the same game from Opening Day through No. 162.

They don't do that.

And they shouldn't. It's preposterous to think that a system in place when a team can't properly evaluate its situation mid-season is a loser. If the issue is free agency, then call it that. If the issue is that Fox Sports Detroit's Greg Lucas didn't like it that the Indians got better in the short-term, or the White Sox didn't necessarily get worse, then call it that, too. Baseball has a number of unwritten rules, the season means different things to different teams, and to say that every team has to follow the plan they began with is ridiculous, both in baseball, and in "real life."