According to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, MLB and the players’ union have agreed to move to a single trade deadline ($) for the coming season and beyond. This would eliminate the August waiver-wire square dance and could make the July 31 deadline that much more exciting.
That’s what the union is hoping for, anyway, along with forcing teams to decide earlier in the season whether they’re truly buyers or sellers. It could also spur more movement in free agency since teams won’t have the luxury of making last-minute additions.
Had there been a single deadline last year, Daniel Murphy would have remained in Washington. And Justin Verlander would not have joined the Astros the year prior. And while some players are undoubtedly happy to be joining contenders, others surely loathe the lack of security that comes from the waiver process.
Rosenthal mentions concerns by some front office types that they won’t be able to fill holes in their rosters if injuries occur late in the season. Of course, some of that anxiety might be motivated by the reality that not having a waiver-trade fallback means promoting more prospects ahead of schedule and starting their service-time clocks at an earlier date.
Hey, wait a minute, that’s a good thing for players and fans alike.
Going to a single deadline may hurt blogs like Cubs Insider, though, since we live on a steady diet of rumors after the All-Star break. More traditional writers will be likewise looking for content that doesn’t involve double-secret waiver claims and trade proposals that never quite came to fruition.
Exactly what kind of impact the single deadline will have remains to be seen, but it could possibly help the game in several different ways: free agency, deadline intrigue/activity, minor league promotions. Even if the effects are only relatively small or are only really seen in one of those areas, it’ll be worth it. Unless, of course, ownership finds a way to leverage things in its own favor.
There will be other changes as well, whether it’s a pitch clock or mandates on how many batters a reliever must face. Rosters could also be limited, which would really be something to consider come September. Expect to hear more on this soon.