The players we imagined might change teams included Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, A.J. Burnett, Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt. The players who actually did find new addresses when the trade deadline arrived at 4 p.m. Sunday included Kyle Farnsworth, Matt Lawton, Geoff Blum, Randy Winn and Jesse Foppert.
Some of these players may make a difference, but it won’t be the big difference we had come to expect from deadline trades over the years. Neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox nor the Orioles got the pitching they needed. Neither the Mets nor the Nationals nor the Cubs got the big bopper they lusted.
Get used to it. This year isn’t an aberration. It’s the wave of the future. The blockbuster deadline trades that were the rule over much of the history of the game are becoming the exception.
What it means is that the days when teams could go into the season thinking that they could pick up whatever spare parts they need at the trade deadline are gone. There will still be the occasional opportunity to get such players, but teams can no longer count on it.
Because they can’t, it has never been more important to assemble a team in the off-season that isn’t likely to develop holes. If there are question marks, get rid of them in January, because you won’t be able to do it in July.
Blame the wild card first and foremost. There are 30 major league teams, and as of Sunday, 20 of them were either division leaders or within six games of a wild-card playoff spot. Then there are the Giants and Dodgers, who are 14 and 11 games under .500 respectively, but only 5.5 and four games out of first place in the woeful NL West.
Enter the second factor in the lack of trades. The eight teams that are utterly out of it have already pretty much stripped themselves of high-priced veteran talent. Inspired by the Oakland A’s, they’re all dedicated to building with young talent that allows them to keep their payrolls down — and to collect welfare payments from revenue sharing with the rich teams and luxury tax payments from the Yankees.
NEW YORK (AP) - Yankees fans showed Don Mattingly the love from the moment he took the lineup card to home plate Wednesday. Hiroki Kuroda, though, wasn't feeling nostalgic when facing his old team.
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