Everything You Need to Know Before the MLB Trade Deadline

Everything You Need to Know Before the MLB Trade Deadline

Published August 1, 2022
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If there is a lesson to be learned from recent trade deadlines, it is this: If you’re not making a move, you’re falling behind. Even the good teams cannot pass on the opportunity of the last acquisition window. Over the past four full seasons, no team has reached the World Series without making a key midseason deal, including trades that brought in four postseason series MVPs (Eddie Rosario, Jorge Soler, Steve Pearce and Justin Verlander), two World Series Game 7 starters (Zack Greinke and Yu Darvish) and a World Series Game 7 closer (Daniel Hudson).

The market this year is energized by two unprecedented factors: six playoff spots in each league and the best player ever available at the trade deadline, Juan Soto. Never has a player been on the market who is this young (23), this good (one of only six players, and the first since 1955, to hit 100 homers at 23 with more walks than strikeouts) and this controllable (two more seasons after this one).

The pressure for teams to act at the deadline is intense. The general manager who lets the deadline pass without a deal faces more scrutiny than the one who takes a chance. Expectations rise because of the success of recent deadline trades. As the clock ticks toward the 6 p.m. ET deadline Tuesday, here are the decision-makers under the most pressure:

The time is now. Soto can affect three pennant races today. If he is still a National after 6 p.m. Tuesday, he can affect only two. His value immediately is diminished. Rizzo can never “win” a trade, because Soto simply has too much value as this unprecedented trade chip. The closest comp is Miguel Cabrera, who was 24 with two years of control when the Marlins traded him to the Tigers. The Marlins turned down offers from the Angels involving Howie Kendrick and Ervin Santana to obtain Detroit’s two best prospects, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. It’s a reminder to never get carried away with prospect “rankings.” The deal was a bust for the Marlins.