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With the second wild card, everyone’s a contender

Jun 17, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT


Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times has a good piece up today talking about the second wild card has changed the competitive landscape (i.e. put far more teams in contention longer) and thus creates some real benefits to teams’ bottom lines. If you have a chance, people watch and buy tickets and beer and foam fingers and stuff.

Another consequence: a lot of inactivity at the trade deadline. Or at lease leading up to it. Since¬†everyone thinks they’ve got a chance — or, at the very least, want their fans to think they have a chance — there are way fewer sellers at the deadline and way more buyers. That, in turn, makes the few players who are available go way up in price and makes trades even harder to come together. We still may see a lot of deals in late July, but they’ll be minor ones, as fewer teams decide that they need to mount a fire sale.

Given the more-teams-are-in-it-longer dynamic of the two-wild-card era, it would behoove Major League Baseball to look into extending the non-waiver trade deadline a couple of weeks into August instead of having it stop in late July. We need more things to shake out if we want more players to shake loose.

  1. The Cub Den - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Even the Cubs have a chance. Yes, even the Cubs.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:15 PM

      No, the Cubs do not have a chance…

      Keeping that hot hitting kid down on the farm shows you what the Cubs brass CARES about and it isn’t maximizing their chance at a wild card…

      They care MORE about the money.

      Call the kid up, give him an extended go at and see whether he is the real deal.

      It isn’t like they have been fighting it out all year, neck and neck for first place and have something to lose by calling up a player from the minors.

      No, they have been a last place team for several seasons and they don’t call up someone who is putting up goofy numbers…

      And they are currently in LAST place in their division… Nope, let’s NOT try to get better… don’t wanna do that at the expense of the almighty dollar…

      Their mistake with the almighty dollar will be to resign Jeff “I’m decent but will be paid WAY too much money” Samardzija…

      Yes, pitching is important, but OVER paying is over paying.

      Cubs can’t claim to want to SAVE money and keep one player down while flushing money down the toilet on another player…

      • Uncle Charlie - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:36 PM

        Here let me help you beat that straw man.

      • chill1184 - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:17 PM

        It also could be that the Cubs offices doesnt believe that the kid is ready yet

      • perryt200 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:09 PM

        Yah, it would probably be demoralizing to a young player to have to join the Cubs.

      • Old Gator - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:47 PM

        Based on the last hundred years or so, it could also be that the Cubs front orifice doesn’t even know the kid is there.

      • The Cub Den - Jun 17, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m realistic, but they have a chance–a small one– you’re right about calling him up. They should. I don’t think they need them, but they could be a much better team if they did. it puzzles me too that they decide to keep the young players down far too long. In hockey, they’re pretty much there right away, but baseball’s a different beast altogether. The Shark is good, I like him, but he’s over valuating himself. I think a better way of putting it is, the Cubs have an outside chance of making it if they keep putting together these wins.

  2. tbird05 - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    Uno…whoa, what a classic. I didn’t miss the point did I?

    • raysfan1 - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

      …and here’s your wild card-draw 4. I call blue.

  3. garypagetwo - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    does this Craig guy actually get paid to write non sense everyday ?

    • thatsnuckinfuts - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      My only issue is the card used in the article, everyone knows that wild cards are jokers or one-eyed jacks and the man with the axe.

    • Rich Stowe - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      do you get paid to read his articles then comment about how they’re nothing but nonsense?

      • nbjays - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        No Rich… Gary and his ilk would prefer to NOT read the articles that Craig usually links and would just prefer to bitch about Craig. It’s sad, really.

      • Rich Stowe - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        yes it is

    • realgone2 - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Sadly and probably better than you or I

    • 18thstreet - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:20 PM

      Does this GaryPageTwo guy have so much free time on his hands that he visits this site SOLELY to criticize one of its authors?

      Does this GaryPageTwo know that sentences start with a capital letter?
      Does this GaryPageTwo know that ‘nonsense’ is one word and ‘every day’ (in this context) is two words?

      And, lastly, do I have anything better to do?

  4. ezthinking - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Wait a minute…we want more trades so teams can get more talent and be better, but slam players who leave in free agency to teams that want more talent.

    Irony? Hypocrisy? Catch-22?

    Yes, yes, and yes.

  5. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    I don’t think this is a bad thing. I like that teams do not not change radically mid-season. Sure, grab an extra piece here or there, but some teams were making pretty big overhauls and shipping superstars away mid-season. This might make for exciting playoff baseball on TV, but it also made the last two months of the regular season a story of the have’s and have-nots. Suddenly the decent teams turned into behemoths, and the mediocre teams became AAA. I like that more teams are playing for something and that the floor for bad teams seems a bit higher.

    • 18thstreet - Jun 17, 2014 at 1:06 PM

      Oh, come on. Midseason deals are awesome.

      “Roger Clemens is in George’s box, and Roger Clemens is coming back. Oh, my good goodness gracious! Of all the dramatic things I’ve ever seen. Roger Clemens standing right in George Steinbrenner’s box announcing he is back. Roger Clemens is a New York Yankee.”


      • RickyB - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM

        Why must you remind me of that debacle?


      • 18thstreet - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:14 PM

        Because it was the greatest moment in the history of broadcasting. Even Hawk Harrelson listened to this and thought, “Man, she’s really a homer.”

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:16 PM

        Ha! But your example was not even a deadline trade. He was a free agent. He just signed mid-season.

        Now let’s imagine that the Royals are 7 games out of the division lead in July. A few years ago they would almost HAVE to trade away Shields, and probably Holland, and maybe even Alex Gordon. And if some contender needs a defensive replacement or pinch-runner they might make an offer on Lorenzo Cain. But what does that mean for anyone who has to watch the remaining 60-70 Royals games?

        Conversely, I have kinda enjoyed watching Solarte play for the Yankees, and I keep hoping they leave Kelly Johnson in the lineup for two games at a time to see if he can produce like he has the past few years. It would be weird to suddenly see Chase Utley and Aramis Ramirez in pinstripes come July 30. Sure they would be upgrades, but suddenly seeing an MLB team turn into an All Star team mid year has a jarring effect on fandom.

      • kyzslew77 - Jun 17, 2014 at 3:47 PM


  6. sportsdrenched - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    We’re bemoaning the fact that a 24-48 hour period during the baseball season has become more boring, but the trade off is meaningful baseball is played in more places for 4, 6 even 8 more weeks? That don’t make a lick a sense.

    • cohnjusack - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      I argue that it’s less meaningful baseball for good teams. Instead, it’s more meaningful for a group of around .500 teams. Instead of seeing an exciting race among two of the better teams in the league, we’re watching races between which 86 win team is going to get the 2nd wildcard spot. Exciting!

  7. 18thstreet - Jun 17, 2014 at 12:34 PM

    There is always going to be a push and pull between supply and demand, so I don’t think it’s inevitable that the trading deadline will be quiet. The main change is that it drives up the price (higher demand) for the sellers’ assets. That should help the sellers reload and compete in the future.

    We’ll see what happens this year, but I don’t think anything is inevitable. Several of the sellers have good talented players that a competitive team would want.

  8. scotttheskeptic - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    …Or get rid of the second wild card…

  9. perryt200 - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    As a Cards fan I don’t want more players to shake loose. I want the drafting and farm system to be more important because that is where the Cards excel.

  10. pittsburghpierogie - Jun 17, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    Been reading this site, a long, long time now, and decided to finally start commenting. With that said, Craig, you do a GREAT job on this site. Just wanted to let you know, your work is appreciated.

  11. deepstblu - Jun 17, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    “At lease?” Does that mean that fewer teams will get rent-a-players?

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