An Emotional Fan’s Guide to the Trade Deadline

It’s looming.

It’s less than 10 hours away.

Every year, MLB’s trade deadline occurs on July 31st – tormenting us up until the final moment at 4 pm, Eastern time. MLB instituted the trade deadline in 1923, in response to moves made by the New York Yankees and Giants during several previous years that put other teams at a competitive disadvantage. Thus, both the American and National Leagues implemented a uniform rule on non-waiver trades prior to the 1923 season. (Its always the Yankees, isn’t it?)

On Friday, the Orioles traded away Hyun Soo Kim, one of my favorite players. I was bummed. It’s hard when your favorite players are traded away. (It’s even harder when they go to a team you don’t really much care for.) In order to survive, however, maybe we need to start reinterpreting what a trade is.

Old definition: A trade is a heartbreaking disruption of the perfect balance achieved by the personalities on your favorite team, presumably to improve the post-season chances of one of the teams involved, but generally resulting only in heartbreak and not always a World Series championship.

New definition: A trade is a new opportunity for your favorite players, who clearly were not appreciated by the heartless owners of your favorite team. You still are not likely to win the World Series, but at least now you don’t have to hear rude MLB analysts saying mean things about a guy who was not given a fair shake on your team or watch the players’ stats dwindle along with their playing time.

Or something along those lines. (Never mind the fact that that doesn’t seem to be the case with Kim.)

You see, don’t look as a trade simply as a removal of one of your favorite players to another team, obviously without your permission. Let’s face it, often, your favorite team has pretty much mistreated said favorite player by not giving him enough playing time, not paying him what he deserves, not saying nice enough things (in your opinion) about him, etc. Favorite Player, now that he has been traded, will likely be better appreciated and have more playing time in his new city. Even if it is a city you despise. It’s not his fault. It’s the fault of the evil ownership of your favorite team.

Of course, the trades may not be over by the end of the day – meaning there will be more opportunities for our hearts to break. Teams may still negotiate trades until midnight (Eastern time) on August 31. (Any player added to a team’s roster after August 31 will not be eligible for the postseason.) After today, however, players have to clear waivers before a trade becomes final. In other words, other teams (in reverse order of the standings) will have the opportunity to claim the player first. If a player is claimed during the waiver period, the original team can choose to keep the player on its roster or send the player to the team that claimed it.

No matter how we convince ourselves that trades can be a good thing, however, we can’t help feeling like this:

Don't Go Lucas!!!!! Gonna miss you buddy!!!

A post shared by Lucas Duda (@wefollowlucasduda) on



This is how (trade) rumors get started

LobatonRemember Wilmer Flores last year? That was almost me as tears welled in my eyes. We’d heard that the Nationals had traded for pitcher Mark Melancon. As usual, I was tuning out the sports announcers that tended to drone on and provide little detail. However, these names stood out in the story: Felipe Rivero, Jose Lobaton, and Taylor Hearn. Wait – did they just say Jose Lobaton?

Questions immediate flooded my brain. Who would Gio Gonzalez’ personal catcher be now? Most importantly, who would remove the Nationals’ helmets when they returned to the dugout after hitting a home run? Lobaton was the best helmet snatcher in the business.

Jose Lobaton is one of my favorite Washington Nationals, although he doesn’t get much playing time serving as back-up catcher to Wilson Ramos. But Pedro Severino had caught on Saturday – did this mean it was true? (Queue melodramatic music and declare, “Say it ain’t so!”)

Yesterday, I took a peak at the Nationals’ roster on my MLB app. No, Lobaton was not there anymore. Wait a minute. What if I click on “40-Man Roster”? And there he was, still listed in the “L’s”.

So what went so terribly wrong? Apparently, whatever show I was half-listening to had reported that there had, indeed, been a trade. The Washington Nationals acquired Melancon from Pittsburgh. In turn, the Nationals sent Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn to the Pirates. Naturally, as reporters do, they then started babbling about Rivero’s record with the Nats since the 2014 trade that brought him and catcher Jose Lobaton to D.C. They also may have been discussing Severino being called up after Lobaton had been placed on the DL with tendinitis. Like I said, I really wasn’t listening.

So, I should pay more attention in the future. Especially as the trade deadline nears.

Happy Trade Deadline Day!

~ baseballrebecca