Nothing official has come from MLB about when exactly they are eying a restart of the season not to mention what it might look like, nor should it honestly. Nobody really can begin to guess. That said, it feels like we’re headed for a shortened season to me and I’ve already written about some of the ways they could tackle that eventuality.
One of the most interesting things that could come from shortening the season is either the actual, or perceived elimination of the MLB Trade Deadline.
By perceived I mean this, say the season is shortened by oh, 40 games. Now you’re down to 120 or so, and winning a division has always been a marathon, not a sprint. Gaining separation doesn’t really get started until teams have played a solid 60-80 games. Say you put the trade deadline in anyway, put it in the halfway point and have some faux All-Star event too, now you’re sitting on between 40 to 60 games.
Now ask yourself, how much would you pay for 25 to 35 Keone Kella appearances? How about 8-10 starts from Chris Archer?
So, trade them before the season starts you say? Maybe, but I suspect that will be a tough ask. Teams are going to be scrambling to make sense of whatever world they’ve woken to, with little time to consider drastically altering a roster they were just starting to get a handle on before all this happened.
So, yeah, there may be a trade deadline, but man, it won’t be a real one to say the least. It’s not just about the time of service you’d receive in a move, it’s the price you’d be willing to pay. The return for those starts I mentioned Archer tossing for a competitor down the stretch, it might just underwhelm to the point that it makes no sense.
On top of all that you have the increased possibility that 75% of the league feels they’re “in it” which could really make quite an impact here. Last season the Pirates were seemingly in it after 82 games, surely it didn’t turn out that way but man alive, if they’re 2 or 3 games out and trade Archer who was surely involved in that type of success, which with the wildcards in play could actually be under .500, the city would explode, even if long term it was a wise move.
Of course, the league could decide to not have a deadline at all. Like straight up shut that off, you have what you have, go play. What would that create in the league? Part of me would say a few teams will have a before opening day fire sale, some might hold on for the very reason I just spoke about, contention is much more in play for teams. Baseball isn’t being played obviously as we speak, but don’t ever think we are out of things to discuss. When something as big as MLB shuts down for any period of time, questions pile up, understanding the cause and effect of everything that goes into these decisions can arm you with the ability to think critically about moves that are made by the league and the team itself.