The season is slated to start July 23 or 24. The trade deadline will come five weeks later.
According to multiple reports, Major League Baseball will have an Aug. 31 trade deadline for its 60-game season. Parameters for an attempt at a season were agreed to Tuesday night when the league and Major League Baseball Players Association came to an agreement after months of ill-fated negotiating.
The trade deadline is immediately fraught with concerns.
Still in the middle of a pandemic, the league has put forth an idea to allow teams to ship a player away from his family for a month’s worth of work. It’s an odd decision. It may also ultimately prove to be moot.
Who is going to send prospects to another team for a rental during a 60-game season? Who will deal multi-year player control in the middle of uncertainty? Probably no one.
The players’ union can’t be happy there is a transaction window. And, the idea of not having one would not have been so strange because a typical season wades through August and September without trades (now that the single July 31 deadline is in place).
Players often do not fully relocate their families when traded in normal seasons. If they have multiple years on their contract when traded, the full relocation could be in play. Otherwise, they typically want to keep their kids in the same school or home life as stable as possible.
In this case, when players will be quarantining on the road regardless, it makes little sense to relocate -- even for those with full families. They would have to consider all the health parameters of living in one area versus another as coronavirus continues to stir across the country. That would be an offseason decision.
But, the trade deadline and 60-game season does create one compelling idea: if you are a general manager, or owner, how hard are you going after a “title”? Do you consider trading any asset in a shortened season? Would any owner be willing to take on money when they are already hemorrhaging money this season? Would any team try to sell three weeks into the season?
Here’s what is assured about this trade deadline idea and the 2020 season: it won’t be normal, and this decision is just another layer in the chaos.
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