July 31st is an exciting time in the baseball season. It’s like Christmas, and the players traded are the presents under the tree. Sometimes you get a Playstation3 (Cliff Lee), and sometimes you get socks (Joe Saunders). It happens, but it’s exciting nonetheless. After we open the presents, we are prone to judge them. I’m advocating that we switch up how we grade them.
The idea for this sprung from an interesting article by Steven Goldman at Baseball Prospectus wherein he criticizes selling teams. He argues that it generally doesn’t work out for selling teams because the prospects never work out. It’s an interesting argument, but it is one I would like to tweak.
First thing’s first. It’s not the theory that’s wrong. It’s the practice. Or maybe, I should say that the theory isn’t complete, but completing it further can only help, right? As of now, the theory is simple. If your team is losing, not going to make the playoffs, and probably not going to make it next year, you’re supposed to sell off your expensive veterans for cheap, controllable players or prospects to teams that are willing to take on the contracts. In theory, that turns one player into several while giving a team payroll flexibility. In practice as Goldman notes, the selling team gets screwed. So what needs to change?
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