Major League Baseball’s Expanded Playoffs Fuel Hot & Heavy Non-Waiver Trade Deadline
With the announcement in March of Major League Baseball adding a second Wild Card team to each league for the 2012 playoffs, no one knew what the impact would be in July, much less October.
Well, we now know the July impact as teams out of the playoff hunt have been trading away players in a style Bill Veeck would love.
The Astros have made trades with the Marlins, D-Backs, White Sox, Blue Jays & Pirates. In the process giving up six major leaguers that all fit in their new teams' playoff pursuits.
The Phillies have all of a sudden waved the white flag too. Trading away Shane Victorino, trying to (at the time this was written) trade Hunter Pence and entertaining offers for Cliff Lee.
Contenders like the Rangers and Angels have made acquisitions that at the start of the season seemed out of the question.
The Rangers had trouble acquiring pitching before the July 31st Non-Waiver Deadline, but there were able to get one of their men. Ryan Dempster joins the Rangers along with his battery-mate Geovany Soto from the Cubs, in separate deals. Soto leaves the Friendly Confines and becomes the new starting catcher. Of course Mike Napoli will continue playing anywhere around the diamond as his bat is too valuable to miss.
Meanwhile, the Angels got an arm the Rangers wanted in Zack Grienke. Grienke is valuable addition for LAA as they've been playing catch-up since the end of April. Grienke along with C.J. Wilson, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols should propel the Angels to a memorable run down the stretch.
Even teams at the head of the pack like the Giants and Yankees made minor moves too. The Ichiro to Yankees trade was a shocker, but one that should help New York in the playoffs. The Yankees also dumped Chad Qualls from their bullpen for a third baseman to replace A-Rod while he's on the DL.
So as we 'March to October', the teams in contention have reloaded in July for the stretch run in August & September. I think this will become the norm, until Bud Selig changes the playoff structure again.