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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Should trading deadline tanking be limited to teams with losing records?

There should be no trades during the season. Failing that, there should at least be limits. The current commissioner, Manfred the A-Rod Slayer, seems completely disinterested in teams, now including even the Yankees, reducing the quality of their teams by trading established productive veterans for minor league players euphemistically called prospects.

Marlins dump salary. Where have you gone Bowie Kuhn? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Almost forty years ago commissioner Bowie Kuhn negated deals which would have sent star players of the Oakland As to the New York Yankees. The commissioner held that these deals were not in the best interests of baseball. Even back then many wondered if the deals were killed only because they involved the Yankees.

Yesterday we learned that the Florida Marlins for the third time in their brief history were dumping salary. The first two times it was immediately after winning the MBL finals, aka, World Series. This time it was after getting local institutions to back the building of a new ball park for the Marlins.

Have they no shame?

And what, if anything, will the current commissioner (Bud Selig) do? It shows you how low baseball has sunk if we are reduced to calling on the spirit of such a non-entity as Bowie Kuhn to save baseball from this bad behavior.

That post referred to off season transactions. Following the Aug. 1 4:00 PM trading deadline the Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins lost all three games to the Chicago Cubs. Before the deadline the Marlins made a modest attempt to improve the team by acquiring starting pitcher:

Andrew Cashner
After the three losses to the Cubs the Marlins are 57-51, one game behind St. Louis for a wild card spot in the tournament. But what if those three losses had happened right before the deadline? Might the Marlins have given up and traded major league players for minor league players, a.k.a., tanking, giving up on the season with 60 games remaining?

Consider the Yankees. They traded Aroldis Chapman July 25. Then they lost the last four games before the deadline, including all three to Tampa (43-63). The morning of the last of those losses the Yankees traded relief pitcher Andrew Miller for four minor league players. Then close to the deadline hour the next day the Yankees traded their best hitter, Carlos Beltran, for three minor league players. The Yankees equivocated, then spit the bit.

Since the Beltran trade the Yankees have won two of three against the Mets, who right before the deadline had just traded for Red Jay Bruce (25 home runs, 80 RBI). But suppose these games had been played in reverse order. Suppose that the Yankees had taken 2 of 3 from the Mets BEFORE the deadline and then lost three to Tampa AFTER? Would the Yankees have dared to trade either Miller or Beltran after improving their tournament prospects at the expense of their cross town rivals? It seems doubtful. FYI: If the Yankees beat the Mets tonight in their final regular season (hey, you never know) meeting, the teams will have identical records.

So, where was commissioner Manfred while all this was happening?
Did he give a damn? Why would the commissioner allow teams with at least as many wins as losses to tank the season? Shouldn't that be at least a guideline, if not an actual rule? Of course, it might invite teams to tank NBA style and deplete their rosters to make their records worse. NBA teams do that for the draft picks, which in basketball are much more valuable because player talent is easier to predict and one star player can make much more of a difference. See Mike Trout.

Meanwhile Yankee fans are left with more minor league players being added to the major league roster a month before the ridiculous September call up period when rosters are expanded. Yankee fans should be singing:

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you (Woo, woo, woo)
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)

Paul Simon – Mrs.Robinson Lyrics

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