MLB Teams Are Learning
As we head up to the trade deadline, we’re seeing a shift from what has taken place in years past. Yesterday, the Braves put all-star first baseman Mark Teixeira on the block, and the collective response from MLB was to yawn. Manny Ramirez was made available over the weekend, and no one cared. The M’s are trying to create a bidding war for Jarrod Washburn, but they can’t find anyone besides the Yankees who have much interest.
This isn’t a coincidence. Multiple GMs are being quoted publicly as saying they’ve never seen prospects being valued this highly before, and that teams simply aren’t willing to give up the kind of young talent they used to in order to acquire a veteran at the deadline. Why?
MLB GMs are getting smarter, and they’re learning from recent history. Look back at the big trades made in the last year, both in season and off season.
Arizona mortgages the farm for Dan Haren, he pitches well, their team regresses anyway.
New York acquires Johan Santana, he pitches well, their team struggles regardless
Mariners acquire Erik Bedard, season goes in the toilet
Tigers acquire Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, team underachieves
Braves acquire Mark Teixeira, are pretty much the same with him as before
Red Sox acquire Eric Gagne, he stinks
In all those deals, the team giving up significant prospects has not seen the results they were hoping for on a team wide basis. It’s not always the new acquisition’s fault (Haren’s been awesome), but one player on a 25 man roster just doesn’t make as much of a difference as most people think.
It’s taken them awhile, but the clubs themselves are finally figuring out how valuable young players are, and not buying into the “go for broke” hype anymore. Even the recent deals for C.C. Sabathia and Rich Harden were a big step back in terms of prospects received from what similar players were commanding several years ago, and more in line with what teams should be giving up for a deadline acquisition.
Slowly but surely, teams are realizing the truth – prospects aren’t some willy nilly lottery ticket that should be cashed in at the first chance to acquire a player you’ve actually heard of. Good teams build from within, and while there are trades that make sense for both teams, the crazy “my kingdom for a horse” type deals have seen their last days.