Suspence builds for trade deadline

Who knows what will happen with the MLB trade deadline just a few hours away.

There always seems to be great anticipation that the mother of all blockbuster deals will go down.

In the end, though, what usually ends up happening is that the contenders will make a minor deal or none at all.

The poor clubs send big-contract guys packing for little in return and several General Managers play the waiting game to see what their competition is doing.

The biggest change in today’s game relates to the recent collective bargaining agreement.

Now, more than ever, the lower-revenue teams are unwilling to add a great deal of payroll.

So, if a small-market team like Kansas City ($40 million) wants to add an expensive slugger, it will likely ask that his current team pay the remaining amount of the contract.

In today’s MLB economic climate, the small-market club pretty much has no other option unless they can find cheap help.

They will try and use the quick-fix method of getting better.

The Yankees ($180 plus payroll) don’t have the same financial restrictions as the first-place Royals, second-place Athletics or third-place Twins.

However, they, like the Red Sox ($100 plus) and Braves ($104) may try and dump some salary, i.e. players with big contracts that aren’t producing.

In the case of the Braves, there aren’t too many guys that are playing poorly.

But for the Red Sox and Yankees, who are engaged in a heated battle for the AL East title, there are a few players that aren’t holding up their end.

The problem with “dumping big contracts” is that few teams will accept them. It is possible that a club with a desperate need could take an underachiever with a huge salary.

Even then, they will likely ask that his former team “eat up” a great deal of his contract.

The Yanks just traded Raul Mondesi to the D’Backs for a couple of mid-level prospects and also paid $2 million of his contract.

Of course with the right balance of good players in a trade, a lot of clubs won’t mind paying a poor player’s salary to just get him off their hands.

This, however, wasn’t really about the prospects. It’s more a matter of New York desperately wanting to unload a disgruntled right fielder that is hitting .258 on the season and .152 with runners in scoring position.

Even without making the big trade, a MLB GM really earns his paycheck during this particular time.

On a few occasions, the savvy GM will just monitor what his competition is doing.

It’s kind of like a chess match.

In team A needs help in a particular area and then acquires it, then team B has to react and vice versa.

It is still unclear which club will make that big trade to put them over the top.

What is clear is that this is a make or break point for many teams.

Stay tuned.

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