Follow @mattattheheraldEach of the four major American professional sports has a typical way its trading deadline day goes. In the NFL, because of the hard cap and the way contracts are structured, it’s almost impossible to trade players. In the NHL, it often feels as though every player in the league gets moved on deadline day. In the NBA, weeks and weeks of rumors get followed by very few deals and the ones that are made are as much about contracts as they are needs and talent.
Major League Baseball, because of its unique structure where teams collect young players and store them on farm teams, which the other sports call college, has a totally different deadline pattern. The teams which are out of the race trade their good players, often the ones who are about to be free agents, for those young players which permeate teams’ farm systems. In the old days it was small-market teams like Minnesota sending players who were too rich for their blood to the teams which could afford them in exchange for young prospects they could develop cheaply.
In recent years, as the big market teams started thinking about cost certainty and savings, even teams like Boston and New York began trying to get younger players they could keep for a number of years. In many cases, this limited the movement on deadline day as teams like Boston preferred to keep its own young players, develop them and then give them big money rather than giving up assets to get young players from other teams and eventually paying them.