Matt’s Web Pick(s): Following the trade talk

After a relatively slow start, the trade talk is really starting to pick up now that we are little more than a week away from the non-waiver trade deadline of 31 July.  With so many rumours flying around, it’s difficult to keep up with the latest gossip on who may be going where and for whom.  Some baseball fans are quite happy to let the ‘noise’ pass them by.  If every dead-cert rumour came true then the number of actual deals would increase ten-fold and even well-placed sources can turn out to be off the mark.

However, taken with a pinch of salt these rumours are a lot of fun and there are several websites that add to the enjoyment. 

MLB Trade Rumours

The top site for MLB trade rumours is http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.  The name gives it away that this should be a key source of information this time of the baseball year.  Tim Dierkes has created “a clearinghouse for relevant, legitimate baseball rumors”, which provides around-the-clock updates on all of the latest trade news. 

The site is extremely popular largely because it is not your normal ‘trade rumour’ place full of the writers’ ‘insider info’.  The “I’ve heard from somebody who knows a guy who works with someone who used to go to school with player x” type of messages, that are 99.9999 per cent of the time a complete load of rubbish, are absent from MLB Trade Rumours.  What Dierkes and his colleagues do is scour the web and bring together all of the rumours that are reported by national sports journalists and local beat writers. 

You therefore have a one-stop-shop for reliable information without the need to trawl the web yourself to find it.  News items posted on the website are generally always accompanied by a link to the full article elsewhere, allowing you to dig deeper if a story catches your eye. All in all, it’s the perfect place for people interested in following the latest news.

Trade Talk

I always make a point of following the MLB Trade Talk blog at MLB.com as well: http://trades.mlblogs.com/.  The blog collects together all of the latest news gleaned by the beat writers who work on the official team sites.  The most interesting points posted here will find their way on to MLB Trade Rumours, but I enjoy reading how the beat-writer posts fit together in one place.  This is particularly the case when you start seeing a potential trade from the perspectives of the different teams involved. 

As was memorably depicted in ‘Moneyball, trade talks centre around Front Offices casting around to find out what is available and putting out feelers to see what interest there is in their own players. By following the regular updates at Trade Talk, you get a sense of what that process is like.  Of course, what somebody is publicly claiming they want to do might not quite match up to the agenda underneath.  That’s all part of the cat-and-mouse game that goes on and Trade Talk provides as good a way as any to follow the story.

MLB.com’s Trade Deadline FAQ

It’s also worth reminding yourself of the basic rules that surround the non-waiver trade deadline.  MLB.com’s short FAQ is a good place to start and the information provided will be particularly relevant this year.  31 July is not a hard deadline and in fact such a deadline never comes about.  The key is that after this date, a player must clear waivers before a trade can be completed. 

The FAQ addresses the topic of putting in waiver claims to block potential trades and the risks involved in doing so.  The evidence so far is that, due to the current economic situation, teams will be even less willing than normal to risk being lumbered with a contract they don’t want.  The likelihood of a trade going through unopposed after 31 July is therefore quite high, potentially making the non-waiver deadline less of an issue.

However, don’t expect that to reduce the mass of rumours and frantic Front Office phone calls that will take place as the clock counts down to 21.00 BST next Friday. 

We wouldn’t want it any other way.

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