On July 20, 2014, the trade deadline was in full swing. A quick look at this trade deadline tracker shows us that by this date last season, Huston Street, Jason Frasor, Jeff Samardzija, Jason Hammel, and Brandon McCarthy had all found new homes. The heavy action was still on the way, but the prelude was magnificent.
Here we are on July 20, 2015, and I guess the big trade so far has been for Clayton Richard? Many teams have a glaring need for activity, such as the Tigers, but nothing is happening. At all. And that sucks.
First of all, it sucks for the Tigers. They desperately need at least one starting pitcher, but there appears to be nobody willing to deal. The Tigers are 1-7 in games started by Alfredo Simon and their gaggle of fifth starters since June 24. Anything better in those spots, even just a 3-5 record, would be a huge improvement in the jumbled AL wild card race. As of Monday morning, the Tigers stand sixth in the wild card hunt. They would be third and just 2 1/2 games out of a spot if someone in the back of the rotation showed a pulse the last month.
Simon and Shane Greene are scheduled to start the first two games in a series against the Seattle Mariners with the Tigers' backs against the walls. The fact that they are still in the rotation despite showing a repeated inability to get big league hitters out is a shame, and a byproduct of the trade deadline being dead.
More than that, though, is the fact that the lack of trades sucks for you, me, and the rest of baseball fans. There's something about a trade, or even a rumor, that brings excitement. Baseball is a long season, and rarely do you see the fortunes of a team turn on a dime like they do in football or other short-season sports. When a trade occurs, however, the whole complexion of the team is changed. Now Detroit has David Price, and they're ready to take on the world!
The deadline season appeals to our inner child, trying to play the general manager on MLB 2K. We speculate, we overanalyze, we try to predict the course our team will take while invariably overrating our own team's assets and underrating another's. Heck, for some fans July 31 may be the most anticipated day of the year with no playoffs in sight. The frenetic pace of swaps and analysis makes it one of the most interesting times in baseball. There's a reason there are sites devoted to nothing other than trades, signings, and more than anything, rumors.
Some of you may be like me. I'm planning on taking July 31 off of work and cranking up MLB Network while my keeping tabs on my laptop up for MLB Trade Rumors, Bless You Boys, and Twitter. I'll spend all day watching the action with the popcorn and daring to dream that the season turns around on this one point. It's a dangerous dream, but it's equal-opportunity: everyone right on down to Phillies fans can hope they unload a bad contract (hello, Ryan Howard) and get the next Kris Bryant in the exchange.
What the inactivity of the past few weeks signifies is that the next 10 days may be even more chaotic than normal. On the one hand, that excites me. On the other hand, this is disappointing. What is normally a monthlong festival of rumors and moves has been condensed into a single week. To me, and to baseball fans everywhere, this sucks.