It’s that time of year again, when trade rumors overwhelm actual news, and life in general. Jon Heyman, Ken Rosenthal, Jon Morosi, and Buster Olney pretty much take over the world by reporting “sourced” info about teams talking to other teams about potential trades. Almost every rumor is entirely useless and in many cases is just about driving page views. Some actual news will break and teams will make deals that they hope will improve their chances to win a World Series, but for the most part the attention devoted to trade rumors is a giant waste of time.
But for some reason people love the speculation. I don’t. I like analyzing the actual trades but I have zero interest in listening to “sources” telling a reporter that teams have or have not “checked in” about a player. The actual deals are cool, but so much of the deadline is about the deals that don’t get made.
Which leaves us with an opportunity to make it better. I’ve got five suggestions.
5. Move the Deadline to 4am
No matter when the deadline comes, teams will always work right up until it comes. Until recently it was midnight. What if we moved it to 4am and once a year we all stayed up watching the deadline unfold AFTER the day’s games? That sounds like fun. We’d all drag ourselves into work the next day comparing notes about when we finally gave up and went to bed. It would add an interesting, sleepover element to the affair and on-air commentators would be so slap-happy the would say even crazier stuff than they will anyway.
4. A Dedicated Twitter Account to Track Minor League Players Being Removed from the Game
This doesn’t need much explanation. You know you love the moments before a deal is announced when you hear prospect X just got pulled in the 4th inning. A trade is about to happen and you have no idea what it is but you know it’s serious because they took the player out of the game. How this doesn’t already exist, I have no idea.
3. Dugout Hugs Cam
Another no-brainer. When the players, minor and major leaguers, get pulled from the game because they are traded they hug their teammates goodbye. We should dedicate an MLB.TV channel to jumping around behind dugouts looking for hugs just like MLB Tonight jumps around games looking for big moments.
2. Trolling GM’s
This is a response to #3 and #4. While everyone latches on to players coming out of games in late July, they also make too much of it. We need more GM’s to call their minor league teams and have them take players out of the game for no reason. Imagine it. “Breaking News: Carlos Martinez pulled in the middle of the 3rd inning despite retiring first 7 batters,” and then everyone erupts about a trade coming down the pipe. Then nothing happens and it turns out the Cardinals were just messing with everyone. That would be awesome.
1. The Accountability Check
One of the things that bugs me about trade deadline season is that the Trade-Industrial Complex reporters answer to no one. Their connections in front offices help them hear about actual trades, but it also puts them in position to hear and report about rumors that are not at all newsworthy. Like, not even close to newsworthy. This is an actual report (I know it’s from May but it’s my favorite example ever):
So here’s what I propose. We catalog all of these reports from all of the major guys and keep a live tally of how much what they report turns out to be nonsense. I don’t know for sure, but it seems like their accuracy rate would be hilariously low and might show them that not everything they hear is worth sharing. Also, it would offer us a fun way to compare current rumors about the same player. For example, on Tuesday, Jeff Sullivan grabbed these two gems at pretty much the same time:
When those two things pop up at the same time, you know at least one of those reporters is playing it fast and loose. I think it’s fun to call them on it. They take their job way too seriously and act as if they are guarding Deepthroat as a source instead of an Assistant GM who wants to make friends in the media.
So those are my suggestions and I’d love to hear yours. I’m often annoyed by the trade deadline because I don’t generally enjoy the parts of it most people seem to enjoy. I like analyzing the trades when they happen and I don’t care about dreaming them up or hearing what “sources” have to say. These five might make the deadline more fun, and some of them could actually happen. Seriously, #3 and #4, someone get on that.