Ah, Major League Baseball in July.
With apologies to the opening month of April and the settling in that comes with May and June, July just might be baseball's best month of the first half.
Why? Well, because it means so many different things. Like the halfway point of the season. And the All-Star Game. And trades!
August, on the other hand? Known as the "dog days" of the season, it's probably baseball's s-l-o-w-e-s-t portion of the calendar, in large part because the July high from all the wheeling and dealing is over and done with.
But it doesn't have to be this way. MLB could add a little more, well, august to August.
How? By moving the always-fascinating July trade deadline back a month.
For one, who even really understands all the many added rules, complications and qualifiers that go along with waiver claims and waiver trades (subscription required)?
For another, any trade made between the Aug. 1 and Aug. 31 is severely limited by the types of players that are even available to be dealt, namely those who are highly paid, flat-out overpaid or of the non-impact variety.
Since these players not only have to be put on waivers but also potentially pass through, the ones who wind up getting moved are usually those who are unwanted by their own teams.
So why not just do away with the waiver trading period and shift the non-waiver trade deadline from July 31 to Aug. 31?
Think about it for a minute.
This wouldn't take much, if any, of the intrigue out of July, as trades can—and would—still be made that month. Heck, as fellow Bleacher Report MLB Lead Writer Jason Martinez pointed out back in April, a case could be made for teams to start making noteworthy trades prior to the final week or two of July.
The trade Tuesday that sent useful Chicago Cubs right-hander Scott Feldman to the pitching-starved Baltimore Orioles was a good example of this.
So not only would July still be a hot month for moves, but so too would August.
And there's another major factor in play with this concept. Pushing off the deadline another 31 days would give more time for the market to develop, more time for teams to determine whether they're buyers or sellers.
That's especially significant in the wake of one of the sport's newest additions: the second wild-card team in each league.
As baseball has increased the number of teams that make the postseason, first with the inaugural wild card back in 1995 and then with the second one last year, there are more clubs who can say they are contenders. Or at the very least, more clubs who can claim they're in contention for a playoff berth.
It's simple math: 10 of 30 teams—or one in three—now get to play in the postseason.
That means fewer squads willing to sell, even in late July, which only limits the feeding frenzy.
Consider: Entering play Thursday, only four teams in the American League and four teams in the National League are 10 games or more out of a playoff spot.
You could argue that even seven, eight or nine games out is too far not to at least consider trading pieces away, but do you really think the battled-back-to-.500 Toronto Blue Jays (6.5 back), surging Los Angeles Angels (7.5) or San Francisco Giants (9.5)—sheesh, only the defending champs—are really ready to sell any time in the next couple of weeks?
If anything, after what we saw down the stretch in September 2011, when the Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox blew seemingly insurmountable leads over the St. Louis Cardinals and the Tampa Bay Rays, respectively, just the opposite is true.
And frankly, given what the eight teams who are "out of it" as of July 4 this year—that'd be the Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros in the AL, as well as the Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Miami Marlins in the NL—even have to offer, it wouldn't be surprising if the next three or four weeks bring fewer trades overall than normal and even fewer ones involving impact players.
Those clubs don't exactly have much to trade in the first place, which is why they're in this position to begin with. But if we give it another month of games—another month of season-altering wins or back-breaking losses—there's bound to be more on the market as teams find or lose themselves along the way.
You might even say that such a change would make the trade deadline that much more august. Or in this case, August.
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