Move the non-waiver trade deadline closer to the pennant race, maybe - say Aug. 31 instead of July 31. By then, fewer teams would think they have a shot to win, so they’d be more willing to cut loose with their talent.
It wasn’t hard to tell who was more displeased Tuesday: Jim Hendry the general manager or Jim Hendry the baseball fan.
GM Jim really didn’t feel the need to make a move as baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline came and went, because he likes his Cubs team. But fanboy Jim would have preferred to see some fireworks, because he likes blockbusters.
Rob Mackowiak for Jon Link does not qualify. (In fact, someone might want to check Ken Williams for a pulse. Or, if reports of a possible contract extension for Jermaine Dye are true, brain wave activity.)
OK, so the Mark Teixeira package to Atlanta might have folks buzzing in Georgia and Texas. Bostonians might have gotten a pleasant tingle out of the acquisition of Eric Gagne - if they weren’t too busy with a post-Celtics cigarette.
Actually, all of baseball might be glad the Celtics got Kevin Garnett in a seven-for-one deal from the Minnesota Timberwolves. All the better to obscure an outbreak of dull on what should be baseball’s moving day.
“I think I was a little disappointed in the last couple days,” Hendry conceded. “I would’ve thought there would’ve been more second-tier trades made.”
Why so disappointed?
“Because I probably would have liked to make one,” he said, even his unrealized aspirations no doubt underwhelming a fan base whose sites were set more on the Ken Griffey Jr. tier. “I have a history of making a few of those deals right around the time limit - or maybe in the past, shortly after - and I kept waiting on the wire for something to come down.
“I’m a fan, too, of the action going on in other places. There wasn’t anything going on late that really caught my attention.”
How does he think the fans feel? Oh, wait, he knows.
“The fans and the media get so worked up that people think on July 31st there’s going to be 20 blockbusters, that Junior’s coming here or there, and why don’t you go get this guy or that guy?” he said. “If you look at it truthfully over the last three or four years, the amount of blockbuster, impact-type trades that are made on the 31st of July, there aren’t that many.”
Exactly. So let’s fix it. Move the non-waiver trade deadline closer to the pennant race, maybe - say Aug. 31 instead of July 31. By then, fewer teams would think they have a shot to win, so they’d be more willing to cut loose with their talent.
Or allow teams to offer draft choices as part of their deals. The team giving up a draft choice wouldn’t be trading away a prospect they’ve already begun to develop, but merely the prospect of a prospect; while the team getting a pick wouldn’t be gaining promise as yet unsullied by, say, a .247 average in advanced rookie ball.
Hendry considered the deadline first.
“The later you’re moving it, the fewer players you’re going to give up to get somebody, because now you’re only renting them for one month instead of two or 2½,” Hendry said.
And if you move it earlier, nobody’s going to trade because they think they’re still in the race, right?
“Yeah,” he said. “Or you’re really upsetting the fan base that thinks you gave up too early. How many times would you have to read that? There’d be a white flag story in every town that made a trade.”
Heaven forbid. So let’s make it possible to trade draft picks.
“I’m not a proponent of trading draft picks ... I think then you’d end up with a lot of the clubs that are maybe in a better financial situation be able to end up always with the Joe Mauers,” Hendry said.
Actually, Mauer was picked first by the Twins in 2001 because they couldn’t afford to pay Mark Prior, the No. 2 overall pick. But why split hairs?
“I’m a big believer in the fact that the worst teams should have a crack at the best players and the draft shouldn’t be orchestrated by signability,” Hendry continued.
(See Prior reference.)
“I like the fact that, in the NFL and the NBA, the worst teams for the most part have a chance at getting the best players,” Hendry said. “That’s what the draft is supposed to be all about.”
Um, yeah. The Garnett trade included two future draft picks going to Minnesota. And Bears GM Jerry Angelo has made a living out of trading down in the draft to stockpile picks in later rounds - a tactic that would really help cash-poor small-market teams who do their homework.
But don’t mind me.
I’m just talking, killing time.
Because this day was so-o-o-o boring.
Phil Arvia can be reached at email@example.com
or (708) 633-5949. Read his blog at http://blogs.dailysouthtown.com/arvia