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Let's pause and admire the brilliance of the various ways GMs are handling this deadline

The deadline wasn't active until July 23rd, and while several GMs took heavy criticism for their perceived stagnation, but that couldn't be farther from the truth.

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There wasn't a single notable trade until Billy Beane dealt Scott Kazmir to the Astros, but in the week since, there has been a flurry of moves. Troy Tulowitzki and David Price have been sent to Toronto, while Cole Hamels is now a member of the Texas Rangers. It seems like ages ago that fans, and people in the media were ready to crucify GM's for holding onto their players for too long, but that frustration has quickly evaporated.

The amount of talent that teams have been able to extract for rental players thus far has been astounding. Whether it's been a direct result of GM's waiting until the final week to make their moves, or for another reason entirely, the one thing that's abundantly clear is that they've done extraordinarily well in improving their respective teams.

While some have pointed to A.J. Preller as the exception to this, as he has yet to make any trades, he's actually positioned himself perfectly.

Rather than get ahead of the market, and trade pieces like Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, James Shields, and Craig Kimbrel, Preller has waited everyone out, and now that Hamels, Price, and Johnny Cueto are off the table, he holds all the leverage.

The Blue Jays are reportedly still in the market for a starter and a reliever; the Giants made a late push for Hamels, and missed out on Price; the Dodgers surprisingly missed out on both; the Yankees might be in the market because of concerns surrounding the health of Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova; and the Astros are also looking to make another addition even after picking up Kazmir.

Preller has played his hand beautifully, and with the major pitchers off the board, he now holds the best trade chips with at least five teams potentially looking to make a deal. The deadline was incredibly slow early on, but with the recent developments, it's nearly impossible to argue that the aforementioned GM's approached it the wrong way. There's still the possibility that Preller doesn't make any huge splashes, but considering what he did in the offseason, and what rival executives are saying, that's unlikely. The final 28 hours are going to be incredibly hectic, and the Padres could be at the center of it.