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7 reasons the MLB Trade Deadline is off to a seriously slow start

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Who can we blame for how boring the trade deadline has been?

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

You know, it's hard to be a website dedicated to rosterbation when there's no rosterbation going on. I mean, here we are 22 days from the trade deadline and we have seen almost no movement by the various clubs to divest of their veterans or to build themselves up for a stretch run. That seems weird. Just look at the list of transactions we had by this date last year:

Now, it got a lot busier, of course, just like this year will eventually. But you can see teams were already being aggressive in acquiring talent. We've seen none of that in 2015.

So what gives? Why is it so dead out there? Who is to  blame for the dearth of activity on the horizon. We have some theories.

1) The Reds are jerks.

I wrote about this yesterday, how the Cincinnati Reds seem to be holding up the line since they host the All Star Game next week and want to hold on to their most tradeable assets (both of whom will be All Stars) until after the game.

While it's unlikely to hurt them, this has the potential to be a disaster if Cueto or Chapman gets hurt in the interim. Meanwhile, teams seem to be viewing Cueto as the first domino to fall, and are waiting to see where he goes.

2) The Phillies are jerks.

The Phillies are the other non-contender that has huge pieces to move, and if history is any guide, are waiting for clubs to pay through the nose for either Cole Hamels or Jonathan Papelbon.

Or they're waiting for the end of the year, when Andy MacPhail's chosen successor to Ruben Amaro can be the trigger man for any deal involving those two. Either way, they're stuck in neutral.

3) The second Wild Cards are jerks.

In the American League, 10 teams are within 5 games of a playoff spot. The club with the worst record is only eight back. In the National League, things are only slightly more reasonable, as nine teams are within five games of a postseason berth.

Of course, that's misleading. In reality, according to Baseball Prospectus, only 14 teams have a better than 20 percent chance at making the postseason, but being so close has to feel so tempting for clubs. That maybe just a little hot streak could be enough to push them up the list that selling off players would look foolish by October.

4) The Oakland A's are jerks.

This is a subset of the second Wild Card jerks. The A's have the worst record in the AL right now. But over the last month, they've gone 16-12 and they have actually outscored their opponents by a ton. Like their Pythagorean record (49-38) is essentially the inverse of their real record (39-48).

The A's, perhaps rightly, think they're a much better team than how they've played, and are unwilling to give up the ghost and deal players like Ben Zobrist and Scott Kazmir when they have a sneaky feeling like they're about to get hot in the second half.

5) Other buyers are jerks.

They already gave away all their prospects. Not all of the buyers, of course. But some did. The Tigers have a glaring need for a bat right now, but nothing in their minor league system after delivering a bushel of prospects to the Rays and the Reds for David Price and Alfredo Simon, respectively, over the last year.

They placed nobody in the Baseball Prospectus midseason prospect rankings earlier this week (behind a paywall, sorry), or in the guys who just missed the cut. Ditto for the Angels, who are now just a game and a half back in the AL West, and might not have any pieces to bring in a serious upgrade in their rotation.

6) Prospects are jerks.

Other potential buyers, like the Minnesota Twins or the Chicago Cubs or the Houston Astros, are buying from within their own organizations. Instead of trading prospects for veterans, they're promoting those prospects.

Guys like Kris BryantCarlos CorreaMiguel SanoLance McCullersAddison Russell, and Byron Buxton. Guys who can make a huge difference in a short time and who fill obvious gaps for each club.

7) Sellers are jerks.

Bad teams are bad because they don't have a lot of good players. Duh. As such, there are only a few guys on each club really coveted by other organizations.

I mean, who's going to want Kyle Lohse and his 6.29 ERA? Or Mike Napoli and his .192 batting average? Or Alexei Ramirez and his .554 OPS? Nobody. Get better players, bad teams. Jeez.


So that's why we can't have any fun. None of these reasons is enough to, like the Grinch, stop the deadline from coming all on its own. But all of them, working together have ground the gears to a halt. And so we sit. And we wait for something, anything, to happen. And maybe it finally did. Maybe the injuries to Alex Gordon, Jason Hammel, and Scott Kazmir will finally start the dominoes in motion.