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The Cut4 Trade Deadline primer: All your questions, answered!

The Cut4 trade deadline primer: All your questions, answered!

Here at Cut4, we want to make this site an inclusive, educational baseball experience. And while we will do high level analytics like why batters should swing at 3-0 pitches and scouting Robocop's first pitch, we also want to help educate newcomers, too. 

With the non-waiver Trade Deadline coming up on July 31 at 4 p.m. ET, we know there are a lot of questions swirling in your cranium. We're here to help.  

What is the Trade Deadline? 

It's basically the last day that teams can freely trade with each other. After that, all players must pass through waivers.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down. What is a trade? 

A trade is when two or more baseball teams exchange players and/or monetary considerations with each other in the hopes of strengthening their respective teams for the playoffs and/or the future. 

Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down. What is baseball? 

How exactly did you get to this website? 

Why is the Trade Deadline on July 31st? Is it because of Harry Potter's birthday? 

Strangely enough, yes. In honor of The Boy Who Lived, Major League Baseball decided to celebrate the Trade Deadline on Harry Potter's birthday. 

I've heard of these things called waiver trades. What in the name of Sam Horn are those?

Waiver trades are trades that occur after July 31st (and before September 1st). A team must pass a player through waivers, allowing all other teams to make a 'claim' on that player.

If the player is claimed, the original team can pull the player off waivers, make a trade with the claiming team, or let him go to the claiming team for nothing.

If they go unclaimed, the team can trade with anyone.

Bonus! Did you know that after writing the word claim that many times, it stops looking like a word? Go ahead, try it yourself. 

Is Benedict Arnold America's greatest trader?

No, you're thinking of the word traitor. Very similar sounding. America's greatest trader was Giovanni Ribisi in Boiler Room

Can teams trade draft picks? 

Kind of. While teams can't trade their regular, plain, vanilla draft picks, teams that are awarded with Competitive Balance Lottery Picks can trade those. 

What else can't you trade? 

Office supplies, jerseys, clubhouse attendants, leftovers from the previous game's postgame spread, memorabilia from the team store and spaces in your family cell phone plan.

What is a player to be named later?

To help make deals when the teams aren't certain of the conditions or want more time to study up, teams can trade for a player to be named later (commonly referred to as a PTBNL). The player cannot play in the Major Leagues between the time of the trade and the finalization of it, making most PTBNL minor leaguers.

Oddly enough, four players (Harry Chiti, Brad Gulden, Dickie Noles and John McDonald) were the PTBNL for their own trades. 

Is calling the baby in my pregnant wife's belly a Player to be Named Later a funny joke?

The first two times, yes. Afterwards, no. 

Will my favorite team's aging veteran and third-best prospect be enough for Mike Trout? 

Listen, I don't want to burst your bubble and ruin your dreams, but absolutely not. For the Angels to part with Mike Trout, GM Jerry DiPoto would have to have been mind-controlled by aliens who have no idea how to properly value a once-in-a-generation talent that is under contract for the next six years. 

What if they included the backup catcher that hits a few home runs every year? 

Oh. In that case, absolutely. 

Does Billy Beane really fly around the country every time he wants to make a trade like in the film version of Michael Lewis' bestseller, Moneyball?

No, GMs use phones like normal people. Note: There is an exception when a general manager wants to take a vacation, but finds a way to turn it into a business expense. 

Let's pretend that I'm a millionaire and money is no object. Can I trade for a player? Just as a goof

Boy, I wish.