Here's why Trade Deadline could get makeover

November 5th, 2018

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Every August, baseball fans listen to arcane explanations of how revocable trade waivers differ from irrevocable outright waivers.
That tradition may end soon.
During this week's General Managers Meetings, officials from the Commissioner's Office and team executives are expected to discuss the possibility of eliminating trade waivers and moving to a uniform trade deadline, possibly in mid-August.
At present, the deadline to make trades without waivers is July 31 at 4 p.m. ET. After that, Major League players need to pass through waivers in order to be dealt. Players must be acquired on or before Aug. 31 in order to be eligible for postseason play.
The possible reform is supported by those in the industry who are interested in streamlining day-to-day roster management. A uniform trade deadline of Aug. 10 or Aug. 15 also offers additional evaluation time for general managers on the buy-sell bubble. The extra 10 days or two weeks could create an atmosphere in which GMs make bolder trades, because of added clarity about the strength of their teams.
Any change to waiver rules would require approval of the MLB Players Association, but it's easy to see why many players would be receptive to a change. The current trade waiver process is supposed to remain confidential, but it can become a distraction when a player's status is reported on by media outlets. Those reports of players being placed (and claimed) on waivers in August are easily misinterpreted, since a waiver claim often means only that a player has been blocked from being dealt.
An August trade deadline would have the added benefit of clearing the Major League baseball calendar around Hall of Fame Weekend in Cooperstown, N.Y. This year's induction occurred on July 29, when many fans were focused on moves their teams might make before the deadline two days later.
There is precedent for MLB to change its trade and waiver rules. The industry's offseason calendar once included an interleague trade deadline in December, but that was eliminated decades ago. And until 1986, the Trade Deadline was on June 15.