Steve Phillips: Second Wild Card Made It More Difficult On GMs

If you think NBA free agency is tough to navigate, well, try the MLB trade deadline. The offseason is all about how things look on paper; the in season is about what’s actually happening. Teams have to decide if they’re buyers or sellers, and not all fan bases will accept the latter.

“It certainly is difficult,” former MLB general manager and current MLB Radio host Steve Phillips said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “This season started with some haves and have-nots. We started the season knowing there were probably six teams clearly in the National League that weren’t going to be playoff-contending teams – two in each division. The American League seemed like it might be more competitive and grouped together, and it’s pretty much playing out that way, although we’ve had some surprises here and there.

“But it is tough,” Phillips continued. “I think that the second Wild Card has made it that much more difficult on general managers because it’s one thing to say let’s go for the Wild Card spot when there’s one team and you’ve got a chance at a full series. But what you’re effectively doing now is you’re trying to add to play one game and hope that you win the one game. It’s tough.”

Entering play July 6, eight teams are within four games of the AL Wild Card and five teams are within 2.5 games of the NL Wild Card.

That’s 13 teams – and that’s before we get to the six division winners.

“I think that this year it seems like we have more buyers than sellers, which means it’ll be a sellers’ market,” Phillips said. “(Teams will) be able to kind of extort the highest price because you’ve got so many teams looking to go for it. The other complicating factor is there aren’t a lot of great players available because this year’s free agent class is much lighter than the one we saw last year and the ones we’re going to see in the next couple years. It’s going to be interesting to see how creative teams get. I think you may see a number of teams become both sellers and buyers. You can look at the Yankees and say they don’t ever want to completely rebuild, so they may look to add some young Major League talent and guys they can control while trading away a Chapman and maybe even a Beltran and who knows with Teixeira and others. So we’ll see how that all plays out.”

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