Baseball’s trading deadline is right around the corner, 4:00 p.m. (EDT) on Monday, July 31.
Be prepared for all kinds of rumors, some legit and most far out. Newspapers, radio, TV and websites will be exploding with rumors. You’ll read and hear, “according to a source,” so-and-so will be traded for so-and-so. Love those unidentified sources.
Unlike other professional sports, baseball’s trading deadline means a ton of news, which is a plus for the sport. There is never this kind of frenzy in the NBA, NFL or NHL. Perhaps baseball is still the national pastime and not past its time as some experts would claim.
Some teams are looking to add offense. Most are looking for pitching, both starters and relievers.
Pitching is still the name of the game. Teams win with pitching. Look no further than the Detroit Tigers in the American League and the New York Mets in the National League, leaders of their respective divisions.
The Tigers’ emergence from 12 seasons of losing baseball can be traced to the mound. In 2005, their 4.51 ERA ranked 8th in the AL. The staff totaled two shutouts. This year, the Tigers have the best ERA in the majors (3.56) and lead all teams with 12 shutouts. No other team has an ERA under 4.00.
The Mets lead the NL with a 4.10 staff ERA.
A year ago, the top two ERAs in the NL belonged to St. Louis (3.49) and Houston (3.51). The Astros went all the way to the World Series where they fell to the Chicago White Sox, who shared the AL ERA lead a year ago (3.61).
Starting pitching carried the White Sox to the World Championship. Strangely, this year four of their five returning starters have ERAs over 4.40 which is one reason they are looking up at the Tigers in the AL Central Division standings.
With so many teams looking for pitching, it is rather obvious that there is a scarcity of arms. It has been that way for a long time, just not a current theme.
A check of all pitchers reveals there are a total of 23 who have won 10 or more games. That isn’t a large number considering there are 30 teams and we are beyond the halfway point of a 162-game season.
For further evidence on the scarcity of pitching just check the disabled lists in the majors. Going into this week, a total of 86 pitchers were on the DL. Granted some of them probably wouldn’t be in the majors if they were healthy but 86 is still a big number.
Get ready for another wild rumor ride filled with analysts analyzing anything and everything.