By: Chris Larson
As with anything in life, there always has to be someone that takes on that "party pooper" mentality and doesn't know how to let loose and have fun. The same can be said in baseball for teams that decide to hold at the July 31st Trade Deadline and don't want to sacrifice the future for the present or fully go down the avenue of doing a rebuild.
Every year, there are always a handful of teams that take this stance and fail to do anything substantial before the final bell rings on Trade Deadline Day. This year, it likely won't be any different given where some teams stand in terms of competitiveness and their overall window to potentially clinching a postseason berth over the next few seasons.
Here are three teams, where their fanbase can expect more crickets than anything, between now and July 31st.
1. Oakland Athletics - In previous seasons where the Oakland Athletics haven't been competitive, Billy Beane & Company have shown a willingness to sell off pieces and receive prospects back to build for the future. However, this season could be a bit different. Unless the Athletics go on a run and sneak into the postseason, this might end up being a year where the team elects to stand pat. After clinching a postseason berth last year, many expected the Athletics to play at a higher level this season, but that hasn't necessarily materialized due to underperformance by their pitching staff and the overall dominance of the rival, Houston Astros. Assuming that Oakland doesn't find a way to sneak into the postseason, they will likely hold at the trade deadline and look to make an upgrade or two potentially this coming offseason in hopes of being more competitive next year. Last year when the Athletics were aggressive in being buyers, it took the baseball world by shock, but it looks like that won't be the case this year so expect there to be plenty of crickets out in Oakland over the next six weeks.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates - The Pittsburgh Pirates took the stance of being a surprise team last year at the July 31st Trade Deadline when they decided to be buyers and traded for reliever, Keone Kela, and starting pitcher, Chris Archer. Both of those acquisitions haven't worked out in the Pirates favor to date and if we're basing this off of history, it doesn't seem like the Pirates will likely be all in on trying to improve their position of competitiveness over the next six weeks. If you recall, just a few seasons ago from 2013-2015, the Pittsburgh Pirates were well in position to win the NL Central and even clinched a postseason berth all three of those years, but never went above and beyond to get them over the hump and improve their chance of playing deep into October. Why would this season be any different given where they sit in the National League Central (fourth place - 8 games back of first) and the overall landscape of the National League? If anything, Pittsburgh might look to move outfielder, Melky Cabrera, based on the season he is having, but outside of Cabrera, it looks pretty doubtful that they will do anything else.
3. New York Mets - This one is more of a wild card because no one really knows what rookie General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, might be thinking, but it's hard to really see the Mets going all in or going down the route of tearing everything down. After all, because of the media market where the Mets play and call home, that is going to have a deciding factor into what they do and the organization isn't going to want to do a massive selloff because of the controversy that would come along with it. Heading into play today, the Mets sit in third place, 6 and 1/2 games back of first place, while they are five games back of the second National League Wild Card. Therefore, it's almost a situation where they are too far out to do a massive sell off, but not so competitive that they will be all in and mortgage the future for winning this year. Ultimately, the Mets might elect to do some minor selling, but if anything it's going to be a minor name or two, nothing blockbuster like. So the dream of Mets fans seeing a Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard trade happening, will likely have to wait until potentially this offseason or beyond.