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Trade in hype for relaxation

The Baltimore Sun

Given its ratio of hype to real-world importance, baseball's trading deadline has to rank with preseason football among the most overblown happenings in human history.

Every year, baseball scribes spend July concocting trade scenarios, most of which never happen. The deals that do go down? Well, they rarely make much of a difference.

Yet ESPN will give us a multihour "deadline special" today, and many Orioles fans will doubtless feel disappointed when the club fails to consummate a deal.

Here's my advice: Skip the show and don't give a second thought to the Orioles' inaction. Because none of it is likely to matter. Remember the two big deals from last year?

Eric Gagne was supposed to fortify the Boston Red Sox's bullpen. Instead, he did his best to sabotage it. Mark Teixeira was supposed to give the Atlanta Braves the slugger they lacked. The Mount St. Joseph graduate played great, but they went nowhere.

That's not to say the Los Angeles Angels made a bad move in trading for Teixeira on Tuesday. They're playoff-bound and he's more likely to help them than not in October. But history shows he's unlikely to be the difference-maker.

As for the Orioles' plight, teams are too cautious these days to give up excellent prospects for a little bullpen help down the stretch. The days of Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano are over.

So keep the probability of irrelevance in mind as the hype envelops you this July 31.

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