The annual July 31 Major League Baseball trade deadline carries the potential to reverse franchise fortunes—short term as well as long term—and alter pennant races like no other date on the calendar.

It can signal the end of some dynasties or usher in others. It can mean teams shedding the payroll of stars in exchange for something before the stars can leave their teams at season’s end in exchange for nothing.

Often times, purging the salary of an expensive veteran carries more value than any actual bodies added to the roster, especially when the team is underachieving or just plain bad.

Star players to be swapped at or near the trade deadline in recent years include: Mark Teixeira (twice), C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee (twice), Carlos Beltran, Adrian Gonzalez, Hunter Pence and a host of others.  Many times the traded player (with all proper deference to the great Paul Molitor) does indeed become his new club’s ignitor and ends up leading it into October (see: 2008 Sabathia, 1998 Randy Johnson, 1993 Fred McGriff). 

This year featured the usual surplus of conjecture, myriad wild predictions and the customary list of names expected, rumored or even guaranteed to be moved—barely exceeded in length by the list of names in the Mitchell Report.

However, with the ninth and 10th playoff spots now in their second year of play, it appears fewer clubs are prepared to part with these commodities (2013 is quite possibly the most overhyped, diluted trade deadline in my 24 years following MLB). 

Though no blockbusters went down and only about a quarter of the “likely” candidates ESPN, MLB Network, and others nominated for uniform swaps came to pass, there were some notable moves at—and in the weeks leading up to—the July 31 trade deadline. This slideshow reflects upon those trades and how the players—and clubs—involved have fared since their acquisitions.

Also, I’ll examine a handful of MLB vets rescued from the minors by playoff hopefuls as well as traded prospects receiving big league “runs” down the stretch. Thanks for reading.


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