FANFOOD RULES: #19. Stay ahead of the MLB Trading Deadline

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The Major League Baseball trading deadline is right around the corner. Well not right around, but it is coming up quickly and you need to be on top of all the rumors to keep or get your team into contention for your fantasy league title. The deadline is one of our favorite weeks of the season. At the end of every July somebody in all Major League clubhouses is anxiously awaiting a call with orders to report to a new city.

 

But before you can use the deadline to your fantasy team’s advantage, you need to learn about its history.

Did you know the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline has only been around since 1986? It had been June 15th for the previous six decades, and the deadline has made a lot of other twists and turns to get to where we are today. In the early years of Major League Baseball, there was no provision for trading or selling player contracts. The first rule allowing trades or sales was in the American Association in 1889. Even then, teams had to release the player in question and request that other teams not involved in the trade refrain from trying to sign him.

In 1901, to attempt to curb defections to the American League, the NL required player approval of trades. The AL had the same rule. This right was eliminated in 1903. The first trade deadline was established in the National League in 1917. After August 20th of each year, players had to clear waivers within the league before they could be sold or traded to another team (of either league). The AL established a similar rule in 1920, with a deadline of July 1st. In 1921, both leagues agreed on a trade deadline of August 1st. Following the 1922 season, the deadline was changed to June 15th, where it remained for decades.

Babe Ruth’s historic $100,000 sale from the Red Sox to the Yankees in 1920 played a role in establishing restrictions on player swapping between teams. At the time, the American League and the National League were very much run as their own independent leagues. It would not be until later in 1920 (with the Black Sox Scandal making headlines) that Major League Baseball would appoint Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the very first Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

In the American League, among the eight teams, there was a split between those five teams loyal to Ban Johnson, President of the American League (Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators, Philadelphia Athletics and St. Louis Browns) and the three teams that were at odds with Johnson (New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox). It was a very strange situation to be in, as an all out civil war in the American League seemed to be a constant threat, so teams like the Yankees and Red Sox would actually go out of their way to make deals with the other teams for purely political reasons.

So when the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees for a little over $100,000 (plus some other financial interests, including help on the mortgage to Fenway Park), the rest of the league was outraged at the idea of the Yankees using their great financial strength to take advantage of the Red Sox to the detriment of the rest of the American League. Washington Senators owner Clark Griffith, who had also tried to get Ruth from Boston, proposed a rule that eventually prohibited any trade or sale between August 1 and the end of the World Series unless the player had cleared waivers.

Even though there is a midseason deadline, it has never stopped teams from trading their players at any time. While most transactions are made before July 31st, good general managers never pass up a chance to beef up their rosters in August, too. John Smoltz, a 20-year-old prospect in the Detroit Tigers organization was traded nearly two weeks after the non-waiver deadline had passed in 1987, we all know how Atlanta benefited from acquiring him.

After the All-Star break, teams will determine whether or not they are in position to contend for the post-season. Because of free agency and the lack of a true salary cap in baseball, players in the final year of their contract are often put on the “trading block” by many of the non-playoff contending teams. Smaller market teams will not — or cannot afford to — pay their better veteran players high salaries, so they will attempt to trade them to a post-season contender, in exchange for some minor-league prospects or other players who might be able to help them in the future.

There is much less activity between July 31st and August 31st because players must clear waivers. Players may be acquired after the August 31st deadline; however, while they can contribute to a team’s push for the playoffs, they are ineligible for postseason play.

So now that the deadline is rapidly approaching, trade talk is heating up throughout the baseball world. Some less fortunate teams will find themselves as sellers at the deadline, left with no option but to part with precious assets in hope of a better 2014. The trades of these players can impact your team greatly. When MLB general managers are dealing with real players, real dollars and real sense, there’s a world at stake when trading a player. That’s not so much the case with fantasy, where big risks often yield the biggest rewards and where you never have to personally break the news to your outgoing shortstop.

But in the days leading up to the trade deadline, actual GMs do their best to emulate fantasy’s frantic “buy low/sell high” market and those moves could inevitably alter your team’s roster.

 

So how do you use the MLB trade deadline to your fantasy team’s advantage?

The first thing you need to do is to keep informed of all the trade rumors and to see if one of your players is on the list. What team is he rumored to be going to? How will it affect his playing time and of course his statistics going forward. Are there any starting pitchers that will be moved to a contender? Will that pitcher benefit? Should you make a trade for any of them? And of course there are the relievers. Is your current closer going to be moved to another team with an established ninth inning guy? and hence be used as a setup man? Are there any RPs you want to target? And lastly, what about free agents? Are there guys that are on your waiver wire that can be picked up if and when they are traded?

These are all the questions you need have the answers to. Once you have an idea of what could potentially happen with your team and the teams in your league, go ahead and build list of all the potential trade targets as you head towards the July 31st deadline, so that you could easily compare and sort the various players who might fit the needs of your teams. To help you do this you need information.

Here are some links you can use to get it.

 

FANFOOD MLB Trade Rumor Links

 

 

MLB Trade Rumors

 

Fansided MLB Rumors

 

MLB Daily Dish

 

SB Nation Trade Rumors

 

CBS Sports MLB Rumors

 

Pro Sport Daily MLB Rumors

 

CBS Sports Trade Tracker

 

2013 Trade Deadline Articles:

mlb.com

bleacher report

fangraphs

 

Adding two wild cards to the postseason picture is going shape the trading deadline in 2013, meaning we will not have to wait until the end of the season to see the first impact of playoff expansion. Many teams are considering themselves contenders as the second half approaches.

Eight teams are within in striking distance for the two third wild card spots in the major Leagues and will have to spend the next few weeks trying to figure out whether to buy or sell before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. We know the Cubs, Astros, Rockies, Twins and Padres will be selling. We know the Rangers, Dodgers and Angels are among those certain to buy. That leaves a bunch of teams with decisions to make.

That leaves you with plenty of options to help your fantasy team as well.

 

 

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Grilling the Perfect Pork Chop

 

The rib chop is the rib portion of the loin, it lies between the shoulder and the center portion on the loin. A similar cut to the center loin chop but with more marbling and better flavor, some compare it to the rib in beef. It adapts well to a brine, rubs, marinades, glazes and for maximum tenderness should not be cooked no more than medium doneness. Alternative names for the rib chop are, Rib End Cut, Pork Chops End Cut, Blade Chops.
If you want the best grilled pork chops, brining them first in a salt and sugar water solution followed with an optional dry rub will produce tasty, moist pork chops. If the pork you have purchased is enhanced or seasoned do not use a brine solution or add any salt to the recipe.
 
Contrary to popular belief, the bone does not add flavor to the meat. It does not somehow dissolve or send out flavor compounds across 4″ of solid protein. Besides, the bone is mostly calcium on the outside. Bones add flavor to stews and other wet cooking methods, but not in grilling or roasting methods. The bone does impede heat transfer slightly, so meat next to the bone tends to be a bit less cooked. But the bone is also fun to gnaw on.

 

 

INGREDIENTS

4 Pork Rib Chops

4 Cups of Brine

1 Cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

Fresh Ground Black Pepper, or a no-salt BBQ Rub

 

PREPARATION

Trim excess fat. If you have loin chops, there is a band of fat around the perimeter. Beneath the fat is a thin layer of connective tissue called silverskin. You should remove it because as it cooks it shrinks and causes the meat to form a cup. The fat will not penetrate the meat so there is no reason to leave it on unless you like eating the fat. In that case, cut at least two slits through the fat and the silverskin right down to the meat.
You will want to brine your chops first and then season. Let the chops sit in the refrigerator for no more than a 1 hour in the brine solution, turning the bag or chops once. Remove the chops from the brine and pat dry with paper towel and season with anything but more salt. If you want to use your favorite rub, prepare it without any salt.

Allow the chops to sit at room temperature 1 hour before grilling.

If using a gas grill, first brush the grill with vegetable oil to prevent sticking, preheat on high for 10-15 minutes with the lid down. This method of cooking works best with steaks that are 1 inch or thicker. Scrape the grill clean with a grill brush, leave one side on medium and adjust the other side to off.

If you are using a charcoal grill (and why wouldn’t you?) Set it up for 2-Zone or indirect cooking.

It is crucial to not overcook pork chops or they lose flavor and moisture, and become tough. The problem is that they are easy to overcook. To make sure you get it right, I recommend you cook low and slow with indirect heat at about 225°F. Low and slow is especially important for shoulder chops which have a lot more connective tissue.

Put them on the indirect side of the grill, paint both sides with sauce, and let them cook with the lid down. Flip them after about 20 minutes and paint them again. After another 20 minutes or so, you’re just about ready to eat. If your indirect side is about 225°F, cooking time will be about 45 to 60 minutes for 1″ chops. Use a good digital thermometer to get them cooked properly, 145°F in the center, max. If you are cooking over direct heat, don’t add the sauce until just before the chops are ready or else it will burn.

If you want to add grill marks, when the meat hits about 125°F, paint on the sauce, and then move them to direct heat and remove the lid. After 3 minutes rotate them 45 degrees to get cross hatching. 3 minutes more and flip, paint, 3 minutes more and rotate. You’ve got to be careful here, this is a great way to incinerate the sauce and overcook the meat. You want the lid off so the meat is cooking only on the bottom side. Remove them when the centers are 140 to 145°F.

Shoot for 140°F in the thickest part and don’t allow it to go higher than 145°F. Make sure you don’t overshoot the target by using a good digital thermometer. Stick the thermometer through the side of the chop deep into the meat but not touching the bone or fat, this will take the guess work out of any grilled pork loin recipe.

You may see a little pale pink in the meat, but don’t worry about trichinosis. It is for all practical purposes, extinct in USDA inspected pork. When there is a hint of pink, it is at its peak tenderness and juiciness. Resist the temptation to cook pork chops over high heat.

We like to sear beef steaks, but dark colored pork is not as flavorful as dark colored beef, so don’t worry if you don’t get the outside brown. It is far more important to get the insides right.

To knock them outta the park, add smoke.

Always let your chops rest for 5 minutes before cutting, to redistribute and retain more juices. The temperature of the chops will rise about 5 degrees as they rest, remove the chops 5 degrees before desired doneness.

 

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