By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — “Buyer beware” signs should be posted all over baseball clubhouses and front offices this time of year.READ MORE: Mayor Lightfoot Delays General Iron Permit To Move To South Side Over EPA Concerns
The trading deadline for non-waiver deals sometimes leads to round pegs not fitting in square holes. More directly, trades can backfire due to poor chemistry.
Players traded to help a team for the last couple of months in a pennant race are usually replacing a popular teammate who, to some extent, has helped his team win. Replacing popular pieces can cause resentment and division.
“The guy you bring in and everybody else must believe he will make you better,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “I have been involved in the opposite of that (a player who didn’t fit in), where the new guy took the place of guys who had been in place. The guys who were replaced were doing well. The guy coming in was not accepted in a manner that ended well.”
Maddon wouldn’t elaborate, but the point he was making is a good trade on paper can blow up on a club due to a chemical failure.
Many times the new guy is being brought in for a short time with free agency looming just a few months away. This soldier-of-fortune persona isn’t always comfortable for the new man who’s being uprooted from his original team. This can be true despite the player having a chance to make the playoffs.READ MORE: Chicago Night Clubs Gear Up For Looser COVID-19 Restrictions As State Prepares To Enter Bridge Phase
“They did it in Oakland last season,” Cubs right-hander Jason Hammel said about the A’s adding pieces despite having a good-sized lead. “First they traded for Jeff (Samardzija) and I (on July 4). They traded for Jon (Lester) at the deadline. We all enjoyed the experience, but we didn’t win.”
In the case of the Cubs, bringing in the right player or players may be guarded by the sensitivity toward the young rookie core. Despite failures along the way, the youthful players in the player development mode must not get kicked to the curb.
“I have seen so many different formulas work,” said Cubs veteran catcher David Ross, who has been on five playoff teams. “We have so much young talent here, it’s hard to say you don’t want them to play. I would never say we should replace one of these guys in the locker room.”
Ross wouldn’targue with a super sub like Ben Zobrist or Martin Prado being added to the Cubs’ mix. These types of veterans know their role as utility experts. They are seasoned professionals, with a team concept in mind before any deal is consummated.
Oakland general manager Billy Beane will sell Zobrist to the highest bidder. Upward of seven clubs are in the bidding for the versatile infielder-outfielder.
But remember: Buyer beware! Sometimes the prettiest girl brings little else to the party.MORE NEWS: Saint Joseph Catholic School Principal On Administrative Duty After Former Teacher Charged With Child Sex Crimes
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.