Jake Peavy by Jerry Lai USA Today Sports

Photo courtesy Jerry Lai/USA Today Sports

We are now just two days away from Major League Baseball’s trade deadline. Phones will be ringing, players will be watching the news, and executives won’t be getting much sleep.

Can you feel the anticipation? No? Me neither.

The fact of the matter is there isn’t anything to get excited about with this year’s trade deadline. So much so that we have to fake our excitement. I mean, how else do you explain the Tigers acquiring Jose Veras being the top story on ESPN.com yesterday?

The Veras deal should serve as a nutshell for the entire end-of-non-waiver-trading season. The big pitching arm everyone’s talking about? Jake Peavy, a 32-year-old injury-riddled vet with a 4.28 ERA and allowing over one and a half home runs per nine innings in 2013. It’s enough to make anyone say….sigh.

Photo courtesy Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Photo courtesy Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Why is the ‘deal season’ so ho-hum? There’s a bevy of factors. For one, the expanded playoffs continue to be a problem. Like last year, many teams that would otherwise be sellers are standing pat. Even the Phillies who are collapsing before our very eyes are reluctant to ship veteran talent away.

If there were only four teams going continuing into October from each league, squads like the World Champion Giants would be ready to throw up the white flag on the season. But thanks to the added Wild Card slots, a team in the bottom of their division is just 12 games out of a playoff berth.

Also, there’s isn’t a wide swath of “big gets” that are in contract years this years. The traditional “deadline buys” are the ones for guys that teams can let walk away at the end of the year. Taking on a bunch of added payroll is one thing, but keeping it? Well, let’s just say the 2012 Red Sox know what I’m talking about.

Then there’s the issue that the usual sellers don’t feel as though they’re in a position to sell. Miami and Houston have been beyond awful in 2013, but the only premium pro talent between the two clubs is Giancarlo Stanton and he isn’t going anywhere (if he did, I can only assume Miami would be burnt to the ground by enraged fans).

What about other doormats? The talent-laden ones. The Angels haven’t said anything about being sellers despite being seven games under .500. The Cubs? They’re one obvious trade piece has been dealt and Matt Garza shouldn’t get people much more excited than Jake Peavy. Toronto? They’re less than ten games out of a wild card. If the Giants aren’t selling why should they?

More so than not, this year teams are willing to stand pat with what they have. That leaves the would-be sellers asking for more, or, essentially raising their prices. The problem is hitters and pitchers aren’t an inelastic good and most clubs would rather risk being eliminated prematurely than give up top-end prospects for middling-to-good “right-now” help.

If I lost some of you along the way here, I apologize, but here’s the formula to keep in mind: a lack of super premium talent plus an increase in teams’ postseason optimism leads to elevated asking prices for teams looking to shop veterans at the trade deadline, which’ll make GM’s reluctant to pull the trigger on a deal.

After all, very few General Managers have been fired for failing to win the World Series. But for making a bad deal and still losing? In the baseball world, that’s what you would call a “fireable offense”.

NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
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