I'm not sure how the trade deadline got to be on July 31st. I know that it has been July 31st since 1986, and before that it was June 15th. I just don't know why the league decided to change the date, and why July 31st was picked.
Here's what I do know. Two changes have happened since the 1986 season.
1. MLB moved to a three division and wild card system, doubling the amount of teams that would make the playoffs.
2. MLB much later added a second wild card team.
The result of this is that you have more opportunities to make the playoffs. Because you have more opportunities, you're going to see more teams with a shot, even if those teams aren't even good teams. Take today's trade rumor. The San Francisco Giants are 45-51. They rank 4th in their division. There are 20 teams in the majors with a better record. Yet they're not interested in trading Hunter Pence because they're only 4.5 games out in a weak division.
It's the same way around the rest of the league. With a third...
Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.