The other day, a high-ranking baseball executive referred to a time when most teams operated very, very differently than they do now, and remembered how aggressively clubs used to pursue a wild-card entry into the playoffs, how they would be willing to overpay in a midseason trade to merely reach the postseason.
Really, it was just a decade ago. But given the explosion in baseball analytics and the change in the rules for postseason berths, with wild-card entrants guaranteed only one game, the executive said, teams have a different perspective. "Nobody's going to be hyperaggressive if they think their only shot [for the playoffs] is a possible wild card," he said. "Nobody thinks that way anymore."
This is important to remember in framing the upcoming trade market, because it appears that half of the division races will be regarded by front offices as locked down.