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Description of the data topic Trades. This includes the definition as well as the coverage of the data topic or element on the site.
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A trade is when 2 or more teams exchange players. There can be many purposes to teams trading with the primary being to improve their team either in the short or long term. Other reasons might be to discard salary or get rid of a player who has demanded a trade or who just needs to be moved possibly for off-field reasons. The most common trade is the trade deadline star for prospect deals. Another common trade is the off-season blockbuster where teams make confusing 2 or 3 team trades with prospects and major leaguers that are almost impossible to decipher. Baseball journalists will often use the "whoever got the best player won the trade" cop out. The truth is nobody knows because nobody can predict the future.

The fire sale trades are probably the most painful because it is usually a clear victory for the non firesale team. The Montreal Expos of the 1990s and Marlins every x # of years since their inception are the most guilty of this practice whereby they would trade star-calibre MLB players for nothing but unproven prospects. Though some of these trades will pan out in the long-term, in the short-term, they are demoralizing and provide nothing but financial relief to the ownership group. Trades can happen at any time during the year but there are some limitations. Players who are traded before July 31st do not have to pass through waivers which means no one can block the trade. Trades between August 1st and August 31st need their players to pass through waivers which means teams can block the trade by claiming the traded player. Teams can pull back the player but then cannot trade them. Trades after September 1st are fine but the players involved may not play for their destination team if they are in the playoffs. Nobody really makes trades during the playoffs. Its gauche. There may also be some holiday freeze-out dates.