MLB Pro & the “Mega-Trades”

When MLB Pro was created, our former Commissioner wanted MLB Pro to be, “a realistic Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) league” where, ” members recognize that the league is intended to recreate a realistic modern baseball experience.”

When Soze and I took over, we have tried to keep MLB Pro on that realistic path, while also understanding that OOTP: 1) Has some limitations and 2) Is not real-life and therefore cannot be an exact replica of Major League Baseball.

Along the way we have been forced to adapt, create, and eliminate various rules. Some have been the result of a league vote, while others have come from strictly agreement within the League Office in determining that something was necessary for both the betterment and continued success of the league. That is ultimately what we strive for.

This brings us to the current issue at hand: the mega-trade. Back near the start of the off-season, I had brought up the left-turn MLB Pro takes from realism when it comes to trades involving a large number of players in a single transaction. While at the time it was more of a plea/request for a change in trade philosophy, it left open the possibility for these trades to happen. And to be clear, I do not fault any GM who has made a mega-trade in the distant past or the more recent past, they have all been within the rules, they have all been a GM attempting to do what is best for their team, and ultimately, someone was willing to pay the price, so the ask was worth it. But the more they happen, the less realistic and more potentially damaging they become.

I have done some research and the following data compares our MLB Pro universe with MLB reality:

While MLB Pro teams trade at a much higher rate than our MLB counterparts, that is not the issue, nor is it something I am looking to curtail. I understand and agree that a large portion of our fun comes from our ability to make trades. New GM’s come, new players pop-up, the game engine creates new scenarios, and so on and so on.

The issue is the far end of the second table. Since January 1st of 2018, we have seen 18 trades where a team has surrendered more than five players in a single trade. Since the start of MLB Pro, that number is 75. As you can see, an MLB giving up four and five players is rare, anything beyond that over the last four years just has not happened

The two MLB trades that saw a team give up five players were:

The New York Mets traded Jarred Kelenic (minors), Gerson Bautista, Jay Bruce, Justin Dunn and Anthony Swarzak to the Seattle Mariners for Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and cash.
The Baltimore Orioles traded Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Rylan Bannon (minors), Yusniel Diaz (minors), Dean Kremer (minors), Zach Pop (minors) and Breyvic Valera.

Beyond that, nothing else. Over this time period, there have only been three MLB trades where a TOTAL of seven players were involved in a trade. Since 2018, MLB Pro has had 46 such trades.

The issue we have is that with each new trade of this sort, another precedent/trade floor is set. As GM’s we all compare our next deal to the last deal. “Player X got Y and player A is better, he should get Y + 2…” This is not a fault of anyone, it’s just the way we all do business.

As a result of all of this, a change is needed. A change is needed to: A) Help mirror a more realistic trade landscape and B) improve the future of the league.

Over the next few days/week(s), Justin and I will discuss things further. My PM’s are open and I am more than happy to hear ideas and or criticisms to this idea of a change. We have some ideas of what we think might be best, we have heard from some of you already, but this is the time to express your thoughts to me before a final decision is made.

Here is a link to trade data I collected for both MLB and MLB Pro: Link to Google Sheets

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for understanding why I feel a change is needed and needed sooner rather than later.

-Matt

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