Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Bryce Harper (3) in action during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals, Friday, June 30, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Have you ever stopped to think about how weird trades are in professional sports?

Every year right after the All-Star break, Major League Baseball enters into one of its most entertaining times of the year: trade season. 

In baseball, we call it the Hot Stove, and up until the Aug. 1 deadline, teams have the ability to trade players from their rosters with no restrictions, allowing contenders who may be a few talented players short to add good players to their rosters and teams going nowhere to jettison players for younger prospects or financial relief.

Of course, the Phillies will be one of the buyers, and speculation is they could seek to add a right-handed hitting left fielder who can hit for a little power once Bryce Harper shifts to first base in the next few days, or a right-handed bat like Cardinals’ third baseman Nolan Arenado or first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. They could also choose to add a starting pitcher to give them more options should an injury occur. On the latest edition of Hittin’ Season, I ran down a number of those possibilities. 

As baseball fans, we’ve come to see this as normal. It’s the same in the NFL, NBA and NHL as well. Teams trade players. But when you stop and think about it, isn’t that weird?

Baseball players are human beings and yet they are treated as the property of the team they play for, able to be swapped like Pa Ingalls heading to town to acquire a new cast-iron kettle and peppermint candies for his fox skins and deer meat. 

Obviously, this isn’t the reality of the situation. It’s not the players who are being traded, it is the *contracts* they signed with the team, and everyone involved knows it’s part of the game. Maybe it’s a difference without a distinction — but it’s also not really worth getting worked up about.

Some players have no-trade clauses in their contracts. There is also a 10-5 rule in baseball in which players who have at least 10 years in the league and five years with the team they’re on can nix any trade in which they’re involved. 

As the weeks go on, you’ll hear a number of Phils prospects being mentioned in trade rumors, and baseball reporters will spend the next 16 days posting every rumor imaginable, including some they may have made up in their own brains. Unnamed “baseball executives” (which could be as simple as someone working in the copy room of some team’s front office) will leak things they are hearing, and agents will use the media to try and get their players into more favorable situations. 

Either way, it’s one of the more fun times of the baseball calendar, and one can expect the Phillies to use this time to get themselves additional talent for another run to the World Series.

John Stolnis grew up in Delco as a rabid fan of all Philadelphia sports, but the Phillies have always held a special place in his heart, particularly those disappointing Juan Samuel-led teams of the late...