Deadline deals have little impact

Everybody's making trades. Or trying to make trades. Or talking about trades.

In part, this is because -- in the absence of football and basketball -- we have a lot of spare time. But it's also because a lot of teams still have a shot -- theoretically, at least -- of getting into the postseason derby. And everybody with a shot thinks the right deal, done right around now, could put them over the top.

But how often does that happen, really? To find out, I looked at every trade done from July 25-31 since the wild-card era began in 1995 -- let's call it "Deadline Week" -- and typed the particulars into a spreadsheet (and I ignored deals that were apparently done with little thought of making a pennant or wild-card push in that particular season). Next, based on the standings at the end of the season, I simply entered a "yes" or a "no" for each deal depending on whether, according to my subjective evaluation, the deal made a real difference.