By the laws of probability, a few MLB teams are living in their darkest timelines.
All sports are zero-sum games, so it’s impossible for every squad to simultaneously celebrate success. After the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, some teams will smell the sweet aroma of title aspirations. Others, meanwhile, will encounter a burning troll doll.
While the occasional win-win deadline deal benefits both parties, history tends to assign most trades a sole benefactor. Exchanging top prospects will backfire if postseason success—like the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians achieved last year—does not follow.