Thurs., July 31
Being traded is a wakeup experience. You're shaken from whatever comfort zone you were in with your team and then you get the call that you've been traded. I was dealt from the Cleveland Indians to the Toronto Blue Jays in 1991 and it was a major event in my career. It may look easy from afar, but being traded is quite difficult for several reasons.
First, you go through the feeling that your former team doesn't want you anymore. This is hard for a player because you're being separated from guys you've played with for some time and you've bonded with. It's not easy to let go of the allegiances that you've made during your time with a team. A baseball team is your family and you have to trade one in for another.
Second, you have to get used to your new role. I was lucky, as a starting pitcher my role didn't change, but for some it can change quite a bit. There are some pitchers who will be moved to the bullpen and some hitters who will be moved up in the lineup. That's a difficult position to be placed in because all of a sudden your responsibilities change immensely.
Third, without warning your personal and professional lives come crashing together. If a player has a family, they must decide whether if everyone is moving or just the player. Then you must decide where to move, too. Some players just rent a hotel for the rest of the season until they know for sure where they want to live. It's extremely burdensome to have to start thinking about moving while you're trying to concentrate on winning games.
Finally, you have to start bonding with guys who you were attempting to defeat a few days before. You have to find your spot in the clubhouse and try to make friends and incorporate yourself into the team dynamic without stepping on any toes. If you're traded during the offseason, you have the chance to see what the dynamics of individual players personalities are, but not when you're traded in midseason.