07/31/08 9:25 PM ET
August ushers in waiver deal options
However, completing a swap after July 31 is no easy task
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
"Maybe the fact that there were very few clubs that were able to get things done [Thursday] means over the next few weeks there will be some interesting moves," Twins GM Bill Smith said Thursday. "We will certainly be watching the waiver wire everyday and looking to improve the club."
Completing a deal after the non-waiver Deadline involved more complications than trades made before the Deadline, but every year teams find a way to successfully navigate the process to get their man.
Last year, there were several post-Deadline trades with players like Craig Monroe, Jeff Conine, Steve Trachsel, Wily Mo Pena and Russell Branyan changing addresses in August.
This year should be no different and perhaps more active than recent Augusts as a number of players could change teams.
With so many clubs in contention for a playoff berth, veterans like Kansas City second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, Cleveland right-hander Paul Byrd, Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun, Atlanta center fielder Mark Kotsay and San Diego right-hander Greg Maddux might be on the move in August.
The next deadline, Aug. 31, is very important to contending teams, because players must be on the Major League roster by midnight on that date to be eligible for postseason play.
From now until the end of the season, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players have already cleared waivers.
In other words, the player must be offered to the other teams in reverse order of the standings, and if he is claimed by one of the teams, he cannot be traded. The club that placed the player on waivers can either withdraw the request and keep the player, or let the player go to the claiming team, which would then have the rights to the player.
A waiver, which is a permission granted for certain assignments of player contracts, can get complicated if more than one team makes a waiver claim. If more than one club in the same league makes a claim, then the club currently lower in the standings gets the player. If clubs in both leagues claim the player, preference goes to the club in the same league as the club requesting waivers.
After the Deadline
|A number of significant deals came down last August, after the July 31 non-waiver Deadline passed.|
|Cardinals -- Acquired infielder/outfielder Russell Branyan from the Phillies for a player to be named or cash on Aug. 27.|
|Dodgers -- Acquired infielder Mark Sweeney from the San Francisco Giants for a player to be named later or cash on Aug. 9.|
|Mariners -- Acquired left-hander John Parrish from the Orioles for outfielder Sebasttien Boucher on Aug. 9.|
|Nationals -- Acquired outfielder Wily Mo Pena and cash from the Red Sox for a player to be named later on Aug. 17.|
|Orioles -- Traded right-hander Steve Trachsel to the Cubs for right-hander Rocky Cherry and infielder Scott Moore on Aug. 29.|
|Phillies -- Acquired infielder Russell Branyan from Cleveland for cash considerations on Aug. 9.|
|Reds -- Acquired shortstop Jose Castro and outfielder Sean Henry from the New York Mets in exchange for infielder/outfielder Jeff Conine on Aug. 20.|
|Tigers -- Traded outfielder Craig Monroe to the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later on Aug. 23.|
Claiming a player can be risky.In 1998, Toronto was attempting to deal former All-Star closer Randy Myers late in the year to Atlanta. The Padres, in the midst of a pennant race, put in a waiver claim for the veteran left-hander to block him from being traded to the Braves.
The Blue Jays let Myers go to the Padres rather than pull him back from the waiver process. Myers appeared in just 14 1/3 innings for the Padres, going 1-3 with no saves, and he did not pitch after the '98 season, leaving San Diego on the hook for the balance of his $13.6 million salary for 1999-2000.
By now, most teams have placed all or nearly all of the players on the roster on waivers as a matter of course, whether they intend to trade them or not.
Players remain on the waiver wire for two full business days. If they are not claimed, they can be traded at any point, to any team for the remainder of the season. If a player is claimed by a team and a deal never materializes, a team will not likely place them back on waivers. When they initially place a player on waivers, a team has the right to pull them back at any time. But when a player is placed on waivers a second time, the claim is irrevocable. Thus any claiming team owns the rights.
Waivers are supposed to be confidential, but there are veteran targets still out there who have likely already cleared waivers and might soon be moving to a new team.
Here are a few of the candidates who, assuming they clear waivers, might be dealt between now and Aug. 31:
Byrd. He's made three straight quality starts and looking like a pitcher who could provide quality back-of-the-rotation innings for a contender. Byrd's making $7.5 million this season and will be a free agent this winter.
Kotsay. He doesn't figure in the Braves' future and is heading for free agency after the season. Kotsay, who is being paid $8 million this season, can still run the ball down in center field and brings a bat that could possibly help a contender much the way another veteran center fielder, Jim Edmonds, is helping the Cubs.
Grudzielanek. There was interest before the deadline and with Grudzielanek heading into free agency after the season the Royals might part with him if the right offer comes along.
Maddux. If Maddux goes anywhere it will be to the Dodgers. The two teams tried to work out a deal before the deadline but couldn't reach an agreement. San Diego GM Kevin Towers was asked if a deal with the Dodgers could still get done after the Deadline. He didn't rule it though he did say it would become "dicier" because Maddux would have to clear waivers.
"Our position a week from now is going to be what it is today, unless they're going to step up and give us the prospect package [we want]," Towers said.
Zaun. Several teams need catchers and Zaun, who lost his job to Rod Barajas and then rankled Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi with a few recent comments, can be had. He is being paid $3.75 million this year plus a vesting option for 2009.
Jarrod Washburn, Mariners. There was interest in Washburn before the deadline, and though a deal is less likely now, it's not impossible.
"You can still make moves after Aug. 1, with certain restrictions, but we also have the offseason," Mariners interim GM Lee Pelekoudas said. "There is a lot of time to make moves. We are not in any time crunch. There is no deadline to get this club turned around in the next two days, the next week or the next two or three weeks. We have time to do this, and we plan to do it systematically, step by step."
Mark Hendrickson, Marlins. A lefty making $1.5 million may find it hard to clear waivers. But Hendrickson has a shot.
Frank Catalanotto, Rangers. Have bat, will travel. Catalanotto is essentially a platoon player for the Rangers and signed through 2010. He is due $4 million next season and $5 million or a $2 million buyout in 2010. The Rangers would definitely deal him.
Juan Pierre or Andruw Jones, Dodgers. With Manny Ramirez on the roster the Dodgers have five starters to fit into three outfield spots.
Obviously someone has to go (or at least sit), and considering Jones has a no-trade clause, is hitting .167 and signed a two-year, $36.2 million contract last winter, dealing him would be difficult.
Pierre is signed through 2011 for $28.5 million but is having a decent year (.279, 36 stolen bases).
Both would likely clear waivers. The bigger hurdle would be finding a suitor.
Because Ramirez could be gone via free agency after the season, Dodgers GM Colletti said he is in no hurry to trade any of them.
"This just came together and we're not good enough to make a corresponding move yet," Colletti said. "We'll figure that out."
Mike Hampton, Braves. The veteran lefty returned from the disabled list recently, and with a $15 million salary this season plus a $20 million club option or a $6 million buyout for 2009 he would almost certainly clear waivers. But if he demonstrates he is effective Hampton might attract contenders still looking for an arm.
Rich Aurilia, Omar Vizquel, Randy Winn and Bengie Molina, Giants. All were available before the deadline and nothing materialized. And it's debatable whether all would clear waivers.
Giants GM Brian Sabean said that he wasn't disappointed by being shut out, expressing belief that the Giants will be able to sneak players they want to trade through waivers.
"We're confident that this is an ongoing process," Sabean said. "It's not like our players aren't going to get through waivers."
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.