As you well know, the Padres are the frontrunners to acquire David Wells by midnight tonight. The name that’s been bandied about is catcher George Kottaras. Keep an eye on tonight’s 7:05 contest between the Portland Beavers and the Fresno Grizzlies to see whether Kottaras starts for the Beavers. If not, he’s probably the guy. He went 0 for 4 last night. According to the Boston Globe, the Dodgers could have Wells if they would step in with one of Matt Kemp, Andy LaRoche, or James Loney.
Here’s the tricky part. Based on info from a Steve Phillips article a year ago, I learned that "all 40-man roster players must go through waivers in order to change teams even if they are in the minor leagues." All four prospects mentioned above are indeed on the 40-man roster. So how does this work? The key, I believe, is slipping the player through as a player to be named later. The rule for waiver trades is that the PTBNL cannot be an active Major League player. So, the Red Sox can acquire a top-notch prospect in exchange for Wells if they are willing to wait until spring to see him in a Sox uniform. I think these rules debunk the notion that the Red Sox could somehow acquire Adam Wainwright in a deal. It’s a moot point, as Wells won’t play in St. Louis.
The Padres are three games back of the Dodgers in the NL West. San Diego currently holds a half-game lead over the Phillies for the wild card. If the Padres were to sneak into the playoffs once again, their playoff rotation would boast Jake Peavy, Chris Young, David Wells, and Woody Williams. All have pitched decently or better this month; it would be a fairly deep group. And fifth starter Clay Hensley has a 1.82 ERA and 1.25 WHIP this month, so maybe he’d be in the mix instead of Williams.