The current AL Central picture: the White Sox and Twins are contenders, the Tigers are in the gray area, and the Royals and Indians are out of it. Waiver trade possibilities:
It's been an up-and-down year for White Sox closer Bobby Jenks; would he be claimed despite a $7.5MM salary? Would the Sox pull him back? I'd expect Scott Linebrink and Mark Teahen to clear waivers, although deals seem unlikely. Mark Kotsay and Tony Pena could be expendable in minor trades.
Brandon Inge may return from the DL from a broken hand this week, and probably would clear waivers. Carlos Guillen, dealing with a calf strain, should clear if he returns from the DL this month. Jeremy Bonderman, Johnny Damon, Jhonny Peralta, Gerald Laird, and Brad Thomas are others who might make it through waivers. If the Tigers are out of it and one of these players is claimed, trimming a few hundred thousand dollars might be appealing.
Royals righty Gil Meche will attempt to finish the season as a reliever rather than undergo shoulder surgery, but it's hard to say if he'll return from the DL this month. Jose Guillen is a lock to clear, and perhaps a deal can be worked out. We'll be curious to see what happens when Yuniesky Betancourt, Brian Bannister, Kyle Davies, Willie Bloomquist, Wilson Betemit, and Bruce Chen hit the wire. Bloomquist may go.
The Indians' Travis Hafner will clear waivers and stay put, if he's activated from the DL for should inflammation later this month.
For our primer on the waiver trade process, click here.