The current NL West picture: the Padres hold a slim lead over the Giants and the Rockies and Dodgers are playoff contenders, too. The Diamondbacks haven't been close to contention for months. Here are some waiver trade possibilities to keep in mind:
Padres bench player Matt Stairs, who was traded two Augusts ago, could clear waivers in spite of his $700K contract because of his .590 OPS. Scott Hairston could see reduced playing time with Ryan Ludwick around and it's possible that his $2.45MM salary would clear waivers. Hairston has a .235/.316/.390 line in 2010.
Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand would both clear waivers, but Zito is an important part of San Francisco's rotation. Rowand has $27MM remaining on his contract, but is hitting just .252/.302/.405. The Giants have enough outfielders to give the 32-year-old up, but no team would claim Rowand given his salary. Edgar Renteria is hitting .284/.346/.376, but he's making $9MM this year, so he could clear waivers. The Giants, who have a club option for Renteria's services in 2011, could get by without him. It's possible that Todd Wellemeyer would clear waivers given his 5.52 ERA, but his $1MM salary is affordable. The Giants have bullpen depth, so they would likely consider parting with Wellemeyer, who is finishing a rehab stint.
Manny Ramirez earns $20MM this year, but the White Sox and Rays showed interest in him last month. Manny could definitely clear waivers in late August if he returns from his calf strain, so he is a player to watch. George Sherrill cleared waivers recently, so teams clearly don't think he's worth his $4.5MM salary. He hasn't pitched well this season, so he will be available. Like Stairs, Garret Anderson would likely clear waivers despite his modest salary ($550K) because of his poor production (.484 OPS).
The Rockies have waiver trade candidates galore, from relievers Rafael Betancourt, Joe Beimel and Randy Flores to bats like Brad Hawpe to role players like Jason Giambi and Melvin Mora. Aaron Cook, who went to the hospital this weekend after getting hit on the foot with a line drive, could appeal to contenders. He'd have to prove he's healthy first, but Cook makes $9MM this year with $9.75MM or more remaining afterwards, so he'd likely clear waivers. He has pitched to a 5.08 ERA this year, but contenders could have interest if his foot is fine and the Rockies keep fading.
Diamondbacks first baseman Adam LaRoche makes a reasonable $4.5MM this year, so it's possible that someone would claim him. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the D'Backs trade LaRoche given the many deals they've already made. Chris Young and Stephen Drew are making reasonable salaries, so they will probably be staying put.
For our primer on the waiver trade process, click here.