Heath Bell, Jason Kubel, and Carlos Pena were placed on trade waivers today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal tweeted earlier about Jim Thome being placed, also. The placement on waivers starts a 48 hour period during which teams can put in claims. Hundreds of players are placed on waivers in August, but these four are notable because they do appear to be trade candidates.
Bell, the Padres' closer, sports a 2.60 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.35 HR/9, and 42.9% groundball rate in 52 innings this year. That's a big dropoff from his typical strikeout rate. The 33-year-old has $1.5MM left on his contract. He projects as a Type A free agent, but has said he'd accept arbitration if the Padres offer. Owner Jeff Moorad said this month that Bell accepting arbitration would be preferable in some ways, but if the Padres aren't actually interested in a potential eight-figure one-year deal for Bell, they've got two days to move him. Dan Mennella took a look at the fantasy impact of the move at CloserNews.
Kubel, 29, is hitting .295/.350/.456 in 326 plate appearances for the Twins, playing right field and DH. The left-handed hitter has about $1MM plus incentives left on his contract and currently profiles as a Type B free agent in the American League. He earns more than Thome, but not so much that we can rule out a team claiming him mostly for the draft pick.
Pena, 33, is hitting .222/.342/.455 with 23 home runs in 480 plate appearances this year for the Cubs. Though he projects as a Type B, teams might be reluctant to offer arbitration given his salary. He's owed about $1MM for the rest of the year, and the Cubs will be on the hook for a deferred $5MM in January even if they trade him.
Two players who will not be traded this month: Oakland's Rich Harden and Coco Crisp, who were claimed on waivers but pulled back according to this report yesterday from Rosenthal. Today, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Indians won the claim on Harden, but could not work out a deal.