Baseball Waiver Trades Rumors

Stark On Waiver Happenings

Jayson Stark’s column today was a goldmine of waiver-related material.  I updated my Players Who Have Cleared Waivers post with his new info.  Two thoughts from that group:

  • I was surprised to see that no one wanted a piece of Troy Glaus‘s contract, which really isn’t scary at $24MM over 2008-09 (assuming he exercises his player option).  I’m sure his no-trade clause would’ve been a pricey obstacle, but what’s the harm in making a claim?  Why would the Angels, Phillies, and Dodgers pass on him?  Maybe clubs talked to J.P. Ricciardi and decided it just wasn’t worth it.  And to be fair, Glaus hasn’t done anything since June and is dealing with plantar fasciitis.
  • I wonder if Jim Bowden was embarrassed that no one would touch Dmitri Young‘s silly new contract.

Another group Stark had was the Claimed But Withdrawn.  Here they are:

Jon Garland
Scott Hatteberg
Kei Igawa
Jacque Jones

Mike Lamb
Mark Loretta
Corey Patterson
Chad Qualls
David Riske
Richie Sexson
Miguel Tejada
Matt Thornton
Javier Vazquez
Dan Wheeler

Just one jumps out at me here.  Richie Sexson is a huge burden at $14MM next year.  And Bill Bavasi passed on the chance to unload that contract.  The guy is hitting .208/.299/.405 as a 32 year-old; his OPS has cracked .800 in only one month this year.  This is a team that can’t find playing time for Adam Jones.  What’s the logic here?  $14MM could’ve bought something nice in 2008.

Players Who Have Cleared Waivers

Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team.  Here’s a list of the players who have cleared waivers this month plus their contract situation.  I’ll keep the list up-to-date and put it on the sidebar under MLBTR Features. (Thanks to Jayson Stark for many new additions).

Last updated 8-20-07

Pat Burrell – $13MM in ’07, $14MM in ’08, full no-trade clause
Jose Contreras – $9MM in ’07, $10MM in ’08, $10MM in ’09
Kyle Farnsworth – $5.25MM in ’07, $5.5MM in ’08
Troy Glaus – $10.75MM in ’07, $12.75MM in ’08, $11.25MM player option in ’09, full no-trade clause
Jason Lane – $1.05MM in ’07
Mike Piazza – $8.5MM in ’07
Odalis Perez – $7.75MM in ’07, $9MM club option in ’08 with $1.5MM buyout (Dodgers paying a portion)
Sammy Sosa – $0.5MM + a possible $2.2MM in playing time incentives
Josh Towers – $2.9MM in ’07
Steve Trachsel – $3MM in ’07, $4.75MM club option for ’08
Jack Wilson – $5.25MM in ’07, $6.5MM in ’08, $7.25MM in ’09, $8.4MM club option in ’10 with $0.6MM buyout
David Wells – $3MM in ’07
Dmitri Young – $5MM in ’08, $5MM in ’09, $6MM option in ’10 that may vest based on plate appearances

Waiver Trade Candidate: Mike Piazza

Athletics DH Mike Piazza has about $2.83MM left on his contract this year.  Some teams poked around before the deadline – the Twins, maybe the Angels – but there wasn’t much action on him and he didn’t go anywhere.  The question now is whether the A’s will put him on waivers to try to trade him this month.  There’s no harm in just putting him on waivers, for starters.  The Braves placed Andruw Jones on waivers last year.

Now if the A’s do place Piazza on waivers, teams with the worst records in the AL get priority.  So basically the Twins get first dibs if they want him, followed by Seattle.  I have a hard time seeing the Angels get the claim, because that would mean the Mariners, Yankees, and Indians passed.  I imagine at least one of those clubs would put in a claim and get him if the Twins passed. 

Now once a team is awarded the claim, Billy Beane has three options.  One, he can work out a trade with the winning team, where all players involved on the 40-man roster must also go through waivers.  Two, he can just dump Piazza’s salary on that team.  Three, he can pull Piazza back and not trade him.  Offering Piazza arbitration this winter is kind of risky, because he might just accept it and the A’s would be stuck with him.  He’s not looking at a two-year deal this winter anyway.  So a trade to a team that could actually use him – the Twins – makes all kinds of sense.  I don’t understand why competing teams would allow him to get all the way to the Angels though.  Their chance has passed.

Waiver Trade Rules

The non-waiver trade deadline has passed, but that doesn’t mean trading is done.  I found a helpful old Steve Phillips article explaining the whole August waiver trade thing.  If you don’t feel like checking that out, here’s a summary:

Any player can be put on waivers by his team, and the player does not need to be informed.

Other teams have the chance to make a claim on the player during a 47 hour window.

If the player is claimed, the team that placed him on waivers has the option of pulling him back.  If the team pulls him back they can’t trade him for 30 days.

If his team decides not to pull him back:

Option 1:  His team can work out a trade with the team that claimed him.  Any player involved in the trade who is on a 40 man roster must go through waivers first.

Option 2:  His team can just dump him and his salary on the team that claimed him, getting no player in return.

Option 3:  No one claims him, and his team is free to trade him to any team.

If more than one team places a claim on a player, the winning claim is awarded based on worst record or the league the claiming team is in.   

Makes sense?  I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot this month about waiver trade possibilities.

Olney: Waiver Trade Candidates

In case you missed it, Buster Olney posted a list of players who have passed through waivers and can be traded to any team before Thursday’s deadline.  Here’s the list:

David Wells
Shawn Chacon
Jae Seo
Sidney Ponson
Bruce Chen

Jeromy Burnitz
Jeff Conine
Jay Payton
Bobby Kielty
Reggie Sanders
Luis Matos
Jay Gibbons
Geoff Jenkins
Gabe Kapler

There are some truly awful players on that list.  But there are also some solid guys who are there simply because they make too much money for what they’ve done this year. Wells and Gibbons are the two names that jump out at me. 

Wells starts tomorrow at Safeco Field, and then has a matchup with Roy Halladay on deadline day.  In four starts this month (against the Yankees, Tigers, Orioles, and Devil Rays), Wells has posted a 2.67 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.  Boomer is a battle-tested big game pitcher, with 120 innings of playoff experience and a 3.15 ERA in the postseason.

Gibbons, 29, has been plagued by injuries for years.  This makes his four-year deal signed this January all the more curious.  Gibbons slugged .516 last year and seemed on the verge of a breakout if he could stay healthy.  He’s suffered a complete power outage this month since coming back from a sprained knee ligament.

Braves Scouts Attended Rangers Game Thursday

According to the Dallas Morning News Seamheads blog, two Braves scouts attended Thursday’s Rangers-Angels game.

Evan Grant theorizes that the Rangers may have claimed Andruw Jones to block the Angels.  He also described the scouts’ attendance as "unusual."

Said Buster Olney today on Jones:

"If they don’t trade him today without getting his approval then they never will be able to.  If Jones is in the lineup against the Reds this afternoon, we’ll know he’s staying, at least until the offseason."

Andruw deemed it "rude" that the Braves are keeping him in the dark about this waiver business.  But John Schuerholz did say "He should know that we would talk if a trade was imminent."

I would’ve suggested that the Braves and Rangers were discussing Chris Reitsma or John Thomson, but both look to be out for the season.  Still, waiver trades are almost never as interesting as Andruw Jones.

Which Team Was Awarded The Andruw Jones Claim?

The Braves have until Saturday afternoon to either strike a deal with the team that was awarded a claim for Andruw Jones or pull him back.  Most likely, the Braves will hang on to Jones.  As I learned from Steve Phillips, "all 40-man roster players must go through waivers in order to change teams even if they are in the minor leagues."  The old player-to-be-named-later is an option, though that player cannot be an active Major Leaguer.

We know more than one team put in a claim on Jones.  Because he’s in the NL, NL teams get first rights to Jones.  That’s why I’d guess that the team awarded the claim is not the Angels or Red Sox.

What if it was the Cubs, with an eye towards being competitive in 2007?  Would the Brewers, Astros, Reds, or Cardinals get involved?

If a deal were made, I would have to think the team sending away younger player(s) would have a handshake deal with a team like the Cubs to let the kids through. 

Andruw Jones Placed On Waivers

Rob Bradford of Massachusett’s Eagle-Tribune writes that Andruw Jones has been placed on waivers by the Braves.  I discovered this via Buster Olney’s blog.  Said Olney:

"In any event, I seriously doubt Jones will be playing for anybody but the Braves, despite the fact that in the next week, he’ll earn the 10-and-5 right to veto any trade. But we’ll soon know if anybody has placed a claim, and whether the Braves are willing to discuss a trade."

Jones makes $13.5MM next season in the last year of his contract.  He’ll turn 30 in the beginning of the ’07 season.  Andruw’s .350 OBP and .514 SLG are right in line with career norms.  Baseball Prospectus expects him to remain at this level until about 2009.  Remember, National League teams would get the first crack at Jones if more than one club puts in a claim.  I could see the Cardinals and Astros putting in claims.  If the Braves can’t make a deal with the team that claimed Jones, they can always just pull him back.

For a good summary of how waiver trades work, consult Steve Phillips’s article from a year ago.


Red Sox Pursuing Javy Lopez

Newspapers from both Boston and Baltimore are confirming that the Red Sox have contacted the Orioles about catcher Javy Lopez.  The 35 year-old Lopez has only caught twenty games this season, but he could certainly provide acceptable offense for the rest of the month until Jason Varitek comes back.

The Boston Herald indicates that Lopez could clear waivers today.  A source tells me that the Red Sox may part with 23 year-old southpaw starter Abe Alvarez.  Alvarez is the guy who wears his hat crooked to compensate for being legally blind in one eye.  He’s proven quite hittable in Triple A this year.  Back in June, the Red Sox offered Alvarez for Ryan Shealy.  Alvarez seems to get mentioned in a lot of trade rumors.

The Yankees wouldn’t be able to block a claim of Lopez, as they have a slight lead in the standings today.  It’s hard to picture another American League team blocking the claim, but you never know.  Should Lopez fall through, here are some other options the Red Sox might consider.  Among those, a couple of Philly papers have already indicated that the Sox aren’t interested in Mike Lieberthal.   

Waiver Trade Candidate: Ryan Klesko

Let’s assess Ryan Klesko’s situation and background.  He could be a  candidate for a waiver trade this month.

When he has been on the field, the 35 year-old Klesko has recently been seen in left field.  Last year, he dealt with back soreness/spasms, a fever, a pinched nerve in his neck, and a strained shoulder.  He got into 137 games despite all of that, but slugged just .418. 

The Padres planned to move him to first base and the #2 slot this year, but a cortisone shot didn’t solve his shoulder problem.  By April he’d decided to have surgery.  Currently he’s about a week away from playing in rehab games.  Some team might want his left-handed bat, and if his shoulder’s better some power could return. 

Klesko makes $8MM in the final year of his deal; Kevin Towers has already mentioned that he won’t exercise Klesko’s 2007 option.  As a 10 and 5 player, he the ability to reject any waiver claim.  He’s said he’s willing to waive that right if there’s a chance to play full-time for a contender.  Adrian Gonzalez is hitting .303/.346/.519 as Klesko’s replacement.

Earlier in July, the Red Sox expressed a little bit of interest in Klesko.  While any trade would involve a contending team, it’s unlikely Klesko would be a starter.  The Twins and Angels could have interest as well.