Baseball Waiver Trades Rumors

Red Sox Need A Catcher

Jason Varitek needs knee surgery, and WEEI in Boston is saying he may be out 4-6 weeks.  I’m sure Will Carroll will have the definitive word on this Wednesday morning.

In the meantime, the Red Sox are scrambling for a catcher who can hit above the Mendoza line.  They’re going to have to shop for the high-salary, waiver-passing guys.  Who’s available?

Javy Lopez is the first name that comes to mind.  Lopez wants a flat-out release, but the Orioles won’t do that.  According to the Baltimore Sun, the team would like to pass him through waivers and cover some, but not all, of his salary in a trade.  He’s only caught 20 games this year.  There’s always the possibility the Yankees put in a claim on Lopez just to thwart the Sox.  Lopez has worked with current Yankees Jaret Wright and Sidney Ponson before.

Bengie Molina was a name thrown out by Jerry Crasnick today as a possible waiver trade candidate.  Molina makes $5MM on the season and the Jays are 6.5 games back (3-7 in their last ten games).

Mike Lieberthal is in the last year of a huge contract with the Phillies.  Liebs has experience catching Mike Timlin and Curt Schilling.  As a 10 and 5 player he can reject any waiver claim.

Jason LaRue is a player the Reds wouldn’t mind sending off.  He makes $3.9MM this year and $5.2MM in ’07.  LaRue is not happy as Dave Ross‘s backup.

Rod Barajas is being pushed aside in Texas, and he’ll hit free agency after the season.  He was a teammate of Curt Schilling‘s for several years in Arizona.

UPDATE:  According to Will Carroll, Varitek’s procedure is minor and should keep him out about three weeks.

Waiver Trade Candidate: Randy Wolf

Phillies’ southpaw starter Randy Wolf makes $9MM this year in the last of a four-year deal.  This makes him an ideal candidate for a waiver trade before August 31st.

Wolf turns 30 this month.  He made his first start since June 12, 2005 last Sunday due to Tommy John surgery.  His return was also delayed a bit because of a broken hand bone from a line drive.  As you would expect with a recent Tommy John guy, Wolf’s control was lacking in his ’06 debut.  He probably won’t get his walks down to below 3 per nine innings until 2007.  For what it’s worth, Wolf says his arm feels "incredible" now.  His velocity still hasn’t fully returned despite 25 rehab innings.

Still, like Kip Wells, Wolf could be a helpful addition as a fifth starter for a contender.  His next few starts (against the Mets and Braves) will be crucial in building up some trade value.  Teams like the Red Sox, A’s, Braves, and Reds could have interest in Wolf assuming they are still in contention in a few weeks.

Waiver Trade Rules

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.