A slew of household names cleared revocable waivers recently, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag in a pair of articles. The list consists of Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper, Reds first baseman Joey Votto, Tigers left fielder Justin Upton, Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and four Mets – outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, second baseman Neil Walker and reliever AJ Ramos. All of these players are now eligible for August trades.
It’s obvious that Harper, one of the game’s preeminent superstars, isn’t going anywhere. As Heyman notes, no team bothered to claim Harper because they realized putting the 24-year-old through waivers was merely a procedural maneuver by first-place Washington.
Votto, 33, won’t be on the move, either, as he’s a Cincinnati institution who has a full no-trade clause and a guaranteed $171MM coming his way through 2024.
Hernandez also enjoys full no-trade rights, though he hasn’t aged nearly as well as Votto. The former ace’s performance has declined drastically over the past couple years, making his contract a burden to the Mariners. The 31-year-old is on a $26MM salary this season and next, and he’s due another $27MM in 2019. Further hampering his trade value, King Felix is on the disabled list with right biceps tendinitis.
Davis, meanwhile, has a partial no-trade clause, and it’s difficult to imagine any team showing interest in the once-elite offensive force. The 31-year-old is amid his second straight mediocre season since re-signing in Baltimore on a seven-year, $161MM contract.
Upton, 29, is having an outstanding season, but he comes with a pricey salary ($22.13MM through 2021), and both his 20-team no-trade rights and opt-out clause complicate matters. Upton could vacate the remaining four years and $88MM-plus left on his deal after this season, but there’s a strong likelihood he’ll ride out the remainder of the contract, Heyman suggests. Regardless, there hasn’t been any real trade interest in Upton to this point, according to Heyman.
With his $8MM salary this season, Crawford is eminently affordable now, but he’s due $60MM from 2018-21 and is having a dreadful year offensively. While Crawford remains a great defender, teams might be leery of taking on a highly paid 30-year-old (31 in January) whose offensive production has suddenly cratered. He’s another member of the full no-trade clause club, too, further decreasing the chances of a deal.
As for the Mets, we now know of six of their veterans who have passed through waivers, with outfielders Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson having done so earlier this week. The best of the bunch is Cespedes, whom the Mets re-signed to a four-year, $110MM contract in the offseason. Even if the Mets wanted to deal Cespedes, the 31-year-old has a full NTC that would enable him to block any move.
Walker has also dealt with hamstring issues – a partial tear that sidelined the 31-year-old from mid-June until last week. The soon-to-be free agent has gone just 3 of 26 at the plate since his return, but he still comes with a quality track record and is on pace for another decent offensive season (.254/.332/.431 in 281 plate appearances). It’s unclear, though, whether there will be any teams clamoring for the switch-hitting Walker, who’s has roughly $6MM of his $17.2MM salary remaining through season’s end, given a lack of demand for second basemen.
Cabrera, 31, drew pre-trade deadline interest from the Red Sox and Indians, but they’ve patched up their infield situations since then. Moreover, the Mets are reportedly giving strong consideration to going forward with Cabrera next year, when he’s owed either a reasonable salary ($8.5MM) or a $2MM buyout.
Ramos just joined the Mets last week in a trade with the National League East rival Marlins. Several teams were interested in acquiring the 32-year-old leading up to July 31, though some of those clubs went on to make other deals for relievers after he went to the Mets. Plus, the Mets may favor keeping Ramos in hopes of contending in 2018. He’s owed around $2MM through the end of this season and has one more year of arbitration eligibility.