It’s been somewhat quiet on this front in 2018, but we’ll use this post to keep track of the names of all of the players who’ve reportedly cleared revocable trade waivers. As is the case every year, there are a few things that should be re-emphasized before diving into names.
First and foremost, the vast majority of Major League players will be placed on revocable trade waivers this month — many assuredly already have been — with most instances going unreported. By month’s end, there will likely be dozens of players who have cleared waivers without garnering any sort of headlines. It also bears repeating that players can still be traded in September, but Aug. 31 serves as the deadline for postseason eligibility, making it a sort of soft trade deadline. Deals of note are rarely consummated in September, though Juan Nicasio did change hands after Aug. 31 in 2017.
Lastly, for those who aren’t familiar with the inner-workings of waiver trades or simply need a quick refresher, MLBTR published a full explanation of how August trades work to kick off the month. We’ll keep this post updated throughout the remainder of the month for those who wish to bookmark it.
Onto the names…
(Last update: 8/29)
- Jerry Blevins, Mets (link): Blevins has a long track record of shutting down left-handed opponents, but lefties have clobbered him so far in 2018 while righties have been unusually ineffective. He’s a specialist who’s owed $1.23MM through season’s end before reaching free agency, making him an expensive piece with a fairly limited role.
- Kendrys Morales & Marco Estrada, Blue Jays (link): Both relatively expensive veterans went unclaimed, with Morales still owed $13MM through the end of the 2019 season and Estrada owed more than $2.5MM through the end of the current campaign. Morales has been one of baseball’s hottest hitters but comes with no defensive value, largely limiting him to an AL club or an NL club with an opening at first base. Estrada has pitched through back struggles for the past couple of seasons and recently acknowledged that he’s been playing through discomfort again recently. He has an ERA north of 6.00 dating back to July 30.
- Josh Harrison, Pirates (link): A run of success in advance of the non-waiver deadline led the Bucs to add two controllable pitchers, but the team has since sunk in the standings. That could lead to some late-August salary dumping, with Harrison among the most likely candidates to be moved. He’s not hitting much this year and is playing on a fairly hefty $10MM annual salary, but it’s certainly possible to imagine a contender adding the scrappy, athletic, and versatile utilityman. It seems likely the Pirates will be paying Harrison $1.5MM in buyouts at season’s end regardless, so perhaps the team will cover that expense while trying to offload Harrison’s remaining 2018 salary.
- Alex Cobb & Andrew Cashner, Orioles (link): Both Cashner and Cobb have struggled through disappointing seasons after signing multi-year deals this past winter. Cobb, in particular, was a lock to clear waivers with three years remaining on an ill-fated four-year deal that promised him $57MM. Cashner’s two-year deal is worth a more palatable $16MM in total, but he’s barely been able to keep his ERA under 5.00 while delivering middling K/BB numbers and career-worst 42.6 percent ground-ball rate.
- Gio Gonzalez, Matt Wieters & Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals (link): A trio of expensive Nats vets reportedly cleared waivers at the same time, though there’s virtually no chance that Zimmerman is moved with more than $23MM owed to him through next season and full trade veto power via his 10-and-5 rights. Wieters hasn’t hit enough to make himself a very desirable trade chip, though perhaps a contender would add him as a backup if the Nats absorbed most of the just over $2MM remaining on his contract. Gonzalez is the most plausible of this bunch, though, as very few starters have made it through waivers. While he was still owed about $2.5MM at the time he was reported to have cleared and is having a down season, Gonzalez still misses bats and induces grounders, and he has a lengthy track record of solid mid-rotation work.
- Andrew McCutchen, Giants (link): Cutch was owed $3.155MM at the time he cleared waivers, and while he’s not the MVP-caliber bat he was in his mid-20s now that he’s approaching his 32nd birthday, he’s still a solidly above-average hitter. In 538 plate appearances with the Giants, he’s slashed .255/.353/.412 with 14 home runs, 26 doubles and two triples. McCutchen’s 44.6 percent hard-hit rate is the best of his career and ranks 22nd among qualified hitters. The Giants would likely be willing to pay down some of his deal to get a decent prospect, and there should be trade interest.
- Starlin Castro, Marlins (link): Castro is owed the balance of this year’s $10MM salary plus another $11MM in 2019 and at least a $1MM buyout on a $16MM option for the 2020 season. He’s given the Marlins slightly above-average offense with respectable defense at second base, but there aren’t too many contenders looking for upgrades at second base. Even if he’s not moved in August, the Marlins will likely shop him again this winter.
- Justin Smoak, Blue Jays (link): It’s at least a moderate surprise that Smoak, an affordable switch-hitting slugger in the midst of a productive season, cleared waivers. He was hitting .255/.365/.463 with 18 homers at the time he was reported to have cleared, and while that’s not up to his Herculean 2017 levels, it’s still plenty productive. He’s earning $4.1MM in 2018 and has a cheap $6MM club option for the 2019 season that the Jays will surely pick up if he is not dealt.
- C.J. Cron, Rays (link): Cron has rewarded the Rays for buying low on him this past offseason, delivering a career-best .250/.317/.480 slash with a personal best 24 home runs through 454 plate appearances as of the time he was reported to have cleared waivers. He’s earning just $2.3MM in 2018 and is controlled for another two seasons, though he doesn’t bring any defensive or baserunning value to the table. Cron also doesn’t walk at an especially high clip, so he’s unlikely to emerge as a serious on-base threat.
- Wilmer Flores, Mets (link): Flores has experience at all four infield positions and was hitting .275/.326/.444 at the time he was reported to have cleared waivers. But he’s been unusually inept against left-handed opponents in 2018 and is due a raise on this season’s $3.4MM salary in arbitration this offseason. He could deepen a team’s bench, but contenders would likely have had more interest were he performing well against southpaws. The Mets maintain that they’re aiming to contend in 2019, so perhaps they prefer to hang onto Flores.
- Lucas Duda, Royals (link): Duda has played far too much against lefties in 2018, dragging down his overall numbers, but he’s still a threat against right-handed opposition. He’s limited to first base, but with a $3.5MM salary he’d be an affordable bench bat for any contending club.
- Logan Forsythe, Twins (link): Forsythe, acquired in the Brian Dozier trade largely as a means of offsetting the duo’s identical $9MM salaries, wasn’t even a lock to stick around with Minnesota after being acquired, but he’s batted .361/.418/.426 through his first 67 PAs in Minnesota, helping to rebuild some stock after a miserable season in L.A. He won’t net the Twins much of anything in a trade if he’s moved, but the Twins might not mind simply shedding the remaining $2.1MM on his salary (as of Aug. 19).
- Adam Jones, Orioles (link): Jones was reported to have cleared waivers on Aug. 16 and was owed $4.27MM of his $17MM salary at the time. While he’s eligible to be traded to any team, it’s entirely up to Jones whether he moves. The five-time All-Star has 10-and-5 rights (10 years of MLB service, the past five with one team), meaning he can veto any trade. Jones reportedly already exercised those rights rather than approving a trade to the Phillies. He’s hitting .285/.317/.438 as of this writing and is in the midst of a torrid hot streak, but he has family and charity reasons (among others) for wanting to remain in Baltimore.
- Curtis Granderson, Blue Jays (link): Now 37 years of age, the Grandy Man isn’t the star that he once was, but he remains a reasonably productive bat against right-handed pitching. He’s playing the season on a one-year, $5MM deal and is still owed about $1.23MM of that salary as of this morning. While Granderson is largely limited to the outfield corners, he could be a useful bench piece for contending clubs down the stretch.
- Francisco Liriano, Jose Iglesias & Jordan Zimmermann, Tigers (link): It was a 100 percent certainty that Zimmermann, still owed $55.9MM through 2020 (including the remainder of this year’s salary) would clear waivers. Even with improved results this season (4.36 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 1.6 BB/9 in 88 2/3 innings), there’s virtually no hope of the Tigers shedding that salary this month. It was less certain that rentals like Liriano or Iglesias would clear, however. Liriano’s ERA ballooned to 4.72 last night after he was roughed up by the Twins, but he’s held left-handed pitching to a terrible .141/.247/.239 slash through 81 plate appearances. With $984K still owed to him through the end of the year, he’d be a reasonably affordable lefty specialist for a contending team’s bullpen. As for Iglesias, it seems quite likely that he’ll be moved to a contender. He’s hitting a respectable, albeit unspectacular .264/.306/.389 while playing terrific defense at shortstop. He’s owed $1.54MM of his $6.275MM salary through season’s end.
- Joe Mauer & Logan Morrison, Twins (link): Morrison won’t be going anywhere after having season-ending hip surgery last week, and it seems likely that the Twins will buy out his 2019 option after a disappointing all-around season. Mauer, like Jones, has the right to veto any trade and wouldn’t be in much demand anyhow. After a strong .305/.384/.417 slash in 2017, he’s posted a more pedestrian .272/.352/.358 line in 2018 — the final season of his eight-year, $184MM contract.