Clearing The Bases
The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone with a flurry of deals, but all is not lost as far as player movement. Players can still be traded, they just have to pass through waivers first. If they pass through unclaimed, they are free to be dealt to anyone. If they are claimed by one team, they can only be traded to that team. If they are claimed by multiple teams, than the team with the highest waiver priority is the only team that the player can be traded to. There is really is no reason for a team not to put all of their players on waiver at some point during the month of August. You can always take them back off waivers, even if you never intended to trade them. There is some strategy involved however as perhaps certain times of the month a player may have a better chance of getting squeezed through waivers than others. With this in mind we will take a look at a handful of players that will certainly get through waivers, question is, will they be traded.
Alfonso Soriano, Chicago Cubs: Everyone knows that the Cubs would like to deal him, they are even willing to eat a good portion of his contract to get the deal done. Soriano is having a bounce back season and could certainly help a contender, but he turned down a deal to the Giants, using his 10/5 rights (10 years in baseball, five with the same team) at the non-waiver deadline and may not be inclined to go to another team in the middle of a season even if he did have a chance to make the playoffs again. Another reason the Cubs would like to deal him is so that they can give Bryan LaHair regular at-bats again. LaHair is the odd man out right now with the call up of Brett Jackson.
Carlos Lee, Miami Marlins: Like Soriano, Lee may already be on another team, but invoked his no trade clause to turn down a possible trade to the Yankees, this after using the same clause to turn down a deal to the Dodgers in mid-July. Certainly doesn’t seem like Lee cares about playing for a winner. Some players just like playing with no pressure I guess, winning is secondary.
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies: Yes I know that I’m technically cheating here as Lee has already passed through waivers, been claimed by the Dodgers, and pulled back by Philly. What I want to talk about is why the Phillies pulled him back. Lee will be 34 years of age at the end of the month, his contract is enormous and heavily backloaded. Philadelphia made a huge mistake in not dealing him before the non-waiver deadline when they could’ve gotten some prospects back for him, but made an even bigger error when they were given a chance just to dump the contract on LA. Lee is only going to get worse, maybe not terribly worse, but certainly won’t get better and Philadelphia could’ve used that money to upgrade their offense next season.
Ricky Nolasco, Miami Marlins: Nolasco is still owed approximately $12 million between this season and next, not a ton of cash, but enough so that he will pass through waivers, and even if he didn’t the Marlins would probably do backflips just to dump the rest of the contract on another team. However, if a contender were to lose a starter in the next couple of weeks, they might believe that Nolasco just needs a change of scenery to be the pitcher he used to be. That’s all fine and good, but his fastball velocity keeps going down while his ERA and WHIP keep going up. Not a good sign.
Josh Beckett, Boston Red Sox: Once again, another high priced pitcher whose best days may be behind him. Plus, he may also be the leader behind the locker room cancer that seems to be going on in Boston along with the backstabbing of manager Bobby Valentine. This is probably a situation where Boston should be thrilled to get rid of him but more than likely won’t as they are only four games out of the wildcard coming into action Tuesday and can’t afford to trade away any starting pitching, even mediocre ones. That being said however, you have to wonder if trading Beckett would be addition by subtraction.
Johan Santana, New York Mets: Santana hasn’t pitched in approximately a month and that could be a very good thing as his arm will be fresh for the next seven plus weeks. The problem is going to be his contract once again as he owed approximately $25 million between this season and next, but then again you wouldn’t have to give up much to get him. Mets would be thrilled to lose the contract as they continue to rebuild. Santana is not the Johan of old, but he can still pitch, did have a no-hitter this year after all (Carlos Beltran may think otherwise). He won’t be traded because of the injury plus the salary, but he could help a contender. Dodgers would make some sense.
Jason Bay, New York Mets: Sorry Mets fans your stuck with him. General manager Sandy Alderson came out today and stated that the Mets won’t release him and eat his contract, oh well, not like anyone else wants him either but Bay seems like a change of scenery would do him wonders, certainly couldn’t hurt any.
Justin Morneau, Minnesota Twins: Problem here is that the Twins want top prospects and don’t want to eat any of the contract. Is Morneau the Justin of old? Not yet, but he may be headed that way. This has certainly been a good year for him as a bounce back from a concussion. Twins may be better off just holding onto him anyway and see if he regains the rest of his ability/talent next season.
Shaun Marcum, Milwaukee Brewers
Matt Garza, Chicago Cubs
Matt Capps, Minnesota Twins
Pretty good bet that all of these players would’ve been dealt had they not been hurt at the deadline.
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