The non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching for teams that are looking at acquiring players for a postseason run.
However, the trading doesn’t have to stop next week. It’ll just get a little more complicated.
After the non-waiver trade deadline passes, teams will still have an additional month to trade players through the waiver system.
Through the reverse order of the standings, each day teams will have the opportunity to claim players who have been placed on waivers. The team with the worst record that claims a player will then have a limited amount of time to work out a deal, otherwise the player will be taken off waivers and can no longer be traded.
As teams have proven in past seasons, waiver wire acquisitions can play large roles in postseason play.
An article by Jayson Stark on ESPN.com contains a quote from an executive who talked to Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr.
One executive who spoke with GM Ruben Amaro Jr. reports, "I don't even think Ruben knows what he's going to do."
Well, it doesn’t sound like the Phils are even receiving any offers that they have interest in as of now.
According to a recent article on Cincinnati.com by Paul Daugherty, the Cincinnati Reds recently rejected a deal for Victorino that would have sent reliever Logan Ondrusek to the Phils.
Although Ondrusek is a 27-year-old right-handed reliever who has a 3.01 ERA and has held left-handed batters to a .185 batting average, he’s also only struck out six more batters than he’s walked this season.
If the Phillies were to trade Victorino, they would likely try to acquire a right-handed reliever who has had better numbers this season. But the Reds, according to Daugherty, weren’t willing to give up Ondrusek.
If the Phillies aren’t getting trade offers that they like, would their best move be to hold on to Victorino into August, and then place him on waivers?
If the Phillies are set on trading Victorino, it would be difficult for them to have any leverage in any move at the non-waiver deadline since the center fielder is a soon-to-be free agent, and is batting well below his career average this season.
However, a recent win streak by the Phils could also lead to optimism that a run at the playoffs can still take place. At that point, Victorino could play a large role in helping the team this season.
Or the Phillies could find that, later in August, the better option is to trade Victorino to try and either move their payroll closer to being below the luxury tax threshold, or acquire a proven right-handed reliever who can help beyond this season.
If the Phillies aren’t getting any offers that they like now, it wouldn’t make much of a difference if they still weren’t getting any offers that they like next month. However, at that point, they will at least have had Victorino for additional weeks to try and improve their wild-card standing.
Meanwhile, a team such as the Reds or Pirates could be more willing to give up the reliever that the Phillies want if they find themselves still in contention for the National League Central at that time.
If the Phillies were forced to only negotiate with one team that claimed Victorino on waivers, and had to settle for whatever reliever that team offered, it would be a similar situation to the one they are in now. So why not wait a few weeks to see if that team decides they need an additional lineup piece bad enough to offer the Phils a better deal?
The Phillies could be forced to settle in a deal for Victorino whether he’s dealt at the non-waiver trade deadline or through waivers. If it doesn’t make much of a difference, waiting to place him on waivers could be the better choice.
Waiting to see which teams are still in contention once only waiver wire trades are allowed, or seeing if another team gets hit with an injury during their run at the postseason, could help the Phils get the right-handed reliever they desire in a trade for Victorino.
Limiting their trade options could be a risky move for the Phillies, but if the team will have to settle either way, or at least have a chance at finding the right deal later on, waiting to trade Victorino could be the better option.