All that the July 31 deadline means is that if a team decides to trade a player, that player doesn’t have to clear waivers beforehand. After July 31, things change up a little bit.
If a player is placed on waivers, the other 31 teams have 47 business-day hours to claim him, according to FanGraphs. If that player is claimed, the team can either work out a deal with the team who claimed him, they can just let that player go or they can take that player off of waivers. That same player can be placed on waivers again, but if he’s claimed he cannot be pulled off and therefore will be traded or let go.
Crawford was one of the players that Boston has placed on waivers, tweets Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe.
Most everyone will be put on trade waivers over the next few weeks. Today it was Nick Punto and Carl Crawford.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) August 1, 2012
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports also confirms that Crawford has been placed on waivers by the Red Sox.
Cafardo’s tweet came at around 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, so we can approximate that the deadline for another team to claim Crawford would be around 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Cafardo notes that mostly everyone will be placed on waivers, but putting Crawford on is an exceptionally smart decision.
Whether Crawford gets claimed or he clears waivers, Boston is in a good position. If he’s claimed, they can work to trade him to a team that wants him right away. I still believe that the Red Sox will have to pay a chunk of his remaining contract—especially since he just signed before the start of the 2011 season—but there is a chance that the team who claims him could pay it as well.
Should Crawford go unclaimed, Boston then has the opportunity to work with teams who might have a little interest in him and don’t have to worry about another team intervening.
If Crawford was claimed and Boston didn’t feel that they could work out a deal with the team who claimed him, it would be interesting to see what Boston decided to do. Would they put him on waivers again knowing that they could lose him or wait until the offseason to possibly deal him?
A few days before the trade deadline, the Miami Marlins had been the only team to inquire about Crawford’s services, tweets Cafardo. This is just speculation, but maybe they would put in a claim for him. There are only a few teams with worse records than the Marlins, so that would give them leverage over other teams who could claim him.
Crawford is still just getting used to playing in the majors on a regular basis this season, but he does have an issue with his left elbow that probably will require Tommy John surgery at some point in the future, according to Brian MacPherson of The Providence Journal.
Crawford also has five more years left on his contract after 2012 which could be something a team likes in him or something that deters them from putting a claim in for him.
One thing that we will know for sure is that on Friday afternoon we’ll have a very good idea about what the future between Carl Crawford and the Boston Red Sox holds. Will he finish this season in Boston or elsewhere?