Over the next three-plus weeks, teams across Major League Baseball will be perusing the waiver wire, searching for that one piece that could possibly be a fit for them—either for the short or long term.
The waiver trade period has been known to produce some compelling deals in recent history, with Adam Dunn, Jose Bautista, Derrek Lee, Jeff Conine and Larry Walker all involved in August deals that benefited the receiving teams.
At times, waiver deals can also be rewarding for selling teams as well. It certainly was in the case of the Atlanta Braves, who received young prospect pitcher John Smoltz from the Detroit Tigers for Doyle Alexander in August, 1987.
During the month, the vast majority of players are actually placed on waivers for a variety of reasons. Here are the most compelling players from each team who could be involved in a potential deal over the next 23 days.
The non-waiver trade deadline passed with the Arizona Diamondbacks hanging on to shortstop Stephen Drew. However, that may not last much longer.
Drew has struggled in his return from a horrific ankle injury, hitting just .202 in 29 games thus far. He is still owed roughly $2.4 million this season with a mutual $10 million option for 2013 that includes a $1.35 million buyout.
If Drew can figure things out offensively, he will have value for contending teams, and the D-Backs do have a potential shortstop-in-waiting with prospect Chris Owings.
Drew's fate could be decided by the D-Backs' fortunes over the next few weeks as well. The team is currently just four games out of the lead in the NL West and 7.5 games back in the race for one of two Wild Card slots.
Ever hear the expression "A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma"?
That would be the best way to describe Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens.
Banished to the minors after an 0-2 start with a 9.35 ERA, Jurrjens was recalled on June 22 and proceeded to put together four decent outings before imploding once again in late July.
Jurrjens was banished to the bullpen and lasted just one outing before coming down with a very timely groin injury, landing him on the disabled list.
Jurrjens has been mentioned in several trade rumors last year and over the winter.
Jurrjens is owed roughly $1.7 million for the rest of the season and is arbitration-eligible next year as well.
In listening to fans of the Baltimore Orioles, reliever Kevin Gregg may just be the most despised man in town.
Gregg is in the final season of a two-year, $10 million contract with an option for next season. At this point, it seems a lock that the O's won't exercise that option.
Gregg is owed roughly $1.75 million for the rest of this year, and has become almost the forgotten man in the O's bullpen. Gregg could be of value to contending teams looking for additional bullpen depth, and O's fans would likely cheer for that deal to happen.
The O's did shop Gregg before the start of the regular season but found no takers.
The Boston Red Sox are desperately clinging to life in the American League, just four games out of a possible Wild Card slot yet unable to play better than .500 ball.
With all of the hoopla surrounding the Red Sox clubhouse and supposed chemistry issues, starting pitcher Josh Beckett has often been at the center of that discussion.
Beckett took to the local radio airwaves on Tuesday, praising the Sox clubhouse. While people will no doubt continue to debate personalities on Boston's roster, speculation regarding Beckett's future in Boston won't stop, either.
It had been widely reported that the Sox were shopping Beckett before the non-waiver trade deadline, The Sox did in fact reach out to at least two teams before July 31, and have given indications they are willing to eat at least part of the $36.3 million or so remaining on Beckett's contract.
Health concerns are the main issue, as Beckett has had two starts pushed back already this season plus a stint on the disabled list.
The Chicago Cubs were able to unload several veterans before the non-waiver trade deadline, including Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker.
However, the biggest payroll piece still resides in Chicago—left fielder Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano is owed roughly $41.5 million, so finding suitors will require the Cubs to pony up a king's ransom in order to facilitate a deal. They have given indications they're ready to do just that, but Soriano also has veto rights as a 10-5 man, so it will have to be done with a team of his choosing.
It's unlikely that the Chicago White Sox will be parting with anyone in advance of the waiver trade deadline on Aug. 31, but one particular player who would likely draw interest is reliever Matt Thornton.
Thornton has been one of the better middle-late innings relievers in the American League throughout the last decade, posting a 3.26 ERA in his seven seasons with the White Sox.
Thornton is owed approximately $8.15 million on a contract that runs through next season and includes the $1 million buyout of his option year.
Left-handed relievers are always in high demand for contending teams, but again, with the White Sox in the hunt, don't expect a deal to happen at this point.
Thornton has been offered up for trade by the White Sox in the past, both at the trade deadline last year and during the offseason.
Just because a player could be eligible for a trade doesn't mean it's going to happen, and in the case of the Cincinnati Reds, it's highly unlikely any player on the current roster would be dealt before Aug. 31.
Armed with the best record in baseball, the Reds will be perusing the waiver wires to add at this point, not subtract. However, stranger things have happened.
Starter Bronson Arroyo would be the most likely waiver trade candidate at this point. Arroyo is owed roughly $15.1 million through next season, and with a 7-7 record and 4.05 ERA, teams aren't exactly chomping at the bit to acquire him.
Oft-injured Cleveland Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner still possesses a lethal bat when healthy, and with the Tribe on a 10-game slide and slipping out of playoff contention, he could very well be of help to teams looking to push forward into the playoffs.
Hafner is owed roughly $3.8 million for the rest of this season with a $2.75 million for the buyout of his 2013 option year. The Indians would likely have to include a chunk of that in any deal.
The Colorado Rockies clearly aren't going anywhere this year, except maybe back to the drawing board after a series of free agent missteps and other factors that have led to a disastrous 39-68 record.
Pinch-hitter/first baseman Jason Giambi is eligible to return to the roster sometime this week after a viral infection felled him on July 21. If completely healthy, Giambi's bat would be of benefit for teams looking for bench depth down the stretch, and his $1 million contract will be easy for any team to absorb.
Giambi was considered available at the trade deadline, but nothing came to fruition.
Almost exactly a year ago, the Minnesota Twins put outfielder Delmon Young on trade waivers, completing a trade with the Detroit Tigers just days later.
Could it be deja vu all over again?
Young's .265/.298/.399 slash line this season, along with 12 HR and 44 RBI, is not what the Tigers envisioned when they completed the deal last season.
His behavioral issues earlier this season certainly haven't helped his cause, either.
Considering the amount of players that the Houston Astros have already shipped out of town, there isn't much left in the cupboard these days in terms of veterans.
However, one more player could generate interest in the next three weeks, and that is shortstop Jed Lowrie.
Lowrie's current stint on the disabled list with a sprained ankle and peroneal nerve injury in his right leg doesn't help, but teams will no doubt be interested anyway.
Lowrie was hitting .253 with 14 HR and 36 RBI before the injury in mid-July, and his $1.25 million contract is certainly not an obstacle. Lowrie was made available by the Astros despite his ankle injury before the deadline.
The Kansas City Royals have a power hitter in waiting with Mil Myers bashing away at Triple-A Omaha, and the only thing holding him up at this point could be current Royals right fielder Jeff Francoeur.
That could be rectified in the coming weeks.
Francoeur is owed roughly $9.3 million through next season, and while the current .241 average with just 11 home runs isn't going to light fires under rival GMs, Royals general manager Dayton Moore will still be looking for takers.
Francoeur was made available before the deadline, but his lack of production likely scared off potential suitors.
In the case of Los Angeles Angels left fielder Vernon Wells, the word "could" in the phrase could be traded doesn't equate to the word "will."
Could be traded and will be traded are two totally different things, especially when one is owed roughly $48 million through the 2014 season.
Wells is now buried in the depth chart behind Mark Trumbo, Mike Trout, Torii Hunter and Kendrys Morales, and while manager Mike Scioscia is trying to find a reasonable number of at-bats for Wells, he's not going to sacrifice those bats very often for the sake of placating a player.
GM Jerry DiPoto will have his hands full in making a decision on Wells. While in a perfect world they would love to find suitors for Wells, if a deal can't be made with a willing suitor before Aug. 31, DiPoto may then have a different decision to make.
It seems almost a certainty that Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman James Loney will be testing the free agent waters for the first time this offseason—if he even lasts that long.
Loney has seen his role reduced with the Dodgers, essentially platooning at first with Juan Rivera. Hitting .255 with two homers and 29 RBI, Loney is a lock to be gone at the end of the season with the Dodgers searching for a more prototypical power-hitting corner man.
Loney is owed about $1.9 million for the rest of this season, so if he passes through waivers, GM Ned Colletti could very well be looking to facilitate his departure.
While health concerns may linger, Miami Marlins starting pitcher Josh Johnson is still a hot commodity.
Owed roughly $18 million through next season, the Marlins will have to make a decision whether or not to keep Johnson until the offseason or look to make a deal within the next three weeks.
If they didn't get the deal they were looking for before the non-waiver trade deadline, they might be hard-pressed to find a better deal between now and Aug. 31. However, overpaying is a part of baseball, especially for teams hungry to win now.
Interest in Johnson was widespread among many teams last month, so it's likely that interest hasn't waned much for many teams still in need of pitching.
The Milwaukee Brewers are clearly in rebuild mode, shipping Zack Greinke off to Anaheim, trading George Kottaras and releasing Cesar Izturis.
The Brewers have a few chips that could be in play for the month of August, including Aramis Ramirez, Randy Wolf and reliever Francisco Rodriguez.
The one draw for K-Rod is playoff experience. For contending teams, that holds value.
Rodriguez is owed about $2.4 million for the remainder of the 2012 season, and while he's not anywhere close to the pitcher he was in the middle-to-late 2000s, he still knows how to register tough outs.
K-Rod may have to pitch himself back into contention after teams were scared away by a series of bad outings in late July.
The Minnesota Twins were strangely quiet in the days leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, only dealing away starter Francisco Liriano to the rival Chicago White Sox.
With several chips still in play, the most attractive is easily left fielder Josh Willingham.
Having a career year with 29 HR and 83 RBI, there's no question Willingham would be highly sought-after over the next three weeks. Willingham is owed approximately $16.5 million through the 2014 season, but it would be difficult to overlook the power potential that Willingham could add to a contending club.
As Grant Brisbee of SB Nation points out, the Twins aren't "just a plugged hole short of a functional rowboat," they're a whole gaggle of players away from viability. Trading Willingham could at least fill a couple of those holes.
As a part-time player in 2012, New York Mets utility player Scott Hairston will surpass his career numbers after already posting 14 HR and 44 RBI in just 244 at-bats.
Signed at just $1.1 million for the season, there should be no doubt that the Mets are fielding calls on his availability.
Jack Moore of CBSSports.com believes that the Mets erred in keeping Hairston at the deadline.
With the Mets sinking fast in the standings, Hairston could well fetch a decent return.
In all likelihood, no one from the current Yankees' roster will be dealt before Aug. 31.
The Yankees are tied for the best record in the American League entering games on Tuesday night, with a 5.5 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. If anything, GM Brian Cashman is carefully watching the waiver wire for possible additions, not subtractions.
However, one player that could be sacrificed is catcher Russell Martin. Having a tough year with a .193 batting average, Martin is owed about $2.25 million for the rest of the season.
Does Martin figure into the future for the Yankees? Not with an abundance of catching prospects in their system. But dealing him now is unlikely.
The Oakland Athletics are hanging tough in the AL West, just 5.5 games behind the Texas Rangers, and they are also in a tight race with the Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays for one of the two Wild Card slots as well.
Unless Oakland's current three-game losing streak heading into Tuesday night becomes an extended run, the A's will likely go with what's gotten them there thus far.
If that streak does become a reality, third baseman Brandon Inge could become a casualty.
Inge is only hitting .225, but the 11 HR and 49 RBI in just 69 games for the A's has been a plus, and he would be a plus for any contending team looking for bench production.
The Philadelphia Phillies have certainly given every indication they're willing to sell, and that hasn't changed in August, either.
Already shipping Joe Blanton off to the Los Angeles Dodgers, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. does have other pieces who are available.
While Cliff Lee and his $87.5 million in remaining contract money might seem obvious, a more practical choice is outfielder Juan Pierre.
Signed for just $800K as a non-roster invitee before spring training, Pierre has been one of the few bright spots for the Phillies. His .313 batting average and 27 stolen bases would be a welcome addition to any contending team.
The Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles were among the teams interested in Pierre before the non-waiver trade deadline,
Like others on this list, the Pittsburgh Pirates won't be looking to subtract, given the fact they're within sight of their first playoff appearance in 20 years.
However, catcher Rod Barajas is likely not in the future plans, and his remaining $1.2 million in salary isn't a huge pill to swallow for other teams.
With the outstanding offense displayed by backup catcher Michael McKenry, exploring a deal for Barajas may not seem all that far-fetched.
The San Diego Padres seemingly dangled third baseman Chase Headley out there during the non-waiver trade deadline, coming away empty-handed.
Will August bring a more desirable return package?
With prospect Jedd Gyorko waiting in the wings, Headley's future is probably not in Southern California.
Headley is owed around $1 million for the rest of the season and is still arbitration eligible for two more seasons, so GM Josh Byrnes can afford to be patient in waiting for the right deal to come along—if not this August, then almost certainly during the offseason.
At least six teams were reported to have interest in Headley before the July 31 deadline, so the market is clearly there for Byrnes to facilitate a deal at some point.
The man with the colossal contract better known as Barry Zito was almost certainly placed on waivers already in August. It's a safe bet that no one placed a claim.
Zito will forever be known as the man with elephant in the closet in San Francisco—a $126 million contract that was never lived up to and a burden to bear for the front office for years.
GM Brian Sabean would be considered a God if he could somehow facilitate a deal to get Zito out of the Bay Area.
Well, maybe not a God, since he signed Zito in the first place. But it would be a worthy feat indeed.
Yes, the name constantly comes up, and yes, the Seattle Mariners insist he's not going anywhere. However, starting pitcher Felix Hernandez remains the most trade-worthy commodity that GM Jack Zduriencik has.
On more than one occasion, Hernandez' name has been brought up, and more than once by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Owed roughly $45 million through the end of the 2014 season, Hernandez certainly wouldn't be an affordable option for many teams, but the ones that have the financial flexibility would literally run over their own grandmother for the chance to grab King Felix.
Let's see—he's only 26, he's a former Cy Young Award winner, and he's an ace.
Yup, move over, grandma, I'm coming through.
The St. Louis Cardinals are surging, putting themselves back in the heat of the race for both the NL Central title and a possible Wild Card berth.
No one is likely going anywhere, especially from a somewhat depleted starting rotation, but in other circumstances, Jake Westbrook would be a worthy waiver trade candidate.
In the in final year of his contract, Westbrook is owed about $2.55 million for the rest of the season and is a savvy veteran with postseason experience.
It seems like Tampa Bay Rays center fielder B.J. Upton has been on trade market for years, and it likely won't stop him from being mentioned this August, either.
Upton is eligible for free agency for the first time this winter, and it's almost a certainty he won't be returning to Tampa Bay.
Upton is owed roughly $2.1 million for the remainder of the season, so GM Andrew Friedman could pursue a deal if the Rays fall out of contention between now and Aug. 31.
The Texas Rangers moved an ineffective Roy Oswalt to the bullpen last month, and Oswalt isn't at all happy with the move.
Oswalt reportedly refused to throw a third inning of relief last Sunday in a tight game with the Kansas City Royals, and while the air has since been cleared, it may be apparent that Oswalt isn't long for Arlington.
The Big League Stew seems convinced of that point as well.
Oswalt was demoted when the Rangers traded for Ryan Dempster, however, with a 6.49 ERA in six starts, Oswalt may not have lasted much longer in that role either way.
Oswalt is owed about $1.5 million or so, so GM Jon Daniels could be looking for takers.
Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind is currently on the disabled list with a back strain, and GM Alex Anthopoulos will likely have a decision to make when he returns.
Lind is owed about $6.5 million through next season with the Jays holding options for the following three seasons. Considering his injury history and lack of production, it's hard to believe that they intend on retaining him at this point.
Anthopoulos would no doubt love to find a team willing to take a chance on Lind finding the stroke that saw him hit .305 with 35 HR and 114 RBI in 2009, but right now, Lind seems far removed from that particular player.
The Washington Nationals made no moves at the trade deadline, despite having the best record in the National League at the time.
General manager Mike Rizzo was clearly happy with the state of his team despite injuries to Ian Desmond and a potential shutdown for starter Stephen Strasburg due to an imposed innings limit.
On Monday, the Nationals claimed shortstop Cesar Izturis off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers to add depth after oft-injured Mark DeRosa was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin.
Rizzo has veterans who are waiver trade candidates, but none of them will be moved.
DeRosa could have been a likely candidate as a 15-year veteran and with a team-friendly contract, but injuries have taken care of that.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.