Josh Beckett and 1 Player Each MLB Team Could Still Place on Waivers
During the month of August, MLB teams typically place a high number of their players on the waiver wire. Oftentimes it's used to gauge interest in particular players, and other times it's done to facilitate a specific deal with other teams.
Whatever the case, the process is generally done in secret unless the team chooses to make the transactions public.
As the month marches on toward the end of the waiver-trade period, it's likely more names will surface in terms of having cleared waivers. The Boston Red Sox have already successfully passed left fielder Carl Crawford through waivers, and utility infielder Nick Punto cleared waivers as well.
So who are other players that could still be processed through the waiver wire?
Here is our suggestion for at least one player from each MLB team.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Stephen Drew
Some might think the obvious choice here for the Arizona Diamondbacks would be right fielder Justin Upton, but team president Derrick Hall has already indicated that Upton isn't going anywhere, at least not this season.
Drew has yet to find his stroke since returning from the disabled list in late June, hitting .212 with two homers and 11 RBI.
Drew's contract situation by its own created trade speculation before the non-waiver trade deadline, and while D-Backs GM Kevin Towers said at the time that it was unlikely that Drew would get dealt, he will no doubt be placed on waivers, regardless.
Atlanta Braves: Dan Uggla
Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla is owed over $40 million through the 2015 season, and for a man hitting just .215 with diminished power numbers, that's a lot of cash to carry for any team.
Uggla suffered through a rough first two months in the 2011 season but rebounded to hit 36 HR and 82 RBI.
There's been no such surge in the second half as of yet this year—Uggla is likely to see the lowest production numbers of his entire career.
Baltimore Orioles: Mark Reynolds
With the promotion of top prospect Manny Machado last week and his subsequent manning the hot corner for the Baltimore Orioles, Mark Reynolds has seen his playing time diminished even further.
Now he's splitting time at first base with Wilson Betemit, and considering that Reynolds is hitting only .211 with nine homers, I'm guessing the O's have no intention of picking up Reynolds' 2013 option.
With just over two weeks left until the waiver-trade deadline, the O's could very well see what, if anything, they can get for Reynolds at this point.
Boston Red Sox: Josh Beckett
With Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett once again struggling in his last start, against the Texas Rangers, he now sits with a 5-9 record and a 4.97 ERA.
Beckett is owed roughly $35 million through the 2014 season—it's a safe bet that Beckett would easily clear waivers, paving the way for GM Ben Cherington to pursue making even more changes in Boston.
Chicago Cubs: Alfonso Soriano
There has been no confirmation that the Chicago Cubs placed left fielder Alfonso Soriano on waivers at any time in the first two weeks of August, so he's the obvious choice here.
Soriano has enjoyed an excellent season thus far, hitting .263 with 20 HR and 69 RBI. In fact, his 20th home run last Thursday put him in elite company. Only Soriano, David Ortiz and Albert Pujols have hit at 20 home runs in each season since 2002.
Soriano is still owed approximately $40 million on a contract that takes him through the 2014 season, so the Cubs will obviously have to get very creative in exploring a deal with any team.
There have been no recent rumblings regarding a trade; however, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein did reveal that at least one team had interest in Soriano before the non-waiver trade deadline and that other teams "nibbled."
Chicago White Sox: Adam Dunn
Chicago White Sox designated hitter/first baseman Adam Dunn has been slumping of late, hitting just .130 with 11 strikeouts in his last 23 at-bats over the previous seven games entering Monday.
For the season, Dunn is hitting just .203 but is supplying the power, with 31 HR and 76 RBI.
Still, with close to $33 million still owed to him over the next two-plus seasons, it's hard to imagine that the White Sox wouldn't explore options by placing him on waivers.
Cincinnati Reds: Bronson Arroyo
With the Cincinnati Reds currently leading the NL Central, it's highly unlikely they would explore deals to unload any players, but that doesn't mean they won't explore options via the waiver wire.
Starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo would be a candidate.
Arroyo has had a nice bounce-back season after posting a 9-12 record and 5.07 ERA last year. Arroyo is currently 8-7 with a 3.95 ERA in 23 starts.
Arroyo is owed roughly $14.5 million through next season.
Cleveland Indians: Casey Kotchman
The Cleveland Indians are now in a position where they are likely done for the season—at 53-62 headed into action on Monday, the Indians have now lost 21 of 30 games since the All-Star break and are sinking fast.
GM Chris Antonetti will likely look to the future in thinking about whom to put on waivers, and one obvious candidate would be first baseman Casey Kotchman.
Kotchman has been a major disappointment, hitting just .223 with a .630 OPS. He signed for only $3 million this year, so Antonetti would no doubt love to find a suitor just to get anything at all back in return.
Colorado Rockies: Ramon Hernandez
Colorado Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez certainly hasn't had the kind of year expected when he was signed to a two-year, $6.4 million deal during the offseason.
Hernandez is currently hitting .213 with four homers and 22 RBI and has seen his playing time diminished with the play of rookie catcher Wilin Rosario.
Hernandez does have value on the open market as a backup catcher and reliable bat off the bench, with a career .264 batting average.
The New York Mets, Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays all had interest in Hernandez before the trade deadline.
Detroit Tigers: Ramon Santiago
Since the acquisition of Omar Infante from the Miami Marlins, Detroit Tigers second baseman Ramon Santiago has seen limited playing time, logging only 13 at-bats in the month of August.
Santiago is owed about $2.5 million through next season and would have value as a backup middle infielder.
Houston Astros: None
At this point in time, the Houston Astros are sinking like a stone, having dropped 25 of 30 games since the All-Star break, and playing a gaggle of rookies and journeymen.
GM Jeff Luhnow has already unloaded every player deemed expendable because of salary, and of the three players left on the roster making more than $1 million, two of them—Jed Lowrie and Francisco Cordero—are currently on the disabled list.
I suppose Luhnow could put either player on waivers, but there would be nary a nibble at this point.
Kansas City Royals: Bruce Chen
The Kansas City Royals started the year with the ad slogan "Our Time."
Unfortunately, they forgot to set their clocks.
"Our Time" turned into a bad time, as they are now once again staring at a disappointing season well under the .500 mark.
It starts with pitching, and it's likely that Bruce Chen will make his way to the waiver wire at some point in mid-to-late August, if he hasn't been processed already.
Chen has been a disappointment after signing a two-year, $9 million deal this offseason, with an 8-10 record and 5.56 ERA in 25 starts.
Los Angeles Angels: Vernon Wells
I would be shocked if the Los Angeles Angels haven't already put outfielder Vernon Wells through the waiver process.
Given the fact that he's owed somewhere in the neighborhood of $46 million and playing the role of fourth outfielder, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that Wells won't at some point be placed on waivers.
It's always difficult personally to talk about Wells in a negative light, having had the opportunity to interview him on several occasions and learning to appreciate Wells as a quality human being.
But business is business, and GM Jerry DiPoto has already shown through previous action (see Mickey Hatcher firing) that he's not averse to making tough choices and doing what's best for the Angels.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Juan Rivera
There are some that might think of two other names that could be on this list for the Los Angeles Dodgers—Juan Uribe and James Loney.
But that would be assuming that the Dodgers could get anything in return for either of them.
Outfielder/first baseman Juan Rivera, however, could bring back some return if placed on waivers.
Signed for $4.25 million this season with a 2013 option, Rivera still has power that can be of benefit to other teams for a final push toward the postseason and beyond.
There was no discussion and were no rumors regarding Rivera before the non-waiver trade deadline, and GM Ned Colletti would likely have to be blown away to even consider trading Rivera. That of course would leave Loney at first base fulltime once again, and the Dodgers have already been there, done that and don't want a postcard.
Miami Marlins: Carlos Lee
The power is virtually gone, but he can still get on base with regularity.
Miami Marlins first baseman Carlos Lee is clearly on the decline, having hit just six homers on the season thus far, and only one since joining the Marlins on July 4.
However, the .370 on-base percentage since joining the Marlins is a plus, and no doubt several contending teams would love to add a veteran who still has the ability to get on base.
Milwaukee Brewers: Randy Wolf
Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Randy Wolf has easily suffered through one of the worst seasons of his career.
With a 3-8 record and a 5.46 ERA in 23 starts, Wolf likely won't see his $10 million picked up for the 2013 season.
But that doesn't mean the Brewers won't pass him through waivers and see if they get a bite.
Minnesota Twins: Jamey Carroll
With a record of 49-65 entering play on Monday, the Minnesota Twins are tied at the bottom of the AL Central standings with the Kansas City Royals.
It's pretty obvious that the Twins are completely evaluating with an eye on how they plan to restructure the team moving forward.
Shortstop Jamey Carroll could very well be a bargaining chip for GM Terry Ryan via the waiver-trade process. Carroll has value for several teams with his ability to play three infield positions. The remaining $4 million left on his contract after this season could be a concern, however.
New York Mets: Jason Bay
New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay has roughly $22.5 million still owed to him, so he would likely pass through the waiver-wire process unclaimed.
At that point, Mets GM Sandy Alderson would have a decision to make. Do you keep a man who's hitting .150 on your 25-man roster, or do you cut bait and run?
Bay's struggles and injuries have been well documented. To his credit, his injuries have occurred as the result of aggressive play, so it's not like Bay has been in New York just going through the motions. However, it's about results, and they certainly haven't been there for Bay in his Mets career.
New York Yankees: Alex Rodriguez
It's obviously stating the obvious, but come one, there's only one obvious choice here.
New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is currently on the disabled list nursing a broken bone in his hand, courtesy of a wayward Felix Hernandez fastball. While he's there, he'll likely also pass through the waiver wire unclaimed.
Rodriguez is owed well north of $100 million until the year 2046.
Okay, that's an exaggeration, but for every single team it might as well be that long, because he's not going to be claimed anyway.
Oakland Athletics: Brandon Inge
The Oakland Athletics are hanging tough in the AL West, just 6.5 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.
Oakland's scorching July, in which they rattled off 19 wins in 24 games, put them right back in the hunt, but they've cooled in the month of August, winning only five of 11 contests entering play on Monday night.
If they can't pick up their play, third baseman Brandon Inge could become a casualty.
Inge is hitting only .224, but the 11 HR and 50 RBI in just 73 games for the A's have been pluses, and he would be a plus for any contending team looking for bench help down the stretch.
Philadelphia Phillies: Juan Pierre
The Philadelphia Phillies have improved their play slightly since the All-Star break, posting a 15-12 record, but at 10 games under .500, they still find themselves way behind the eight-ball in terms of competing for a wild-card slot.
GM Ruben Amaro has already started looking forward, shipping off Shane Victorino, Jim Thome, Chad Qualls, Hunter Pence and Joe Blanton.
Outfielder Juan Pierre could well be next.
Pierre has increased his value significantly since signing an $800,000 minor league contract during the offseason by accumulating a .307 batting average and 28 stolen bases.
Clearly one of the most underrated players of the season, Pierre could fetch Amaro some real value if he passes through the waiver process.
The Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles were among the teams interested in Pierre before the non-waiver trade deadline, so interest is clearly there.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Rod Barajas
Not only are the Pittsburgh Pirates looking at their first winning season in 20 years, but they're right in the middle of the hunt for a playoff berth, as well.
As such, GM Neal Huntington will likely use the waiver wire to find potential pieces, not to subtract.
However, catcher Rod Barajas may draw interest if put on the waiver wire. Barajas has just under $1.2 million remaining on his contract, so money won't be an issue for any team.
With the great play of backup Michael McKenry (.280 BA, 11 HR, 31 RBI), Barajas could be made expendable if the right deal presented itself.
San Diego Padres: Chase Headley
One can only assume that, because San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley was made available before the non-waiver trade deadline, he's likely available during the rest of the month of August, as well.
With prospect Jedd Gyorko waiting in the wings, it doesn't seem as though Headley's time in San Diego will be long.
At least six teams were reported to have expressed interest in Headley before the July 31 deadline, so the market is clearly there for GM Josh Byrnes to facilitate a deal at some point.
Whether or not he makes it through the waiver wire is another issue entirely. Headley is owed less than $1 million for the remainder of the season, so a blocking maneuver by contending teams wouldn't be a stretch.
San Francisco Giants: Tim Lincecum
San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum took a hard-luck loss on Friday night, giving up just three runs on six hits in seven innings against the Colorado Rockies. Unfortunately, his team scored no runs in support.
The loss left Lincecum with a 6-12 record and a 5.35 ERA, and while he has pitched better of late, he's clearly not the same pitcher who won back-to-back Cy Youngs in 2008 and 2009.
Lincecum is owed about $26 million through next season, and while many would consider it heresy to believe that GM Brian Sabean would put Lincecum's name through the waiver process, he'd be foolish not to at least try.
Seattle Mariners: Brendan Ryan
One thing that can be said of Seattle Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan: The man can absolutely pick it with the glove.
Ryan has committed just four errors in 418 total chances for an astounding .990 fielding percentage, and at a position that demands solid defense, he has excelled far ahead of any other shortstop in the majors.
Ryan's .199 batting average is a major downer, however. While he may be saving runs, he's doing little to produce any.
Ryan could be of tremendous help to several contending teams, and it's likely that blocking would be in play, considering that Ryan is owed only about $425,000 for the rest of the season.
St. Louis Cardinals: Jake Westbrook
Much like other teams on this list, the St. Louis Cardinals are right in the thick of the playoff hunt in the National League.
As such, it's likely that GM John Mozeliak won't seriously entertain discussions for current players, but starting pitcher Jake Westbrook would likely garner interest if put through the waiver process.
In the final year of his contract, Westbrook is owed about $2.5 million for the rest of the season and is a savvy veteran with postseason experience. His 12-8 record and 3.62 ERA in 23 starts make it likely he's staying right where he is, however.
Tampa Bay Rays: James Shields
The last three starts for Tampa Bay Rays pitcher James Shields have been outstanding; he's given up just three earned runs on 10 hits in 24 innings, posting two wins.
Still, the 2012 season has been a far cry from last year, when Shields won 16 games with 11 complete games. His three-hit shutout on July 31 was his first complete game this year.
Shields is owed about $1.6 million for the rest of this season, and the Rays hold options for the following two seasons. Shields has been mentioned in numerous rumors over the past several weeks and months, so GM Andrew Friedman could consider listening to offers if Shields were offered up on the waiver wire.
With the Rays still in contention and Shields pitching like the Shields of last year, however, don't expect him to be going anywhere this season.
Texas Rangers: Roy Oswalt
When the Texas Rangers signed Roy Oswalt for $5 million to pitch for the rest of the season on May 29, they certainly didn't envision the performance they've received thus far.
The Texas Rangers moved an ineffective Roy Oswalt to the bullpen last month, and Oswalt made it plain he wasn't happy with the move.
Oswalt reportedly refused to throw a third inning of relief two weeks ago in a tight game with the Kansas City Royals, and while the air has since been cleared, it may be that Oswalt isn't long for Arlington.
With a 6.53 ERA in six starts and three relief appearances, Oswalt will show up on the waiver wire at some point.
Toronto Blue Jays: Darren Oliver
August thus far for the Toronto Blue Jays has been a disaster. They've lost eight of their first 11 games in the month heading into play Monday night.
With a 54-60 record and several teams to leapfrog to get to the playoffs, the Jays' playoff goose may be cooked.
An attractive trade chip for GM Alex Anthopoulos could be reliever Darren Oliver. At 41 years of age, Oliver has been simply outstanding, posting a 1.27 ERA in 46 appearances. Oliver is owed about $1 million for the rest of this year with a $3 million option for next season, as well.
A left-handed specialist is a virtual diamond chip on the trade market, so Anthopoulos could use the waiver-wire process to his advantage.
Washington Nationals: None
I stated this last week in another article, and I'll say it again—Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo will not screw with his chemistry.
Sporting the best record in the majors, at 71-44 headed into play on Monday night, the Nationals are well positioned and running like a well-oiled machine right now. They've won 10 of 13 games in the month of August and show no signs of stopping.
Even if Stephen Strasburg is shut down for two or three starts at the end of the season, they have John Lannan in place to fill in and four other solid starters in place for a potential playoff run.
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.