Though the non-waiver MLB trade deadline has come and gone, waiver trades are still able to go on until the end of the month. This is the time of year when non-playoff teams with high-priced players often place said player on waivers and if a team makes a claim on him, both sides attempt to work out a deal so that one squad may gain a star and another can dump some salary. It can get a bit messy, but some teams look all the better because of it.
This season, one name that has been tossed around quite a bit is that of Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano, who makes $19 million this season and has two years remaining on an eight-year, $136 million contract he signed with the team before the 2007 season. Though the seven-time All-Star has been decent this season, the Cubs are looking to get younger and more consistent, which means finding a buyer for the 36-year-old left fielder.
Still, that isn't to say that the only teams looking to make moves right now are ones with bad contracts. In other cases, some cellar-dwelling teams want to get younger and will dangle valuable and affordable pieces that contending teams would love to have. In either scenario, the market is anything but dry.
At 37 years old, Millwood's best years are behind him. Pitching for the light-hitting Seattle Mariners this year, Millwood has compiled a 4-10 record due to poor run support, with a 4.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Despite his mediocre numbers, he's still capable of shutting down an opponent. He was the starting pitcher during the game in which Seattle team no-hit the Los Angeles Dodgers, though an injury ended his night early.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Millwood remains a candidate to be put on waivers. This is probably because so many playoff teams are looking for some extra pitching help and Millwood has lots of playoff experience from his years with the Atlanta Braves early in his career.
His age makes him a hard pill to swallow, but one thing is for sure: Millwood can still pitch and get some big outs, so teams are sure to at least inquire about him.
Last year, after signing a three-year deal with the Kansas City Royals, the rocket-armed Francoeur experienced a bit of a rebirth. Not only did he bat .285 with 20 homers and 87 RBI, but he also stole a career high 22 bases. After years of underachieving at the plate, it seemed as though Francoeur had finally turned things around.
However, 2011 looks more like a fluke as Francoeur is back to his impatient ways. This year, he is batting just .240 with 11 home runs and 33 RBI, all to the tune of $6.75 million. Sure enough, according to Ken Rosenthal, Royals GM Dayton Moore made his right fielder available in July, but to no avail.
Seeing as how it's now waiver trade season, teams in need of some outfield pop could be in the market for Francoeur. Yes, he has one year remaining on his contract, but the Royals could very well be willing to pay the balance on it if they are truly desperate to move him.
Even if every MLB team showed interest in Soriano starting tomorrow, trading him would still be easier said than done. Not only is his contract a financial burden, but he also has 10-and-5 rights. That means that since he has been in the major leagues for 10 years or more and has spent five or more seasons with one team, he cannot be traded without giving permission. Seeing as how the Chicago front office team of Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are determined to rebuild from the ground up, moving Soriano could prove to be a bit of a hassle.
Last week, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune mentioned how team management had attempted to deal the power-hitting outfielder to the San Francisco Giants, only to learn that he wouldn't approve such a trade. Shortly afterward, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reported that Giants GM Brian Sabean was "not a fan" of Soriano and that acquiring him seemed unlikely.
That said, this is a rumor to keep tabs on for the rest of the month. If Epstein and Hoyer truly want to deal Soriano, they'll find a way to get a deal done.
Santana probably isn't going to be dealt to another team this season, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News thinks that an offseason trade isn't out of the question. With the two-time Cy Young Award winner is due $25.5 million next season, the final year of a six-year, $137.5 million contract, the New York Mets will more than likely have to pay the majority of his salary should he be traded. Yet, finding a trading partner depends on one thing: Santana returning to his old form.
Though it can be argued that most of Santana's struggles in New York have been due to a lack of run support, as he went just 40-25 but with a 2.85 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in his first three seasons with the Mets, it must be noted that he missed all of 2011 recovering from shoulder surgery and is currently having the worst season of his career since becoming a full-time starter.
Though he did pitch a no-hitter earlier this season, Santana has gone just 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA, having struggled mightily since his incredible feat.
As I mentioned before, a trade this season is unlikely, but if he can find himself and close out the season with a bang, being dealt during the winter is not out of the question.
This is the time of year when playoff-bound teams usually try to shore up their pitching, should they need help in that department. Yet, if a team cannot improve its rotation as the postseason draws closer, there is always another option: build a lock-down bullpen.
That said, don't be at all surprised if the Chicago Cubs find a buyer for the hard-throwing Marmol, who has had an off year this season in registering just 15 saves with a 4.23 ERA.
In fact, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Marmol was already placed on waivers and cleared them, but a deal could still be in the works. With teams like the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants needing bullpen help, someone like this hard-throwing Dominican could be a godsend.
He has the ability to both close and work in a setup role, so should either team make the playoffs and be winning a close game, he could easily come out of the 'pen and shut the opposition down.
He is also under contract for next season and thus won't be a mere rental player.