The Biggest Winners and Losers of the MLB Waiver Trade Window
While the bulk of deals in MLB go down prior to the July 31 trade deadline, the month of August is not without some action of its own as the waiver wire becomes the talk of the league and a source of a bevy of trade rumors.
The Boston Red Sox and L.A. Dodgers pulled off perhaps the biggest waiver deal of all-time this season, but there were also several smaller scale deals including some free-agent signings of recently released players who could have a significant impact on the stretch run.
With the calendars turning over to September, here is a look at the three biggest winners and three biggest losers of the August transaction wire.
Losers: Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers acquired Omar Infante from the Miami Marlins before the July 31 trade deadline, and he has played well enough as the team's everyday second baseman in hitting .273 BA, 3 HR, 13 RBI in 33 games.
Bringing in Infante pushed the struggling Ryan Raburn (.172 BA, 1 HR, 12 RBI in 198 AB) to the utility role and the Tigers looked to upgrade his position once again when they acquired Jeff Baker off waivers from the Chicago Cubs for two players to be named later.
Baker saw limited playing time with the Tigers though, hitting .200 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI in 35 at bats over 15 games. On Friday he became the first player to be moved on waivers twice in the same season.
The Tigers shipped him to the Atlanta Braves for a player to be named later, as they in essence traded two unnamed players for one unnamed player and four RBI. Certainly not the best deal they've ever made.
Winners: Chicago White Sox
They didn't acquire anyone on waivers, but the Chicago White Sox signing of Dewayne Wise did make a significant addition when they signed him August 3.
Released by the New York Yankees on July 31, Wise played for the White Sox in 2008 and 2009 and is perhaps best remembered for his catch that preserved a Mark Buehrle perfect game.
Originally signed to provide outfield depth, Wise has replaced the injured Alejandro De Aza in center field and atop the White Sox lineup. In 18 games, he's hit .264/.303/.403, 3 HR, 11 RBI as the veteran has already made a far bigger impact than anyone would have expected.
The team also signed Cleveland Indians' castoff Jose Lopez, who is capable of playing all over the infield and gives the team another veteran option off the bench.
Losers: Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins rank as losers here not for a deal that it made, but for a procedural move that captured headlines.
The team put Joe Mauer and the roughly $142.5 million he is still owed through 2018 on waivers, and rumors immediately began to swirl as to whether the team was serious about dealing him and where he could land.
It's not uncommon for a team to put high contract guys on waivers. But in this day and age where the waiver wire is so scrutinized, the move simply served as a distraction and the Twins have set themselves up for an offseason of questions regarding Mauer's future.
The team did manage to unload Danny Valencia on the Red Sox, as the 27-year-old followed up a 15 HR, 72 RBI season in 2011 with a .198 BA, 2 HR, 17 RBI line this season before he was demoted to Triple-A.
Winners: Oakland Athletics
There is no question that the Oakland A's had a glaring need at shortstop and while there were rumors of them going after a number of players before the July 31 deadline came, it entered August with the same dismal situation.
For better or worse (it has to be better right?) the team changed things up on August 20 when it acquired Stephen Drew from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Coming off of a broken ankle last season, Drew struggled to get things going this season as he left Arizona with a .193 BA, 2 HR, 12 RBI line over 135 at bats.
He's hit just .211 BA, 0 HR, 2 RBI in 11 games since joining the A's, but he is still only 50 games into his season and he could finally start to pick things up in September. Even if he doesn't, he still offers better offensive potential than any of the team's incumbents.
It is unlikely the team will pick up his $10 million option for next season, but if he can show something down the stretch the team could very well bring him back as a stopgap to 2012 first-round pick Addison Russell.
Losers: Los Angeles Dodgers
You have to applaud the cojones of the Los Angeles Dodgers' new ownership group, as they have made it clear that they are ready to do anything and everything to bring a championship to the team.
Adrian Gonzalez has a chance to make a serious impact on their title hopes, but unless they win it all this year or next it is tough to justify taking on the $270 million dollars they absorbed in acquiring Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford.
This has the chance to be a masterful deal if Crawford can bounce back and fortify left field; Gonzalez can regain his power stroke and be a middle-of-the-order threat; and Beckett can focus on baseball and go back to being one of baseball's best big-game pitchers.
That's a ton of ifs though and, at least for now, the Dodgers look as if they may have gone a little overboard in trying to build a winner.
Tack on the acquisition of Philadelphia Phillies' starter Joe Blanton (5 GS, 1-3, 6.67 ERA) and it has not been a pretty August for the Dodgers. Again, there is still time for this to turn into a huge positive, but for now I just don't see it.
Winners: Boston Red Sox
It's not everyday that a team gets a chance to move the three highest paid players on its roster, but that is exactly what the Boston Red Sox did when it shipped Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford along with Nick Punto to the Dodgers.
In the process, the Red Sox shed roughly $270 million in salary, including a nearly $60 million in 2013 alone, as they can begin to reshape the franchise with plenty of salary room to work with.
As though the fact that they were able to unload those contracts wasn't enough, the team also picked up a Top 100 prospect in right-hander Allen Webster in the deal along with infield prospect Ivan DeJesus, James Loney and two players to be named.
Losing Gonzalez is a blow to the offense, but it was worth it to rid themselves of the other two and the Red Sox got some good building blocks in the process as they look to turn the franchise around quick.