The first big move of August was made today with the Rangers acquiring outfielder Alex Rios from the White Sox, as was first reported by Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. After the two teams failed to agree on a deal at the trade deadline, the Rangers were awarded a waiver claim on Rios yesterday, and the deal came together shortly after Jim Bowden of ESPN and T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reported that a deal was unlikely to happen.
But the White Sox's asking price appears to have dropped. While they were interested in top prospects such as infielder Rougned Odor and pitchers Luke Jackson and Martin Perez last month, according to Sullivan, they are reportedly settling for Leury Garcia as the player to be named later, along with $1 million. They'll also save an estimated $18 million in salary (approximately $4 million remaining in 2013, $13 million in 2014, $1 million buyout on 2015 club option).
Garcia, 22, has plus speed and strong defensive skills but he's nowhere near the aforementioned players in potential. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted a report he received from a scout, saying Garcia had Rafael Furcal potential but was most likely to become a solid regular. At worst, he'd be a utilityman in the majors.
Ironically, the trade opens up the door for another Garcia recently acquired by the White Sox. Avisail Garcia, acquired from Detroit in the Jake Peavy trade, has been called up to take Rios' starting spot in right field.
Adam Dunn Clears Waivers
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported earlier today that Adam Dunn (pictured) cleared waivers, which is no surprise considering his $15 million salary in 2014 and his decline in overall production over the past few seasons. And after dealing away Rios, the White Sox might not want to subtract any more firepower from their lineup.
But the 33-year-old has a .946 OPS over his past 55 games with 14 homers and 39 runs batted in and his value could be on the rise with a few contenders still in need of some power. He has started just nine games in the outfield since 2009 so he is likely limited to first base and the designated hitter spot and will fit best on an American League club.
I recently named the Orioles as a possible fit, and the Rangers might not be done adding to their offense if Lance Berkman cannot return soon from hip and knee injuries. The Indians, who designated Mark Reynolds for assignment yesterday, could be an interesting match, although the Sox would likely have to pick up a good portion of Dunn's remaining contract.
Marlon Byrd Could Draw Interest
While the Mets surprisingly held on to outfielder Marlon Byrd (pictured) at the trade deadline, interest could pick up again if he's placed on waivers. Heyman tweeted that the Orioles, Royals, A's and Rangers all had interest last month.
The 35-year-old, who is having a terrific season with an .821 OPS and 17 homers, isn't likely to clear waivers since he'll be owed just a couple hundred thousand dollars in salary. Most contenders would put in a claim at that price. Thus, any deal would likely happen with the first National League team to put in a claim.
The Diamondbacks and Reds might be the first contenders in line on the waiver wire, although there isn't a desperate need for a starting outfielder on either club. For such little risk, though, it's worth blocking him or even trying to strike a deal to bring him on as a backup.
Dan Haren a Trade Candidate?
Nationals right-hander Dan Haren (pictured) is on waivers, according to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports, and he has a decent chance of passing through unclaimed because of the estimated $3.6 million he's due for the remainder of the season.
Interest would've been mild a month ago when he had an ERA over 6.00 and was on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness. But he appears to be back to his old form since his return, posting a 2.40 ERA with eight walks and 32 strikeouts in 30 innings over five starts.
After four consecutive losses, the Nats are nine back in the wild-card race, and they'll likely be open to moving the 32-year-old Haren. The Braves, Indians and A's, who were among the teams in the mix for starting pitching help at the deadline, could have interest.
Could Mark Reynolds or Delmon Young Help a Contender?
Two players recently designated for assignment, Mark Reynolds of the Indians and Delmon Young (pictured) of the Phillies, are a bit more interesting than most names that usually pop up on the DFA list, which removes a player from the 40-man roster and allows a team 10 days to either trade, place on waivers, outright to the minors or release that player.
Both players deserved to be cut—Reynolds had a .551 OPS over his last 73 games; Young had an overall .699 OPS in 80 games—but they're also capable of putting up big numbers over the course of several weeks.
Contending teams looking to catch lightning in a bottle don't have to look further than Reynolds' first 31 games of the season, when he hit .291 with 11 homers and 29 runs batted in. The 27-year-old Young had a strong month of June (.830 OPS), but it's his success in the postseason (.859 OPS, 8 HR, 15 RBI in 28 games) that should land him a job late in the season.
The duo's ability to succeed against left-handed pitching (Reynolds has a career .843 OPS vs LHP; Young has a career .820 OPS vs LHP) should also ensure that there will be interest, although it's a long shot that any team would trade for either player while taking on much salary and/or giving up any prospect of value. Don't expect either to be out of a job very long, though.