As of Aug. 26, 15 major league teams either hold a playoff spot or are within seven games of one and could be looking to improve their playoff chances by making a waiver-wire deal in the near future.
Seven August trades have happened thus far:
- The Texas Rangers acquired outfielder Alex Rios from the Chicago White Sox for prospect Leury Garcia.
- The Kansas City Royals picked up utility infielder Jamey Carroll from the Minnesota Twins and utility man Emilio Bonifacio from the Toronto Blue Jays, both for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
- The Tampa Bay Rays acquired lefty Wesley Wright from the Houston Astros for cash considerations.
- The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later.
- The Oakland A's acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki and cash from the Nationals for minor league pitcher Dakota Bacus.
- The Rays acquired outfielder David DeJesus from the Nationals for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
With plenty of trade possibilities still lingering, here's all of the latest waiver-trade buzz from around the league.
Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse on the Move?
With word that an unknown team has claimed Kendrys Morales on waivers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, and with Michael Morse (pictured) currently on waivers, as reported by Ken Rosenthal, also of Fox Sports, the Mariners are suddenly in a position to do what most would've expected them to do at the end of July—trade away at least a couple of their free agents-to-be.
Although they were four games closer to a playoff spot on July 31—nine games back then as opposed to 13 now—general manager Jack Zduriencik chose to hold on to his veterans. Almost a month later, he could just be testing the waters to see what kind of return he can net for the last 30 or so games of the season.
Per Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, the Orioles continue to seek a bat, likely one who would fill the designated hitter spot, and both Morales and Morse would fit right into the middle of a very good lineup.
The switch-hitting Morales, who has a nearly identical OPS versus left- (.785 OPS) and right-handed pitching (.791 OPS), has been the more consistent hitter throughout the season. He's also remained healthy while Morse has battled multiple injuries and has slumped badly since returning from a quad injury in late July (11-for-71, 2 HR, 3 BB, 21 K).
While Morales could be more pricey, the 31-year-old Morse has the ability to put up power numbers in bunches as he did early in the season when he went 12-for-41 with six homers in his first 10 games. He's also much better against left-handed pitching, which could make him a good fit with Wilson Betemit, who is expected back from the disabled list soon, likely to get the majority of at-bats against right-handed pitching.
Another team that could be in the market for a first baseman is the Oakland A's, who placed outfielder Josh Reddick on the disabled list Monday because of ongoing wrist problems, per John Hickey of Bay Area News Group.
Daric Barton will get the majority of time at first base with Brandon Moss moving to the outfield. If Barton doesn't get off to a quick start, Oakland could look to make a deal with Seattle if he passes through waivers.
Too Little, Too Late from Gallardo
Rosenthal also reported that the Brewers placed starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo (pictured) on revocable waivers Monday. While trade rumors were rampant surrounding the 27-year-old right-hander when the team was struggling in early July, talks had died down by the end of the month as it became apparent that the asking price was too high for a pitcher who had been struggling most of the season.
But since returning from a stint on the disabled list because of a strained hamstring, Gallardo has pitched very well in two starts (12.1 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, 4 BB, 8 K) against a very good Reds team. Is it enough to drum up some last-minute interest? Probably not, especially since general manager Doug Melvin isn't likely to lower his price with Gallardo pitching well.
Due $11.25 million in 2014 with a $13 million team option in 2015, Gallardo's contract wouldn't scare too many teams away if they believed he was the same top-of-the-rotation pitcher from the past couple of seasons. It's unlikely that a few starts will change any team's mind, especially since there aren't any contenders who are absolutely desperate for starting pitching.
If he finishes the season strong, trade interest could increase in the offseason and Melvin might have a better chance to get a strong return for his ace.
Dan Haren Is the Matt Garza of August...Sort Of
Just as Matt Garza pitched very well start after start when it was apparent that he was the top starting pitcher on the trade market and his team was definitely going to trade him, Nationals right-hander Dan Haren (pictured) is matching him here in August, just without all the media attention.
With his team on the outskirts of the playoff race—it's currently eight out in the wild-card race—Haren could stay put. But with Kurt Suzuki already sent to the A's last week, it could be looking to unload its only other free agent-to-be with value. Haren, who is due just over $2 million for the remainder of the season, already cleared waivers earlier this month, so the Nats are free to trade him anywhere.
Since returning from the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, Haren has been as good as he's been in a long time. The 32-year-old right-hander has a 2.53 ERA since July 8 with only 43 hits allowed in 57 innings. He has 11 walks and 54 strikeouts during that span.
Bringing back Haren could make sense for the Cardinals—he was drafted by the team in 2001 and pitched for the big league club in 2003-2004—with Jake Westbrook on the disabled list with a lower-back strain.
General manager John Mozeliak has said that they're unlikely to make a deal, according to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but he could be waiting for the price tag to drop as the August 31 deadline approaches for teams to add players who would be eligible for the playoffs.
Relief Market Not Completely Bare
Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt, one potential trade candidate who was placed on waivers last week, is now off the market after he was placed on the disabled list with an elbow injury that will likely require Tommy John surgery, according to Troy Renck of The Denver Post.
But two new names, also from NL West teams, have surfaced as potential trade candidates. Diamondbacks setup man Heath Bell and Giants lefty specialist Javier Lopez (pictured) have been placed on revocable waivers—both reports came from from Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Lopez, who Heyman also reported was claimed and is unlikely to go anywhere, is due less than a million in salary and continues to be one of the better lefty relievers in the game. The 36-year-old has a 1.99 ERA and is holding left-handed hitters to a .457 OPS.
Bell, on the other hand, is also due less than a million in 2013 but has a $5 million contract in 2014—the Marlins are paying $4 million of his $9 million salary. If the Diamondbacks pick up at least half of that amount, they could find a taker for the 35-year-old, who has been very good at times (11.2 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, BB, 14 K in July) and very bad at times. The fact that he's been bad lately makes it very unlikely he's moved.
Three Giants Players Claimed Off Waivers; Trades unlikely
Along with Lopez, Heyman also reported that outfielder Hunter Pence (pictured) and starting pitcher Tim Lincecum were claimed by unknown teams but none are expected to be traded.
Since the Giants are expected to place qualifying waivers on both Lincecum and Pence this offseason so they can collect draft picks if either player signs a free agent contract with another team, the asking price, along with the remaining salary—Lincecum is still due around $4 million; Pence is due approximately $2.5 million—is expected to be high.
If the claiming team is willing to take on at least a good chunk of the remaining salary and offer what the Giants believe is a better value than the expected draft picks should either player depart, there's still a chance a deal happens. But that's highly unlikely for what would amount to approximately six starts from Lincecum and 100-120 at-bats from Pence.
Lincecum has rebuilt his value in the past three months with a 4.15 ERA in 15 starts (93.1 IP, 81 H, 32 BB, 97 K). Pence has a .776 OPS overall with 15 homers and 19 stolen bases.
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