Everything MLB Fans Need to Know About the MLB Waiver Trade Deadline

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Everything MLB Fans Need to Know About the MLB Waiver Trade Deadline
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

A thrilling MLB trade deadline that saw aces David Price and Jon Lester find new homes is now behind us, but that doesn't necessarily mean trade season is over.

Teams will still be able to add players through the waiver process between now and the end of the season, and there are a number of impact players who could still be moved.

Let's start by diving into the specifics of what goes into an August waiver trade, then take a look at who could potentially be dealt.

 

The Rules

  • Once the non-waiver deadline passes on July 31, no player currently on a team's 40-man roster can be traded unless they first pass through revocable waivers.
  • If a player is put on waivers and goes unclaimed for 48 hours, he is free to be traded to any team for the remainder of the season.
  • A good portion of the league will be put on waivers during this time, with the majority of them being pulled back or "revoked" once a claim is made.
  • Claim priority goes to the team in the same league as the player with the worst record. If no team claims the player from the same league, they're awarded to the team with the worst record in the other league.
  • If a player is claimed and the team is genuinely interested in trading them, the two sides then have 48 hours to come to terms on a deal. If they cannot come to terms, the player is simply pulled back off of waivers.
  • Teams can allow a waiver claim to be made with no trade involved, simply giving the player to the claiming team, often in what amounts to a salary dump. A perfect example of this being the Chicago White Sox's claim of Alex Rios from the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2009.
  • Trades can be made this way for the remainder of the regular season. However, no player acquired after Aug. 31 will be eligible to play in the postseason.

 

Notable Waiver Trades in MLB History

Al Bello/Getty Images

  • Aug. 12, 1987: Detroit Tigers acquire SP Doyle Alexander from Atlanta Braves for SP John Smoltz

Alexander went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 11 starts down the stretch to help lead the Detroit Tigers to the postseason. Smoltz went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Atlanta Braves and was one of the best pitchers of his generation.

  • Aug. 30, 1990: Boston Red Sox acquire RP Larry Andersen from Houston Astros for minor league prospect 1B Jeff Bagwell

Andersen had a 1.23 ERA and 0.955 WHIP in 15 appearances with the Red Sox, helping them secure the AL East title. Bagwell finished his 15-year career with 449 home runs, 1,529 RBI and a .948 OPS that ranks 21st all-time.

  • Aug. 27, 1992: Toronto Blue Jays acquire SP David Cone from New York Mets for 2B Jeff Kent and OF Ryan Thompson

Cone was just a rental for the Blue Jays, but he made his mark, going 4-3 with a 2.55 ERA in seven starts down the stretch. He had a 3.22 ERA in four playoff starts, helping lead Toronto to a World Series title. Kent was later flipped for Carlos Baerga before putting up big numbers later on in his career.

  • Aug. 2, 2001: St. Louis Cardinals acquire SP Woody Williams from San Diego Padres for OF Ray Lankford

Williams was 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 11 starts after the trade and allowed one run in seven innings during his only playoff start. He was 38-21 with a 3.71 ERA with the team over the next three years, helping them to a World Series appearance in 2004.

  • Aug. 6, 2004: St. Louis Cardinals acquire RF Larry Walker from Colorado Rockies for SP Chris Narveson, SP Luis Martinez and RP Jason Burch

Walker was wrapping up a fantastic career at the age of 37 when the Cardinals acquired him in 2004, but he still had enough left in the tank to hit .280/.393/.560 with 11 home runs and 27 RBI in 44 games for St. Louis. He was even better in the playoffs, hitting .293 with four doubles, six home runs and 11 RBI to help the team capture the NL pennant.

 

2014 Waiver Trade Candidates

Based on their current contract situations and/or their standing on a non-contending team, the following players look to have a decent chance of being traded during the August waiver window.

Position Players

Jim Mone/Associated Press

  • RF Marlon Byrd, Philadelphia Phillies
  • DH Chris Carter, Houston Astros
  • DH Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox
  • 2B Aaron Hill, Arizona Diamondbacks
  • OF Ryan Ludwick, Cincinnati Reds
  • RF Alex Rios, Texas Rangers
  • RF Nate Schierholtz, Chicago Cubs
  • OF Josh Willingham, Minnesota Twins

Considering how thin the market for bats was this year, it was surprising to see the guys with the top two bats out there in Marlon Byrd and Alex Rios not find a new home. That being said, both of those guys are under contract through next season, so there is a possibility their respective teams could opt to hold on to them.

The same goes for Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill, who is owed $24 million over the next two years. Astros slugger Chris Carter is under team control through 2018, and while he's hitting just .211 with 112 strikeouts in 317 at-bats, his 21 home runs make him an interesting option.

Perhaps the most likely players to be on the move are a trio of free-agents-to-be in Nate Schierholtz, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham. Dunn in particular could really help a contender, as he has an .812 OPS with 17 home runs and 44 RBI on the year.

 

Pitchers

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

  • SP Brett Anderson, Colorado Rockies
  • RP Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia Phillies
  • SP A.J. Burnett, Philadelphia Phillies
  • SP Bartolo Colon, New York Mets
  • SP Kevin Correia, Minnesota Twins
  • RP Neal Cotts, Texas Rangers
  • SP John Danks, Chicago White Sox
  • SP Kyle Kendrick, Philadelphia Phillies
  • RP Oliver Perez, Arizona Diamondbacks

The most interesting name on the waiver market looked like it would be Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee, but he left his latest start on Thursday, re-aggravating a left flexor pronator strain that sidelined him for 57 games earlier this season.

"I don’t think it’s a larger problem, I think it is just the original thing," Lee told Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. "It was never fully gone. I think it’s the same thing. I think it was almost gone and came back."

When asked if he though his 2014 season could be over, he responded with: "At this point that’s probably the case."

Jed Weisberger of MLB.com provided injury details and his prediction on Lee's immediate future:

Beyond Lee, the market for starters was picked fairly clean prior to the trade deadline, but there are still some options that could be put on waivers.

John Danks (two years, $28.5 million) and Bartolo Colon (one year, $11 million) both have money remaining on their contracts beyond this season, while A.J. Burnett ($15 million mutual, $7.5 million player with escalators to $12.75 million based on starts) and Brett Anderson ($12 million) both have options for next season.

Upcoming free agents Kevin Correia (4.96 ERA/4.44 FIP) and Kyle Kendrick (4.92 ERA/4.49 FIP) would be easier to move, but neither is putting up great numbers this season, so interest in them could be limited at best.

A trio of left-handed relievers top the list of potential waiver candidates among bullpen arms, and all three could provide a boost to a contender's bullpen. Neal Cotts is set to hit free agency at the end of the season, Antonio Bastardo has one year of arbitration remaining, and Oliver Perez is signed for $2.5 million next year.

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