Even though the traditional trade deadline has come and gone, with a flurry of activity that changed the landscape of this year's postseason race, Major League Baseball teams are still working diligently to make trades through August 31.
The difference between the two trading periods is that players must clear waivers now to be traded anywhere or teams can work out a deal with another club that puts in a waiver claim, but in that latter scenario, there is a 48-hour window for trades to be worked out.
General managers are always looking to upgrade their rosters, either for the stretch run or for next season, so there are plenty of notable players who could still be dealt before the calendar flips to September.
Here are the teams that we believe have reasons to make big moves, either buying or selling, during the waiver period.
No team had a worse deadline than the Philadelphia Phillies, which is saying something about the state of the franchise considering general manager Ruben Amaro did nothing.
There were rumblings about potential deals, like Marlon Byrd to the New York Yankees, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, but the deadline came and went with no activity from Amaro.
Making matters even worse were Amaro's comments after the deadline, per Matt Gelb of The Philadelphia Inquirer, in which he couldn't understand why no one was going all-in to land his prized possessions:
Amaro said Phillies did not ask for “top prospects.” Criticized other GMs for not being aggressive enough.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) July 31, 2014
Of course, those prized possessions include Ryan Howard, making $50 million total for the next two seasons with a .676 OPS; Cliff Lee, who is back on the disabled list with an elbow injury and due to make $25 million next season; and Jonathan Papelbon, who publicly questioned where the Phillies were headed.
With the vitriol getting louder in Philadelphia, thanks to an old team full of bad contracts and little financial wiggle room for the next two years, Amaro finds himself in hot water. Bob Brookover of The Philadelphia Inquirer noted that Amaro has said team president David Montgomery has not committed to him being general manager next season.
If the pressure wasn't enough for the GM to make a move before July 31, perhaps he just rests on his laurels and manages to convince himself that the team as presently constructed, a team that is in the National League East cellar, can contend next year.
The best thing that can happen to Amaro is finding someone to take Byrd or A.J. Burnett before August 31, though the he will clearly have to lower his asking price.
San Diego Padres
Unlike the Phillies, the San Diego Padres, who don't currently have a full-time general manager, were active before the deadline. They dealt Huston Street to the Los Angeles Angels for four prospects and sent Chase Headley to the Yankees.
However, there are still plenty of trade options for the Padres to entertain this month. The problem the team faces, unfortunately, is that its potential partners will be limited because their top players are likely to be claimed.
Which team needs to make a deal before the August 31 waiver deadline?
Benoit is a tricky trade candidate because he's a reliever due to make $8 million next season. But Kennedy is one of the most pleasant surprises this year, with a career-high 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings and solid 3.66 ERA.
The right-hander is only 29 years old, making $6.1 million this season and under team control for 2015. San Diego can ask a lot for him because of his cheap salary and contract status.
Since some team is likely to claim Kennedy, even if it's just for the sole purpose of preventing a rival from getting him, the odds of a move seem slim.
Benoit, on the other hand, could slip through waivers unclaimed because of his salary next season and fall into the hands of a contender in need of bullpen help. He's got a 1.88 ERA with 23 hits allowed and 51 strikeouts in 43 innings.
Heyman speculates that the Los Angeles Dodgers, who essentially gave away $10 million to re-sign Brian Wilson last winter, could be in the mix for Benoit. The Dodgers certainly aren't strangers to making deals in August and have a need for relief help, so it would make sense if something materialized.
To say this has been a disappointing season for the Texas Rangers would be an understatement. Things started out badly, with Derek Holland getting hurt in January, and only got worse. Their disabled list would be a playoff-contending team.
|LHP Martin Perez||60-day|
|LHP Matt Harrison||60-day|
|LHP Derek Holland||60-day|
|LHP Pedro Figueroa||60-day|
|RHP Alexi Ogando||15-day|
|RHP Tanner Scheppers||15-day|
|C Geovany Soto||15-day|
|1B Prince Fielder||60-day|
|1B Mitch Moreland||60-day|
|2B/SS Jurickson Profar||60-day|
|OF Engel Beltre||60-day|
Despite all of the injuries and an MLB-high 66 losses through Friday, general manager Jon Daniels didn't have a fire sale. No one can blame him, because next year, assuming even half of those players on the DL return, Texas will be competitive.
However, the one move everyone expected to happen, Alex Rios getting dealt, never materialized. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported July 30 that there were four suitors in the mix for the outfielder:
Talks for Rios could go to end. Several of interested clubs - CLE, CIN, KC, SF - fading of late. #Rangers willing to include cash in deal.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2014
Rios has a $13.5 million team option that could scare teams off since he's not a traditional corner outfielder due to declining power numbers, but the 33-year-old is hitting .300 with 16 stolen bases and an above-average OPS+.
The Rangers have plenty of depth in the outfield for next year, with Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Choice and Leonys Martin currently on the roster, not to mention any potential free agents the team looks at this winter, so moving an aging outfielder would be a wise move.
Stats and contract info courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
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