Odds of Each Big MLB Name That Cleared Waivers Being Traded
The July 31 MLB non-waiver trade deadline is in the past, meaning that clubs can only improve their rosters through an August waiver trade. That severely limits the options on both sides of the equation.
And while the waiver wire is littered with players of all talent levels, what are the odds that the biggest names to have cleared waivers will actually end up switching teams?
That is exactly what we are here to examine.
To be sure, no one here at Bleacher Report is an MLB general manager. In other words, placing odds on the likelihood that a player who has cleared waivers will be traded is an arbitrary process.
Another thing that makes this a less-than-scientific endeavor is that MLB general managers are not required to make public the players they place on waivers. It happens all of the time without being mentioned on the national stage.
That does not mean, however, that various factors, including production, contract status, need around the game and other variables can’t be examined, leading to a fair assessment of the chances of a trade going down in the next two weeks.
We will use the published reports of several well-known sportswriters as sources. That means that there could be other players out there who are not listed, but this is a fairly accurate list of the star power on the market that can switch teams at any moment.
Here are the chances of each big name to have cleared waivers being traded before the August 31 deadline.
Curtis Granderson, CF, New York Mets
New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson will head into the offseason with several opportunities to improve the 25-man roster thanks to a wealth of talent in the minor league system.
The fact of the matter is that Granderson won’t be going anywhere for at least another year. It’s a matter of organizational integrity. Simply put, moving a player who was signed just last offseason to a four-year, $60 million contract during his initial campaign with the team sets a horrible precedent.
In essence, free agents may be less willing to sign on with the Mets for fear that they may be traded if the club fails to perform.
True, an argument can be made that the only thing that matters is how much money a player makes, and if one club offers more, the player will gladly cash his checks regardless of how long he stays with his new team. That is a simplistic way of looking at things, however. Stability matters.
The Mets will not risk future signings by moving the left-handed hitter anytime soon.
On the season, Granderson is slashing out at .226/.329/.385 with 15 home runs, 46 RBI and 56 runs scored. Considering that he had a .136/.252/.216 slash line after the first 25 games, per splits over at Baseball-Reference, those numbers are rather impressive.
Chance of Granderson Being Traded: 0 percent
Jon Niese, SP, New York Mets
Like Granderson, Jon Niese recently cleared waivers and is able to be traded to any team, according to Heyman. Unlike Granderson, however, there is a small chance the left-hander could be traded given the rotation's depth going into next season.
If Niese is moved, however, it will take quite the return. In advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Alderson said that the Mets were happy with Niese’s production, adding that the club would “be hard-pressed to trade” him, per The Star-Ledger’s Mike Vorkunov.
That said, there is no doubt that Niese makes for an attractive trade candidate.
He is, after all, a left-handed starter who has pitched to a sub-4.00 FIP each of the last four seasons. He is also durable, making at least 22 starts every year since 2010.
Another reason Niese is so attractive is that he has $16 million guaranteed through 2016 with a $10 million club option ($500,000 buyout) in 2017 and an $11 million option ($500,000 buyout) in 2018. In other words, he can pitch, is under club control and is relatively inexpensive.
All that said, it will take a monster package to pry Niese away, but there are contending teams that could use another starter and have the prospects. The Los Angeles Dodgers, for example, recently lost Josh Beckett and have a rotation that is not set in 2015 and beyond.
Going into action on Friday, Niese had a 6-8 record with a 3.46 ERA, 3.84 FIP and 96 strikeouts in 135.1 innings pitched.
Chance of Niese Being Traded: 20 percent
Stephen Drew, 2B, New York Yankees
At the time of the move, the chances that Drew would get traded were remote, at best. Now, however, there is a chance that general manager Brian Cashman could end up parting ways with the infielder.
Going into action on Friday, the Yankees had lost four in a row and had fallen 8.0 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East, and 3.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers and the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot.
If the poor play continues, expect Cashman to find someone to take Drew off his hands in return for a minor leaguer.
For the year, Drew is hitting .174 with a .552 on-base plus slugging percentage in 174 at-bats.
Chance of Drew Being Traded: 50 percent
Martin Prado, 3B/OF, New York Yankees
Unlike Drew, however, it does not matter how far the Yankees fall out of the playoff picture. He will be back with the club in 2015.
True, his production is down compared to past seasons, and he will earn $11 million in both 2015 and 2016, but he does provide the club with legitimate depth at several positions and has a power base that should fit in well at Yankee Stadium over the long haul.
Going into action on Thursday, Prado had a .175/.233/.275 slash line with one home run and two RBI in 40 at-bats. To be sure, those are terrible numbers, but the career .289 hitter isn’t going anywhere.
Chance of Prado Being Traded: Zero percent
Brett Gardner, LF, New York Yankees
There is, however, absolutely no way he's getting traded.
First off, the four-year, $52 million extension he signed this past winter is set to kick in after the year is up. While affordable, that is an awful lot of money for another team to take on.
Regardless of any financial concerns, he is arguably the club’s best position player.
Since the start of last season, for example, Gardner has a .275/.348/.433 slash line with 23 home runs, 51 doubles, 102 RBI, 17 triples, 42 stolen bases and has scored 155 runs, per splits over at Baseball-Reference. And let’s not forget his prowess on the basepaths and in the field.
Fred Katz over at The Washington Post put it well when he wrote that “there’s clearly been some sort of adjustment” in Gardner’s hitting mechanics. It is an adjustment that is paying direct dividends.
Gardner isn’t going anywhere.
Chance of Gardner Being Traded: Zero percent
Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
According to a tweet from CBS Sports’ Heyman, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Josh Beckett are all eligible to be traded at any time. Not that the Los Angeles Dodgers are going to make a move, of course.
Beckett’s on the disabled list again, meaning he has no value, while the other three aren’t going anywhere for different reasons.
Kemp (.281/.345/.465, 14 HR, 53 RBI) is hitting the ball quite well, making his presence in the lineup a must. Ethier (.247/.315/.368, 4 HR, 40 RBI) and Crawford (.261/.296/.357, 4 HR, 26 RBI), on the other hand, have a few things standing in the way of a trade.
Steve Dilbeck from the Los Angeles Times elaborates:
Crawford will still be owed $65 million after this season and Ethier $56 million, and both are having down years. Ethier currently isn’t even starting. And both are on the wrong side of 30; Crawford turned 33 Tuesday and Ethier is 32.
It would be nice to add a bit of insight to the situation, but that truly is what it comes down to. Unless those two suddenly return to form, they are albatross contracts on the Dodgers’ payroll.
It would take a return of next to nothing and general manger Ned Colletti picking up almost all of the remaining dollars on their contracts for another team to add them to its 25-man roster.
Chances of Any of the Three Being Traded: Zero percent
Jonathan Papelbon, CL, Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is in no mood to trade Jonathan Papelbon for what is being offered, meaning that even though his closer has cleared waivers, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, a deal is not imminent.
That is not to say a trade is off the table, of course. To that effect, Nick Cafardo from The Boston Globe recently wrote:
That he cleared waivers this week was no surprise given his contract ($13 million remaining next year with a vesting option easily attainable for 2016). That he hasn’t been dealt — with the Phillies picking up some of the tab — also is surprising. Papelbon could surely help teams such as Detroit, Baltimore, the Dodgers, and others. ‘The Phillies are just unreasonable in their demands,’ said one AL official. ‘When they get a bit more realistic, I think Papelbon will move, but that may not happen until the end of the month.’
With word from Rosenthal that the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired John Axford on Thursday, however, the teams in need of the services of a top-flight reliever have shrunk.
We shall see what happens with this one, but Amaro is going to have to loosen the collar on what he feels is a satisfactory return.
Chance of Papelbon Being Traded: 25 percent
Ian Desmond, SS, Washington Natioanls
First off, general manager Mike Rizzo traded Desmond's presumed replacement, Zach Walters, to the Cleveland Indians at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline for Asdrubal Cabrera. And since Cabrera is likely going to demand a multiyear contract in excess of the $11 million Desmond is scheduled to make next season, trading the incumbent makes little financial sense.
Other than fiscal reasons, Desmond is one heck of a player, and the Nationals are pining for an appearance in the World Series. In fact, he is one of the better players at his position in the game.
For evidence, consider that he already has as many home runs (20) this year as he did all of last season, is producing a .182 ISO and has a 2.3 WAR, according to FanGraphs. Those are solid numbers from the shortstop position, indeed.
It must be noted that Desmond turned down a handsome extension this past offseason in favor of a two-year deal, per The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore. And while that means his long-term future with the Nationals is by no means certain, he isn’t going anywhere right now.
Chance of Desmond Being Traded: Zero percent
Gio Gonzalez, SP, Washington Nationals
And like Desmond, he isn’t going anywhere, thanks to his production and reasonable contract.
True, Gonzalez’s 6-9 record and 4.00 ERA leave a bit to be desired, but he is pitching to a 3.16 FIP and a 1.306 WHIP. Since those peripherals are more indicative of pitching effectiveness, it can be argued that he is throwing the ball as well as ever. In fact, his FIP is the second-lowest mark of his career.
In addition to his metrics, Gonzalez has four more years of club control if the team option in 2017 and the vesting option in 2018 are taken into consideration. It makes no sense for the Nationals to part ways with him at the moment, especially since he will likely be used as the club's fourth starter in the postseason.
Chance of Gonzalez Being Traded: Zero percent
Alex Rios, RF, Texas Rangers
For one, his power numbers are down. True, this is a much-discussed topic, but it is also a valid one. After averaging 19 home runs and 78 RBI from 2006 through last season, per splits at Baseball-Reference, Rios is sitting at an unimpressive four homers and has only driven in 46 runs to this point.
His slash line is a respectable .290/.320/.410, but most clubs that are looking for a hitter need one who can take the ball over the fence. Right now, Rios isn’t that guy.
Additionally, any club that grabs him will be on the hook for the rest of his salary this season and either a $13.5 million salary next year or a $1 million buyout. That is a substantial amount of money to assume for a player whose skill set appears to be on a downward trend.
Lastly, Rios has been dealing with a sore ankle recently. And as ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins recently noted, it is a tender (literally) issue that’s impacting his trade value, although “he won’t go on the disabled list” because of the injury.
That said, he has cleared waivers, and as the Aug. 31 deadline approaches for additions to be able to participate in the postseason, there may be a general manager desperate enough to pony up the talent to acquire him.
Chance of Rios Being Traded: 50 percent
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are accurate as of game time on Thursday, August 14. Transaction and injury information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information pulled from Cot's Contracts.