Highlighting 5 Possible Last-Minute Impact MLB Waiver Deadline Steals

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2014

Highlighting 5 Possible Last-Minute Impact MLB Waiver Deadline Steals

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    The bulk of trade activity around Major League Baseball goes down before the July 31 non-waiver deadline, but there is still time for players to be dealt in August and still make an impact on the stretch run and on into the postseason.

    Teams will have until the end of the month to acquire players either via a waiver claim or a straight trade for someone who has already cleared waivers earlier this month.

    The trade market is fairly thin at this point, but there are still a handful of players out there who could make a legitimate impact down the stretch.

    Here is a look at five possible last-minute waiver trade candidates who could wind up being steals for a contender looking to improve its roster.

RP Oliver Perez, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    After spending the 2011 season in the minors, Oliver Perez returned to the majors and reinvented himself as a reliever, and he has quickly turned into one of the best lefty bullpen arms in the game.

    He's made a total of 150 appearances over the past three seasons, posting a 2.70 ERA and 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings while racking up 25 holds in a setup role.

    The 33-year-old signed a two-year, $4.25 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offseason, and he has pitched to a 1.95 ERA over 56 appearances in his first year with the team.

    He was among a handful of Diamondbacks players placed on revocable waivers over the weekend, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

    Given his very reasonable $2.5 million salary for next year, chances are a non-contender will claim him before he ever reaches a contending team, and the Diamondbacks may opt to just pull him back if he is claimed.

    However, if he does wind up getting dealt, he could make a significant impact for some team in 2015.

OF Alejandro De Aza, Chicago White Sox

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    There has been no report to this point of Alejandro De Aza being placed on waivers, but it would make sense for the Chicago White Sox to look to move him.

    They have already been active this month, trading second baseman Gordon Beckham to the Los Angeles Angels, and they could look to unload the 30-year-old before the end of the month.

    After hitting .232/.297/.357 over 280 at-bats in the first half of the season, he has picked things up and is putting up a .300/.375/.380 line in 100 at-bats since the All-Star break.

    With Adam Eaton set to be activated from the disabled list at some point this week and Avisail Garcia also back healthy, there is a logjam of sorts in the outfield.

    To further that point, De Aza may wind up being a non-tender candidate this winter, as he is already making $4.25 million this season and could see a slight bump up in his final year of arbitration.

    Moving him now and taking what they can get for him would open up outfield at-bats, and given the way he has produced over the last month or so, he would be of use to a contender as a left-handed bat with some speed.

SP Trevor Cahill, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    It's been an interesting season for Trevor Cahill, who was once viewed as one of the best young pitchers in the game during his time with the Oakland Athletics.

    After struggling to a 9.17 ERA through his first four starts, he was moved to the bullpen, and all told, he was 1-6 with a 5.66 ERA in 19 appearances before being designated for assignment at the beginning of June.

    The 26-year-old cleared waivers and joined the team for seven minor league starts before rejoining the big league club and the starting rotation on July 18.

    He's gone 2-2 with a 3.43 ERA in seven starts since returning, including five consecutive quality starts.

    "Anytime I feel like I can throw the ball somewhat where I want to, I feel a lot more confident," Cahill told Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic. "It's tough when you're throwing and your stuff is kind of going all over the place. You start competing against yourself more so than the other team. Just the fact that I feel like I can locate two or three of my pitches definitely helps a lot."

    Digging deeper, he has a 2.71 FIP over the last 30 days, which is better than that of Jon Lester (2.76) and Felix Hernandez (2.91) among many others, according to a tweet from Beyond the Box Score.

    Cahill was one of a handful of Diamondbacks players placed on waivers, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, and if he clears, a team like the Los Angeles Angels could certainly have some interest.

    He is still owed $12 million next season, with a pair of option years that will cost a combined $800,000 to buy out, so salary could be a sticking point in any deal. If the Diamondbacks are willing to eat a decent chunk of that salary, though, he could be a nice pickup.

OF Alex Rios, Texas Rangers

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    Alex Rios joined the Texas Rangers via waivers last season, and he could be on the move again this August after clearing waivers earlier this month.

    The 33-year-old has been one of the few Rangers players who has managed to stay relatively healthy this season, as he's hitting .283/.313/.401 with 36 extra-base hits in 459 at-bats on the year.

    His value has undoubtedly dropped this month, as he's hitting just .156/.169/.219 and has been dealing with a sore thumb.

    With the Kansas City Royals pulling the trigger on trading for Josh Willingham, the one team that looked like a clear suitor for Rios is no longer in the market to add a bat.

    All that said, he could still find an interested team if the Rangers were willing to eat a good portion of what's left on his $12.5 million salary and pay the $1 million buyout he has on a $13.5 million option for next year.

    Now that he's cleared waivers, he's free to be traded anywhere, and if the Rangers don't plan on picking up his option for next year, they have no reason not to unload him for whatever they can get.

SP Bartolo Colon, New York Mets

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    Veteran starter Bartolo Colon officially cleared revocable waivers on Monday evening, according to a tweet from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, and the New York Mets are now free to trade him to any team.

    The 41-year-old is 12-10 with a 3.82 ERA (3.35 FIP) and 1.147 WHIP on the year, and he currently leads the NL with a 1.2 walks per nine innings mark as he continues to get by on his pinpoint control.

    All indications to this point are that the Mets won't just unload Colon in a salary dump and will actually be looking for a legitimate return for the right-hander.

    Colon carried a $9 million salary this year and is owed $11 million next season, and that sort of investment may be more than most teams are willing to make to someone north of 40.

    However, with the Los Angeles Angels dealing with the loss of ace Garrett Richards to a season-ending injury, they are one team that could be willing to pay the price and acquire Colon.

    Anthony DiComo of MLB.com lists the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates alongside the Angels as potential suitors for him.

    He has postseason experience with a 3.70 ERA in 10 playoff starts, has enjoyed success in both leagues and is still going strong with a 3.35 ERA in seven second-half starts.


    Unless otherwise noted, all stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and cover games through Monday, Aug. 25. All injury information and contract information comes via MLB Depth Charts team pages, per Baseball Prospectus.

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