MLB Trade Rumors: 20 Top Players Who Could Be Moved in August Waiver Deals
With the non-waiver trade deadline already past, teams must now place their players on revocable waivers before they may trade their players.
This part of the year can become a bit of a chess match for teams in contention.
Some contenders will place a claim on a player just to block a rival from acquiring that player. Once that happens, it is up to the teams what happens next.
The two teams will have a window of time to reach terms on a trade, the team placing the player on waivers can choose to just allow the claiming team to take on the player and their remaining contract, or they may pull him back off waivers and hold onto him for the remainder of the season.
If the player clears waivers, their current team is then free to explore a trade with any of the 29 other teams.
Any waiver trade must occur before Aug. 31 if the player involved is to be considered eligible for the postseason with their new club.
Here's a look at 20 players that could be involved in waiver activity before the end of the month.
Although it remains a possibility that the Royals could offer Jeff Francis to a contract extension, he would have value to a contending team as back-of-the-rotation insurance.
His 4-11 record is deceiving. He has posted the same quality-start percentage as Shaun Marcum, Anibal Sanchez and Chris Carpenter.
He's also affordable at just a $2 million salary plus performance bonuses.
Arizona, Detroit, Cleveland and Boston all made acquisitions before the trade deadline for pitching insurance, limiting the trade options for the Royals.
The Yankees could still be in the market for a starter though. Texas and St. Louis could have some interest as well.
Kyle Farnsworth would have value on the waiver wire to both contending and non-contending teams.
His status as a Type-A free agent could prompt some additional teams to jump into the bidding for him or place a waiver claim to reap the benefits of his coming free agency.
He's a solid arm out of the bullpen though and would be an attractive addition for several contending teams in search of arms to solidify their bullpen for a pennant race and deep postseason run.
It's hard to imagine that Ramon Hernandez would clear waivers if made available.
He's batting .294 with 11 homers in just 67 games so far this season and catching options around the league are scarce.
Hernandez is also only owed approximately $1 million for the remainder of the season. Plenty of teams would take a chance on a waiver claim even if they did not have a need for Hernandez. At $1 million, he would be valuable even in a backup role.
San Francisco would love to acquire him, but he will be exposed to the entire American League before he would ever reach the National League teams.
It seems more likely that a team will place a claim to block him from reaching a contender.
The Padres are likely to keep Heath Bell, offer him arbitration and either retain their closer for one more season or acquire the draft pick compensation from whichever team he chooses to sign with in the offseason.
He will be placed on waivers though to gauge interest from the other teams. It is likely that his status as one of the elite closers in the league and his Type-A free agent status will be enough for several teams to place waiver claims either to block him from a contender or to chance reaping the benefit of acquiring draft picks in the offseason.
Most likely the Padres will pull him back off waivers and keep him for the remainder of the season.
Josh Willingham is in a similar situation to Heath Bell.
The A's will likely place him on waivers to have the option of trading their slugger if they choose to, but in the end, they will likely pull him off waivers and hold onto him the remainder of 2011.
Willingham also projects as a Type-A free agent and will bring draft picks as compensation if he leaves via free agency.
The A's could also choose to extend him and hold onto him while they wait for their minor leaguers to continue developing.
Carlos Pena's numbers against right-handed pitching (17 HR and .881 OPS) should make him an attractive bat off the bench or platoon player for a contending team.
He would be a nice fit with the Diamondbacks or the Angels (in a platoon with Mark Trumbo).
He would more than likely clear waivers due to his salary and his ineffectiveness against left-handed pitching (.119 average and .556 OPS).
There was plenty of chatter surrounding Wandy Rodriguez at the trade deadline, but no deals came close to fruition for the lefty starter.
The biggest obstacle to trading Rodriguez, and the most likely reason he will pass through waivers unclaimed is his salary.
He was signed to an extension earlier this season that pays him a relatively cheap $7 million this season, $10 million in 2012 and $13 million in 2013.
The 2013 price may be a little steep for him, and there is a clause in his contract that guarantees his $13 million contract option for 2014 if he is traded.
If he clears waivers or reaches the Yankees, a deal may be possible, but I don't see any other teams ponying up the money and prospects to make a deal work and the Astros won't let him go for free.
The White Sox will likely place Carlos Quentin on waivers to gauge interest in their outfielder, however a waiver trade seems unlikely.
Quentin would certainly be claimed and the White Sox would either need to work out a trade with the team that is awarded the claim or pull him back off waivers.
The more likely scenario is that the White Sox will choose to explore trade options during the offseason when they are in a position to leverage their position by engaging several teams in trade talks.
Jeremy Guthrie would be a solid addition for a National League team if he clears waivers or is claimed by a contending team in a position to make a deal work with the Orioles.
He's been in the American League his entire career and in the AL East for the past five seasons.
He's a free agent following this season and is 32 years old, so it is reasonable to think that the Orioles would be willing to consider trade options in an attempt to add to their younger core of players that should reach the majors soon.
Rich Harden was almost traded at the deadline to the Boston Red Sox for Lars Anderson.
The deal fell apart when the Red Sox tried to reduce the price after reviewing his medical records.
If Harden reached Boston they would likely put in a claim on him and hope the A's have softened their stance on his value (unlikely now that they have acquired Brandon Allen from the Diamondbacks).
Another team will likely place a claim on Harden to block him from reaching the Red Sox.
The most likely scenario is that he is claimed but pulled off waivers and sticks with the A's the rest of 2011.
David DeJesus is another A's waiver candidate.
He has had a down year but has been swinging the bat better in the second half of the season.
Since the A's have a few players in the minor leagues that are deserving of a look as the season winds down and DeJesus does not project as either a Type-A or Type-B free agent, he could be obtained in a waiver claim.
The A's would certainly attempt to receive a player or two of value for DeJesus, but their request would likely be fairly reasonable.
Thome has seemingly accepted his role as a pinch-hitter with power as his Hall of Fame worthy career winds down.
He would likely clear waivers but should have teams such as Atlanta and Philadelphia interested in his services as a late-inning pinch-hitter.
The Twins season is lost and moving Thome to a contender where he could win a championship would be a nice way for his career to come to a close.
Jason Giambi is in a similar situation as Jim Thome.
Although Giambi is not likely headed to Cooperstown when his career eventually ends, he is a quality bat to have as a late-inning pinch-hitter and spot starter.
He still has decent power and is not expecting to be an everyday player.
Giambi has informed the Rockies that he is okay with a trade so long as it does not harm his chances of re-signing with Colorado following the season.
He is also an option for the Braves and Phillies as a bat-off-the-bench type player for the postseason run.
Scott Hairston, a free agent following this season, is likely to be placed on waivers by the Mets before the end of this month.
The Mets came close to trading him to the Atlanta Braves in July, but the deal did not end up being finalized.
The Boston Red Sox also had interest in him prior to the trade deadline.
Hairson is batting .264 with seven homers in 68 games.
He doesn't project as either a Type-A or Type-B free agent, meaning the Mets could be motivated to negotiate a trade with any team that is awarded a claim on him to receive some compensation for him leaving rather than allow him to leave for nothing.
Vladimir Guerrero will most likely clear waivers thanks to his bad knees and decline in power production this season.
He has playoff experience, which could be valuable to a contender, but not if the Orioles' price is too high.
Guerrero currently projects as a Type-B free agent, so Baltimore could choose to hold onto him for a compensation draft pick in the sandwich round.
Otherwise, Guerrero would make another solid pinch-hit or part time DH option for a contender, similar to Jim Thome and Jason Giambi.
Alex Rios is a player that has cleared waivers unclaimed before and most likely will clear again.
He is having a bad season and has been a streaky player throughout his career.
If there is a team that is willing to take a chance on his once-promising potential, he should be able to be acquired relatively cheaply (in terms of trade-price, not annual salary).
Rios is a player the White Sox would like to move though, so a deal here could definitely be done.
Ted Lilly falls into a similar type of situation as Wandy Rodriguez (a few slides back).
His contract will likely allow him to pass through waivers, although his value in a trade would be more affordable than that of Rodriguez.
Lilly has a full no-trade clause in his contract, and it is not known whether or not he would be willing to waive it to move to a contender.
The Yankees could take a chance on bringing Lilly back to the Bronx as insurance for their rotation as the postseason approaches.
Matt Guerrier would definitely be claimed on waivers.
He is cheap, at $1.5 million salary this season and has been solid in middle relief.
He would be a good addition for the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers or Philadelphia Phillies if he passed far enough through waivers to reach any of those teams.
His price would make him attractive to many non-contenders as well since he is signed at a reasonable rate through 2013.
Trading Derek Lowe is pure speculation on my part.
The Braves are the most likely candidate to win the NL Wild Card, and Lowe would provide some good experience down the stretch and into the postseason.
If Atlanta does choose to explore a trade through the waiver wire, it would open a roster spot for highly touted prospects Mike Minor or Julio Teheran however.
Lowe would be right up there with Jeremy Guthrie in terms of interest from contending teams looking for experience down the stretch.
B.J. Upton was a big name on the trading block before the trade deadline and figures to remain in speculation through the Aug. 31 deadline as well.
It's no secret why many contending teams would have interest in the talented outfielder.
He brings solid defense, speed and a solid offensive game.
He would also bring the Rays a solid return of prospects if he is dealt.
There should be no shortage of teams that would place a claim on the outfielder, some who genuinely hope to trade for him and others that just want to block him from reaching the opposition.
The Rays will use the waiver period as a way of gauging interest in their outfielder for further talks in the offseason.
He will be placed on waivers, but he won't clear waivers and won't be traded.
If he is, it will be the blockbuster deal of the month.
Additional Waiver Candidates
Some of these players may qualify as bigger names than the previous 20 I listed, but I felt those 20 had the most realistic chance of being involved in trades, either now or following the season.
Astros: Carlos Lee, Brett Myers, Jason Michaels
Athletics: Coco Crisp, Brian Fuentes, Hideki Matsui, Conor Jackson
Blue Jays: Aaron Hill, Mark Teahen, Frank Francisco, Rajai Davis, Trever Miller, John McDonald, Jose Molina, Brian Tallet
Cubs: Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, John Grabow, Rodrigo Lopez, Reed Johnson, Koyie Hill
Dodgers: Hiroki Kuroda, Jonathan Broxton, Casey Blake, Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe, James Loney, Rod Barajas, Jamey Carroll, Dioner Navarro, Mike MacDougal, Aaron Miles
Mariners: Chone Figgins, Jack Wilson, Chris Ray, Jamey Wright, Adam Kennedy
Marlins: Mike Cameron, Javier Vazquez, Omar Infante, Wes Helms, Greg Dobbs, DeWayne Wise
Mets: Jason Bay, Ryota Igarashi, D.J. Carrasco, Tim Byrdak, Willie Harris, Jason Isringhausen
Nationals: Ivan Rodriguez, Jonny Gomes, Rick Ankiel, Todd Coffey, Livan Hernandez, Chien-Ming Wang, Laynce Nix
Orioles: Mike Gonzalez, Kevin Gregg, Cesar Izturis, Mark Hendrickson
Padres: Aaron Harang, Chad Qualls
Rays: Johnny Damon, Kelly Shoppach
Reds: Francisco Cordero, Edgar Renteria, Miguel Cairo, Dontrelle Willis, Jeremy Hermida, Fred Lewis
Rockies: Aaron Cook, Huston Street, Mark Ellis, Rafael Betancourt, Ty Wigginton, Ian Stewart, Ryan Spilborghs
Royals: Kyle Davies, Bruce Chen, Matt Treanor
Twins: Joe Nathan, Carl Pavano, Matt Capps, Jason Kubel, Kevin Slowey
White Sox: Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn, Juan Pierre, Omar Vizquel, Will Ohman, Ramon Castro