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

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2015

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Harang throws in the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)
Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, but that doesn't mean there will be no more trades the rest of the way around Major League Baseball.

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 he first passes 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 the players being pulled back or "revoked" once a claim is made.
  • If multiple teams claim a player, claim priority goes to the team in the same league as the player with the worse record. If no team claims the player from the same league, priority goes to the team with the worse record in the other league.
  • If a player is claimed and his current team is genuinely interested in trading him, 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 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 is 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

Gregory Smith/Associated Press

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.

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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 (eight games) 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 it 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. 

Aug. 25, 2012: Los Angeles Dodgers acquire 1B Adrian Gonzalez, SP Josh Beckett, OF Carl Crawford and INF Nick Punto from Boston Red Sox for 1B James Loney, INF Ivan De Jesus, OF Jerry Sands, SP Rubby De La Rosa and SP Allen Webster

The Dodgers took on an enormous amount of money to complete this nine-player blockbuster deal. Though Gonzalez continues to be one of the best hitters in the National League, the Red Sox used the money saved from this trade to go on an offseason spending spree that helped them win the 2013 World Series. 

Notable Waiver Trades in 2014

Oct 4, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Matt Thornton (46) pitches in the 11th inning against the San Francisco Giants in game two of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: H. Darr Beiser-USA
H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Aug. 3, 2014: Minnesota Twins select Jordan Schafer off waivers from Atlanta Braves

Schafer took over as the Twins' primary left fielder down the stretch, hitting .285/.345/.362 with 15 stolen bases in 41 games after coming to Minnesota.

Aug. 5, 2014: Washington Nationals select Matt Thornton off waivers from New York Yankees

The Nationals were in serious need of a reliable left-handed reliever, and after failing to land one at the deadline, they took on Thornton's contract. He threw 11.1 scoreless innings over 18 appearances last season, and he has a 1.85 ERA, 0.904 WHIP and 14 holds in 35 appearances so far this year.

Aug. 7, 2014: Los Angeles Dodgers acquire SP Roberto Hernandez from Philadelphia Phillies for SP Victor Arano, 2B Jesmuel Valentin

Hernandez made nine starts with the Dodgers, going 2-3 with a 4.74 ERA to help shore up the back of the rotation during the stretch run.

Aug. 11, 2014: Kansas City Royals acquire OF Josh Willingham from Minnesota Twins for SP Jason Adam

Willingham played his way into regular at-bats after joining the Royals, hitting .233/.349/.384 with five doubles and two home runs in 86 plate appearances. He was also 1-for-4 coming off the bench in the postseason before retiring at the end of the year.

Aug. 30, 2014: Baltimore Orioles acquire OF Alejandro De Aza from Chicago White Sox for SP Mark Blackmar, RP Miguel Chalas

De Aza made perhaps the biggest impact of any waiver acquisition, as he took over in left field and in the leadoff spot in the Baltimore lineup. He hit .293/.341/.537 with five doubles, three triples and three home runs. He followed that up by going 7-for-21 with three doubles, three RBI and four runs scored in October.

Aug. 31, 2014: Oakland Athletics acquire 1B Adam Dunn from Chicago White Sox for RP Nolan Sanburn

Set to retire at the end of the season, Dunn joined the A's in hopes of chasing a World Series ring before he called it a career. He hit .212/.316/.318 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 66 at-bats but wrapped up his career on the bench during the AL Wild Card Game.

2015 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

Jun 28, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Adam Lind (24) hits a 2-run homer in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Miller Park. The Brewers beat the Twins 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
  • OF Marlon Byrd, Cincinnati Reds
  • OF Rajai Davis, Detroit Tigers
  • OF Jeff Francoeur, Philadelphia Phillies
  • 1B Adam Lind, Milwaukee Brewers
  • 1B/3B Casey McGehee, Miami Marlins
  • 1B Mike Napoli, Boston Red Sox
  • C A.J. Pierzynski, Atlanta Braves
  • OF Will Venable, San Diego Padres

There is not much in the way of impact bats who could still be on the move, but one name to keep an eye on is Adam Lind from the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 32-year-old would almost certainly be claimed by someone if made available, as he's hit .276/.355/.482 with 20 doubles and 16 home runs. He carries an $8 million option for next season, so the Brewers could wind up holding on to him.

Will Venable (.712 OPS, 6 HR, 25 RBI), Rajai Davis (.729 OPS, 14 SB), A.J. Pierzynski (.294 BA, .765 OPS) and Mike Napoli (.704 OPS, 13 HR) are all upcoming free agents who could potentially help a contender.


Jun 7, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Shawn Kelley throws against the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
  • RP Neal Cotts, Milwaukee Brewers
  • SP Aaron Harang, Philadelphia Phillies
  • RP Shawn Kelley, San Diego Padres
  • SP Kyle Lohse, Milwaukee Brewers
  • RP Manny Parra, Cincinnati Reds
  • RP Oliver Perez, Arizona Diamondbacks
  • SP Alfredo Simon, Detroit Tigers

It was somewhat surprising to see Aaron Harang stay put with the Philadelphia Phillies, and he'll be the top name on the market among starting pitchers.

Harang is only owed about $1.8 million the rest of the way, and he's gone 5-11 with a 3.97 ERA and 1.270 WHIP in 111 innings of work so far this season.

On the reliever side of things, lefties Neal Cotts (42 G, 3 HLD, 3.51 ERA) and Oliver Perez (45 G, 7 HLD, 3.38 ERA) and righty Shawn Kelley (33 G, 2 HLD, 3.19 ERA) could be on the move as upcoming free agents.

Alfredo Simon (10-6, 4.55 ERA, 4.21 FIP) could also be of use returning to the swingman role he filled in Cincinnati.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference, unless otherwise noted.