MLB Waiver Wire: 10 Players Most Likely to Be Picked Up
The trade deadline has passed, but players will still be dealt throughout the month of August due to the waiver system.
Teams who wrongly decided to bet that they would get hot and reach a second wild card spot will now have a second chance to unload some dead weight that won't help them moving forward. This is good news for contenders who are still searching for that one extra piece that can get them over the hump.
There are certainly some high profile names on this list, which has been assembled due to the likelihood that each respective player is dealt. Certain factors, such as team position, player salary and player value are all taken into account.
It would be interesting to see whether the fans would want their respective teams to trade for these players, so be sure to chime in with some comments.
10. Jose Reyes, SS
When the Rockies surprisingly swapped Troy Tulowitzki for Jose Reyes, everyone thought that Reyes would be quickly flipped.
With prospect Trevor Story waiting in the wings and Reyes due $44 million after this season, there isn't much reason to keep him. Story has hit .275 with 18 home runs and 63 RBI this season for Double-A and Triple-A and appears to be ready to come up.
"If the Rockies are indeed rebuilding, they don’t have much need for an injury-prone, 32-year-old shortstop who is clearly past his prime," writes Cliff Corcoran of SI.com.
Reyes' value is diminished, but hitter-friendly Coors Field might be able to boost his value enough to the point that teams take a look at him in the offseason. The Rockies would likely get a better haul that way than through waivers, but he still might move this month depending on which contender needs a shortstop.
9. Rusney Castillo, RF
What are the Red Sox doing with Rusney Castillo? Nobody knows.
"Castillo, oddly, continues to be a platoon player for the Red Sox. At a time when they are completely out of the wild-card race, the Red Sox still platoon him with Alejandro de Aza," writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. "Which shows you they’re not completely sold that he’s going to be an everyday player after spending $72.5 million on him."
Castillo should be one of the young pieces the Red Sox build around, but he has played just 45 games in two seasons since signing with Boston. Why would be be platooning with de Aza? The idea is as crazy as signing Hanley Ramirez as a free agent to play left field and giving Rick Porcello an $82.5 million extension before he ever threw a pitch for them.
One of the best run organizations in baseball for some time, it now appears as if the Red Sox have no idea what they're doing. Until they commit to their young players, they'll continue to swing and miss in free agency and struggle to put together a contender by throwing around blank checks.
8. Carlos Gonzalez, LF
After dealing away Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich foreshadowed that more trades could be on the horizon.
If the Rockies are likely to move anyone, it would be Carlos Gonzalez.
He's been on fire of late, hitting .357 with 12 HR and 29 RBI over his last 33 games. That torrid stretch may have given his trade value a renewed boost, although concerns over injuries and his play away from Coors Field are still present. Gonzalez has played in 130 or more games just twice in his career and is a lifetime .258 hitter on the road.
CarGo would be an interesting fit in St. Louis, which always seems to get the most out of players.
With the best record in baseball at 68-39, the Cardinals have a legitimate World Series chance this season. Gonzalez could be the "wow" bat that the Cardinals lack and could further separate them from the pack in the National League.
7. Craig Kimbrel, RP
The rumors of Craig Kimbrel to the Yankees were aplenty before the trade deadline and have now carried into August.
"There's a chance that Kimbrel's sizable contract will help him pass through waivers," wrote Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. "But it's unclear how willing San Diego was to deal Kimbrel, considering they reportedly didn't even return the Yankees' call for [Jorge] Mateo."
Kimbrel joining the Yankees would be an instant game-changer in the American League. I'll break down how their bullpen would unfold, accompanied by each player's ERA in parentheses.
The sixth inning duties would be split among lefties Chasen Shreve (2.13) and Justin Wilson (2.61). The seventh through ninth innings would be simply unfair, with manager Joe Girardi able to choose between Kimbrel (2.76), Dellin Betances (1.31) and Andrew Miller (1.75) in any order he deems fit.
It would become a five inning game for the Yankees, and if they could somehow pull it off, it would be the most sensational bullpen assembled in recent memory.
6. Chase Utley, 2B
A lifelong member of the Phillies, it would be strange to see Chase Utley wearing a different uniform. Still, there's a real chance it happens after years of rumors.
Utley, 36, has been a disaster this season, hitting just .179 in yet another injury-plagued year. After making the All-Star team five seasons in a row from 2006 to 2010, Utley was selected just one season out of the next five.
He clearly isn't the same player he once was, but he might still be able to help some teams.
Cliff Corcoran of SI.com speculates who would be good fits for Utley should he hit the waiver wire.
"Utley could become a compelling option for teams like the Yankees and Angels if he makes a strong return," he writes.
The idea of Utley in Yankee Stadium is appealing due to his lefty power stroke. Still, Utley has never homered in Yankee Stadium, although his seven games are just a small sample size.
At this point, it might just be better for the Phillies to hold on to Utley and let him finish his career with them. He won't reach the 500 plate appearances required to kick in his vesting option, so he will be a free agent at season's end.
Based on how this season has unfolded, it may be his last.
5. James Shields, SP
Since breaking into the big leagues in 2006, James Shields has demonstrated the ability to pitch in both leagues, dominate in a tough division and lead a young rotation to the World Series. If he is placed on waivers, any team who passes on him would immediately regret it.
The main "issue" with Shields is his contract, which will have three years and $63 million left on it after this season. The contract also includes a $2 million buyout for 2019, meaning that teams will be on the hook for at least $65 million.
"Shields is a guy the Padres might be able to slip through waivers because of his hefty salary," wrote Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. "It’s hard to imagine a team putting a claim in, so Shields could be an August acquisition for a team such as the Yankees, who didn’t solve any pitching needs."
Shields has already shown he can be effective in the American League East and the Yankees rotation is a mess right now. Although top prospect Luis Severino had an impressive debut Wednesday night, there are still questions surrounding Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia.
If Shields were a free agent this season, $65 million over three years would likely be fair market value. If the Padres are looking to just dump his salary without the other team having to sacrifice prospects, the deal should be a no-brainer.
In his first year in the National League, Shields has a career-high 9.8 strikeouts per nine innings and could likely help any contender.
4. Marlon Byrd, LF
Marlon Byrd has played for eight teams in his career and could be days away from joining a ninth, assuming he isn't dealt to one of his former squads.
According to Cliff Corcoran of SI.com, Byrd would be a good fit for the Pirates.
"I would not be shocked to see Byrd slip through waivers and return to Pittsburgh if the newly acquired Michael Morse continues his season-long struggles, as Byrd would be a good fit in a job share with Gregory Polanco in right field, an arrangement which would also keep his option from vesting," he wrote.
Byrd, who has 18 home runs on the season and is on the verge of hitting 20 or more in three straight seasons, is no longer a need for the Reds, who are far out of the playoff picture. After trading Johnny Cueto, there's really no reason for the rebuilding Reds to hang onto the 37-year-old slugger.
A reunion in Pittsburgh would make sense, as Corcoran noted, since Byrd can give their lineup even more power and make them more potent heading into October.
3. Justin Upton, LF
Of all the players who weren't traded at the deadline, Upton was easily the most surprising.
Now mired in an enormous slump, it's possible the Padres missed their opportunity to get something solid in return for the soon-to-be free agent.
Upton was an All-Star this season but has hit just .189 with six home runs since June 1. That's a 50-game stretch that is a big enough sample size to scare off even the most aggressive contenders.
The talent is still there with Upton, but it seems as if it is the same old story with him. He has driven in 100 runs just once in his nine seasons. Additionally, he has hit .300 and slugged 30 home runs just one time in his career as well.
Based on potential alone, teams will be interested if he hits the waiver wire. Since he's a free agent at season's end, he's a low-risk, high-reward pickup for a contender like the Yankees or Cubs.
2. Mike Napoli, 1B
It's actually unclear what the Red Sox are doing, as they made no moves at the deadline to help them in 2016. Instead, they still have a bunch of odd position battles and platoons and seem stuck in purgatory between being a veteran or rookie team.
With no need for struggling Mike Napoli, he has become a candidate to be traded this month.
"In need of injecting some new blood into the organization, Napoli is the odd-man out as the team looks to fill his position differently next season," wrote Kyle Franzoni of Fansided.
Napoli is currently hitting .209, which would be the lowest batting average of his career if the season ended today. He still has some power, hitting 13 home runs in 97 games to date, but it is unclear which team would be interested in him.
Since he hits 39 points better against lefties, perhaps he would be a platoon option looking for a right-handed power bat.
1. Francisco Rodriguez, RP
All of a sudden, the 33-year-old Francisco Rodriguez is in high demand. As teams try to build super bullpens to further shorten the required length from their starting pitching, there are a lot of suitors interested in Rodriguez's arm.
Cliff Corcoran of SI.com speculates which team would be a perfect fit for Rodriguez.
"The Astros, eyeing the sort of late-game dominance that helped the upstart Royals win the pennant last year, were reportedly aggressively seeking a high-end closer at the deadline," he wrote.
Rodriguez has 25 saves and a 1.41 ERA, the lowest in baseball among relievers with 20 or more saves. He has also made back-to-back All-Star games for the first time since 2008-09.
His career resurgence has made him a player to keep an eye on during the waiver season, as he can help a contender down the stretch, and it appears inevitable that he will be sporting a different jersey in a few weeks.