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Blockbusters rare, but deals can be made in waiver period

He scuffled in the first half, but Mike Napoli is hitting better now, and that could attract a contending team.Winslow Townson/Associated Press

NEW YORK — There may never be a waiver-period deal like the one the Red Sox and Dodgers made on Aug. 25, 2012 when Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto were traded to the Dodgers for James Loney, Rubby de La Rosa, Allen Webster, Ivan DeJesus, and Jerry Sands.

It was case in point that big deals can be made during the waiver period as contending teams try to make last-minute moves before the Aug. 31 roster deadline for playoff eligibility.

A majority of players get put through waivers this month.

Over the past three days, the Red Sox have run Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, Hanley Ramirez, Craig Breslow, and Justin Masterson through waivers.


The Red Sox would like to move Napoli, who has started to heat up. They'd never admit it, but they also wouldn't mind someone taking Ramirez or Castillo off their hands.

Breslow and Masterson are no-brainers. Bradley could yield an interesting return. They probably don't want to deal Holt.

But everyone else? Take them, please.

Nava was claimed by the Rays, and the Red Sox awarded him to them Wednesday.

To review how it all works, when a player is put through waivers, he can go through with no claim, which means he then can be traded anywhere. He can get claimed, and whichever team claims him can be awarded the player. A trade can also be worked out with the claiming team. Or the player can be pulled back off waivers.

A player with a high salary usually passes through, unless a team with a high payroll and a specific need makes the claim and is willing to assume the contract.

On Tuesday, the Mets acquired lefty specialist Eric O'Flaherty from the A's. That means O'Flaherty passed through the American League and made it all the way to the Mets. The order on claims goes from the team with the worst record to that with the best record.


The Red Sox, because they are the worst team in the AL, get first dibs at any AL player placed on waivers, while also getting first crack at a National League player who has passed through the NL.

Others who have been put through waivers around the league lately include James Shields and Matt Kemp of the Padres. Shields is a player a team that failed to secure a starter at the non-waiver deadline might have some interest in.

The Red Sox have been involved with these deals beyond the notable 2012 deal. They traded Jeff Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen Aug. 30, 1990.

Some other big deals included the Mets trading David Cone to the Jays in August of 1992 for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson. Or the A's dealing Jose Canseco to the Rangers for Ruben Sierra, Bobby Witt, and Jeff Russell Aug. 31, 1992. In 2003, the Pirates traded Brian Giles to the Padres for Jason Bay, Oliver Perez, and Cory Stewart.

On Aug. 6, 2004, the Rockies traded Larry Walker to the Cardinals for Chris Narveson, Jason Burch, and Luis Martinez. On Aug. 21, 2008, the Pirates traded Jose Bautista to the Blue Jays for Robinson Diaz.

What Napoli has going for him is that he's getting hot. Most teams don't care what you've done all season. It's all about what you've done lately.


Napoli could definitely help a few teams, such as the Astros, White Sox, and Rays. One of the issues is always money, but if someone claimed Napoli and a trade were made, the Red Sox likely would pick up the majority of the remainder on his $16 million deal.

For Napoli, it would be a chance to save something of his season and to play for a contender, which could get him more notice as he enters free agency. Napoli is also a proven postseason performer.

Tampa Bay's claim on Nava had to be music to his ears. He was never going to be more than a bat off the bench for the Red Sox. With the Rays' use of platoons and with David DeJesus having been traded to the Angels, Nava has a chance to emerge with more playing time in Tampa Bay.

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. Which shows you they're not completely sold that he's going to be an everyday player after spending $72.5 million on him.

Holt was sought after at the trade deadline, but the Red Sox had no interest in dealing him then, and probably don't have an interest now. But a good conversation could take place with a claiming team, which might have a big need to fill and overpay.


Masterson certainly has not lived up to his $9.5 million price tag, but he has shown some ability to pitch out of the bullpen. Breslow has shown better velocity this season — but that has only resulted in his allowing more home runs.

The Red Sox could hope for a "bad contract" swap with Ramirez. There are plenty of those out there. But it would seem the Red Sox are stuck with this deal.

Ramirez, who had only eight doubles this season as of Wednesday, has always had two things attached to his baseball reputation: he's often injured and he's a poor clubhouse presence. The positives are his talent and particularly his ability to hit.

There was a scene Tuesday night in the eighth inning, when Ramirez came in on a ball and Pablo Sandoval went out and eventually made the catch, resulting in the two laughing on the field.

It was a bad look, and YES analyst Paul O'Neill made note of it on the Yankees broadcast.

Laughing on the field during a 13-3 loss doesn't put you in the best light.

Nick Cafardo can be reached at cafardo@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @nickcafardo.