One of the biggest waiver deals in history took place between the Red Sox and Dodgers on Aug. 25, 2012, when the Dodgers acquired Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto for prospects.
All four Red Sox veterans had cleared waivers, making the deal possible.
So deals at this time of the year can be impactful and they’re worth exploring.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said it’s hard to be confident in making deals during the waiver period because it’s impossible to know which players will get claimed and which players will get through waivers. But it’s also a second chance for teams to acquire players who could help them the remainder of the year.
That’s how the Giants got Cody Ross back in 2010. Brian Sabean, the general manager at the time, was trying to block the rival Padres from getting him. He claimed Ross, and much to his surprise was awarded the claim. Ross turned out to be a huge part of the Giants’ World Series title run. He was MVP of the NLCS after providing three homers and a .350 average.
To review, most teams put all of their players on trade waivers in August. A player first goes through waivers in his league, and then the other. Teams with the worst records get first shot to claim a player. If a player is claimed, the team that put the player on waivers can honor the claim outright, negotiate a trade, or pull him back. Players who get through waivers are primarily high-priced or just undesirable.
Another aspect of a waiver deal is acquiring a player so he can be eligible for the postseason roster.
So what type of players will be available?
Generally, higher-priced players tend to get through waivers unless a big-market team makes a claim. There are also players having poor seasons who have begun to turn things around, and players who have been hurt most of the year but are playing well again.
Here are some players who could be attractive on waivers:
1. Ervin Santana, RHP, Twins — It was a little surprising that Santana wasn’t traded during the non-waiver period. He could be an ideal candidate to get claimed by a contender because he has two years at $13.5 million per remaining on his contract. That’s not likely to scare off a big-market team, but a mid- to small-market team might shy away. While the Twins couldn’t work out a deal before the non-waiver deadline, maybe now their demands for Santana are less.
2. Jon Jay, CF, Padres — Jay was in demand before fracturing his right forearm in June. When healthy — and that should be soon — Jay could be on a few teams’ radar. In fact, if the Red Sox decide to send Andrew Benintendi back to the minors, Jay would be a good replacement.
3. Jered Weaver, RHP, Angels — Weaver is far from what he used to be, but he competes and he cares. In the final year of his deal, it’s hard to tell if anyone would make him a back-end starter if a need arises. Four of his last five starts have been decent.
4. Clay Buchholz, RHP, Red Sox — A few teams inquired about Buchholz, but the Red Sox chose to keep him as he began pitching better out of the bullpen. We’ll see how much interest he garners on waivers. The Red Sox seemed unwilling to eat any appreciable amount of his contract when the Marlins were trying to deal for him before the non-waiver deadline.
5. Homer Bailey, RHP, Reds — The 30-year-old righty has made just one start following his recovery from Tommy John surgery, but he looks like he’s all the way back. The Reds would love to shed his contract (there’s still $68 million remaining after this year). Seems like a fat chance, but if a team claims him, who knows?
6. Adam Lind, 1B, Mariners — The Mariners were trying to move him, given that he’s entering free agency and likely not in Seattle’s plans. Lind is a dependable lefthanded power bat. It’s hard to imagine he’d get out of the AL without a claim. The Mariners could extract a mid-level prospect for him. Lind made $8 million this season, so the prorated amount of that is due.
7. Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Phillies — The Phillies couldn’t deal him in July, but if the right team claims him they might work out a deal. However, the Phillies are resigned to thinking that won’t happen.
8. Ryan Madson, RHP, A’s — Madson hasn’t had the greatest year, but he has that veteran bullpen experience teams want at this time of year. He will likely garner some interest, and it’s unlikely he’d get out of the AL without being claimed.
9. Derek Norris, C, Padres — There was plenty of speculation at the trade deadline about Norris moving, but it never happened. Will there be a second wave of interest? The Padres would love to see it happen. Norris is hitting only .192 but he has power from the catcher position. He’s arbitration eligible after this season.
10. Jim Johnson, RHP, Braves — As relievers get tired and injured, teams will be looking to add solid arms to the bullpen. Johnson seems a prime candidate for that scenario. He has also pitched well lately. Look for NL teams such as the Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers, and Marlins to be interested.
11. Matt Kemp, RF, Braves — Kemp was traded from the Padres to the Braves at the deadline in a big contract swap for Hector Olivera. Kemp could move again if the Braves can pick off a prospect.
12. Michael Pineda, RHP, Yankees — The Yankees were open to dealing him before the deadline, but couldn’t get the right pieces in return. With more teams more desperate for starters, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Pineda dealt if someone puts in a claim. Pineda is eligible for arbitration this winter.
AIM IS ARMS
Orioles plan to upgrade rotation
The Orioles know they must obtain pitching this offseason. How they do it is anyone’s guess, but it likely has to come via trade. Because GM Dan Duquette is under great restraints by ownership, he has to do it creatively. And he usually does.
When Duquette has money to spend, as he did in Boston, he seems to make the most of it. There haven’t been many contracts of eight years in length that worked out like Manny Ramirez’s did. Johnny Damon and Pedro Martinez also worked out pretty well in Boston, too.
In Baltimore, Duquette has been brilliant with reclamation projects. He signed Nelson Cruz to a one-year deal after his PED suspension and got a terrific season out of him. He has done the same with Mark Trumbo, acquiring the slugger from Seattle last offseason and putting his faith in Trumbo benefiting from Camden Yards. Now his contract has come due.
The Orioles have to decide whether they’ll let catcher Matt Wieters walk rather than put forth the $16.7 million qualifying offer, which he may accept.
But fixing the rotation is the highest priority.
They feel confident with Kevin Gausman and Chris Tillman and are growing more confident in Dylan Bundy. They will have newly acquired Wade Miley under contract for next season as well as Yovani Gallardo, who hasn’t worked out. But they must bring in at least another proven pitcher to anchor the rotation.
Duquette was forced to sign Chris Davis to a long-term deal last offseason and that looks to be an albatross as Davis has underperformed (.221, 22 homers, 60 RBIs, .775 OPS).
Could the Orioles have used the money to sign a top pitcher? Likely yes, but they expected Davis would continue with his 40-50-homer/100-RBI ways and that simply hasn’t happened.
The Orioles certainly have the offense and bullpen to keep moving forward next season. But one would suspect that Toronto and Boston will better their rotations in 2017.
The Orioles have defied all odds by hanging around first place with their starting rotation. But for how much longer?
Apropos of nothing
1. Loved Shin-Soo Choo’s response to the Rangers’ revamped lineup with Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran added. “Good luck, pitchers.”
2. Battle of the GMs: Houston’s Jeff Luhnow got under Jon Daniels’s skin a bit last week when Luhnow defended his trade deadline inactivity by saying Daniels gave up three of Texas’s top five prospects in deals for Beltran, Lucroy, and Jeremy Jeffress. “People always celebrate these moves on trade deadline day. The cost of these moves are felt the next year, the year after, and they’re not always tied back to the moves that you made,” said Lunhow. Daniels shot back, “It doesn’t matter what Jeff says or what I say. They’ve traded prospects and we’ve traded prospects.”
3. Every time the Red Sox play the Dodgers, you see Red Sox past. From Adrian Gonzalez to broadcaster Nomar Garciaparra, to reminders of the 2012 blockbuster and the people who made it (Stan Kasten and Ned Colletti). And of course, there’s manager Dave Roberts and farm director Gabe Kapler.
4. Andrew Benintendi doesn’t look like a No. 40. I think of Ken Harrelson and Billy Conigliaro when I see No. 40. Benintendi is more like a No. 5 or a No. 18. I’ll bet he’s wearing one of those numbers next season.
5. We have come to find that the Red Sox tried very hard to obtain Beltran from the Yankees. At one point they thought it might happen, but Texas swooped in and made a better offer. In some ways that took the Red Sox off the hook, because you never want to give the Yankees a prospect who could come back to haunt you.
6. Two guys at the end of their careers were nearly Red Sox. Mark Teixeira was signed by the Red Sox as an amateur but negotiations were botched by scouting director Wayne Britton and Teixeira went to college. Many years later, the Red Sox tried to sign Teixeira as a free agent but the Yankees beat them to it. Alex Rodriguez was nearly a Red Sox but a deal with Texas fell through when the Players Association wouldn’t allow A-Rod to reduce his contract. Both situations worked out. The Red Sox won three championships, Teixeira and A-Rod each won one with the Yankees.
7. Courtesy of Bill Chuck: When the Red Sox were 58-48, it marked the same record at the same juncture of the 1967 Impossible Dream season, the 1990 division championship season, and the 2004 title team.
Updates on nine
1. Allen Craig, OF/1B, Red Sox — It has been a wasted year for the classy Craig, who has missed most of the season for Triple A Pawtucket with oblique issues. Craig, who is off the Red Sox roster but collecting $9 million, has had 18 at-bats at Pawtucket and four at low A Lowell. The Red Sox have decided not to bite the bullet and release him, but that could change this offseason. Craig is scheduled to receive $11 million next season.
2. Yasiel Puig, RF, Dodgers — Now at Triple A Oklahoma City, Puig, 25, may finally be humbled with his demotion. He is scheduled to earn $8.2 million and $9.2 million the next two years. So how about a Puig-for-Rusney Castillo deal? Castillo is 29 and earning almost $50 million through 2022. Change of scenery for both?
3. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays — The Jays brass discussed the Sanchez situation every which way. From what I’m told, there was no stone unturned in deciding to keep Sanchez in a six-man rotation rather than send him to the bullpen, all in the name of limiting his innings. According to a team source, “He’s our most effective pitcher and when we looked at the stress in him we came to the conclusion that in a six-man rotation we’d still have him, but we’d have him safely. I think we all feel good about it.”
4. Francisco Liriano, LHP, Blue Jays — Liriano hasn’t pitched well overall, but according to one scout who saw him a lot, “He’s capable of putting together a run. It’s all about command with him. He’s always going to walk people, but if he keeps that harnessed he’s got the stuff where he can be effective for six innings, and these days that’s what you’re looking for.”
5. Edwin Encarnacion, DH/1B, Blue Jays — Those around him now joke with him about where he’ll hit in the Red Sox lineup next season as the DH. There’s a sense that Toronto may not be able to re-sign him. Boston would likely pursue one of the only hitters on the market who could outperform David Ortiz. Yes, the Red Sox will have to figure out what to do with Pablo Sandoval, and yes, they could move Hanley Ramirez to DH. But Encarnacion is scary strong and would be a huge factor at Fenway. What do you give him? Probably four years, $80 million to $88 million.
6. Rich Hill, LHP, Dodgers — Hill will start against the Red Sox on Sunday. He’s great insurance in case Clayton Kershaw doesn’t make it back this season. Hill would have preferred coming East to Boston or Baltimore, but the chance to wear Dodger blue is an experience he’ll cherish. We’ll see whether Hill is a rental or someone who would stay with LA. There’s no doubt he would be a main target of the Orioles if he becomes a free agent. Baltimore tried to get him from Oakland at the non-waiver deadline.
7. Josh Reddick, RF, Dodgers — Reddick fits with the Dodgers’ culture in the clubhouse and there’s a very good chance he could sign a long-term deal there. The Dodgers need stability in the outfield after a few years of instability with Puig and Carl Crawford. They also have the financial means to sign Reddick long term.
8. J.A. Happ, LHP, Blue Jays — Happ, 33, has been in the league for 10 years and he’s just now becoming one of the elite lefties. He leads the league with 15 wins. After his breakout season in 2009 with the Phillies (12-4, 2.93) it was thought he would become the next Cole Hamels. But that didn’t happen. But like Hill, who found himself at age 36, Happ has found wisdom and finally figured out how to get batters out.
“He’s probably been the most consistent pitcher in baseball this season,” said an NL special adviser.
9. David Robertson, RHP, White Sox — We left him off the waiver trade list because there’s conflicting word on whether the White Sox would deal him. Robertson still has $28.5 million remaining on his deal, which is a big nugget. The Red Sox had their eye on him, but settled on Brad Ziegler.
From Bill Arnold’s bag of goodies: “After this season’s non-waiver trade deadline passed, the youngest starting pitching rotation belonged to the Phillies with an average age of 25 years and 3 days.” . . . Happy birthday, Ryan Lavarnway (29), Edgar Renteria (40), Kerry Lacy (44), Greg Pirkl (46), and John Trautwein (54).
Who are these guys?
The San Diego Padres have never been known for their long ball hitting. They’ve finished in the bottom third of the league in homers 14 of the past 16 seasons and have cracked the top 10 only twice (ninth in 1992, sixth in 1970) since beginning play in 1969. That’s what made their recent power surge — hitting home runs in 25 straight games, two off the all-time record — a real eye-opener. Details of the streak: