Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline has passed, but doesn’t mean players can’t change teams. The Orioles could still get a third baseman, and the Nationals a catcher. But there’s a slight twist in the process.
In August, players can be traded if they clear waivers. For example, if the Nationals wanted to trade a big league player for Boston catcher Kelly Shoppach, all big league players in the deal would have to clear waivers. The Nationals and Red Sox would have to let other teams know about the deal, and any team that wanted Shoppach, or any big league players in the deal, could claim him. If another team claims a player, that team gets the player and the trade is blocked.
But in an age where teams are trying to have payroll flexibility, claims don’t often happen. If two teams claim the same player, the team lower in the standings gets priority. The Braves could claim Shoppach and keep the Nationals from getting him, but they’d also be stuck with the money.
If the Red Sox wanted to put injured outfielder Carl Crawford on waivers, chances are no one would pick up his mega-contract. However, the Marlins have said that first baseman Carlos Lee will be put on waivers. Given that he’s a valuable hitter who only needs to be paid for two months before his contract runs out, teams needing a hitter might go after him.
Last season, the Orioles got reliever Pedro Strop in an August deal from Texas, and he’s a big part of the future. The Tigers picked up outfielder Delmon Young, who was a key hitter from them down the stretch. The Diamondbacks acquired Aaron Hill and John McDonald from the Blue Jays for Kelly Johnson.
Now, a look at the deadline trades:
* The Rangers got Ryan Dempster, a former reliever who had 85 saves for the Cubs, to fix their rotation, and while he’s got a 2.25 ERA, is he going to be the go-to guy down the stretch and into the postseason? The Rangers have lost Colby Lewis and Neftali Feliz to injuries, and the rest of the rotation includes Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, Matt Harrison and Scott Feldman. Roy Oswalt has moved to the bullpen. Dempster and his former catcher with the Cubs, Geovany Soto, will be the battery Thursday versus the Angels.
* The Dodgers and Giants went into Tuesday’s deadline tied for 11th in runs scored in the National League. The Dodgers added Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino to their lineup and the Giants added the power of Hunter Pence. The Giants have great pitching, but the prediction here is that Victorino will do for the Dodgers what Rafael Furcal, another player once dealt on July 31 , did for the Cardinals last season. Victorino will bat leadoff and ignite the Dodgers’ offense, just as Furcal did last season for St. Louis.
* The Pirates added bats at a low cost. But there are questions: Will Gaby Sanchez shake off his season-long slump and return to the guy that hit 38 home runs in two seasons for the Marlins? Can Travis Snider be a consistent hitter in the outfield? The Pirates also added to their strong rotation with Wandy Rodriguez, while their top competition in the NL Central, the Reds, picked up Jonathan Broxton for a setup role in a bullpen that’s already one of the NL’s best.
* The Braves got Paul Maholm and he’s going to help on two fronts. He’s got a 1.02 ERA in his last six starts and next year, he’ll make $6.5 million. Maholm is better for the Braves that if they had picked up Dempster. Also, Reed Johnson will give the Braves outfield depth. He’ll allow the Braves to rest Martin Prado and Michael Bourn.
* The team that should have done more and didn’t was the Athletics. They have played over their heads, but their rotation, as good as it has been, is thin with inexperience. It is difficult to believe that the A’s can keep up with the pitching-rich Rangers and Angels, who got Zack Greinke.