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Please: do not freak out every time you hear that someone is placed on waivers

Aug 3, 2010, 3:32 PM EDT

Waivers. They're no big deal. But you knew that, right?

Buster Olney tweeted a few minutes ago that the Nationals have placed first baseman Adam Dunn on waivers.  As soon as he did that, a bunch of people started getting all crazy on the Twitter about Dunn being waived, what it means, etc. 

But you know better than right?

You know that almost every player is placed on waivers at some point during a season, especially in August after the trading deadline, right? You know that when anyone refers to waivers at this time of the year they mean revocable waivers. As in: teams can pull the player back off waivers if the player is claimed.

You also knew that the reason for waivers is for teams to try and slip someone by every other team and that, if a player does go unclaimed by every other team — if he “clears waivers” — that he can be traded just like it was before July 31st?  Of course you knew that!

You also knew that if a player is claimed and his team does not pull him back that the claiming team is stuck with the player, salary and all, right?  Which is why, say, Carlos Lee will definitely clear waivers and someone like Jason Heyward will not.  And which is why some teams are taking a gamble by claiming a player on waivers with the express purpose of keeping him from going to another team, right? Man, I can’t fool you! You knew all this!

Finally, you knew that if multiple teams put a claim on a guy that the team with the worst record
gets preference over teams with better records? And that all teams in the players’ own league get preference over all the teams in the opposite league? Hell, now I’m just lobbing softballs at you.

Wow, so I guess I don’t have to remind anyone not to make a big deal out of it the next time we hear that Player X has been placed on waivers, do I?  It just goes without saying.

  1. bbeer - Aug 3, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    I’ve never met you but, damn, you know me so well Craig.

  2. Simon DelMonte - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Conversely, if you are among the Mets faithful, don’t hold a party when Awful Ollie is placed on waivers.

  3. Jonny5 - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    Well, I for one did not fully understand. the last paragraph, i never knew….. Thanks for that.

  4. Old Gator - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    But if you are an old Mutts fan and remember Tom Seaver being placed on waivers….

  5. onemilemore - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    Thanks for the clarification. Multiple references are made to waivers each year without this explanation, which probably explains the Twitter-induced mania.
    Maybe everyone should tweet Buster to give us an education like Craig just did. Or maybe that’s only for paid insiders.

  6. Philip P - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    Question – what happens if a player with a full no trade clause (i.e. Derrek Lee) is placed on waivers and claimed by Team X? If the Cubs choose not to pull him back, would he need to go to the new team or would his no trade clause supercede?

  7. geoknows - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Yes, I knew, but watching the reactions of those who don’t is part of the fun of August.
    I’ll add one more detail: A team is limited to seven players waived in one day, so not everybody comes through in one….well, wave (waive? waive wave? Take your pick).

  8. bigshotrob - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    i was wondering the same thing.

  9. Omega - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    I didn’t know about the ‘worst record’ and ‘same league’ preferences, so thanks for that information. I am gonna totally stop talking about you behind your back now, you impressed me.

  10. Simon DelMonte - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    I have made an effort to forget that Tom Seaver ever left New York. He played here his whole career. Clearly.

  11. Ditto65 - Aug 3, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    Me too.

  12. Joe - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    The Cubs will revoke the waivers, but it means that they can only trade with the claiming team, and Lee can refuse the trade. Alternatively, if the Cubs only want salary relief and don’t care about players coming back, they can just stick the claiming team with Lee. His no-trade won’t come into effect in that caase.

  13. Proudly Canadian - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    Sometimes teams place players with high salaries and hope that somebody takes the contract off their hands. Last year, the Jays placed Rios on waivers as he definitely was not earning his salary. The Sox picked him up. He did not play well after being claimed, but is earning his salary this season. The Jays replaced him in right field with Bautista, who was much cheaper and has been more productive.
    Is it true that Craig was placed on waivers? Did anyone claim him?

  14. pundyveit - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:58 PM

    Let’s say Adam Dunn, to use an example, does clear waivers. Washington can trade him now, BUT don’t the players coming BACK to Washington in any trade ALSO have to clear waivers in order to be traded after the deadline? If so, presumably the Nationals wouldn’t be able to get any prospect of any value.

  15. pundyveit - Aug 3, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Let’s say Adam Dunn, to use an example, does clear waivers. Washington can trade him now, BUT don’t the players coming BACK to Washington in any trade ALSO have to clear waivers in order to be traded after the deadline? If so, presumably the Nationals wouldn’t be able to get any prospect of any value.

  16. Kevin S. - Aug 3, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    Your name is oxymoronic. That is all.

  17. Kevin S. - Aug 3, 2010 at 6:18 PM

    I apologize for being a jerk just now.

  18. comish4lif - Aug 3, 2010 at 7:36 PM

    Is there a limit to the number of players a team can claim in a single day or period?
    And correct me if I am wrong, but only players on the 40 man have to clear waivers. Dunn could be traded for young prospects not on a 40 man roster.

  19. pundyveit - Aug 3, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    Yep, you’re right that only people on the 40-man roster have to go through waivers, so that’s how it works. Thanks!

  20. Ari Collins - Aug 4, 2010 at 12:25 AM

    And also sometimes teams get around the waiver issue by making it a PTBNL and agreeing to just name the player in the offseason. (Or whenever the waiver period ends.) Similar to the way to get around trading a guy within a year of drafting him.

    Complete side note: the best PTBNL trade ever was that one guy who was traded for a PTBNL, then the receiving team named… the same guy. So he was traded for himself.

    I love baseball.

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