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About post-trade deadline trades

Aug 1, 2011, 9:15 AM EST

Manny Ramirez, new team member of the Chicago White Sox, looks on during batting practice prior to the White Sox MLB American League baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland Reuters

While we talk about July 31st as the “trade deadline,” it really isn’t a deadline. Or at least a hard one.  You can still trade guys in August.  It’s just that (a) any trade after the July deadline is a little trickier; and (b) if you trade a guy after August 31st, he can’t be on the playoff roster of his new team.

Trades that occur now have to involve players who have gone through waivers.  The waiver process is a bit confusing, but the upshot is this:

  • To trade a player, the team places him on waivers;
  • Once on waivers, other teams can claim him.
  • If a player is claimed, his current team can either (a) pull him back and keep him, as these are “revocable waivers;” (b) let him go to the claiming team for nothing, with the claiming team assuming his contract; or (c) negotiate a trade with the claiming team, with the understanding being that, hey, if they can’t work anything out, his current team will take him back.
  • There is a priority to waiver claims. Teams in the same league as the player’s current team get first dibs, with the order being determined by who has the worst record. For example, if the Yankees put Alex Rodriguez on waivers, and both the Red Sox and the Mariners put a claim on him, the Mariners get dibs.  After the current league, priority then goes into the other league.
  • If the guys is unclaimed by every team — i.e. he “clears waivers — he can be traded to anyone, just like it was before July 31st.
  • If a guy is put on waivers and revoked, and then he is put on waivers again, that second time he is on irrevocable waivers, meaning his current team can’t pull him back.

The key thing to remember here is that if you read a report that so-and-so is on waivers, don’t think too much of it because a huge number of players are placed on waivers. We rarely know who is and who isn’t. Even the players themselves don’t know.

Often it’s expensive players on waivers, with the guy’s current team hoping that someone else will take on his salary. Super expensive guys usually clear waivers and can be dealt in August. Sometimes, however, they’re claimed and trades are worked out. See, for example, Manny Ramirez’s late-career trades.

So that’s that.

  1. proudlycanadian - Aug 1, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    When the Jays put Rios on waivers, they were glad that the White Sox took his salary off their hands. Several years ago the Jays had a washed up closer on their team (I think it was Myers) and placed him on waivers. An other team ( possibly San Diego) thought that the Jays were trying to waive him so that he could be trade to their divisional rival, consequently they put in a claim in order to block the suspected trade. The Jays said thank you very much and were quite pleased to get that salary off their books. Sometimes it does not pay to make a waiver claim in August as you might be left holding a bag of poo.

    • browngoat25 - Aug 1, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      Thanks – I was wondering about this (see below)

    • phillyphever - Aug 1, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      Other times it does, especially with SF and one Cody %@#$ Ross last year.

      • FC - Aug 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM

        Dude, we discussed this in therapy last week. Let it go…

  2. crpls - Aug 1, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    “(b) if you trade a guy after August 31st, he can’t be on the playoff roster of his new team.”

    Unless you conveniently have a player that can go on the 60-day DL, then you can work around. Like those dirty cheaters the Angels did in 2002 with K-Rod!

    • atlsp - Aug 1, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      While it’s true that this is a loophole, the “replacing” player has to already be on the 40-man roster as of Aug. 31st and must be replacing a player at his same position. Even then, the move requires approval from the commissioner’s office.

  3. browngoat25 - Aug 1, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    Have any teams recently been “surpised” by a waiver claim? Alex Rios was claimed in 2009 for nothing but his contract, but are there other examples of teams trying to prevent other teams from getting a player by making a claim, only to have it backfire?
    For example, I remember hearing about a releiver that got claimed in waivers, and then his team let him go for nothing to get the salary relief. The claiming team was attempting to block a team up the line from making a claim, but ended up getting stuck with the player and contract. I thought that the Reds and Padres and Randy Myers were involved, but I may be misremembering.

    • rmalmstrom - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:13 AM

      Pads were doing it to block the Braves. :-)

  4. phillyphever - Aug 1, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    If Wandy’s gonna get traded this season, this would be the time to do it. And Houston, if someone’s dumb enough to claim him, do yourselves the favor and dump him to that team. Forget prospects, getting rid of his contract is a win enough.

  5. Old Gator - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    If a guy gets traded late in the season and the team from which he was traded makes it into the playoffs or world series, does that guy get some sort of pro-rata cut of postseason money or his he just shit out of luck?

    • Panda Claus - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:33 AM

      I believe that player would be eligible for a pro-rated share just as you suspect. However, ultimately I believe the shares are voted on by the players of that playoff team, though the votes usually tend to be fair in cases like you’ve mentioned.

      • browngoat25 - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:40 AM

        Last year, Bengie Molina got a partial share from the post season from both the Giants and Rangers, as he played for both teams during the regular season

  6. Chipmaker - Aug 1, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    The active roster players vote on player shares and shares or straight cash payouts for other personnel in late August.

    The Red Sox claimed Mike Stanton to keep the Yankees from getting him. It didn’t backfire, as it happened in very late September and was mostly harmless, but it was more political maneuvering than it was sound baseball roster management tactics.

  7. Loren - Aug 1, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Does anyone know the rules for trading prospects in August? If an aging veteran with a big salary clears wavers and his team is willing to eat his salary to get a prospect back in a deal, does the prospect have to be someone not on the 40-man roster or can he be anyone not on the 25-man?

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