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Are the Blue Jays abusing the waiver system?

Apr 21, 2013, 10:05 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Anthopoulos talks to the media at the team's MLB baseball spring training facility in Dunedin, Florida Reuters

Charlie Wilmoth of MLB Trade Rumors has a very good, thought-provoking article up today looking at how Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has utilized baseball’s waiver system lately. Wilmoth points out that, since mid-March, the Jays have claimed Guillermo Moscoso, Todd Redmond, Alex Burnett, Clint Robinson, Edgar Gonzalez, Mauro Gomez, and Casper Wells. Of the seven, only Gonzalez has seen time at the Major League level with the Jays. Wilmoth also looks back to 2011, when the Pirates claimed Brian Jeroloman, then designated him for assignment three days later. The Jays claimed him two days later, then DFA’d him just the same after two weeks.

Wilmoth really hits the nail on the head here:

None of this qualifies as a tragedy, but it’s still an issue that should be corrected. For one thing, players are subjected to unnecessary periods of waiver limbo, in which they aren’t playing and aren’t sure where they’ll be headed next. Of course, these periods of time are part of being a ballplayer, but they should be limited whenever possible.

Take the case of Casper Wells. Wells isn’t a great player, but he posted 1.2 wins above replacement in 2012. He should be a Major Leaguer. But thanks to the waiver claims process, he has yet to appear in a professional game this season. The Mariners designated him for assignment March 31, and the Jays’ claim didn’t come through until ten days later. Then, five days after that, the Jays dropped Wells from their roster without him having appeared in a game for them, and he hasn’t yet resurfaced. The waiver wire has effectively kept Wells out of professional baseball for the better part of a month.

Wilmoth goes on to suggest that an easy fix would be to require teams keep a claimed player on its 40-man roster for 30 days. Sounds like a common-sense solution that would fix an issue before it becomes widespread. It is interesting that no other teams have utilized the waiver system in the way the Jays have lately.

  1. proudlycanadian - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    The Jays are just following the rules. The objective is to find players for the minor league system. If Team “A” really wants to keep a player on the 40 man roster, then that player should not go on waivers.Other teams often claim players that the Jays claim and subsequently place on waivers. It is not surprising that often that team turns around and places the player back on waivers.

    • proudlycanadian - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      The Jays have traded Casper Wells to Oakland for cash. According to Rotoworld, Casper can still be treated as a ghost for fantasy purposes.

  2. thebadguyswon - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    Its ridiculous and completely unfair to those players. But say what you want about AA – the guy can manipulate waivers and draft good prospects. Just don’t ask him to win at the major league level.

    • hittfamily - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:06 PM

      AA and Mike Scioscia should start their own franchise and name it the “Over rated’s”. I keep hearing how great AA is, but I don’t see it. It is true, he did rid them of Vernon Wells, which was huge. Friedman pawned off Kazmir to the Angels too, so AA knew who to call by watching Sports Center. He even got Napoli back in the deal, which was extremely impressive. Then he screwed it up. Most GM’s don’t trade Napoli for a now retired reliever. AA did. His team won 81 games without Napoli that year. Napoli was worth 5 wins.

      2 months into the job, he traded Roy Halladay for Travis D’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek, and Michael Taylor. —Oops. — Drabek stinks, and who the hell is Michael Taylor? 3 years later he trades #1 prospect D’Arnaud, #2 prospect Noah Syndergaard, An 18 year old fireballer, and 7 HR in April John Buck for 38 year old RA Dickey, whom at the time was 1 year from free agency. Essentially, he traded 1 year of 32 year old Roy Halladay, Noah Syndergaard, and John Buck for 1 year of RA Dickey and Doug Drabek’s kid. To steal a “meme” from today’s youth, Ruben Amaro Jr “pwned” AA.

      He was a “genius” because he got Colby Rasmus. It only cost them Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson, and Marc Repz???inski. St Louis wins the world series after 4 Jackson starts. The Jays now get to pay Rasmus’ arbitration based on what he did in St Louis, even though he hasn’t done squat for the Jays. Colby Rasmus sucks, which is why Andrew Friedman reportedly was only willing to give up Wade Davis or Jeff Niemann.

      I don’t think AA is a bad GM. But the articles written about him make it sound like he is elite. People routinely call him one of the best GM’s, but I honestly think he could be fired by November. He has a long way to go to be in the same class as Daniels, Friedman, Beane, and dare I say …Sabean (Draft Lincicum, don’t extend Lincicum. Draft Cain, Posey, Bumgardner, sign Panda, trade garbage for Melky, trade garbage for Pagan. Draft Wilson, Romo,etc etc. Dude has won 2 WS in 3 years with no apparent blunders).

      Jays win totals under AA: 85, 81, 73, (8-11 this year). It appears that they are moving in the wrong direction, even with “one of the best GM’s in baseball” calling the shots.

      • Mark - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:06 AM

        “He even got Napoli back in the deal, which was extremely impressive. Then he screwed it up. Most GM’s don’t trade Napoli for a now retired reliever. AA did. His team won 81 games without Napoli that year. Napoli was worth 5 wins.”

        While the Napoli for Fransisco deal looks bad because of Napoli’s career year, the purpose behind it was to get the draft pick for the reliever. The draft pick was turned into Matt Smoral, who Sickels said was a steal at that point. So yeah, the Jays could have been a little better in 2011 and still missed the playoffs, or they could have Matt Smoral.

        “2 months into the job, he traded Roy Halladay for Travis D’Arnaud, Kyle Drabek, and Michael Taylor. ”

        Taylor was traded for Wallace and then Gose, which is looking like a pretty solid deal.

        “3 years later he trades #1 prospect D’Arnaud, #2 prospect Noah Syndergaard, An 18 year old fireballer, and 7 HR in April John Buck for 38 year old RA Dickey, whom at the time was 1 year from free agency. ”

        So if D’Arnaud is a great prospect, you can’t complain about the Halladay return. And as for Dickey, they extended him, and while you may not consider that a part of the extension, it’s not like he’s going to leave the Jays after 2013. And while Buck’s had a fantastic start, I don’t think anybody expects him to be more than an 800 OPS the rest of the way. And that’s being generous. But yay for small sample size (SSS).

        ” Essentially, he traded 1 year of 32 year old Roy Halladay, Noah Syndergaard, and John Buck for 1 year of RA Dickey and Doug Drabek’s kid. To steal a “meme” from today’s youth, Ruben Amaro Jr “pwned” AA.”

        No, what he traded was a 24 year old injury prone catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud, Snydergaard (who is struggling mightily in A+, which I only bring up since you seem obsessed with SSS) and John Buck for RA Dickey who is signed for an additional 3 years. Let’s not forget that the Jays ALSO acquired Gose in the Halladay deal. So out of that deal the Jays got a top prospect in D’Arnaud and a very promising CF spec in Gose. Pretty damn good when you consider what CC/Lee and other elite SP have been traded for in recent years. I mean, Matt LaPorta is down in AAA and Smoak is pretty close to joining him there given his awful production in the majors.

        “He was a “genius” because he got Colby Rasmus. It only cost them Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson, and Marc Repz???inski. St Louis wins the world series after 4 Jackson starts.”

        It cost them a ROOGY in Dotel and a LOOGY in Rzep (who has seen his performance decline year after year). If you want to criticize him for the Jackson trade, let’s point out then that he got him for Jason Frasor and a non-prospect in Zach Stewart. If you want to argue Jackson helped STL in the playoffs, then let’s point out he had a solid game in the NLDS, and was brutal over his next 3 starts (8.53 ERA in the NLCS and a 5.06 ERA in the WS).

        And while normally I wouldn’t throw out the SSS stats, since you want to keep bringing up John Buck and his 7 HR I’ll point out Rasmus is hitting 250/323/536 which translates to a 136 wRC+.

        “I don’t think AA is a bad GM. But the articles written about him make it sound like he is elite. People routinely call him one of the best GM’s, but I honestly think he could be fired by November.”

        The worst deal he’s made is probably the Napoli trade, which isn’t even all that bad when you consider how Napoli has declined over the past few years (not to mention the health issues) which you would have blamed AA for had the Jays kept and extended him. Add on the fact they got a pick for Francisco and it’s not that bad.

        ” He has a long way to go to be in the same class as Daniels, Friedman, Beane, and dare I say …Sabean (Draft Lincicum, don’t extend Lincicum. Draft Cain, Posey, Bumgardner, sign Panda, trade garbage for Melky, trade garbage for Pagan. Draft Wilson, Romo,etc etc. Dude has won 2 WS in 3 years with no apparent blunders).”

        I don’t think anybody has ever said he’s better than Friedman or some of the GMs you’ve mentioned. But he’s clearly in the top 10 and an above average GM.

        “Jays win totals under AA: 85, 81, 73, (8-11 this year).”

        It’s almost like they were rebuilding or something. Who would have thought that trading away key guys meant the team would put up lower win totals?

        “It appears that they are moving in the wrong direction, even with “one of the best GM’s in baseball” calling the shots.”

        We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that one.

      • hittfamily - Apr 22, 2013 at 1:29 AM

        “The worst deal he’s made is probably the Napoli trade, which isn’t even all that bad when you consider how Napoli has declined over the past few years ”

        Really? Napoli was worth 11.8 fWAR over 5 seasons prior to trading for him. He was worth 7.3 fWAR over the 2 years of arbitration he had left after the trade.

        “It’s almost like they were rebuilding or something. Who would have thought that trading away key guys meant the team would put up lower win totals?”

        They won 85 games, then acquired Mike Napoli, who was coming off 3 consecutive 2.5+ WAR seasons . Why were they rebuilding?

        The Rays won 91 the following year and made the playoffs. The Jays should have expected to compete. No one knew that Napoli would be a 5 WAR player for the Rangers, but everyone knew Napoli was a power hitting catcher with good on base skills with 2 years of team control left. AA traded that for an exactly average reliever, averaging .8 WAR per season, that was likely not going to net them a draft pick. Francisco had been replaced by Feliz in TX as the closer, so AA got lucky that Francisco ended up netting them a draft pick at all. 2 years of Mike Napoli was traded for the 50th overall draft pick. Even at the time, most people thought Jon Daniels stole Napoli from AA, and he did.

        “So if D’Arnaud is a great prospect, you can’t complain about the Halladay return.”

        Yes. Yes I can. They traded 1 year of Roy Halladay for 0 years of anybody. Drabek is the only one to see the majors, and he was worth -.2 fWAR over portions of 3 seasons. They traded 1 year of Roy Halladay for half of an RA Dickey (they had to use Buck and their 2nd rated prospect Syndergaard.) Also, D’Arnaud isn’t injury proned. He is a catcher. He gets hit by balls. Unfortunately for him those balls sometimes break bones. It isn’t like he is Brian Roberts or Kyle Drabek, whom somehow both seem to always injure themselves jogging or something.

        As for Rasmus, it wasn’t what they traded away, it was what they traded for. He was arbitration eligible for the 1st time when they traded for him. Although his #s had been good his first and second year, his flaws had been exposed by the time the Jays acquired him. He will always be worth more come arbitration time based on what he did in 2009 and 2010, than what he produced in 2011 and 2012. He currently is and will continue to be making big bucks based on #s he had as a Card that he can’t replicate for the Jays. Friedman wanted him so he could trade Upton. Basically a “let’s see if I can turn Jeff Niemann into whatever BJ Upton will bring in a trade”.

        “I don’t think anybody has ever said he’s better than Friedman or some of the GMs you’ve mentioned.”

        How many seconds will it take me to find someone on bluebirdsbanter to disagree with you?

        Lastly. I don’t keep mentioning John Buck’s small sample size. You mentioned small sample sizes for 3 different players. I mentioned 1 player, John Buck’s league leading RBI and 7 homers. But let’s talk John Buck. Since 2010, he is the 13th best catcher in baseball according to fWAR, just below Russel Martin and Jonathon Lucroy, and just above victor Martinez and AJ Pierzinski. He doesn’t suck. He could have been more than just a throw in, but so could Mike Napoli.

        2 years of 31 year old James Shields at $11 mil per year and 5 years of Wade Davis’ options for Myers and Odorizzi is a better trade than 3 years of 38 year old Dickey at $13 mil per year for D”arnaud, Syndergaard, and John Buck. Dickey does have a team option when he is 42 for $12 mil. I remember Tim Wakefield at 40. He wasn’t very good. I bet that doesn’t get excercised.

        Dayton Moore > AA

      • hittfamily - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:18 AM

        I could go further if you’d like.

        AA inherited Joey Bats.

        AA did sign Rickey Romero to a 5 year extension. Romero had the highest ERA in baseball last year.

        Unlike D’Arnaud, Jose Reyes really is injury prone. AA acquired him on a hugely backloaded deal. The Marlins only paid him $10 million last year. AA owes him $10 million, 16 million, 22 million, 22 million, 22 million, 22 million.

        On April 3, 2010, Adam Lind signed a contract extension with the Blue Jays. Ugghh.

        He has done some things right. He traded for Lawrie. He traded away Wells. His drafts have been pretty good. But he has made ALOT of mistakes.

      • lameasish - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        Relax hittfamily, did someone from the Jays bang your girlfriend or something? How are you certain D’Arnuad (who is injury prone, hurt last year, already hurt this year) Syndergaard or the “18 year old fireballer” will turn out to be anything once they are in the majors? Also, stop saying they got nothing for Halladay, they ended up with Gose, did you not read Mark’s post? I think Mark pwned you and to borrow a word from the youth, stop fapping over Buck.

      • thebadguyswon - Apr 22, 2013 at 3:28 PM

        I don’t see it either. I think he’s good. I don’t think he’s some genius that his followers believe him to be.

    • kollin7 - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      Can’t say he’s not trying.

  3. nk894 - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:41 PM

    Sure you’d like to cut down on the time that guys are ‘in limbo,’ but you also want to make sure those fringy big leaguers get some kind of shot. Putting too many restrictions on claiming guys ends up undermining the entire option system by making it easier for teams to stash talented players in the minors. I mean, yeah it sucks for Casper Wells to be bouncing around like that when his talent probably does deserve a roster spot, but I’d argue that that situation is still preferable to being buried on someone’s AAA roster behind 6 or 7 more talented OFers. I don’t know what the solution is, but that 30 day thing seems a little drastic to me.

  4. ramblingalb - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    No one is doing it because it doesn’t work. Trying to stockpile players no one wants on their 40 man is, at best, going to give you a better AAA team. Once in a great while, one of those guys will become an integral part of a contender, but most of the time, they end up being platoon/reserve/middle relief fodder. They’re doing it within the rules, and in effect, are only protecting 36-38 players on their 40 man roster…that’s another reason most teams are not doing it.

    This reminds me of a Craig post, because his claim to fame is insisting “the sky is falling” on minor issues that no one cares about. It doesn’t change anything, and in doing so, just makes me skip all his writings, as he’s cried wolf enough times to make me realize he’s a drama king, and not a very good one at that.

    TOR has every right to keep claiming players, and if you have a weak 40 man roster, it’s not a bad strategy, though the benefits are rather pedestrian. You might find a diamond in the rough once in a great while, but mostly, it’s going to be lot of swings and misses.

    Finally, worrying about a player not playing much for a couple weeks? Please. Youngsters get stuck on the bench in the bigs all the time, getting 3 PA’s in two weeks of covering a 15 day DL stay. Again, these guys are not prime prospects, or they would not be getting DFA’d, waived, etc. by multiple teams. They’re roster filler, and, shockingly, they may have trouble finding a long term fit with a single team.

  5. psunick - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    I couldn’t agree with you more about Craig, rambling. He’s a total drama king, and I avoid his weird posts.
    Good call!

    • hittfamily - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:29 PM

      You also avoid replying to the person you should be replying to.

    • kylewo - Apr 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM

      Genuine question: Why do internet trolls exist? Thanks.

  6. ramblingalb - Apr 21, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    I forgot, this reminds me of Theo Epstein’s early days of thinking outside the box, as he claimed a player someone had waived so they could play in Japan. Everyone said it was wrong and he should “honor the gentleman’s agreement.” Theo laughed and won a couple championships, and that’s what TOR is doing. However, it’s design is to pick up 5th OF’s, not difference makers.

    • hittfamily - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      No. It’s designed to keep the Yankees from keeping Mickey Mantle in the Minors for 7 years, 70 years ago. The 40 man roster rules need to be amended, as modern teams can’t stockpile quality players in the minors and on the bench with things like 2 drafts, free agency, and international signings.

  7. tc4306 - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    You are not “abusing the waiver system” if you moves are within the rules negotiated in the CBA. The headline is clearly is clearly inappropriate and designed to be sensational. If the author has any point, it is that he believes the rules should be changed. For that, one can make a case; but that is an entirely different issue.

    • hittfamily - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:06 AM

      The headline is accurate. You can’t abuse a policy if it is illegal. That is cheating, fraud, etc. You abuse something you are allowed to do, but you do it way to often, or in a way it wasn’t designed for. That is abuse. If AA is doing something allowed, but not in the spirit of the rule, “Abuse” is a very accurate description. People don’t ask “are you using alcohol”? They ask “are you abusing alcohol”? Alcohol is legal, but can be abused. Perscription drugs are legal, but can be abused. Language is legal, but can be abused.

      Conversely, cocaine is illegal. It isn’t abused. It is used. There is no proper time to use cocaine (20 year old Old Gator might disagree with that)..

  8. Alan Luken - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:50 PM

    Have to imagine this is why some think the MLB is going to change the waiver process

  9. randygnyc - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    The jays should be punished. Lose this years player draft and forfeit the 2013 season. In its place, the station that broadcasts the jays should have to show Yankees games instead.

  10. brewcrewfan54 - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    Why’s everyone here talking so long?

  11. nk894 - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    I’m not certain this doesn’t already exist, but charging clubs a fee on every waiver claim would be a good place to start. It’s a fine line to walk, but there’s gotta be a number that makes excessive use of the waiver wire prohibitive to some teams that at the same time isn’t so high that you take lower revenue clubs right out of the picture on all waiver claims. If teams wanna abuse that, take their money and let em, the reward just isn’t there.

  12. easywolf - Apr 22, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    Honey boo boo this writer needs to get a life

  13. bbil2012 - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:26 AM

    We must accept that it is a different way of life in Canada. They live in a culture unknown to us.

    • nbjays - Apr 22, 2013 at 8:42 AM

      Yep, our beer has alcohol in it and we aren’t all packing heat…

      • rvzapp - Apr 22, 2013 at 9:41 AM

        In light of all’s that’s happened in the US…your remark is very unkind & rude.
        Maybe it’s the alcohol speaking and only then is your comment excused.

      • nbjays - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:35 AM

        Chill out… I was merely responding to a lighthearted remark (about Canada being an “unknown culture” to Americans), with another lighthearted remark about a couple of ways we differ.

        The “alcohol in beer” joke is older than any of us on here, and the “packing heat” remark was made to highlight the fact that Canada does not share the gun culture that the US has, and which has recently been front and center in the news. I wasn’t trying to be mean-spirited in any way and apologize if anyone took offense. It is just that I don’t understand the mentality of groups like the NRA who claim that the only cure for gun violence is more guns.

  14. rvzapp - Apr 22, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    Yes…by the rules BJ’s made their choices. Nevertheless they are abusing the system and moreover they are playing with the careers of hardworking ball players. Just not right and for Casper Wells to be the 7th players to go thru this DFA process is an absolute travesty! For sure this will be addressed by MLB and this is a perfect example of why changes will made.
    The BJ’s have made a mockery of the MBL/American League rules!

    • rvzapp - Apr 22, 2013 at 9:36 AM

      Failed to write…BJ’s are abusing the BALL PLAYERS and shame on them!

  15. mt99808 - Apr 22, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Do these players receive a major league salary when they are in these waiting periods? If so I’m sure they aren’t too worried about getting 10x the pay to sit around and do nothing.

    • rvzapp - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM

      Yes, they get paid their contact salary. It’s not about the money, it’s your profession: all the hours of practice and hard work. For a club to just use these players is dead wrong!
      Are you kidding? Ignorant remark is all I can say to this comment.

      • mt99808 - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM

        If you think getting paid isn’t a reality here you’re out to lunch. These guys can make more in 2 weeks of major league salary as they would in an entire season in the minors.

  16. Steve A - Apr 22, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    The joke’s on the Blue Jays as they have the best record in the majors and are last in the waiver claim order. They’re not blocking anyone from getting these players.

    What did I miss?

    /LastPlaceInTheALEast

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