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Reminder: please do not make a big deal out of reports of players being placed on waivers

Aug 2, 2013, 4:16 PM EDT

Melky Cabrera Getty Getty Images

This happens every year: August 1 rolls around, someone reports that some big and famous ballplayer has been placed on waivers and people chatter about it, pondering its meaning and importance. And every year we remind you: there is no meaning or importance to almost any waiver move.

When people refer to waivers at this time of the year (i.e. after the trade deadline and before the end of the season) they almost certainly mean revocable waivers. Meaning that the team can pull the player back off waivers if the player is claimed. The reason for using revocable waivers? So a team can try to slip someone by every other team. Because, if they can and if the player goes unclaimed by every other team (i.e.  he “clears waivers”) he can be traded the same as he could have been before the deadline. He’d be eligible for the playoff roster and everything, as long as it was before the end of August.

If a player is claimed and his team does not pull him back that the claiming team is stuck with the player, including his current salary. This is why you get a lot of big names on waivers. Teams that would prefer not to pay that guy anymore would much rather give him up and his salary if they could, so they try. Rarely if ever will a highly-paid guy actually get claimed in such a fashion.

There are often games played with this process, of course. There is an order to the claiming process — teams with the worst record in the same league get to claim guys placed on waivers first, and then the choice cycles through the teams in the other league, worst record to best as well. Sometimes a team will claim a guy for the express purpose of NOT allowing him to clear waivers and thus be traded to a rival. For example, if the Braves really wanted a starting pitcher placed on waivers, the National may claim him so he does not clear and thus may not be traded to the Braves.  But of course there is that risk that the team placing the guy on waivers doesn’t pull him back, thus sticking him with Washington.

So that’s waivers. Ignore them for the most part. Feel free to pay closer attention if someone is claimed and if that someone does not have an albatross contract.  Pay closer attention if a guy clears waivers, because then he’s every bit as tradable as all players were back in July.

  1. buffal0sportsfan - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    The national might claim him? Also don’t worry Craig when melky gets put on waivers it will be no surprise to anyone.

    • pbastille - Aug 3, 2013 at 1:28 PM

      I think he meant the indie rock band The National. They’re looking for back-up singer help.

      • buffal0sportsfan - Aug 3, 2013 at 2:22 PM

        Oh boy Craig can’t you just imagine Tim Hudson in his big old cast rockin’ out

  2. Jack Marshall - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Then again, I can recall the time last season when it was opined hereabouts that the Red Sox placing of Adrian Gonzalez on waivers was just a way to flush out winter trading suitors, expected to be none…

  3. Conner012367 - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    -makes a big deal about it- lol just kidding

  4. detroitfanatic - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    That’s Melky in pic if I’m not mistaken. The Jays would likely do what the Marlins did with Cody Ross when he was claimed on waivers: “Just take him. Nope, I do not want compensation. Just take him.”

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      He is also on the DL and will not be claimed.

    • tc4306 - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Jays did that with Alex Rios a few years back when the White Sox claimed him.

  5. proudlycanadian - Aug 2, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    The Boston Globe has reported several names so far, which is a good indication that the Red Sox still leak like a sieve.

  6. phreakin - Aug 2, 2013 at 5:41 PM

    So in other words we shouldn’t write a news article on a nationally read blog site about it?

  7. unclemosesgreen - Aug 2, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Unless of course you happen to be a certain deeply committed Tiggers fan and the waivee happens to be one Brandon Inge – then feel free to be the only person on earth to make some kind of big deal out of it.

  8. xmatt0926x - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    I don’t care who screams or makes a big deal when the players get placed on waivers. I only ask that someone please claim Papelbon. PLEASE!!!!!!!

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 2, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      He belongs in a Red Sox uniform.

  9. pop562 - Aug 3, 2013 at 5:29 AM

    Ted Lilly is on waivers, anyone is more than welcome to claim him.

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