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.
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.