What's the point of waivers anyway?

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Buster Olney asked a general manager why we have the complicated waiver-trade system between July 31st and August 31st. I had kind of been wondering that myself recently, so I was happy to see the question asked!  Then I read the answer . . .

He paused before answering. “You know, I never thought about it like
that,” he said. “I guess we have it because that’s the way we’ve always
done it. But I can’t give you a good reason. You know, that’s a really good question. Probably just because that’s the way we’ve always done things.”

I’m going to go research why we have the waiver system now. But if a current GM doesn’t know why, I’m not sure I’ll be satisfied with any answers I come up with.

Troy Tulowitzki held a workout for eleven clubs

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Yesterday free agent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki held a workout in California and representatives from at least eleven teams were on hand, reports Tim Brown of Yahoo. Among the clubs present: the Giants — who were said to have a “heavy presence,” including team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Bruce Bochy — the Angels, Red Sox, Cubs, Padres, White Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Tigers and Pirates.

Your first reaction to that may be “Um, really? For Tulowitzki?” But a moment’s reflection makes it seem more sensible. We’re so tied up in thinking of a player through the filter of their contract and, when we’ve done that with Tulowitzki over the past several years, it has made him seem like an albatross given the $20 million+ a year he was earning to either not play or play rather poorly due to injuries.

It was just the contract that was the albatross, though, right? An almost free Tulowitzki — which he will be given that the Blue Jays are paying him $38 million over the next two seasons — is a different matter. If you sign him it’ll be for almost no real money and he stands a chance to be an average or maybe better-than-average shortstop, which is pretty darn valuable. You might even get one quirky late career return-to-near-glory season from him, in which case you’ve hit the lottery. If, however, as seems more likely, he just can’t get it done at all, you’re not out anything and you can cut him with little or no pain.

Eleven teams think he’s at least a look-see. I bet one of them will offer him a major league deal. Maybe more than one. He’ll probably have his pick of non-roster invites to spring training. I can’t see the downside to at least doing that much.