About post-trade deadline trades

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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.

MLB executive: Bruce Maxwell’s kneeling may keep him from finding work, not his arrest

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In September 2017, former Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first major league player to kneel during the national anthem, joining the handfuls of NFL players who had been doing the same to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Maxwell’s effort was laudable, but he got into trouble a month later when he was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct. Maxwell allegedly pointed a gun at a food delivery person.

Maxwell, 27, played sparingly for the Athletics in 2018 and then was designated for assignment at the beginning of September. He officially became a free agent on November 2 and has had trouble finding work in the month-plus since.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Maxwell fired his agent, Matt Sosnick on Thursday because he’s still jobless. According to an unnamed MLB executive Slusser spoke to, “It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue.”

That makes a lot of since since abusive players haven’t had too much trouble finding new work otherwise. Addison Russell, Jeurys Familia, and José Reyes, among others have either stayed with their teams or quickly found new work. Given the relatively weak catching market, had Maxwell only had the assault charge, there is no doubt he would have been signed to be a backup catcher somewhere.

In the NFL, Colin Kaepernick — who popularized kneeling during the anthem — has remained unsigned even though teams have opted to sign and start clearly inferior quarterbacks like Mark Sanchez, Josh McCown, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jay Cutler, Matt Barkley, and Sam Bradford, among many others. Team owners tend to run conservative in terms of politics, so they may not like the protest to begin with, then there is the public blowback to signing such a player as those who dislike such protesting make up a slight majority in the U.S., according to various polls including one done by the Washington Post.

It’s worth noting that Maxwell has a career .240/.314/.347 triple-slash line in 412 plate appearances. We’re not talking about J.T. Realmuto or Buster Posey here. That being said, there have been 15 other catchers to have put up a lower aggregate OPS since 2016 (min. 400 PA). One of those players, Derek Norris (.600 OPS since 2016), signed a minor league contract with the Tigers just three months after being suspended by Major League Baseball for violating its domestic violence policy. Makes you think.