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Reminder: Teams can still make trades through waivers

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Here’s our annual reminder about waiver trades in August.

4 PM ET on Tuesday, July 31 marked the end of the non-waiver trade deadline, but trades can still be made between August 1 and August 31 through waivers. That means that some of the players that you expected to see traded but weren’t — the Reds’ Matt Harvey, for example — may still wind up with new laundry by the end of the month.

You’ll hear myriad times this month that a player has been placed on waivers. It doesn’t mean anything, really. It doesn’t mean a team intends to trade a player. Most teams will put a handful of its players on waivers in August, but you’ll see fewer trades this month than in July.

When a player is put on waivers, other teams can put in a claim on that player. The team with the worst record in the same league as the waiver player gets to put in the first claim, followed by the team with the worst record in the other league, and on up the chain.

Once a player has been claimed, the player’s current team can choose to negotiate a trade with the claiming team (within two business days) or the current team can pull the player back from waivers. Once a player is pulled back from waivers, the player cannot be traded through waivers again. The current team can also simply let the claiming team have the player, which means the claiming team takes on the player’s remaining contract. The current team pays the claiming team a waiver fee as well.

If a player goes through waivers unclaimed after three business days, that player’s team can trade him normally, option him to the minors, or release him.

There is some strategy and gamesmanship to the waiver process. A team with a worse record looking to prevent a rival team with a better record from making an upgrade can put in a waiver claim on a player, effectively blocking the rival team from that player. There is some risk involved. The team who put the player on waivers can simply relent the player to the claiming team, sticking them with the player’s contract.

Mostly, the types of players you’ll see moved this time of year aren’t star players. Rather, they’ll be role players like a utility infielder, a swingman pitcher, a middle reliever, or a starter at the back end of a rotation. You’ll also see injured players claimed by teams looking to fill a positional need or attempting to catch lightning in a bottle. You’ll also see teams trying to dump bad contracts onto other teams. Some players, along with Harvey, you might see moved this month: Devin Mesoraco, Jose Bautista, Dan Straily, Curtis Granderson, Tyler Clippard, Danny Valencia, Jason Hammel, James Shields, Bartolo Colon, Matt Moore, Freddy Galvis, A.J. Ellis, and Tyson Ross. That’s not an exhaustive list, of course.

Players can be traded through waivers in September as well, but there’s a catch: those players will not be eligible for their new team’s postseason roster. Teams will still make some waiver trades in September, but those are more oriented towards adding depth as opposed to making a legitimate upgrade.

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.