Major League Baseball’s 2016 non-waiver trade deadline has passed, and the Detroit Tigers did not make a move. Still, trades can be made after the deadline, provided that the players involved pass through special waivers. Delmon Young, Aubrey Huff, and Randy Wolf were acquired by the Tigers after the July 31 deadline in previous seasons.
This week, many MLB players will be placed on waivers. Teams can place their entire roster on waivers just so that they have the option of trading players by August 31, when the special waivers expire. Teams have until September 1 to acquire players in order to be eligible for postseason play.
Special waivers, unique to this time of year, are revocable, so the players can be recalled if claimed. When a player is claimed, only the team that has the priority claim can trade for that player. If multiple teams claim a player, priority goes in reverse order of the standings, with teams in the same league going first.
The Tigers are currently in the 10th position for American League players on waivers, and 25th for National League players. Teams may put in a claim to block a trade to a rival team, but that is the exception. More often, teams let players pass through waivers unless they are legitimately interested in trading for them.
What players are likely to be placed on waivers?
Any player, really. There is no risk, and nothing to lose by requesting waivers since players can be recalled if a claim is made.
What players are likely to clear waivers and be claimed or traded?
Players who are not as valuable as their contracts, or whom their teams would be just as happy to let go are prime candidates. Anibal Sanchez, Mike Pelfrey, and Mark Lowe come to mind for the Tigers. However, no team is likely to claim those players, since the claiming team would assume the full balance of the contract due at the time. A non-contending team is usually happy to dump a hefty salary for a player whose contract expires after the current season.
Here are nine pitchers who might be available in August.
Ervin Santana, RHP, Twins
Santana has two years and $27 million remaining on his contract with the Minnesota Twins. He has a 3.66 ERA and 3.90 FIP over 120 1/3 innings this season, and could help any team. Santana isn’t likely to clear waivers, but he might make it to Detroit’s position. Minnesota would want a couple of decent prospects if they decide to sell on Santana. The fact that his name was not often mentioned as the July deadline approached might be an indication that he wasn’t available at a reasonable price.
Edinson Volquez, RHP, Royals
Volquez is owed $3 million by the Kansas City Royals for the balance of the current season, plus a $10 million option with a $3 million buyout for 2017. The 33-year-old right handed pitcher carries a 4.99 ERA and 4.43 FIP this season, which is a subpar year for him. He is on pace to record his fifth consecutive season with at least 170 innings pitched, but figures to slot at the back end of a starting rotation.
CC Sabathia, LHP, Yankees
Sabathia makes $25 million this season and has a vesting option worth $25 million in 2017 provided he doesn’t land on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury. He went on the DL in May with a groin injury, but is on track for his option to vest. He has pitched 112 2/3 innings with a 4.15 ERA and 4.21 FIP this season. The Yankees can afford to pay the salary, but they have been shopping for top prospects.
Doug Fister, RHP, Astros
Fister is still part of the Houston Astros’ starting rotation, and figures to remain there as long as the team remains in the pennant race. The former Tigers starter has an affordable one-year, $7 million contract, and a respectable 3.56 ERA and 4.45 FIP this season in 129 innings of work. If Houston falls back in the standings, they could look to deal Fister for a player with some years of club control remaining. He would not get far into the list of contenders on the waiver wire.
Ian Kennedy, RHP, Royals
Kennedy is a pitcher that the Kansas City Royals would like to trade after agreeing to a five-year, $70 million contract last winter. He has four years and $62.5 million remaining on that deal, but he has disappointed with a 4.23 ERA and 5.11 FIP in 121 1/3 innings this season. Chance of him clearing waivers are good, but there is not much surplus value after paying that contract, if any.
Joakim Soria, RHP, Royals
Soria could also be traded by the Royals in August. He is likely to clear waivers with a 4.00 ERA and 4.71 FIP in 45 innings as a setup man this season. Kansas City re-signed the former Tiger last winter for $25 million over three seasons, plus an option for 2019. He has at least $18 million and two seasons remaining on his contract.
Erasmo Ramirez, RHP, Rays
Ramirez is a former starting pitcher who has been working out of the Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen this season. He carries a 3.84 ERA and 4.38 FIP in 63 1/3 innings this season and has two years of arbitration eligibility remaining. Ramirez posted a 3.75 ERA as a starter in 2015, and was worth 2.4 fWAR.
John Axford/Ryan Madson, RHPs, Athletics
Axford and Madson are a couple of relief pitchers who could be traded by the Oakland A’s during August. Both former closers, Axford has a 4.85 ERA and 4.38 FIP in 42 2/3 innings, while Madson has a 3.89 ERA and 4.59 FIP with 22 saves in 44 innings of work. Madson is owed $15 million over the next two seasons, while Axford has a year remaining at $5.5 million.