Remember that whole MLB “trade deadline” back on July 31? Well, as you may already know, that’s not exactly a hard deadline. Baseball actually has two different “trade deadlines”: (1) a non-waiver trade deadline (the thing that just past), before which any player can be traded to any team, subject only to e.g. contractual restrictions like no-trade clauses and (2) a waiver trade deadline (Aug. 31) when players must, essentially, clear waivers before they can be moved. (Side note: even after the waiver deadline, players can still be traded, they’re just not eligible for the postseason.)
For the rest of the month, you’ll hear that some really big names (like Bryce Harper and Yoenis Cespedes) have been placed on revocable waivers. No, this doesn’t mean your favorite team is about to trade its best player. With some players, getting put on revocable waivers is nothing more than standard operating procedures for their teams, since they can be revoked from waivers if another team tries to claim them.
But as long as a player on revocable waivers goes unclaimed (for 47 hours), his team is free to explore a trade with any suitor. (If a player is claimed from revocable waivers, his current team has three options: (1) allow said player to be claimed, losing him for nothing (this is rare); (2) set up a trade with the claiming team; or (3) revoke him from waivers, in which case the player cannot be put back on revocable waivers for the rest of the year. If you seek further clarification, consult this handy guide.)
Hopefully that brief explanation helped you understand how the Mets were able to trade Jay Bruce to the Indians on Wednesday night, and how the players below could still be dealt this season. I’ve listed the players from least likely to be moved before the waiver deadline to most likely, complete with odds, of course!
2017 WAIVER TRADE DEADLINE ODDS
BRYCE HARPER, NATIONALS: 200/1
The Nationals are not about to trade Bryce Harper. Placing him on the revocable waivers is just “procedure” for the Nats. I’m not sure what benefit the team sees in it, but don’t panic, Washington fans.
JOEY VOTTO, REDS: 66/1
The Canadian is owed $164 million through 2023 and has a full no-trade clause. A trade is not in Votto’s foreseeable future.
GIANCARLO STANTON, MARLINS: 49/1
While trading Stanton may seem as crazy as trading Harper, at first glance, there was skepticism about the sale of the team with the Marlins doling out the world’s largest contract — $325 million to Stanton. There’s no need to worry about that anymore, since a Derek Jeter-led group has purchased the team. And with Jeter’s lust for winning, keeping Stanton around seems like a good idea.
YOENIS CESPEDES, METS: 4/1
The Mets traded off Jay Bruce earlier this week, and will do their best to move Curtis Granderson, another impending free agent, before August 31, as well. Cespedes is under team control through 2020, and the Mets believe they have the talent (especially in the rotation) to contend next season.
JUSTIN VERLANDER, TIGERS: 7/2
The Tigers were trying to move the 34-year-old before the non-waiver deadline, but his $56 million contract over the next two years was more than anyone was willing to take on for a fading ace. Though he’s showing signs of still being dominant (two earned runs over his last three starts), Detroit would have to eat a lot of his contract to find a suitor.
JOSE BAUTISTA, BLUE JAYS: 7/3
It is extremely unlikely the Jays will pick up Bautista’s 2018 option, making him a prime candidate to be moved. However, Rougned Odor wasn’t the only one who caught Joey Bats square in the chin; Father Time has delivered his own blow to the waning 36-year-old.
Bautista is hitting a measly .216 at the plate and has lost a lot of his power. Add in the fact that he’s a negative defender and has a full no-trade clause, and the Jays are going to have an awfully hard time moving him. The one team that came to mind was the Indians, who just filled their outfield needs with Jay Bruce.
ERVIN SANTANA, TWINS: 4/5
After his first five starts of the season, Santana had an ERA of 0.77 and a WHIP of 0.66. There wasn’t a better pitcher in baseball during the stretch. But then came a rocky June and a mediocre July which tarnished so much of his trade value.
The 34-year-old has now thrown a combined 15 innings in his last two starts while only giving up two earned runs in each. The Twins can’t let their early-season run cloud their judgement here. They are not ready to contend, and Santana’s value is at an all-time high. No team is looking at Santana to be an ace, but he can provide a lot of value as a third or fourth option in the rotation of a contender. Watch for the Nationals, Rockies, and Astros to put in a claim.