The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone. Any trades within the League must now be done via the waiver wire.
"Waiver wire? What's that mean?"
I'm glad you asked! Pretty much every MLB player is placed on waivers in the month of August. And any team looking to add to their roster can make a claim, but there is a pecking order to those claims:
- Any team in the same league with the lowest record
- Any team in the other league with the lowest record
For example, the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, and Arizona Diamondbacks all claim Glen Perkins on waivers. The Orioles would get priority because they're an American League team and they have the fewest wins of the two AL teams claiming him. Next priority would go to the Athletics, then the D-Backs.
"So what happens when a player is claimed on waivers?"
One of several things may happen:
- The waiving team and the claiming team have 2 business days to work out a trade.
- The waiving team could rescind the player, cancelling the waiver.
- The waiving team could simply let the player go and pay a waiver fee, thus allowing the claiming team to place him on their roster right away.
"What happens when the waiving team rescinds?"
When a team places a player on waivers, then rescinds, that player cannot be waived again. However, if the team does place the player on waivers again, it's irrevocable. That is, a claiming team could take the player for nothing.
"What if a player is put on waivers and no one claims him?"
If a player on waivers goes unclaimed for three business days, he has cleared waivers. Simply put, he can be sent to the Minors, traded, or released outright.
"Last year Joe Mauer was put on waivers and a lot of people freaked out! Why?"
Teams are not supposed to disclose who goes on waivers, but there are quite a few leaks, as we've all seen thanks to social media and sites like MLB Trade Rumors. People incorrectly assumed that in placing Mauer on waivers, the Twins wanted to unload his contract on someone. The reality is that in the past, the Twins put all their players on waivers, and they do rescind the players they want to hang onto. It was also likely that they were testing the proverbial waters to see what teams might be willing to offer for certain players. One thing is certain this year: Mauer is not going on waivers.
I hope this clears up any confusion or questions about what the waiver process is.