Waiver Deal Candidates

With all the ballyhoo encompassing the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, it’s sometimes easy to forget that deals can still go down for another month.

Plenty of viable players clear waivers every year, and a fair number of them are dealt to bolster a team’s playoff chances or perhaps to clear some payroll off the books. One of the more notable deals was the Padres’ 1998 blunder in which the club claimed reliever Randy Myers to prevent him from getting to the Atlanta Braves. The Blue Jays gladly allowed the waiver claim to go through, and Myers’ bloated salary was absorbed by the Friars.

Let’s take a peek at a few players who could find themselves on different rosters in the next month.

Ramon Hernandez – Catcher – Cincinnati Reds

Dusty Baker loves veterans. But after all, you’re reading FanGraphs, so you already know that. However, the exact rationale behind not dealing Hernandez and promoting Devin Mesoraco was that ol’ Fistbands didn’t want to have a rookie catcher in the heat of a pennant race. Well, with the club in fourth place and seven-and-a-half games back, it’s hard to really jive with that sentiment. Hernandez doesn’t profile as a player who can play every day in the twilight of his career, but that doesn’t mean it will stop Brian Sabean from trying to pry him away down the stretch in a desperate attempt to bolster his club’s futile offense. Hernandez, whose .364 wOBA is the finest of his career, was and still is a fine sell-high candidate, and perhaps with the race slipping away, GM Walt Jocketty will still get value with the “Free Mesoraco” campaign gaining some steam.

Carl Pavano – Starting Pitcher – Minnesota Twins

The Twins have yet to indicate the Pavano is on the block, but there’s little reason he shouldn’t be. With the club seven games out and treading water in the league’s worst division, it is a bit surprising the Twins opted to stand pat rather than move toward one of the poles. Should the division lead lengthen any further, however, it’s not unreasonable to expect GM Bill Smith to start fielding calls for the suddenly-durable right hander. Pavano’s been roughed up a bit of late, but is still on pace to throw in the neighborhood of 200 innings for the third straight season. His xFIP of 4.15 also serves notice to the defensive struggles the Twins have uncharacteristically suffered from in 2011, but also helps contextualize some of the mistakes made in the club’s offseason planning (dealing Hardy, re-signing Pavano rather than trying to receive compensation picks). If the Twins eat money, it’s not completely out of the question that he could find himself in the same situation as 2009, when he moved from Cleveland to Minnesota for the stretch run.

Wandy Rodriguez – Starting Pitcher – Houston Astros

The biggest reason Rodriguez could wind up on the block is his contract, which just kicked in for the 2011 season. Rodriguez, likely the best pitcher that the average fan hasn’t heard about, has been scintillating for the Astros for the past four seasons, compiling a 3.38 ERA, 8.3 K/9, and a solid 2.9 K/BB. Those numbers landed Rodriguez a three-year extension with a 2014 option, with the big money kicking in next season at $10 million. Rodriguez would probably slip through waivers because the fourth year option is guaranteed with a trade, and Wandy would be 35 at the top of the 2014 season. Still, for a team with cash to burn and a rotation need (Yankees/Red Sox?), Rodriguez could be a viable fit that would slot in nicely in the upper-middle of just about any rotation. The Astros have almost no incentive to hold onto Rodriguez after dealing Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, but have no reason to give him away either. If a deal gets done, it’ll only be because Ed Wade hears an offer to his liking. Whatever that means.

In addition to Rotographs, Warne writes about the Minnesota Twins for The Athletic and is a sportswriter for Sportradar U.S. in downtown Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Warne, or feel free to email him to do podcasts or for any old reason at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com

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12 years ago

E5 might not be long for the Blue Jays world. The OF will soon be Snider/Rasmus/Bautista, 3B will be Lawrie and DH will be E5/Thames?

The Jays will either send Thames or Snider back down, which they don’t want to do, or leave E5 on the bench, which is also not good considering his production lately, or maybe don’t call up Lawrie until the rosters expand, which is another unfortunate decision.

Solution: DFA Teahran, platoon 2 of 3.

12 years ago
Reply to  SC2GG

Even with his recent hot streak E5 isn’t good at baseball. Having him as a part time player for the last two months on a non contending team is no crime against humanity.

12 years ago
Reply to  SC2GG

Regardless, it sets them up nice to dump E5 in the offseason and sign a full-time 1B/DH.

12 years ago
Reply to  Chops

I’m very interested to see how AA/TOR fare once they start signing FA and trying to build a rotation and bullpen. It should be very interesting. I’m trying to go into the off-season without a bunch of expectations or preconceived notions, and just watch what happens.