Waivers: An Overview and How We Should Use Them

Now that the July 31 deadline has passed and we still have dead weight on the team like Emil Brown, Alan Embree, Keith Foulke, Jack Hannahan and Lenny Dinardo, it's time we explore the August waiver deals that can happen.

First let's start with reviewing the rules:

1. Anybody on the 40-man roster can be placed on waivers without consent (or even knowledge) of the player.

2. Any team can claim any player placed on waivers, but preference first goes to the team with the worst record in the league the player was in.  All teams have 2 days to claim the player on waivers.  For example, if the A's were to place Embree on waivers, every team has 48 hours to claim him.  But if multiple teams claim him, the team highest up on the waiver wire would be Seattle, then Cleveland, all the way through the Angels in the AL.  If no one in the AL claims him, the same process happens in the NL (For reference, 25 teams would have to pass on Embree before the Phillies could claim him).

3.  If a player is claimed on waivers, the team who placed him on waivers has three options:

A) The team can pull him off waivers and said player stays on the team and cannot be traded for 30 days.

B) The team can work out a trade with the team highest on the waiver wire who claimed him.  If the player is traded, any player on a team's 40-man roster must pass through waivers.

C) The team can surrender the player and his remaining salary to the team that claims him for no players.  This is what happened with Esteban Loaiza.

4. If a player is not claimed, he can be traded any time after he passes through waivers again for any other player who passed through waivers or for players not on the opposing team's 40-man roster.

So now that we've waded through that set of rather complicated rules (or at least I've rambled about them and you've skimmed over them), why does it matter to us? Well the A's have three players who seem like just the type of players waivers are perfect for.  The players who we hear most about on waivers are of two types: guys who have very large salaries and guys who could have a little value but not enough to warrant a lot of interest prior to the non-waiver July 31 trade deadline.

For example, Nomar was put on waivers the other year.  Guys like Andruw Jones when he was good and even Manny a couple years ago were placed on waivers (and Andruw almost certainly will be this year and just as certainly he won't be claimed).  Again why does it matter to the A's? 

This year was the year of the blockbuster prior to July 31.  Manny, Griffey, Harden, Blanton, and CC all moved and a lot of teams were focused on those big names.  August can now be the time to make the little trades.  And Bobby Crosby, Alan Embree, and maybe Keith Foulke and Emil Brown could be those perfect little moves for some GM's. 

Plus, waivers don't prevent us from our main goal of rebuilding.  We can go for other teams prospects as long as they aren't on other teams' 40 man roster.  However, we don't have too much leverege. If a team claims one of our guys like BoCro (say, the Dodgers), we can't drive up the price by going to the competition.  We can only deal with them or hold onto our guy. But what we can do to increase our prospect haul is to take on a team's bad contracts.  For example, if the Dodgers were to claim BoCro, we could take a guy like the aforementioned Andruw, assuming he clears waivers, and demand Scott Elbert, Andrew Lambo, and Ivan DeJesus.  Or we could do something crazy and trade him to the Giants for Zito and Alderson, Bumgardner, Sosa, and Villalona.

Obviously those last deals are fantasy.  But what about some more realistic (but still unreleastic) deals like Embree for Jason Donald if the Phillies, as apparently the A's wanted to add on the Blanton deal (according to PT, I haven't seen a link to confirm that)?  Or something like Keith Foulke for Allen Craig (Nico, what do you think?)? 

At the very least, who should be put on waivers?  I would say obviously Embree, Foulke, Crosby, and Brown (Hannahan and Conrad are DFA candidates, not waiver candidates).  If we're willing to accept low-level prospects we could even put Thomas or Ellis on waivers, because they will be claimed.  If we wanted to buck convention, we could even put Street or Duke on waivers, but again we would have to accept non-40 man roster prospects and we couldn't start a bidding war, with only one team to negotiate with.  However, if we don't find a deal we can always pull them back off waivers.

As I put in a post last night, it's time to clear some dead-weight off this team and perhaps get a little value in return.  It's our last chance this season to do so, and I want to see Murton, Patterson, Petit, and Pennington get some extended PT this season.  

Oh, and one more thing that I'm tempted to put on my sigline: call up Michael Richard and Larry Cobb, Billy!

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