The Waiver Deadline

A quick reminder about how trades can happen after the non-waiver deadline on July 31.

While the Rangers are almost definitely working the phones as I type, don’t be disappointed if the club doesn’t make a move – this isn’t the only deadline before which to add players.  In fact, during last night’s game against the Angels, CEO Nolan Ryan made a comment on the broadcast that he expected more activity in August than in years past on the trade front, mostly due to more teams believing that they can compete today than they will a month from now.

After today, teams can still acquire players from other teams after players are put on waivers by their organizations.  In practice, almost every player is put on waivers, as the team is not required to inform the player, and the team can always pull him off waivers even if another team claims the player. Players remain on waivers for 47 hours.

If the team pulls the player back off waivers after he is claimed, that team cannot trade that player for 30 days.

In the case that the team does not pull the player off of waivers, several different things can happen.  The team who put the player on waivers can then work a trade with the claiming team.  However, any player involved in that trade will also have to be run through waivers first as well.  The teams have 2 business days (from the day the player was claimed) to complete a deal.

The team can also choose to simply rid themselves of the player’s salary and allow the player to join the claiming team with no compensation in return from the claiming team.

If no team claims the player, his team can then trade him to any team (again, in exchange for other players who have also been placed on waivers and either claimed by the team or unclaimed by all teams).

In the case that more than one team claims a player, the priority is ranked by the claiming club’s team record.  However, AL teams get first priority over players claimed from AL clubs, and NL clubs get first priority over players claimed from NL clubs.

In practice, a lot of waiver claims are not made with the intention of making a deal, but rather to block the team from trading that player to another team. While this process may seem to make deals for attractive players difficult, consider
some of the examples of trades that have taken place after the deadline. The Dodgers picked up Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford from the Red Sox just last year.  The Astros actually acquired Jeff Bagwell in a waiver deal, as did the Rangers with Jose Canseco.  Most recently, the Rangers added Jeff Francoeur in 2010 from the Mets in exchange for Joaquin Arias, and in 2011 added both Matt Treanor and Mike Gonzalez after the non-waiver deadline.

Does this mean that impact deals after the non-waiver deadline are likely?  No.  But just because the deadline passes by today does not mean that front office won’t look to improve this club as they battle for a fourth straight play-off berth.

Robert Pike is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at or on Twitter @Bob_Pike
Robert Pike

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