Twins could still wheel and deal before Aug. 31
MINNEAPOLIS -- Major League Baseball's July 31 trade deadline is in the rearview mirror. That means no more trades, right?
Clubs are still able to trade in the following month, but it becomes a bit trickier before the Aug. 31 waiver trade deadline. The process is a bit complicated, but it starts when teams place players on waivers. Most teams will put a good majority of their players on waivers -- but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
If a team claims a player (the team with the worst record has the first crack at placing a claim), the two teams then have 48 hours in which to work out a deal. Otherwise, if they can't reach a deal, the team that placed the player on waivers can keep him.
It's not uncommon for teams to trade between the July 31 non-waiver deadline and the Aug. 31 waiver deadline, although there are typically fewer blockbuster trades in August. Minnesota has made its share of deals in August over the years. Last year, third baseman Danny Valencia was dealt to Boston on Aug. 5 in exchange for minor leaguer Jeremias Pineda. In 2011, outfielder Delmon Young was sent to Detroit on Aug. 15 for minor league pitcher Cole Nelson and a player to be named later (which ended up being Lester Oliveros).
Back in 2010 when the Twins made a late playoff push, they acquired reliever Brian Fuentes in an August deal, sending a player to be named later (Loek Van Mil) to the Angels for Fuentes. A similar scenario played out in 2009 when Minnesota traded for reliever Jon Rauch from Arizona for Kevin Mulvey and cash.
There are a few scenarios of why teams might claim a player on waivers with the hopes of working out a trade. The obvious is a team in contention looking to add one more piece to the puzzle with the hopes of earning a playoff spot. The other is a team whose goal it is to block a player from going to a competitor.
"If you put a guy out there and he gets claimed, then you have trade discussions on, 'OK, what's your objective? Are you just trying to block, or do you have sincere interest?'" said Twins general manager Terry Ryan. "When they say, 'Yeah, I've got interest,' you ask, 'All right, what are you looking to possibly exchange?' Then you find out. ... People put people through the waiver wire and see what happens."
The only trade the Twins made prior to Wednesday's non-waiver deadline was sending catcher Drew Butera to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash. It wasn't the trade most fans were anticipating, as some expected first baseman Justin Morneau to be gone. A free agent at the end of the year, Morneau could certainly help a contending team that needs a first baseman or a left-handed bat.
But the trade deadline passed, and Morneau remained a Twin. It was a momentary sigh of relief, but the veteran first baseman knows that just because he wasn't dealt in July doesn't mean he won't be on the move at all in 2013.
"It was just the first deadline with the second deadline coming," Morneau said Wednesday. "It's just part of the game. Everyone goes through it. But it's the first time it was a reality for me. It's probably been tougher on my family and all that. But we're professionals and that's what you do. You deal with it."
Morneau is just one of several players who could still be traded in August. Veteran pitchers Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey could certainly help out a team in need of starting pitching, while closer Glen Perkins has also been highly sought after. While Ryan said the Twins will place most of their players on waivers throughout the month, that doesn't mean many -- or any -- will be on the move. But it allows the club to test the waters to see what other teams might offer for some of their players.
Things were rather quiet at the deadline across Major League Baseball. Ryan said that's due in part to the potential suspensions looming from the Biogenesis case. There are also plenty of teams trying to figure out whether they're buyers or sellers at this point in the year. Yet despite a slow July, Ryan expects things to be business as usual this month.
"August can be very active. Unfortunately, there's a process," he said. "It's difficult to make a deal unless there's urgency for both the teams that are involved. August will be active, it's just a matter of how many will be consummated. There will be claims by the day, there will be people out there by the day that are very interesting. Now whether or not a club wants to deal with one club, or whether they want to wait until the fall and winter when they can deal with 20, that's about what it comes down to."
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