Players get placed on waivers all the time late in the year. After the trade deadline passes at the end of July, players can still be dealt, but instead of it being a sure thing, there are a lot more hoops to jump through in order for a player to switch squads. In essence, here's what happens.
(1) A player is exposed to waivers.
(2) Teams have the chance to claim the player in order of their record from worst to best.
(3) Once a team claims a player they have a 48 hours to work out a deal.
(4) If a deal is not worked out, then the player stays on his current team and can be “pulled back” from waivers with no penalty. If that player is put on waivers yet again, he cannot be pulled back a second time.
(5) If a player passes through waivers with no team putting in a claim, then that player can freely be traded to any team in the league.
For more on the process see Jayson Stark's explanation.
Though waiver claims are private, the information always leaks out. Current claims would appear to be in place for the following players.
Heath Bell: Claimed by the Giants The Giants have Sergio Romo and Brian Wilson on the DL. The team has expressed optimism that both arms will be fine in short order (Romo could even return by the end of the week), but this move suggests otherwise. Still, it should be pointed out that teams often put in claims on players to “block” that player from going to another team. The Giants could merely have claimed Bell with no intention of working out a deal for him just so teams with better records than them (i.e. the Diamondbacks) wouldn't have the chance to claim Bell. It could also mean that there is serious concern about the condition of Wilson's elbow.
Jason Kubel: Unknown Claim Kubel has appeared in only 80 game because of injury but that hasn't diminished his on field work that sees his current “pace” as .290-18-90 over 160 games. Kubel has hit only .252 over his last 103 at-bats, but he would bring a strong bat to the outfield of a contending team. He's even hit lefties well with year with a .829 OPS, a shockingly impressive number for a guy who owns a .692 OPS against left handers in his career.
Carlos Pena: Unknown Claim In each of the past four years Pena has hit 28 homers with 84 RBIs. This season he has 23 homers and 67 RBI. However, he's also hitting .223 this year, though that isn't at all unexpected given his batting average numbers the past three years (.247, .227 and .196). He has the power to hit it out of any yard, and he knows how to take a walk which has led to a career .350 OBP, a rather impressive number for a guy who has hit .239 in more than 4,000 at-bats.
Wandy Rodriguez: Claimed by the Rockies The Astros might be willing to move Wandy given that he is owed $37 million the next three years, but they are going to have to get some talent back for him (i.e. this isn't being viewed as a pure salary dump move). The Rockies could certainly use a big league read arm like Wandy's to take up the space vacated by the deal that sent Ubaldo Jimenez out of town.
Jim Thome: Unknown Claim The perfect wavier-wire claim type, Thome would likely be moved into a reserve role with a contending team which would greatly diminish his fantasy value. Still, as he has shown of late, the guy can still hit as he's batting .290 with six homers, 21 RBI an a .947 OPS over his last 29 games.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 5-8 PM EDT and Sunday 7-10 PM EDT), Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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