The Trade Deadline Is Not The End

Even though the trade deadline was July 31st, this doesn’t mean that more trades aren’t possible.  What the July 31st deadline essentially means is that it is the final day whereby trades can be freely made among all 30 clubs.  After July 31st (technically, after 5 pm Eastern on July 31st) until the end of the regular season, trades can still be made, but players must be put on waivers before such trades can be made.

The trade waiver process (referred to as “trade assignment waivers” or colloquially, “the waiver wire”) works like this.  Clubs can put any or all players on their 40 man roster on waivers.  Only 7 players per day can be put on waivers.  Trade assignment waivers are revocable.  The waiver period or “window” once a player is put on waivers is 48 hours.  During this 48 hour period, if a player is claimed, the waiving club can (a) withdraw the waiver request and keep the player; (b) arrange a trade for the player with the claiming club (and only the claiming club); or (c) allow the claim to proceed, wherein the claiming club pays the waiving club a $20,000 waiver fee and assumes the claimed player’s existing contract.

It should be noted that players who have an existing “no trade” right, either contractually, or through 10/5 service time rights, can refuse a waiver claim or a trade based on a waiver claim.  So, those folks who want Matt Holliday traded are out of luck, unless Holliday would somehow agree to it.

If a player is claimed but the waiver request is withdrawn, the said player cannot be placed on waivers again for at least 30 days, and if said player is placed on waivers again during that season, the waivers become irrevocable.

If a player is not claimed, he is said to have cleared waivers, and may be traded freely for the remainder of the regular season.

If there are multiple claims on a player, the club who is awarded the claim is the club who has the lowest winning percentage on the day the claim was made.  Clubs in the same league as the waiving club get first priority, then clubs in the other league.  This means that a club in the same league as the waiving club will be awarded the claim even if that club has a higher winning percentage than a claiming club in the other league.  If there is a tie in the winning percentage of the claiming clubs, the previous season’s MLB standings will be used to break the tie.

A player who is on the disabled list cannot be placed on waivers unless he is both eligible to be taken off the disabled list and healthy enough to play.  Players on other MLB lists cannot be placed on waivers.

A club is not permitted to claim a player on waivers and then trade the player to another club if the purpose of the claim was to block another club from claiming the player.  If the Office of the Commissioner determines that such was the purpose of a waiver claim, the claim will be revoked.

That is the waiver wire in a nutshell.  More often than not the public is unaware of what players are placed on waivers and withdrawn.  If a claim is allowed to proceed or a trade is made that will of course become public when it is concluded.  Sometimes a club allows knowledge of who is placed on waivers to become public.  MLB Trade Rumors publishes this information when it is made known.  Most such waiver transactions occur in the month of August, though they can occur until the end of the regular season.

So, Cardinals fans, don’t despair if you think the Cardinals should make more moves.  It does happen.  For instance, reliever John Axford was traded to the Cardinals in a waiver transaction last season.

Stay tuned.



Thank you for reading.






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