The non-waiver trade deadline passed on July 31. That is considered the most important date for General Managers during the season because it is the final day a player can be acquired without first having to pass through waivers. Trading a player in August is much more complicated and less likely to actually transpire. The waiver process for trading players is a somewhat easy process to grasp if broken down simply, which I plan to do in the first part of this article. In the second part I will mention some potential targets for the A’s in the last ten days before the waiver trade deadline hits.
Once August 1st hits a team decides whether or not to put players through waivers. The only team that puts an entire team through waivers every year is the Toronto Blue Jays. That is because Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos feels it benefits the whole organization by being able to judge trade interest for all of their players. I like this strategy and wish more teams, including the Athletics, would adopt it. Doing this does not mean you’re sellers, it simply means you’re leaving all of your options open.
Most teams however select certain players they know they want to trade and pass them through waivers. If a player is claimed by a team the two teams get a few days to work out a deal or the original club can claim him back. If the original club claims him back and passes the same player through waivers again that team must work out a deal or risk losing the player for nothing. A player passes through their respective league first, basically being offered to each team, by reverse record. That means teams with the worst record gets first dibs. If a player passes through his respective league the same process goes through with the other league. If a player is not claimed after that process any team can claim that player.
The A’s have been up and down since the All Star break. That is due in part to a lack of hitting with runners in scoring position, shaky pitching, and the main run producers struggling. The offensive struggles are exacerbated by the continued funk and injuries of leadoff hitter Coco Crisp. The bullpen has continued to be solid for the A’s. With the acquisition of Alberto Callaspo to play platoon partner with Eric Sogard the Green and Gold do not have any glaring needs at the moment. The promotion of Sonny Gray has helped right the ship for the starting rotation.
One potential waiver trade deadline target could be catching depth. John Jaso continues to deal with concussion symptoms and won’t be back until at least mid September. Derek Norris has been dealing with back spasms and Triple-A Sacramento catcher, and the last catcher on the 40-man roster is Luke Montz, who has been on the DL at Sacramento for over a month with a shoulder injury. This led the A’s to call up Stephen Vogt from Triple-A Sacramento. The A’s out-righted Hiroyuki Nakajima off the 40-man roster leaving space to add a healthy catcher at Triple-A Sacramento and more importantly add depth in case Norris has get put on the DL.
August waiver trades are complex in nature but fairly easy to comprehend. With only a few more days left before the deadline reaches the A’s will be looking to add a healthy catcher as an insurance policy for the injuries being sustained currently. A’s GM Billy Beane always seems to make the right moves and therefore fans should be on the lookout for what could be an under the radar move that could pay big dividends especially come September when rosters expand.