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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

August 1, 2011 at 6:58 AM

Mariners could still make trades in August

Here are some interesting comments from Red Sox GM Theo Epstein on the Bedard trade.

The MLB trade “deadline” is one of the biggest misnomers in sports. Casual fans are annually surprised when trades, sometimes significant ones, continue to be made into August, and that will no doubt be the case this year.

The July 31 deadline merely refers to trades made without necessitating waivers. It gets more complicated in August, with players needing to be placed on waivers to begin the trade process, but deals can — and do — get done. If a player clear waivers — ie, no team claims them — the player can be dealt to any team. If a player is claimed (teams have 48 hours to do so), the team which put the player on waivers can either work out a deal with the claiming team, let the team have that player (contract and all), or pull the player back (something they can do only once). Sometimes teams are praying that some team will take a bad contract off their hands (as with Randy Myers and the Padres in a famous case in 1998. Ditto Alex Rios on Aug. 10, 2009, when the White Sox assumed his huge contract, much to the delight of the Blue Jays. Here is a good primer on the post-July trade rules.

The Mariners have made some interesting deals in August in past years, trading Jamie Moyer to Philadelphia in August of 2006 (for long-gone minor leaguers Andrew Barb and Andy Baldwin,) Jeff Nelson to the Yankees in August of 2003 (for Armando Benitez), Joey Cora to the Indians in August of 1998 (for David Bell), and David Ortiz (ouch) to the Twins in August of 1996 (for Dave Hollins; the initital deal was made Aug. 29, Ortiz was sent as the “player to be named” on Sept. 13). Last year, the Mariners sent Mike Sweeney to Philadelphia on Aug. 4 in a cash deal.

Two of the most celebrated deadline deals in history were made in August: Detroit sending minor-league pitcher John Smoltz to Atlanta for Doyle Alexander on Aug. 12, 1987, and Boston sending young infielder Jeff Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen on Aug. 30, 1990. In 2004, August pickup Larry Walker was a huge factor in the Cardinals winning the National League pennant.

Cody Ross, another August pickup, was a big factor for the Giants last year, especially in the postseason. Also traded last year in August were Manny Ramirez, Jose Guillen, Pedro Feliz, Rod Barajas, Brian Fuentes, Derrek Lee and Jim Edmonds, among others.

Buster Olney at today listed possible August waiver candidates this year — Jason Kubel, Kyle Farnsworth, Ramon Hernandez, Carlos Pena, Jim Thome, Jason Giambi, Wandy Rodriguez, Carlos Quentin, Jeremy Guthrie, Heath Bell and Josh Willingham. His ESPN colleague Jerry Crasnick did something similar.

There were no Mariners listed by Olney, but I think there are a couple of candidates — a few of the same ones mentioned at the deadline. Adam Kennedy, Jamey Wright and Jack Wilson are all free agents after the year and could be useful role players for a contender, particularly the first two.

If the Mariners didn’t trade Brandon League at the non-waiver deadline, I don’t see them doing so now. I highly doubt if League would clear waivers. Chone Figgins will easily clear waivers (and if not, the Mariners will dance down Edgar Martinez Drive), but the questions are, does anyone want him in his current state, and if so, are the Mariners willing to absorb the bulk of his remaining contract? If so, Figgins is an August candidate as well.

There could be some surprises as well, so August will be nearly as interesting as July.



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