The 2015 MLB trade deadline has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean players can no longer be dealt this season. Teams can still trade players that have cleared revocable waivers, and a few big names are eligible to be moved.
When a team places a player on revocable waivers, the rest of the league has 48 hours to put a claim on that player. If the player never gets claimed, he’s allowed to be traded to any team, just like he had been before the trade deadline. But if a player does get claimed, his current team can either pull him off waivers or allow the team that claimed him to take possession of him and his contract. A team can put a player on waivers for a second time, but they will lose him for nothing if he’s claimed by someone else.
Often times multiple teams put a claim on a player that has been put on waivers. The team with the worst record takes priority if that’s the case.
San Diego Padres starting pitcher James Shields and Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley have reportedly cleared waivers. Both were mentioned in trade rumors before the July 31 deadline, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see either switch teams this month.
A few teams that are looking to make the playoffs might try to acquire players that have successfully cleared waivers, and they would have to do so by Aug. 31. A player can’t be added to a playoff roster if he wasn’t with the team before the start of September.
The Padres reportedly had conversations with teams about Shields in July, and they’ve been given another chance to deal him. San Diego is in control of Shields for the next three years, but the right-hander has not helped the team contend like they had hoped. The Padres are six games under .500, and they owe Shields $63 million from 2016-2018.
Shields has underperformed compared to David Price, Cole Hamels and Johnny Cueto, who were all traded before the deadline. But he’s been a consistently good starter for most of his career, and he could help a contender that needs pitching help.
The Chicago Cubs didn’t make a big splash at the deadline, and they were reportedly interested in Shields. Chicago is currently in possession of the second National League wild-card spot, but they could use an upgrade if they hope to win a few postseason series. Every NL division leader has a better starting rotation ERA than the Cubs.
The New York Yankees were in the market for a pitcher before the deadline, but they decided to stand pat, refusing to trade any of their top prospects. The team has struggled since then, seeing their lead in the American League East shrink. But it’s been their hitting that has allowed the surging Toronto Blue Jays, who were active at the deadline, to close the gap.
During their four-game losing streak, the Yankees have scored just five total runs. Most of the team is in a slump, but it’s been New York’s second basemen that have struggled all season. Stephen Drew has gotten the most playing time at second base, hitting just .191 in 86 games. Yankees second basemen have combined to produce a .633 OPS this season.
Utley is in the middle of the worst season of his career, posting a .564 OPS in 70 games. But he battled injuries earlier this year, and he’s hit .412 since returning to the field this month. The Yankees have reportedly scouted Utley this week, and they wouldn’t have to give up much to acquire the second baseman. Utley needs 500 plate appearances in 2015 for his $15 million vesting option to kick in next year, and his injury will likely force him to become a free agent in the offseason.
One player that had been involved in trade rumors that didn’t clear waivers is Yasiel Puig. The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was claimed by an unknown team, and pulled back by L.A., meaning he isn’t going anywhere.