With the Dodgers blockbuster deal to acquire AdrianGonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto from the Red Sox onSaturday, the actual implications of Major League Baseballs trade deadline havebeen called into question.How can MLB claim to have a trade deadline when major dealsfor stars can still occur after the deadline? To give you a sense of how suchdeals work, heres a rundown of baseballs post-trade deadline waiver process:Step One: For any member of a teams 40-man roster to bemoved after the trade deadline, the player must be placed on waivers.Step Two: Teams make claims on the player placed on waivers.When multiple teams place a claim on a player, the team from the same league asthe team waiving the player gets awarded the claim. When multiple teams fromthe same league place a claim on a player, the player is awarded to the teamwith the worst record.Thus, for the Dodgers to win the claim on Gonzalez,every American League team and every National League team with a worse recordhad to pass on claiming the former Red Sox first baseman.Step Three: Once a team has been awarded the waiver claim toa player, three things can happen.In the simplest case, the team currently owning the playermay allow him to leave for nothing. In exchange, the team that won the claim onthe player assumes all responsibility for that players contract.Unless the players contract is exceptionally draining and ateam is simply looking to dump salary, the team controlling the player and theteam awarded the waiver claim will attempt to reach a trade for the player.This is how the Dodgers managed to acquire Gonzalez and his Red Sox teammates.Teams have 72 hours from the time the waiver claim wasawarded to reach a trade. If no deal is reached, that leads to the thirdpossible outcome of a waiver claim. Under the post-trade deadline waiver rules,the team that initially placed a player on waivers may pull that player off ofwaivers one time. So if no trade can be reached in the 72-hour period, the teamcan pull the player back from waivers and keep him on the roster. That playercant be pulled off of waivers a second time in the season, so the player isalmost guaranteed to stay with his current club for the remainder of theseason.In some cases, a team lower in the standings may place aclaim on a player simply to block a competitor from having any chance atacquiring a player. This strategy, called a block, means the team placing thewaiver claim has no real intent to reach a trade for the player; they simplydont want the player to move to a team with which theyre battling for aplayoff spot.Because the Giants have a better record than the Dodgers,they are unable to block the Dodgers by placing a claim on a player in whom Los Angeles has interest.This strategy of blocking can occasionally backfire on theblocking team if the player in question has a high salary. Once the player hasbeen claimed off of waivers, the team that placed the player on waivers may lethim walk, forcing the team that claimed him to pay his salary.Under these rules, trades like the one the Dodgers and RedSox agreed to can occur after the trade deadline. The real deadline on majormoves is midnight on Aug. 31. Beginning on Sept. 1, any player acquired isineligible for the postseason.
While expressing his happiness to be with his new team, Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna took a swipe at the A’s during a media function in St. Louis on Sunday.
Ozuna’s name, you’ll remember, swirled in trade rumors earlier this offseason that he might be dealt from the Miami Marlins to Oakland. Instead, the two-time All-Star was traded to St. Louis, making him one of several big-name players Miami has shipped off as it looks to slash payroll.
While attending the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up event to preview this season, Ozuna was asked what it was like being dealt to a team that’s more focused on winning right away as opposed to the rebuilding Marlins.
“I feel happy about that,” Ozuna responded. “First thing when I heard they were trying to trade me to the Oakland A’s, I say … (long pause) Well, I say ‘God, please leave me over here.’ Then I heard they trade me to the Cardinals, I say ‘OK, thanks.’”
Well, it’s not the first time such an insult has been hurled the A’s way, whether directly or indirectly. Last winter, it came out that Matt Holliday — who spent part of 2009 with Oakland — had a no-trade clause included in his contract with the Yankees that prohibited him from being traded only to the A’s.
Is it surprising to hear Ozuna volunteer his thoughts about the A’s in a public forum? Perhaps.
Is it a shock that he’d feel that way in the first place? Definitely not.
It’s no secret the A’s reputation is one of a team that’s always looking to trade its best veteran players rather than spend the money to sign them long term. It’s also common knowledge that they play in an outdated ballpark that’s considered the worst in the majors.
No question, those are the dominant thoughts of players on the other 29 teams when they think of the A’s. And there’s no quick fix to that. National perception is tough to alter.
“Why doesn’t ownership just start spending more money on payroll?” you might ask. “That’s the best way to change perception.”
No arguments there, but we know from the past that isn’t going to happen. Clearly, majority owner John Fisher isn’t going to spend more freely on payroll — especially with the A’s being cut off from MLB’s revenue sharing system — unless he sees the potential for other forms of revenue to stream in.
It all points back to the critical need for the A’s to identify a ballpark site and begin construction on a new home. That will send a message around the majors that a plan is in motion, that better days are ahead.
Until then, the A’s can expect to absorb the occasional jab like that delivered by Ozuna. On the bright side for Oakland fans, they might have just identified Public Enemy No. 2, a player who can slot in right behind Holliday as their favorite opponent to vilify.
The A’s took care of a big piece of business with their top run producer, signing slugger Khris Davis to a one-year contract Wednesday and avoiding arbitration.
FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported the sides settled on a $10.5 million salary. That’s more than double the $5 million Davis made last season in his first trip through the arbitration process, but a huge raise was expected after Davis put up more monster numbers in his second year with Oakland.
His 43 home runs in 2017 ranked second in the American League and he was third in RBI with 110. Consider that Davis is the only major leaguer to crack the 40-homer mark in each of the past two seasons, and only Giancarlo Stanton has more total homers during that span (86 to Davis’ 85).
That obviously makes the 30-year-old Davis a valuable commodity.
“Back to back 40-homer years in this ballpark. You guys don’t talk about it enough,” A’s executive VP of baseball operations Billy Beane said in October. “When we acquired him (in a trade from Milwaukee) we knew we got a guy with a lot of power. I think we were thinking a 30-homer guy. The fact he’s gone 40 back-to-back is pretty amazing. He fits in perfectly here. I think having that big bat that Khris brings helps guys like (Matt) Olson and (Matt) Chapman.”
So it’s clear the A’s value Davis, and that’s why he hasn’t been traded thus far, as many around the game speculated he might be this winter. But where do things go moving forward?
He’ll be eligible for arbitration one more time next winter before he’s able to test free agency heading into the 2020 season. If you’re an A’s fan, you know where this is going. If July hits and the A’s are floundering in the standings, Davis no doubt will be a trade candidate. He’d have appeal as a proven slugger who would remain under team control for 2019.
But Davis is a rare breed. He loves playing in Oakland and doesn’t hide that fact. The pitcher-friendly Coliseum has done nothing to suppress his power. In fact, he’s thrived. His 26 home runs at the Coliseum in 2017 fell one short of Jason Giambi’s Oakland record for homers by a home player.
It would seem he’d be open to a long-term extension, and the sides reportedly have held past discussions about one. The A’s have designs on signing some of their younger core players to extensions. But you’d have to rank it as a surprise were they to actually complete an extension with Davis, given the money he would command.
More than likely, Beane and his staff will evaluate the team through the first half of the upcoming season, weigh the pros and cons of dealing him, and if he stays, enter through this arbitration process again next winter, knowing that he’ll command even more bucks on another one-year deal.
An ‘X’ factor is how Davis adjusts to his shift from left field to designated hitter. He told NBC Sports California in November that he prefers the outfield but will fill whatever role is best for the team.
The feeling here is that he’ll put up the same numbers that fans have grown accustomed to, and the ball will be in the A’s court as to how long he remains in green and gold.