Are Phillies done dealing? Here's how August trades work

Are Phillies done dealing? Here's how August trades work

The trade deadline has passed, but that doesn't necessarily mean the trading stops.

July 31 is the non-waiver trade deadline. The key words there are "non-waiver." Trades can still be made in August, the process just gets a bit more complicated.

The Phillies got a lot of their work done this week, bringing in Wilson Ramos, Asdrubal Cabrera and lefty reliever Aaron Loup. There were only four players traded in July who have an OPS over .800 on the season and two of them (Ramos and Cabrera) are now Phillies. Manny Machado and Eduardo Escobar were the others.

Anywho …

Here's how August trades work

In order to trade a player, a team must first put that player on waivers. These waivers are revocable, meaning that if the player is claimed by another team, he can simply be pulled back and kept by the original team.

Who goes on waivers?

Nearly every player on every team. There is little risk in floating a player out on revocable waivers. The reward is the ability to strike a deal and trade the player in August.

How do waivers work?

Let's use Tommy Hunter as an example to make this clearer.

Say the Phillies place Hunter on waivers, which they'll probably do in early August because of the off chance another team would take the pricey contract. Any team will possess the ability to claim Hunter. If multiple teams claim him, the team with the worst record in the player's league gets first dibs. So the worst National League team would have the first crack at Hunter, followed by the second-worst NL team, then the third-worst NL team, and on and on.

So NL teams have top priority on NL players placed on waivers and vice versa?

Yes. If no team in the player's league claims him, the team with the worst record in the other league moves to the top of the order.

In other words, the worst team in the AL would be 15th on the queue for an NL player — Hunter would first have to go unclaimed by all 14 of the Phillies' NL counterparts before an AL team could be awarded the claim.

The order inverts the standings, so for the Phillies, this means they'll be toward the bottom of the league in the claiming order for AL players. As of today, the Phils would be 27th in order for an AL player and 12th for an NL player.

What happens if a player goes unclaimed?

Hunter is an applicable example here because it's highly unlikely he'd be claimed. Why? Because if he is, the Phillies could simply say to the claiming team, "OK, take him and pay his remaining salary." 

If a player goes unclaimed for 47 hours after being placed on waivers, the player has cleared waivers and can be traded to any team just like it was July 25.

OK, so what happens if a player is claimed? What are the original team's options?

If Hunter were to be claimed, the Phillies would have three options:

• Pull him off waivers and keep him.

• Work out a trade with the team that claimed him within 48 hours.

• Allow the claiming team to simply absorb his remaining contract.

Here's the catch: A team cannot pull a player off waivers and try to pass him through again. If a player gets claimed and pulled back by his original team, the waivers become irrevocable for that player from that point.

So, for example, if the Phillies place Nick Williams on waivers, he'd be claimed immediately. Who wouldn't want a young, productive player for a cheap cost? The Phils would simply pull him back. But they would not be able to place him on waivers again at any point that season and possess the ability to keep him if he's claimed. If he were to be claimed a second time, the claiming team gets him and the Phillies have no recourse.

Obviously, they wouldn't allow that to happen.

How do we know if a player is placed on waivers?

You don't. The placement of players on waivers is not disclosed, though sometimes reporters catch wind and release the information. An official announcement is not required or revealed until a transaction goes down.

What are some examples of August trading?

When the Phillies acquired Matt Stairs and Scott Eyre in 2008, they did it in August. 

When they got Jamie Moyer in 2006, it was in August.

When they traded Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers for Victor Arano and Jesmuel Valentin, it was in August.

When the Tigers traded Justin Verlander to the Astros last summer, it was in August … and it turned out to be the biggest move any team made all year.

A notable example of a player just being absorbed by another team involved Alex Rios and the White Sox back in 2009. The Blue Jays had signed Rios to a seven-year, $70 million contract. A year later, they wanted out of it. The White Sox claimed Rios and the Blue Jays just gave him to the White Sox for nothing in return except full salary relief.

That kind of absorption worked out for both teams — it saved the Blue Jays $10 million a year, and the White Sox acquired a solid player without giving up any young talent.

There have been more recent examples since but that one comes to mind.

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Playing the Red Sox tough is nice, but some wins would be nicer for struggling Phillies

Playing the Red Sox tough is nice, but some wins would be nicer for struggling Phillies


Coming out of spring training, the consensus opinion on the Phillies was that they’d pick up on the improvement they showed in the second half of last year’s 66-96 season and maybe push .500.

The thinking was that would be a nice step in the right direction for a team that had pushed its rebuild into field-goal range.

Then the season got going and the Phillies started winning, and contending, and by the first week of July they were in first place in the NL East.

They entered August in first place and that was meaningful because, in a sport where the long haul matters, four months is a significant chunk of time.

Becoming a contender a year before most envisioned changed the way these Phillies are viewed. Had they been plugging along hoping to finish the season at .500 and fuel a little optimism for the future, then Tuesday night’s loss to the Boston Red Sox might have been seen as a good thing, an oh-look-at-how-we-hung-with-the-big-boys moral victory (see first take).

But as a contender and a team with legitimate postseason hopes, the 2-1 loss stung and it stung even worse when the out-of-town scoreboard flashed the final score from Atlanta, where the Braves beat the Marlins, 10-6.

In two days, the Phillies have lost two games in the standings to the Braves and now trail them by two games in the NL East.

The Phillies are 2-5 in their last seven games and they have scored just 16 runs over that span. They have another one on tap against Boston on Wednesday night.

The Red Sox are the majors’ best team, on pace to win 115 games, and the Phillies have played them tough in three games over the last two weeks. Boston has won a pair of 2-1 games and the Phils have won a 3-1 contest. But the Phils are past the point where playing a good team tough makes them feel good. 

They need some hits.

They need some wins.

“We know that we can go toe to toe with this team,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We showed that we could at Fenway Park. We did it tonight. We came out on the losing end because they played a better baseball game. But we're very confident that tomorrow we're going to be playing the better baseball game. We're looking forward to that.”

The Phillies’ offense ranks second to last in the majors with a .234 batting average and below average in many other important offensive categories. It ran into a good pitcher on top of his game Tuesday night and the results were not good. Boston’s Rick Porcello, a Cy Young winner in 2016, dazzled with seven innings of one-run ball. He walked none and had six 1-2-3 innings. Porcello gave up just two hits – that’s all the Phillies had – and struck out 10. The Phils struck out 13 times as a team – they’ve reached double digits in Ks 60 times this season – and walked just once.

That’ll lose you some ballgames.

“Porcello deserves a lot of credit,” Kapler said. “He was really awesome. Great job by him.”

The Phillies got a strong game from their starter, as well. Nick Pivetta delivered six innings of one-run ball, walked one and struck out six. He exited early for a pinch-hitter as Kapler tried to nudge the offense only to see Roman Quinn go down on a first-pitch fly ball in the bottom of the sixth.

All the scoring came via the long ball. Sandy Leon took Pivetta deep in the third and Rhys Hoskins got Porcello leading off the fifth. Hoskins, who was dropped from second to cleanup, was 1 for 28 before hitting his 23rd homer. The Phillies need his bat to come alive.

With no margin for error, the Phillies’ bullpen – neither bullpen, for that matter – could afford a mistake. Tommy Hunter made one with one out in the eighth and pinch-hitter Brock Holt clubbed it off the facing of the upper deck in right to break a 1-1 tie and propel the Sox to their 86th win.

Holt ambushed the first pitch.

“Yeah, it was a cutter,” Hunter said. “He got it. He hit it. I'll probably throw 16 of them again tomorrow. He got it. Tip your cap.”

The cutter is Hunter’s best pitch and Holt was looking for it.

“Yeah, coming off the bench, he's going to swing at the first pitch,” Hunter said. “I left it a little too far on the plate. I probably should have buried it in off the plate.”

The atmosphere in all three of the Phillies-Red Sox games over the last two weeks has been intense, almost playoff-like.

“It’s two pretty good teams going toe to toe,” Hunter said. “That’s the way you like it though. Throw blows and see who comes out on top.”

Vince Velasquez will try to help the Phillies come out on top Wednesday night.

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Late homer spoils Nick Pivetta's strong outing against MLB-best Red Sox

Late homer spoils Nick Pivetta's strong outing against MLB-best Red Sox


The Phillies continue to play the Boston Red Sox tough. But that didn’t produce a win Tuesday night.

The Red Sox, who have the majors’ best record at 86-35, beat the Phillies, 2-1, at Citizens Bank Park. The Sox have beaten the Phillies two out of three games the last two weeks.

Boston’s wins have both been by scores of 2-1.

The Phils won one of the games by a 3-1 score.

The Phillies entered the game in second place in the NL East, a game behind Atlanta. It was the first time since July 4 that the Phils did not enter a game in first place.

The Phillies had just two hits in the game and they struck out 13 times. They have scored just 16 runs in the last seven games. They are 2-5 over that span.

It was a 1-1 game until pinch-hitter Brock Holt came off the bench and launched a first-pitch homer against Tommy Hunter with one out in the top of the eighth inning.

Boston starter Rick Porcello pitched brilliantly with seven innings of one-run ball, no walks and 10 strikeouts.

Porcello was staked to a 1-0 lead on a home run by Sandy Leon in the top of the third inning. Porcello did not allow a hit through the first four innings. Rhys Hoskins broke through with the Phillies’ first hit when he launched his 23rd homer to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. The blast tied the game at 1-1.

After batting second most of the season, Hoskins hit cleanup as manager Gabe Kapler shuffled his lineup in the wake of the Phillies scoring just 15 runs while going 2-4 on their recent trip to Arizona and San Diego. Kapler dropped Carlos Santana from fourth to fifth and used Nick Williams in the No. 2 hole.

Hoskins struggled mightily on the trip with just one hit in 21 at-bats. That was part of a bigger 1-for-27 funk.

Phillies starter Nick Pivetta scattered three hits and a walk over six innings of one-run ball. He struck out six. The only run he allowed came on Leon’s solo home run in the third. The Red Sox continued to threaten in that inning as Porcello doubled with one out and Mookie Betts walked. Pivetta then battled Andrew Benintendi to a full-count showdown and got an important double play on a breaking ball. The double play was one of two the Phils turned behind Pivetta.

Pivetta threw just 84 pitches and was in control. However, he was lifted for pinch-hitter Roman Quinn to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Before the game, Kapler indicated that he would be aggressive with his bench and bullpen in pivotal situations in the game. That’s why the Phils added a ninth reliever before the game (see story).

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