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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Larry Bowa recalls two special seasons with (almost unanimous) Hall of Famer Derek Jeter

Larry Bowa recalls two special seasons with (almost unanimous) Hall of Famer Derek Jeter

Larry Bowa asked a question Tuesday afternoon.

“You think he’ll be unanimous?”

Derek Jeter was a 14-time All-Star and a five-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees. He won a Rookie of the Year award, was a World Series MVP and finished in the top 10 in American League MVP voting eight times. He won five Gold Gloves at shortstop and finished his career with 3,465 hits. Only Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Tris Speaker had more.

We’re talking rare air here, folks.

We’re talking icon.

So, six hours before the official Hall of Fame announcement was to come down early Tuesday night, the question that Bowa posed wasn’t whether Jeter would make it through the doors of Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility – that was a slam-dunk, take-it-to-the-bank, lead-pipe cinch – it was would he be just the second player ever to be elected unanimously.

“He should be,” Bowa said.

The answer to Bowa’s question came soon enough.

No, Jeter did not make it into the Hall unanimously, as his great Yankee teammate Mariano Rivera did the year before. But he still received historic support as he sailed into Hardball Heaven on his first try.

Jeter appeared on 396 of the 397 ballots cast by voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Voters are encouraged but not required to make their ballots public. The identity of the one writer who did not vote for Jeter was not immediately known. That person will likely come forward at some point, not that it will matter a whole lot in the final analysis. The 99.7 percent of the vote that Jeter did receive is the highest ever for a position player.

Hard-hitting outfielder Larry Walker, an MVP and three-time National League batting champ, was also elected. He made it by six votes in his 10th and final year on the writers’ ballot.

Former Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling missed by 20 votes, but his 70 percent bodes well for future election. He needs to get to 75 percent of the vote in his final two years on the ballot.

Another former Phillie, third baseman Scott Rolen, received 35.3 percent of the vote in his third year on the ballot.

Bowa, the great former Phillies shortstop and manager, played 2,222 games at shortstop, seventh-most all time. Jimmy Rollins played 2,227 games at short, sixth-most all-time. Omar Vizquel ranks first on the list at 2,709 and Jeter is second at 2,674.

Bowa enjoyed an up-close look at Jeter’s greatness during the 2006 and 2007 seasons when he was third-base coach for the Yankees. Jeter still had another seven seasons to go in his career, but even at that point, Bowa knew he was looking at a Hall of Famer.

“He just had an aura about him that said, ‘If you want to be a big-leaguer, watch me,’ “ Bowa recalled. “It was that way in everything he did. He never sulked if he didn’t get any hits.

“In my two years there, I don’t think I ever saw him make a mental mistake. He was always well prepared. He was very coachable and open to advice. He never jogged. He always played the right way. In big situations with the game on the line, he wanted to be at the plate. And he produced.”

Bowa compared Jeter to a couple of players he managed with the Phillies, one a Hall of Famer, one a potential Hall of Famer.

“He reminded me of Jim Thome, the way he handled himself,” Bowa said. “Very humble guys. Both team-first. If it was the eighth inning and a guy led off with a double, you didn’t have to tell Jeter to get the ball to the right side and get him over to third.

“He was a little bit like Chase Utley. You wind him up in April, say good luck and have a good year, and at the end of year he’d have a great season. He could have played without any leader or manager. Incredible work ethic.”

Like any other player, Jeter could have an off day, though not often. Bowa recalled a time in 2007 when the Yankees played an awful game. 

“I think it was a Sunday game,” Bowa said. “It might have been the worst game I’d ever seen the Yankees play.”

The performance left manager Joe Torre quietly seething. He called the team together after the game.

“I’d never seen Joe angry before,” Bowa said. “He usually got with guys one-on-one in his office if he wasn’t happy and no one knew about it. But this time, we played so bad that he felt like he had to get everyone together.”

Torre didn’t go after the 25th man.

He went right for the heart – Jeter and Alex Rodriguez.

“He was all over them,” Bowa said. “It was the only time I ever saw Joe get on a guy like that. There was no swearing or anything like that, but he literally pointed them out and told them they were better than that and he expected more.”

The next day, Jeter was getting ready to do some early work with Bowa in the infield. Bowa asked him about what had gone down the day before.

“Jeter was completely accountable,” Bowa said. “He said he deserved it. That really showed me something. Here was a guy putting together a Hall of Fame career and he just got it. He didn’t take it personally.”

And he won’t take not being a unanimous selection to the Hall of Fame personally, either.

Ninety-nine-point-seven percent.

We’re still talking rare air here, folks.

“The guy was just solid, man,” Larry Bowa said. “So professional. Just a pleasure to watch. I’m really happy for him.” 

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Make that 2 buy-low bullpen moves for the Phillies

Make that 2 buy-low bullpen moves for the Phillies

Drew Storen wasn't the only reliever the Phillies added early this week.

The Phils also agreed to a minor-league deal with veteran right-hander Bud Norris, according to Robert Murray.

The Phillies worked out Norris late last season but did not sign him.

Norris last pitched in 2018 with the Cardinals. He was pretty effective, posting a 3.59 ERA in 57⅔ innings with 67 strikeouts. He saved 28 games.

Relievers are so volatile from year to year that it stands to reason one of Storen or Norris will recapture some success in 2020. The Phillies have seen quite clearly over the last two seasons that big relief contracts are a gamble. They paid David Robertson, Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek a combined $57 million and all three dealt with long-term injuries.

The big wild-card in the Phils' bullpen is Seranthony Dominguez, who missed most of last season with arm injuries but could be a much-needed and useful weapon if he can revert to his 2018 form.

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