Burnett and Posada explain trade waivers

CC battles through eight in win over ChiSox
Is the six-man rotation worth keeping?

There’s a chance that you woke up this morning and saw this headline in the Post: “Yankees Burnett, Posada on trade waivers.” For the uninitiated, this might have induced a spit take. We normally associate waivers with releasing a player. Are the Yankees really going to cut bait on two underperforming veterans?

Absolutely not. In August teams place many of, if not most of, the players on their 40-man roster on waivers. It’s part of the process that allows them enact trades for the rest of the month. It does call for a quick explanation, as a primer for those who haven’t heard of trade waivers, and as a reminder for everyone else.

On Sunday at 4 p.m. the period where major league teams could freely exchange players expired. This is typically referred to as the trade deadline, but it’s really the non-waivers trade deadline. Teams can still swap players in August, but they need to pass through an additional obstacle. That is, a GM can trade any player in August as long as he clears waivers, which necessarily means placing him on waivers. And so we’ll see stories in the coming weeks about X and Y players being placed on waivers. Make little of these.

Let’s use Burnett as an example. Let’s say that Cubs GM Jim Hendry truly has lost his mind, and he puts in a claim on Burnett. The Yankees then have three options. They can work out a trade with the Cubs, they can simply dump the remainder of Burnett’s contract on the Cubs, or they can pull him back. Tempting as it might be to foist Burnett’s contract on some unsuspecting GM, I imagine the Yankees would revoke the waivers on Burnett and keep him on the team. They can place him on waivers again, in an attempt to pass him through, but you can only pull back a player once. If he gets claimed a second time, he’s property of the claiming team.

The entire point of trade waivers is to see who passes through unclaimed. Once a player clears, his team can trade him anywhere else. Chances are the better players in the league, especially ones with reasonable contracts, get claimed and therefore are blocked from any deals. For instance, if the Yankees put Brett Gardner on waivers he’d certainly get claimed. The Yankees would then pull him back, and that would be the end of any trade possibilities involving him. Chances are, the Yankees won’t even both placing Gardner on waivers. But you can be damn sure they’ll use the waiver process for all of their high-priced veterans. In fact, according to the Post, they’ve also placed Rafael Soriano, in addition to Posada and Burnett, on waivers.

Teams can also swap players not on the 40-man roster, which certainly creates opportunities. So while the Yankees cannot trade Dellin Betances, since he’s on the 40-man roster and hasn’t a prayer of clearing waivers, they could conceivably trade Adam Warren or Jesus Montero this month if it meant upgrading the major league roster. Of course, they’d have to find a player on a major league roster who has already cleared.

Any team can place a waiver claim, but when awarding the claim it goes to the team with the lowest win percentage in the same league. That is, if the Red Sox and the Astros put in a claim on Burnett, the Red Sox are awarded the claim, because they’re in the American League. But if the Astros and the Phillies put in a claim, the Astros are awarded, because they have the lower win percentage. (Same goes for, say, the A’s and the Red Sox.) This process leads to many trailing teams placing claims in order to block contenders from swinging a deal. This can be used both to block significant pieces and to block trade chips. For example, in 2009 the Yankees placed a claim on the Red Sox Chris Carter, because that muddled the deal that sent Billy Wagner to Boston.

The report of Burnett, Posada, and Soriano being placed on waivers is probably not the last of its type you’ll see this month. In itself, it is meaningless. It does become a bit more reasonable if they clear, but even then there is little to no chance that the Yankees would deal any of these players. In fact, there’s almost no chance they trade anyone on their major league roster, so we can effectively ignore trade waivers from them. What’s meaningful is seeing what players on non-contenders clear waivers. Those are the ones that could possibly help down the stretch run.

CC battles through eight in win over ChiSox
Is the six-man rotation worth keeping?
  • Plank

    I think some teams put their entire roster on waivers once to see who gets through.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Yeah, and a lot of times they put guys on waivers just to hide the guys they want to trade. For example, if the Yankees wanted to trade Ivan Nova, they’d put him on waivers with guys like Phil Hughes, David Robertson, Brett Gardner, etc. Young guys they probably don’t want to trade. It effectively hides their intentions, because no one know who they really want to trade.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        We should put Melky and IPK on waivers, just to confuse the hell out of everyone.

        • jsbrendog

          and trade them for felix

          • MannyGeee


  • Charlee

    How does Burnett’s no trade clause factor in this ?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      No trade clauses are usually no “assignment” clauses. A trade is an “assignment,” a waiver claim is an “assignment,” a demotion to the minors is an “assignment.” I believe he’d be able to refuse any waiver claim if the Yankees just wanted to let him go.

  • Jobu The Voodoo Troll

    Burnett on waivers? Come on Kenny Williams, don’t fail me now.

    • jsbrendog

      this is just completely flawed thinking. who pithces his innings for the rest of this year?

      • Jericho Spade

        Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes, even though it would be detrimental this year, for the next two years it would clear $17M a season. For CJ Wilson, or someone else. I like Burnett a lot, but he has definitely not pitched to his contract and it would be smart to let him go under those circumstances.

      • MannyGeee

        small price to pay considering the cost/reward for the next few years.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I think I’d actually let Burnett walk if some team claimed him; rest of 2011 be damned.

        We’ve got CC-Colon-Garcia-Nova-Hughes-Warren-Noesi-Mitchell-Phelps; we can make it to the playoffs with that corps and then find a workable 4-man postseason rotation. Getting Burnett’s money off the books for 2012 and 2013 (and freeing it up for Wilson or some other import) would be worth the slight risk in 2011.

        Of course, Burnett would never waive his NTC to accept a waiver claim to go to the White Sox (or any other team, for that matter), so this is all moot.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Hell, we could offload his money and then claim Wandy and take on his whole salary for a marginal prospect. We’d be getting the better, younger, leftier pitcher for the smaller financial outlay.


          • jsbrendog

            when you put it that way….i only throw up in my mouth a little…so, in fact, it is a win-win

          • Mister Delaware

            What makes Wandy better? AJ has the better OBPA despite the league difference, the better SO% once you back out Wandy’s dominance over pitchers and, anecdotally, better stuff. Grass is different, not necessarily greener.

  • Foghorn Leghorn

    Burnett + Posada…that’s like a battery you buy at the dollar store.

    • Cuso

      Boom. That just happened.

  • Hester Prynne

    If this means Jesus Montero is called up then I’m all for it. Trade Posada to the White Sox and AJ Burnett to the Marlins.

    • Plank

      I like how this comment comes after an explanation that this move does not mean these players are going to be traded.

      Why would you trade Burnett now? He’s helpful to the team this year. He has 2 more years after this year. His contract isn’t that “bad”*.

      *From the perspective of team owners.

    • Ted Nelson

      Burnett makes 30% the Marlins current payroll… the notoriously cheap Marlins will increase their payroll 30% for AJ?

      The White Sox aren’t set with Dunn, Konerko, and Pierzynski?

      Do you think about what you’re going to type before you type it?

      • jsbrendog

        i think b now we’ve established that, no, he doesn’t

      • Jim S

        He doesn’t read most of the articles. He just skims the headline. He’s made that pretty clear, at this point.

        • bakekrukow412

          Hester is a girls name FYI.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Step 1.) Skim headline
          Step 2.) Make comment about how horribly unconscionable it is that Jesus Montero hasn’t been promoted yet while Francisco Cervelli continues to waste a fractional portion of the world’s air supply
          Step 3.) Make comment about how this team needs to fix all its issues before the uber-important Red Sox series that’s just around the corner
          Step 4.) Rinse, repeat

  • http://facebook.com/andrewjcalagna Drew

    Please someone claim Soriano, please set someone claim Soriano, please let someone claim Soriano…

    • http://facebook.com/andrewjcalagna Drew

      Oof, damn iPhone *let

    • Stuckey

      If Soriano gives the Yankees 5 or 6 clean 7th innings in the postseason, all will be forgiven.

      Regular season is a mulligan.

      • Ted Nelson

        Agreed. Injuries can happen to anyone. If he’s right now I could really care less about stinking/being injured early in the season.

  • Cuso

    Sleeve pet comeone slave Coriano

  • Damix

    Has it been decided yet if claiming just to claim is “smart” or “being a dick” yet?

    I’m guessing the answer depends on if it was Epstein or Cash making the move.

    Or if you’ve spoken to a Met fan recently, if it was Minaya or Alderson making the move. (yes I’m getting annoyed at all the Alderson love already)

    • Sayid J.

      The complaining about other people complaining has got to be the ONLY thing about RAB I dislike. This site, for the most part, has been able to provide a forum separate from all of the idiots teeming with bias. Coming here to complain about it only removes this place from the short list of safe-havens for free, straight-forward Yankee conversation.

      • Rainbow Connection

        Stop complaining.

        • jsbrendog

          golf clap

  • Kevin

    Are there any recent examples of blockbuster trades happening through waivers? Trades through waivers seem to provide incremental improvements more often.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      No blockbusters, but big name players have been dealt in August. Off the top of my head, I remember Derrek Lee, Jim Thome, and Jon Garland all being moved in August.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

        Adam Dunn.

      • MannyGeee

        wasnt Canseco a waiver claim? although at that point in his career he may not have been ‘major’ by then.

        • Rick in Boston

          He was, and then Tampa(?) just dumped him on the Yankees lap.

          • Foghorn Leghorn

            i think Canseco was one of George’s signings. I remember a story about how Torre had no idea Canseco was signed and then all the sudden he shows up in the dugout. All I remember about Canseco’s tenure in NY is one long ass, towing HR hit to LF in the old YS.

            • Rick in Boston

              According to B-Ref, he was claimed off waivers from the D-Rays on 8/7/00. So maybe Big Stein ordered the claim and Cashman/Torre hoped he would get pulled back.

              • JohnnyC

                Cashman admitted it was a mis-step on his part. He was trying to block Canseco from getting to the Red Sox.

  • CountryClub

    Are players that are traded in August eligible for the playoffs? I always forget this rule.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      Yep. Playoff-eligible players just have to be in the org by August 31st. You’re supposed to have your playoff roster set by then, but there are usually ways you can get other guys in the org on the roster.

      • CountryClub


      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Playoff-eligible players just have to be in the org by August 31st.

        Don’t they actually have to be on the 25 man by 8/31, not just in the org, to be eligible for the play offs? I mean barring an injury.

        • CP

          The roster on 9/1 (or 8/31, not sure the exact timing) is the playoff roster, but one player can be replaced for every player on the 60 day DL, plus any other player that is on the DL for the playoffs can be replaced. The replacements must come from the 40 man roster (with some limited exceptions).

          With all of the Yankee’s injuries, as long as a player is on the 40 man roster, they’re fair game for the playoffs.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          They need to be on the 25-man roster by midnight 8/31, yes, but each player still on the 60-day DL at the end of the season who has already exhausted his full 60 days but is not healthy enough to return yet (i.e., Joba, Feliciano, Corona, Curtis, and possibly Mitre) gives the team an eligibility exemption. Each of those players can be replaced with someone who was anywhere in the organization, majors or minors, 40-man or not, as of midnight August 31st.

          Playoff roster eligibility is:
          A.) the 25 guys on your active roster as of 8/31
          B.) everybody on the 15-day, 60-day, or bereavement list on 8/31
          C.) anybody else in the org at any level on 8/31 as a one-to-one, position-for-position swap for a player still on the 60-day at season’s end

  • infernoscurse

    i wish there were a way to put yankee fans on waivers

  • bakekrukow412

    No one would claim them.

    • Dale Mohorcic

      There’s a few people at work I’d like to put on waivers. Perhaps this is an idea society should adopt at large.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        There’s a few people at work I’d like to put on waivers.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eGJOqMHsDI (NSFW-profanity)

        • Foghorn Leghorn

          reminds me of Carlin’s list of people we can do without…

          “Guys with a lot of pins on their hats…”

          “Anyone who buys vaginal jelly with an Exxon credit card…”

          “Guys over 50 named Skip…”

          “A proctologist with poor depth perception…”

  • Dan

    If the Yankees pass the Red Sox, what are the chances the Sox pick-up a Wandy Rodriguez or Kuroda type starter that the Yankees may have had a chance to block?

    • infernoscurse

      i hope they do claim wandy

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      Instead of playing these cat and mouse games, the yanks should just stay the course. If the sox feel they need to make claims on these other players so be it. Both teams have a very high chance of making the playoffs.

      I’m still amazed that the Yanks didn’t make a move in July…its just so out of character. But I like it…I like it a lot! It shows they have confidence in the team and the direction they are headed.

      Screw the Sox..as long as the Yanks keep playing well everything will be fine. And we have key pieces returning/joining the team soon.

      • jsbrendog

        agreed. but oh man am i scared…john lackey sure did look good last night!


        • Foghorn Leghorn

          John Lackey never “looks” good!

        • Monteroisdinero

          “I got this Skip”

        • Jim S

          The Yankees are the only team that plays sloppy, doesn’t get clutch pitching, and can’t hit in close games. We can’t compete with teams like Boston in the playoffs.


          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder


  • Bill

    Is there a place where you can see which team places what players on waivers, claims made, and players that pass through?

  • Hardwired

    Adam Dunn looks like Ty Cobb compared to Craig Counsell — he’s 0 for his last 45. Yikes!

  • pat

    I was hoping this would be an instructional video hosted by AJ and Jorge to explain the ins and outs of Trade Waivers.

    • Craig

      I wanna see the part were Jorge gets pissed for not having enough screen time!

      • jsbrendog

        i’m not the slowest runner! swisher doesnt even run sprints in ST what does that tell you!! IM NOT SLOW!!

        ::cano laughing hysterically in background::

      • Foghorn Leghorn

        he gets so pissed he starts pissing on his hands.

    • Mike HC

      haha, I thought Jorge and Burnett literally explained trade waivers too. I was expecting quotes, but imagining a video is tens times better.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Burnett: Jorge, are trade waivers really necessary?
        Jorge: Necessary? Is it necessary for me to drink my own urine?
        Burnett: Probably not.
        Jorge: No! But I do it anyway, cause it’s sterile and I like the taste.

  • yankee_lover

    is it me or does espn love the red sox

    • http://twitter.com/#!/KChinmaster KenC

      thats a well known fact amigo

    • Mike HC

      They just hate the Yanks.

    • MannyGeee

      Its the Red Sox’ world, your just passing through it…

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      have you been living under a rock?

  • JPHX

    Question: If the Yankees claim Wandy, does his option remain a player option or does the fact that it was a waiver claim change that?

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      I’m just not sure I want a guy named “Wandy” pitching for this team….

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      I’d be shocked if his agents negotiated an option that converts from club to player upon being traded but forgot to close the loophole of being claimed as opposed to being traded, so I’ll say “it probably still converts to player option upon Wandy leaving Houston for any other team in any way, trade or claim.”

  • Cuso

    A fish called Wandy

  • Bob Michaels

    Let some team Claim Soriano.