Big-Name MLB Waiver Trade Targets Who Could Still Move by August 31

Matthew Smith@@MatthewSmithBRCorrespondent IIIAugust 1, 2014

Big-Name MLB Waiver Trade Targets Who Could Still Move by August 31

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    If you happened to follow the action of the MLB July 31 non-waiver trade deadline in real time Thursday, there is no doubt that when 4 p.m. ET hit, you weren't sure what had just happened.

    It was a maelstrom of activity from the time the Oakland A's acquired Jon Lester until the very end, when the Tampa Bay Rays sent David Price to the Detroit Tigers in a three-team trade and Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell ended up with the Atlanta Braves.

    It was glorious.

    What about the players who didn't switch teams, though—guys like Alex Rios, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham?

    And what happened with the Philadelphia Phillies? They had four All-Stars on the block and didn't move any of them.

    They have all become prime candidates for an August waiver trade. If you're unfamiliar with the process, please see this piece by Bleacher Report's Joel Reuter, which lays it out.

    Here are eight big-name MLB waiver trade targets (four on the same team) who could still move this August based on their production and contract status, along with at least two teams that each player could help.

    To be sure, there are countless more that will be put on waivers, but these eight have a realistic chance of switching teams.

Adam Dunn, 1B/DH, Chicago White Sox

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Potential Landing Spots

    New York Yankees

    Seattle Mariners

     

    Overview

    Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn is one of those players who only has value in the right situation.

    He isn't very fluid in the field, and while he can play first base and left field, his best position is as the designated hitter. To that end, his slash line entering play Thursday while playing first base was a woeful .156/.333/.344, per splits over at Baseball-Reference.

    Moreover, for a club to get the most out of what he brings to the table, he is best served hitting no higher than fifth in the lineup. Sure, he owns a .362 on-base percentage and is slugging .450, but he does not make enough contact to truly be effective at the top of the order.

    And then, of course, there is the shift to take into consideration. He simply doesn't take the ball the other way with the regularity needed to force opposing managers to alter their style of stacking the right side of the diamond with three infielders.

    These shortcomings limit which teams would be interested in acquiring him. If he is dealt, it will be to a club that needs offense in the worst way and can plug him into the lineup without disrupting the rest of the club's cohesiveness.

    Two organizations that could be interested are the New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners.

    The Yankees, for example, are only getting a .227/.285/.393 slash line out of the collection of players who have served as DH this season. Amazingly, the Mariners are worse, slashing out at .187/.267/.278 in 374 at-bats, per Baseball-Reference.com. Even though Seattle acquired Austin Jackson from the Detroit Tigers as part of the deal for David Price, it could still use a power-hitting lefty.

    One thing is certain, though: It isn't going to take very much to convince White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. Taking on Dunn's remaining salary and tossing in a mid-level reliever will likely do the trick.

Josh Willingham, LF, Minnesota Twins

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Potential Landing Spots

    New York Yankees

    Seattle Mariners

    Kansas City Royals

     

    Overview

    Unlike Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam Dunn, Minnesota Twins slugger Josh Willingham is more versatile. He can serve as the designated hitter, play either right or left field and also cover first base if needed.

    True, his batting average is not where it needs to be, but the other facets of his game seem to be in order. He had a .366 on-base percentage, for example, and was slugging .436 thanks to 11 home runs, five doubles and a triple in 188 at-bats as of game time Thursday.

    There was a lot of talk regarding Willingham's availability before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The Seattle Mariners, for example, were rumored to be interested in acquiring the right-handed hitter, per Fox Sports' Jon Morosi. And CBS Sports' Jon Heyman opined that the New York Yankees "may actually prefer Willingham" over some of the other bats on the market.

    Alas, Minnesota did not deal him, but Mike Berardino from the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweeted the day before the deadline that an August waiver deal is "always possible."

    In addition to the Mariners and Yankees, the Kansas City Royals could benefit from Willingham's services if they can find a spot for him in the lineup.

    Willingham will likely get claimed rather quickly when the Twins put him on waivers.

SP Cole Hamels, SP A.J. Burnett, OF Marlon Byrd and CL Jonathan Papelbon

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Potential Landing Spots

    Cole HamelsJonathan PapelbonA.J. BurnettMarlon Byrd
    LA DodgersDetroit TigersPittsburgh PiratesKC Royals
    SF GiantsOakland A'sNY YankeesNY Yankees

     

    Overview

    Philadelphia Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had a rough day.

    He didn't trade starting pitchers Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels or A.J. Burnett. He also failed to move outfielder Marlon Byrd or closer Jonathan Papelbon. Heck, even soon-to-be free agent Kyle Kendrick escaped a trade.

    At the root of the problem is Amaro himself.

    Frankly, he is overvaluing the players on his roster, according to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal. It's not like the talent isn't there, of course. We are talking about All-Stars that have the ability to get a contending team over the top.

    That said, each of the players mentioned above, with the exception of Lee (more on that in a moment), is an ideal waiver target. And once that window is open, Amaro can—in theory, anyway—get to business.

    It must be noted that he is going to have to work with whichever team is looking to acquire his players. There is going to have to be a certain amount of give and take, of course, but Amaro did state that money won't be an issue when he met with reporters after the non-waiver deadline passed, via CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury.

    Something else to take into consideration is that the Phillies lost quite a bit of leverage when Lee left Thursday night's start against the Washington Nationals in the middle of the third inning. More will be revealed, of course, but Salisbury painted a grim picture on Twitter.

    While not the GM's fault, not being able to shop the left-hander is a franchise-altering problem. It also adds to the sense of urgency the organization must be feeling.

    Potential injury and money issues aside, there is still the problem of Amaro overvaluing players. As of last report, he has not received an offer for any of his players that he deems worthy, per Rosenthal.

    That seems disingenuous, though. It's simply hard to fathom any contender not offering a substantial package for any one of those players.

    That leads to only one possible conclusion: Amaro is trying to fix years of bad decisions at one time. That's an unwise way to go about things.

John Danks, SP, Chicago White Sox

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Potential Landing Spots

    New York Yankees

    Toronto Blue Jays

     

    Overview

    Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn didn't trade John Danks before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline He may not trade him this August, either. To that end, he said prior to the deadline that his goal was to improve the club "if not the coming weeks, then certainly the coming months into the offseason," via MLB.com's Scott Merkin

    That doesn't mean he won't investigate what the market has to offer.

    Danks' situation is remarkably similar to Cliff Lee's in that he is owed so much money over the rest of his contract ($28.5 million in 2015-16) that he will assuredly clear waivers. At that point, Hahn will be able to shop Danks around.

    Whether or not the left-hander actually goes anywhere is another story altogether. Simply put, if Hahn were to move Danks, he would probably be able to maximize his return after the Rule 5 draft, when other teams can put a firm finger on their exact needs going into next season.

    One club to keep an eye on is the New York Yankees. They have been linked to Danks via the rumor mill for some time and would likely place a claim if given the chance. Once that happens, there is no telling what type of package general manager Brian Cashman will put together.

    The Yankees are not alone. There are other teams like the Toronto Blue Jays who could use an established starter, although they may not be looking for a long-term commitment.

    Either way, Hahn has options when it comes to moving Danks if he decides that is the best path.

Alex Rios, RF, Texas Rangers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Potential Landing Spots

    San Francisco Giants

    Kansas City Royals

     

    Overview

    Alex Rios has seen everything the month of August has to offer. Right around this time last season, the Texas Rangers acquired him when general manager Jon Daniels claimed him off waivers from the Chicago White Sox. Four years earlier, the Toronto Blue Jays essentially gave him to those same White Sox in what ended up being a salary dump.

    Thanks to the struggles of the Rangers this year, Rios can expect to hit waivers again.

    There is interest in him as well. The San Francisco Giants, for example, were engaged in an ongoing dialogue Thursday in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, per Fox Sports' Jon Morosi. The Kansas City Royals also had interest in the right fielder at one point.

    Either way, he may be the best bat available outside of Marlon Byrd and will assuredly draw some interest from any number of teams, likely getting claimed before making it through the American League.

    On the season, Rios has a .304/.335/.430 slash line with four home runs, 43 RBI, 22 doubles and eight triples. Now, those numbers could play significantly lower in San Francisco, according to McCovey Chronicles' Grant Brisbee (who is not a fan), but Rios would still be an upgrade on any number of rosters.

     

    Unless otherwise noted, all statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and are accurate as of game time on Thursday, July 31. Transaction and injury information are courtesy of MLB.com. Contract information pulled from Cot's Contracts.

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