MLB

The 1 Waiver Trade Every MLB Contender Should Make This August

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2014

The 1 Waiver Trade Every MLB Contender Should Make This August

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    The nonwaiver trade deadline is behind us, but that doesn't mean teams can't still upgrade their roster via trade. Clubs now have until the end of August to add players via waivers and still include them on the postseason roster.

    Generally the moves made at this time are small scale, but there have been some notable waiver deals over the years, most memorably the blockbuster between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox in 2012.

    This year's crop of waiver trade candidates is led by the likes of Alex Rios, Adam Dunn, Aaron Hill, Bartolo Colon, John Danks and whoever the Philadelphia Phillies decide to try to move.

    What follows is a look at the one player each contender should look to acquire this August, as they look to shore up their rosters for the stretch run.

Full List of August Sellers and Potential Waiver Trade Candidates

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Teams Looking to Sell in August

    National LeagueAmerican League
    Arizona DiamondbacksBoston Red Sox
    Chicago CubsChicago White Sox
    Colorado RockiesCleveland Indians
    New York MetsHouston Astros
    Philadelphia PhilliesMinnesota Twins
    San Diego PadresTexas Rangers

    *Tampa Bay Rays not necessarily sellers, but unlikely to claim anyone

     

    Position Players

    Gordon Beckham, CWS
    Marlon Byrd, PHI
    Chris Carter, HOU
    Alejandro De Aza, CWS
    Adam Dunn, CWS
    Andre Ethier, LAD (Dodgers not selling but he could be moved)
    Aaron Hill, ARI
    Ryan Howard, PHI
    Ryan Ludwick, CIN (Reds not necessarily selling but he could be moved)
    Carlos Quentin, SD
    Alex Rios, TEX
    Nate Schierholtz, CHC
    Drew Stubbs, COL
    Dayan Viciedo, CWS
    Shane Victorino, BOS
    Josh Willingham, MIN
    Chris Young, NYM

     

    Starting Pitchers

    A.J. Burnett, PHI
    Trevor Cahill, ARI
    Bartolo Colon, NYM
    Kevin Correia, MIN
    John Danks, CWS
    Scott Feldman, HOU
    Jason Hammel, OAK (A's not selling but he could be moved)
    Kyle Kendrick, PHI

     

    Relief Pitchers

    Burke Badenhop, BOS
    Antonio Bastardo, PHI
    Matt Belisle, COL
    Neal Cotts, TEX
    Brian Duensing, MIN
    LaTroy Hawkins, COL
    Matt Lindstrom, CWS
    Jonathan Papelbon, PHI
    Oliver Perez, ARI
    Tony Sipp, HOU
    Tim Stauffer, SD
    Carlos Villanueva, CHC

Baltimore Orioles: 2B Aaron Hill

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    BA/OBP/SLGOPS+H2BHRRBIRSBWAR
    .250/.288/.3838510022950392-0.6

     

    Overview

    The Orioles have had one of the better offenses in the American League once again this season, but the second base position has been a clear weakness.

    The team is currently employing a platoon of Ryan Flaherty (.206 BA, .582 OPS) and rookie Jonathan Schoop (.210 BA, .568 OPS) there, and overall they have received a .217/.258/.307 line from the position on the year.

    Hill is hitting just .250/.288/.383 on the year with 22 doubles and nine home runs, but he's been raking here in the second half with a .304/.365/.500 line since the All-Star break.

    The $24 million he is owed over the next two seasons is a sticking point, and the Diamondbacks would have to take on some of that money to make a trade with Baltimore work, but he'd be a nice upgrade for the stretch run.

New York Yankees: SP Bartolo Colon

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    GSIPW-LERAFIPWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    22146.110-94.123.511.1821.26.80.6

     

    Overview

    Hiroki Kuroda is the only man left standing from the Yankees' Opening Day rotation, as injuries have hit their staff hard this year.

    While the addition of Brandon McCarthy has provided a boost, it's fair to say a rotation fronted by those two with some combination of Chris Capuano, Shane Greene, David Phelps and Chase Whitley behind them is not going to strike much fear into opponents come October.

    The Yankees were strongly linked to John Danks at the deadline, and they could explore a deal for him should he clear waivers, but Bartolo Colon looks like a better option.

    Danks is still owed $28.5 million over the next two season, while Colon has just one year at $11 million remaining. Colon also has better numbers across the board this season, and he's pitched for the Yankees before in 2011.

Toronto Blue Jays: RP Matt Lindstrom

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    GIPW-LSVERAWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    1919.02-16/93.321.4744.35.20.1

     

    Overview

    Hard-throwing right-hander Matt Lindstrom is one of the more interesting names on the August waiver market, thanks to the fact that he has not thrown a big league pitch since May 19.

    A torn tendon sheath in his left ankle required surgery, but the free-agent-to-be is on the comeback trail now, and he could be a terrific under-the-radar addition to a contender's bullpen if he can come back strong.

    The Blue Jays pen was a major weakness early, as key relievers Sergio Santos and Steve Delabar struggled mightily, but the pieces have started to fall into place of late.

    That said, adding Lindstrom as a right-handed setup option alongside southpaw Aaron Loup could make it a legitimate strength.

    The 34-year-old made his first rehab assignment for Triple-A Charlotte on July 31, pitching again on Sunday. He's allowed five hits and three runs in two innings, so he may need at least a couple more appearances, but he could be in the White Sox bullpen within a week or so.

Detroit Tigers: RP Antonio Bastardo

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    Brian Garfinkel/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    GIPW-LHLDERAWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    4846.25-474.051.2004.810.60.0

     

    Overview

    The Tigers took a big step toward shoring up their bullpen for the stretch run with the addition of Texas Rangers closer Joakim Soria, but they could use another reliever to round out the pen, specifically a veteran left-hander.

    Rookie Blaine Hardy (18 G, 1.89 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) has been solid in a middle relief role since being called up in mid-June, but he only wound up with a spot because of the struggles of Ian Krol (42 G, 4.97 ERA, 1.66 WHIP) and Phil Coke (39 G, 4.35 ERA, 1.50 WHIP).

    The team showed interest in Phillies southpaw Antonio Bastardo leading up the deadline, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, and they could certainly make a play for him if he were to clear waivers.

    The 28-year-old has a 3.72 ERA and 1.212 WHIP in 256 career games, all as a member of the Phillies, and he's held lefties to a .186 batting average. He also has one year of arbitration remaining, so he'd be more than just a rental for the Tigers.

Kansas City Royals: RF Marlon Byrd

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    BA/OBP/SLGOPS+H2BHRRBIRSBWAR
    .272/.320/.4791211172221635622.9

     

    Overview

    The Royals remained quiet at the trade deadline, and the need for a power bat in the middle of the lineup has only been magnified by the loss of Eric Hosmer to a fractured hand.

    As a team, they have tallied an MLB-low 62 home runs on the season, and that lack of punch in the middle of the order has undermined what is one of the better pitching staffs in the American League this season.

    Catching the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central is going to be awfully tough, but this team is still very much in the running for a wild-card spot, and adding someone like Marlon Byrd to play right field and serve as a run producer could make a world of difference.

    The 36-year-old ranks third in the NL with 21 home runs, and he's under contract for $8 million next season. He would provide the team with a boost for the stretch run and a replacement for free agent Nori Aoki in 2015 as well.

Los Angeles Angels: SP Kevin Correia

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    GSIPW-LERAFIPWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    22123.15-134.964.441.4842.34.20.1

     

    Overview

    After watching the division-rival Oakland A's acquire another ace in Jon Lester at the deadline, it's hard to get too excited about the prospect of someone like Kevin Correia, but acquiring someone like him does have its merits.

    Is Correia going to start a playoff game? Ideally no, but he does have value as an innings eater and a veteran insurance policy for a relatively young Angels rotation.

    C.J. Wilson has missed time with an ankle injury, Tyler Skaggs is currently shelved with forearm soreness and both Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker are in their first full seasons as big league starters.

    Correia may not have the prettiest numbers, but his 4.44 FIP suggests he's pitched better than his ERA. He had a rough start on July 25 where he allowed seven runs in four innings, but his ERA was 3.10 over his other five starts for the month.

    The 33-year-old is a safe bet to clear waivers, and at this point the Twins would likely take whatever they can get for the free-agent-to-be. He's not a game-changing pickup, but he could be a nice under-the-radar addition in the grand scheme of things.

Oakland Athletics: 2B Aaron Hill

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    BA/OBP/SLGOPS+H2BHRRBIRSBWAR
    .250/.288/.3838510022950392-0.6

     

    Overview

    The Athletics have not gotten an OPS over .700 from the second base position since 2010, back when Mark Ellis was still in the "prime" of his career. Jemile Weeks looked like he would be the long-term answer with a strong rookie season, but he fell off quickly, and the team has been piecing the position together since.

    A platoon of Eric Sogard (.207 BA, .527 OPS), Nick Punto (.207 BA, .580 OPS) and Albert Callaspo (.232 BA, .603 OPS) has combined to hit just .230/.296/.285 at the position on the year.

    As mentioned before, Aaron Hill is hitting .304/.365/.500 since the All-Star break, and adding his hot bat to what is already the league's best lineup would be another great pickup for Oakland.

    Like the Baltimore Orioles, the sticking point will be the $24 million he has remaining on his deal. However, the A's don't have someone like Jonathan Schoop who is viewed as a long-term option, so they could be more inclined to pay Hill and shore up the position.

Seattle Mariners: RF Marlon Byrd

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    BA/OBP/SLGOPS+H2BHRRBIRSBWAR
    .272/.320/.4791211172221635622.9

     

    Overview

    The Mariners made a big addition at the deadline, jumping into the David Price blockbuster and acquiring center fielder Austin Jackson for infielder Nick Franklin when all was said and done.

    Jackson fills a major void in center and atop the lineup, but there is still a very clear need for a right-handed hitting run producer to slot between All-Stars Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager in the middle of the lineup.

    Marlon Byrd and Alex Rios were the top two right-handed bats on the market heading into the deadline, and both guys stayed put, so there's a chance the Mariners could make a play for one of them in August.

    Considering Rios has a $13.5 million option for next year that may very well be exercised, the Texas Rangers may not want to deal him inside the division to the Mariners. That leaves Byrd as their likely top target, and his powerful bat would be a great fit in the cleanup spot.

Atlanta Braves: SP John Danks

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    GSIPW-LERAFIPWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    22136.09-64.504.851.4263.36.21.2

     

    Overview

    The Braves could certainly use some help in the rotation for the remainder of the 2014 season, but it is something that will become a much more glaring area of need this coming offseason.

    Ervin Santana, Gavin Floyd and Aaron Harang are all free agents and the team won't be able to count on anything from Kris Medlen or Brandon Beachy as both of them attempt to make their way back from a second Tommy John surgery.

    That leaves the team with Julio Teheran, Mike Minor and Alex Wood as the only guys locked into rotation spots for 2015, and adding someone like John Danks would give them help in 2014 and for the next two years. He is owed $28.5 million, but the White Sox would likely chip in some cash if it meant landing a better prospect in return.

    Danks is finally healthy this season, and while his numbers don't jump off the page, he has the track record of being a plus middle-of-the-rotation arm. It's also worth noting that he's 10-7 with a 3.09 ERA in 25 interleague starts, so a move to the National League could be beneficial to him.

Miami Marlins: SP Jason Hammel

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

     GSIPW-LERAFIPWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    CHC17108.28-52.983.191.0211.98.63.3
    OAK417.00-49.537.312.1185.36.4-0.9
    Totals21125.28-93.873.751.1702.48.32.4

     

    Overview

    As you can see from a quick look at the chart above, things have not gone well for Jason Hammel since he arrived in Oakland alongside Jeff Samardzija at the beginning of July.

    With Jon Lester now in the fold, and Jesse Chavez waiting in the wings after being bumped to the bullpen, Hammel is actually a candidate to be moved once again this month via waivers. He was among the first round of players to be put on revocable waivers, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

    Given his struggles since moving to the American League, there's a chance he could make it through the AL side of the waiver wire, and if he somehow made it to the Marlins he'd no doubt be of interest.

    The team landed Jarred Cosart in a trade with the Astros at the deadline to help bolster their rotation, but they could still use a veteran presence alongside all of their young arms. Also, with Henderson Alvarez currently on the DL with a minor shoulder injury, adding to their pool of starting options would be nice.

Washington Nationals: RP Oliver Perez

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    GIPW-LHLDERAWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    4743.12-1101.871.1313.110.21.1

     

    Overview

    The Nationals spent the bulk of 2013 without a proven left-handed reliever to turn to in the late innings, and they have been in a similar position this season.

    Jerry Blevins (48 G, 5.09 ERA, 1.25 WHIP) was acquired from Oakland in the offseason in an effort to fill that void, but he's struggled.

    The only other southpaw in the pen is ousted starter Ross Detwiler, and while he has a 3.60 ERA in 31 appearances, he's been used mostly in long and middle relief spots as opposed to crucial late-inning situations.

    It's unlikely someone like Tony Sipp or Neal Cotts would make it all the way through the AL field without being claimed, but there's an outside chance the team could have the opportunity to put a claim in on Diamondbacks southpaw Oliver Perez.

    The 32-year-old has resurrected his career over the past few years and turned himself into one of the better lefty relievers out in the game. He's signed for $2.5 million next season, so he would address the issue for 2015 as well.

Cincinnati Reds: RF Alex Rios

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    BA/OBP/SLGOPS+H2BHRRBIRSBWAR
    .296/.326/.4171061222244445160.5

     

    Overview

    The Reds are currently on the bubble as far as contention goes, and they could actually look to move someone like Ryan Ludwick by the end of the month if they fall further out of the NL Central race.

    However, if they do plan on making a run at a playoff spot, adding some offense looks like their biggest need, with Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips both on the DL and Jay Bruce underperforming.

    Rios would give them a solid right-handed bat who is capable of playing both corner outfield spots and providing more offensively than the team has received from Ludwick and Chris Heisey so far this season.

    With a number of big decisions coming on the starting pitching side of things, chances are the Reds would not exercise the $13.5 million option Rios has for next season, but he could be an impact rental as they try to make a run at a wild-card spot.

Milwaukee Brewers: RP Burke Badenhop

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    GIPW-LHLDERAWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    4852.20-262.731.3862.65.30.8

     

    Overview

    There's a decent chance someone would jump in and claim Burke Badenhop before he made it all the way around to the Brewers, but if not he'd be a nice addition to their bullpen.

    The 31-year-old appeared in 63 games for the Brewers last season, posting a 3.47 ERA and 1.187 WHIP, before being traded to the Boston Red Sox in the offseason for prospect Luis Ortega.

    He's a free agent at the end of the year, so the Red Sox had no reason not to move him at the deadline if there was a market for him. Chances are a relatively high WHIP (1.386) and his role as a middle reliever kept much of a market from developing.

    The Brewers have two solid left-handed relievers in Zach Duke and Will Smith, and a decent right-handed setup man in Brandon Kintzler. Adding another reliable right-hander to the mix would be a nice small-scale addition and could help shore up their pen for the stretch run.

Pittsburgh Pirates: CF Alejandro De Aza

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    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    2014 Stats

    BA/OBP/SLGOPS+H2BHRRBIRSBWAR
    .240/.308/.35485801353039140.4

     

    Overview

    The original choice here was former Pirates starter A.J. Burnett, as the recent struggles of Jeff Locke and Edinson Volquez have left some concerns about the starting rotation moving forward, but an injury to reigning NL MVP Andrew McCutchen changed that.

    McCutchen suffered an oblique injury and could miss a month or more, according to Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    There is no way the team will be able to replace McCutchen. Losing him significantly complicates their efforts to make a return trip to the playoffs, but picking up someone like Alejandro De Aza could help ease the loss a bit.

    The 30-year-old is not having the best season, but he is hitting .286/.350/.374 with two doubles and three triples since the beginning of July, so picking him up on the cheap and riding out his current hot streak could replace some of the lost production.

St. Louis Cardinals: RP Matt Lindstrom

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    USA TODAY Sports

    2014 Stats

    GIPW-LSVERAWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    1919.02-16/93.321.4744.35.20.1

     

    Overview

    The Cardinals took a chance on John Axford last August to shore up their bullpen, and they could go after another hard-throwing right-hander in Matt Lindstrom this time around.

    Axford had a 4.45 ERA in 62 games with the Milwaukee Brewers before turning in a 1.74 ERA in 13 games down the stretch for the Cardinals.

    Lindstrom is a different case, as he's been sidelined by injury as opposed to playing and struggling. He could make a similar impact, though, and provide a power arm to take some of the pressure off what has been an oft-used Cardinals pen.

    With Jason Motte (24 G, 4.91 ERA) still settling into his role in the bullpen and Carlos Martinez recently optioned to the minors, it's worth taking a chance on finding another late-inning arm to go along with Pat Neshek, Seth Maness and Kevin Siegrist.

Los Angeles Dodgers: RP Jonathan Papelbon

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    GIPW-LSVERAWHIPBB/9K/9WAR
    4646.12-226/291.750.8852.18.22.3

     

    Overview

    The trade deadline came and went and the Dodgers failed to pull the trigger on a deal. The potential to pick up a front-line starter or move one of their high-priced outfielders dominated the headlines, but upgrading the bullpen was their biggest area of need.

    Brandon League (43 G, 2.49 ERA) and J.P. Howell (51 G, 1.16 ERA) have both pitched well, but Brian Wilson (42 G, 4.93 ERA) has been inconsistent and both Chris Perez and Paul Maholm are currently on the DL.

    The team does not necessarily need a closer, with Kenley Jansen having a strong season once again, but they have not shied away from picking up former closers and slotting them in a setup role over the past few seasons.

    Papelbon is having a fantastic season, and while he would no doubt prefer to pitch the ninth inning, the opportunity to pitch for a contender would no doubt trump that.

    "Some guys want to stay on a losing team?" Papelbon asked Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News. "That's mind-boggling to me. I think that's a no-brainer (to want to leave and go to a contender)."

    Their fantastic rotation coupled with a one-two punch of Papelbon and Jansen at the back of the bullpen could make them awfully tough come October.

San Francisco Giants: 2B Aaron Hill

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2014 Stats

    BA/OBP/SLGOPS+H2BHRRBIRSBWAR
    .250/.288/.3838510022950392-0.6

     

    Overview

    The Giants made it abundantly clear they were desperate for an upgrade at second base when they took a chance on Dan Uggla. That experiment didn't work out, and the team is again without a proven everyday option at the position.

    Rookies Joe Panik (78 AB, .231/.291/.269, 3 2B) and Matt Duffy (1-for-10, 3 K) are currently slated to platoon at the position, with utility man Joaquin Arias (132 AB, .189/.217/.205) also potentially seeing time at the position.

    There was some hope that veteran Marco Scutaro could provide a boost after making his 2014 debut in the middle of July, but he's back on the shelf after reaggravating his back injury, and he can't be counted on for anything the rest of the way.

    There is some question as to whether the Arizona Diamondbacks would be willing to move Aaron Hill within the division, especially considering he has two years left on his deal, but if the Giants are willing to pick up a good portion of the $24 million left on his deal they could be inclined to pull the trigger.

     

    All stats via Baseball-Reference, current through Monday, Aug. 4. All injury and contract information courtesy of MLBDepthCharts team pages.

     

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