Friday, July 29, 2011

All About Waivers

This weekend is the MLB non-waiver trading deadline. But what are "waivers"? Here's an explanation taken from my new book, The Book of Baseball Literacy: 3rd Edition (available now).

A waiver is a permission granted to a team that wants to assign or release one of its veteran players who has been on a team’s 40-man roster for at least three years. Basically, there are two types of waivers: waivers for the demotion of a player to the minor leagues and waivers for the unconditional release of a player. In both cases, waivers are granted only after all the other teams have the chance to claim the player but none has done so. After receiving unconditional release waivers, a player becomes a free agent.

This is also the system by which players can be claimed in trades during the period from August 1 the end of the season. Team A wants to trade a player to Team B because Team B is in a pennant race with Team C. It’s after July 31 (the trading deadline), so Team A first places the player on waivers, making him available to any team in reverse order of the standings. The way it’s supposed to work is, all the teams except Team B are supposed to “waive” their right to that player. Team B claims the player, usually in exchange for a “player to be named later,” and the deal is done. If another team makes a claim for the player, Team A can decide instead to keep the player. If Team C’s record is worse than Team B’s, Team C can block the deal. Usually waiver claims are kept secret until a deal is consummated, but every now and then, word leaks out that, say, Team A’s star outfielder was on the trading block until Team C put a stop to it.

© 2011 David H. Martinez. Excerpted from The Book of Baseball Literacy: 3rd Edition

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