The trade deadline was July 31 - or was it????? Andy McCullough earlier reported the Royals may still be interested in making a trade.
Today is a deadline, but, it's not. From talks with KC officials, team plans to stay aggressive once players clear waivers in coming weeks.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) July 31, 2014
How is this possible? July 31 was simply the non-waiver trade deadline, the last date a player may be traded without having to clear waivers. Players may still be traded after this date, but they must go through the convoluted waiver process. Bluebird Banter has an excellent explanation of the waiver process here.
If a player clears waivers, meaning no team claims him for 48 hours, he is free to be traded to anyone. If he is claimed off waivers, the club with the highest waiver priority claiming the player has 48 hours to work out a trade with the player's current club. The player's current club can also either revoke waivers, meaning the player stays with them, or allow the claiming team to have the player for only the waiver fee. It is customary for teams to place many players on revocable waivers, even players they have no interest in trading or letting go. The waiver restriction only applies to players on the 40 man roster.
So who might the Royals be looking to acquire this August?
When not pitching, Adam Dunn is a ferocious Three Outcomes Player. He's only here to walk, strikeout, drink beer, and hit home runs - and he's almost out of beer. Dunn has over 450 career home runs and even in a down year towards the end of his career is still hitting .219/.348/.429 with 17 home runs. Dunn has played 21 games at first base so he could conceivably help fill in at first while Hosmer is out, but more likely he'd serve as a designated hitter while the younger, sprier Billy Butler plays first. Dunn is owed about $4.5 million the rest of the year and is a free agent this winter. Its possible another team may put in a claim on him, so the Royals may want to put in a claim and try to work out a deal with the White Sox.
A team has already put a claim in on Byrd, although its not clear which team this is. If its not the Royals, there is no possibility of working out a trade at this point. We've written about Byrd before, and why it might not be a good idea for the Royals to trade for him, but he's a fine hitter signed to an unfortunately long deal with a no-trade clause that would probably require the Royals to guarantee his 2016 option to get him to waive that clause and accept a deal to Kansas City. Byrd is hitting .269/.320/.473 with 21 home runs this year, but is owed $8 million in 2015 and has an $8 million vesting option in 2016, when he'll be 38 years old.
Rios also has a no-trade clause to Kansas City, but would likely waive it if the Royals guaranteed his $13.5 million option for 2015, a difficult pill for them to swallow. Rios might be a slight upgrade offensively, but is suspect defensively and is expensive for a very mediocre player. This year he is hitting .293/.323/.412 with a league high 8 triples, but has just 4 home runs. Rios is hitting just .231/.253/.296 over his last 45 games and has been accused in the past of being an inconsistent player with a low motor. It is hard to see the Royals working a deal for Rios unless they somehow convince the Rangers to eat some of the 2015 money.
The Reds were sort of in, sort of out of the pennant race during the last week of the trade deadline, and they've played well since then and are only three games out of a Wild Card spot. Should they slide out of contention however, Ludwick could become available. The 36-year old right-hander is hitting .261/.322/.396 with 6 home runs in 299 plate appearances. He actually has a slightly reverse split in his career, so he's not a lefty-masher. Ludwick earns about $2.5 million the rest of the year, but has an expensive $9 million mutual option for 2015 with a $4.5 million buyout.
If the Royals are looking for a right-fielder for the future, they might want to take a gamble on Jose Tabata. The former hot prospect has fallen out of favor in Pittsburgh, having been designated for assignment earlier this year. Still just 25, Tabata has a career line of .275/.338/.380 in 1,692 career plate appearances, but has shown very inconsistent power and was slugging just .331 this year before being sent to the minors. Tabata was signed to a long-term deal early in his career, so he is owed $4.5 million in both 2015 and 2016 with expensive club options in 2017-2019.
The Royals were interested in Burnett before the deadline but balked at paying his $12.75 million player option for 2015. It is possible Burnett could clear waivers (he was placed on revocable waivers this week) and the Royals and Phillies could still try to work something out with perhaps Philadelphia eating some of his money. The 37-year old right-hander is 6-11 with a 4.16 ERA and a 4.10 FIP this year with a significant drop in strikeout rate to 7.4 per nine innings. He also leads the league in walks. With those trending numbers, the Royals might be better off passing on Burnett and his hefty salary.
The Royals were rumored to be asking about Colon before the deadline as well. The 41-year old is owed about $3 million the remainder of the season, and $11 million in 2015. Colon has excellent command, with fewer walks than games started this year, and has a 4.12 ERA to go with a 3.51 FIP. Colon is a workhorse, but his age and his girth may give the Royals pause before committing to him for his age-42 season.
The Cubs have been stockpiling intriguing arms in trades and waiver claims, which may make the expensive right-hander Edwin Jackson available. Jackson was a popular free agent target among the stat crowd two winters ago, but has struggled in Chicago with a 5.26 ERA in a season and a half, although his FIP is a respectable 3.97. Jackson has a 5.66 ERA this year, but has upped his strikeout rate to 8.2 per nine innings. Jackson is owed just under $4 million this year, and $11 million in both 2015 and 2016. Jackson is just 30, and if the Royals believe in his FIP more than his ERA, he could be a nice bargain provided the Cubs eat some money.
The Yankees were after Danks at the deadline, but were unable to work a deal in time. The 29-year old White Sox southpaw has struggled each of the last three years, with a FIP over five each season, missing many starts due to injury. Danks was a 3 WAR pitcher in his prime, but the last time he did that was 2010. He is owed $28.5 million over the next two years, so he should clear waivers easily, but if a deal is to be worked out, the White Sox would have to eat a substantial amount of money.