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Baseball's second deadline: Doing the waive a bit more complicated

Players who like the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez may

Players who like the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez may be pulled back off waivers if they are claimed by another team, and the team losing the player may want compensation in return. (Aug. 27, 2010) Credit: AP

According to a Major League Baseball source, front-office executives of the Texas Rangers have been asking around about what kind of guy Mets outfielder Jeff Francoeur is. With the AL West crown all but locked up, the Rangers are looking for a righthanded bat off the bench for the stretch run and postseason.

Meanwhile, a drama is being played out in Los Angeles and Chicago now that Manny Ramirez has been claimed on waivers by the White Sox. By Tuesday, Ramirez could be a member of the White Sox - or he still could be a Dodger.

Just last week, the Tigers' Johnny Damon refused to waive his no-trade clause, negating a chance to return to Boston after a waiver claim by the Red Sox.

Wait a minute . . . wasn't the trade deadline July 31? What's with all the potential wheeling and dealing as August draws to a close?

Well, July 31 was the "non-waivers" trade deadline. Like most deadlines in baseball and life, it was not final. For contending teams, the next deadline is Tuesday at midnight.

A player has to be in an organization before Sept. 1 to be eligible for the postseason. So teams that are in the hunt are hoping to add one more piece to get into the playoffs, or to help them if they get there.

The hitch is that after July 31, players have to pass through waivers before they are eligible to be dealt.

"Between now and Tuesday, teams are just going to stock up," Francoeur said Sunday before the Mets beat the Astros. "Teams will start seeing other teams get knocked out of playoff contention and all of a sudden they'll say, 'Might as well get that or try to do this.' "

When a team puts its players on waivers, when to put in a claim on another team's player, what to do if you are awarded your claim - it's all part of the cat-and-mouse skulduggery that consumes front-office types from July 31 to Aug. 31.

For the players, it's a time of uncertainty - if they are aware of it at all. Players do not have to be informed by clubs when they are placed on waivers. The large majority are never told because they do not change teams. Many find out only through media reports.

"I think 75 percent of players who get put on waivers probably have no clue," said Francoeur, who said he is not aware of his status. "That's just kind of how it is. It's like a hush-hush kind of thing."

Francoeur and lefthanded reliever Pedro Feliciano are the Mets most likely to be coveted by a contender. Feliciano, who had a 12.00 ERA in August before throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings Saturday, is a free agent after the season. Francoeur is arbitration-eligible, meaning an acquiring team would have no long-term commitment to either.

"I paid attention before the [July 31] trade deadline just because I thought I was going to be traded with everything that was going on," Francoeur said. "But now I don't. If it happens, it happens."

Said Feliciano: "I don't know a lot of stuff about that. I know the July 31 deadline. At one point, it was in my mind. But now I don't think anything about it. Just keep pitching."

Several useful players have been traded since Aug. 1. First baseman Derrek Lee went from the Cubs to the Braves on Aug. 18. The Twins picked up reliever Brian Fuentes from the Angels on Friday.

The Mets made a waiver deal on Aug. 22, letting the Dodgers take catcher Rod Barajas. The Mets got nothing in return except payroll relief. Barajas homered twice in his first four games for Los Angeles.

More trades, and more waiver-wire "hush-hush" intrigue, are likely before midnight tomorrow. Even if not everyone involved understands the process.

"I think it's just an unknown rule," Francoeur said. "Whether it's fair or not - I think guys just take it for what it is. I think it happens so much that it almost would be tough for teams every time to say, 'Hey, we put you on waivers today.' And if you did that, I don't know how a player would feel."

So you wanna make a waiver deal?

Here's how. Let's use the example of a fictional Met named Mr. X.

Step one

The Mets place Mr. X on waivers.

 

Step two

The other 29 teams are allowed to put in a claim on Mr. X. The National League goes first, in inverse order of record. Then the American League.

 

Step three

No team claims Mr. X. The Mets can trade him to any team.

 

OR

Step one The Mets place Mr. X on waivers.

Step two One or more teams claim Mr. X. He is awarded to the NL team with the worst record. If no NL teams claim him, he is awarded to the AL team with the worst record.

Step three The Mets pull back Mr. X from waivers either because they cannot work out a deal or didn't want to trade him in the first place. He cannot be traded for the rest of the season.

 

OR

Step one The Mets place Mr. X on waivers.

Step two One or more teams claim Mr. X. He is awarded to the NL team with the worst record. If no NL teams claim him, he is awarded to the AL team with the worst record.

Step three The Mets and the claiming team agree on a trade. Or the Mets allow the claiming team to have Mr. X and receive nothing in return.

 

NOTE: If the player has no-trade rights, he must agree to any change of team because of a waiver claim.

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