Taking A Look At The MLB Waiver Period

With Manny being put on Waivers last night, it made me curious exactly how the waiver process works. I mean, even Casey Blake doesn’t understand what’s going on after hearing the news he was put on waivers. Now that we have the blog, it’s given me an extra reason to find out what is going on with this seeming second trade deadline. The waiver period doesn’t really end there, but that’s when teams have to declare their playoff eligible players. So, just like I broke down the Super 2 rule that keeps some teams from calling up their top prospects. Now, I will loosely use Manny as an example of how this waiver crap works…

It all starts with the Dodgers deciding to place Manny on waivers. This means they control three things that happen at the end of a 48 hour period or a kind of0 silent auction so to speak. One note, it’s not actually 48 hours sometimes. For some reason it only counts business days, so if they held off putting Manny on waivers until Thursday or Friday his waiver period would last through the weekend until Monday or Tuesday. By doing it yesterday, the Dodgers insured that the period will end before this week is over.

So who can claim Manny? Basically any team can throw their name into the claim hat, but there is a priority list, and it starts with the worst team in the National League, because Manny is in the NL. If the Pirates decided to throw in a waiver claim in for Manny, they’d have the top priority. The team with the best record in the AL (Yankees/Rays) would have the lowest priority if multiple teams were putting in claims on Manny. Also, the best team in the NL would have a better shot than the worst team in the AL. Still with me?

Ok, so let’s say a team claims him. The Dodgers now can choose three different outcomes. They can pull the player back, and keep him on their roster. They can negotiate a trade with the team that put the claim in (Two business days to work out a deal from the time the claim goes through). They can also let the player go without compensation to the new team like the Blue Jays did letting Alex Rios go to the White Sox last season, and let the new team assume all of his remaining contract. We saw Johnny Damon weep like he just realized his beard was gone, and denied a return to the Red Sox was a prime example. It will be Manny’s choice if he goes anywhere, which in a likely scenario, the team that put the player on waivers is usually stuck with that player they put on waivers, and just have to hope for some compensation picks, which isn’t a terrible 2nd place prize if your stuck with said players contract.

Another interesting thing I found was how much strategy there is in the waiver process. Just because a team claimed someone doesn’t necessarily mean they REALLY wanted them. Sometimes a team will claim a player just because they want to block that player from going to a rival or someone they are chasing in the standings. It’s why I think the Red Sox put in a claim for Damon and might for Manny. They would rather have these guys deny a trade to play for them, and block the Yankees and Rays from improving. Who knows, they might even be happy that Damon stayed put! This factor made me realize that the July 31st deadline is way more important than the August 31st deadline, because teams are heavily restricted with who they can negotiate with. The problem though, is what if a team claims one of the players without a no trade clause to block someone else from getting them, and they just get screwed with a someones recycled pile heap? I guess that’s just the risk you have to take as a GM sometimes…

About chappy81

I'm a dude that just hit 30 years old. Pretty much like everything that is funny, insightful, and has to do with the Warriors, A's, and Raiders. View all posts by chappy81

11 responses to “Taking A Look At The MLB Waiver Period

  • tophatal


    The whole system is a mess to begin with . Before Man-Ram essentially can be picked up by an AL team he’d have to clear waivers amongst all NL teams with a desired interest in him . That’s essentially the way that it works. Consider this also however , the remainder of his salary as it stands is deferred and is to be be paid over the next two plus years . Strange isn’t it ? Now we know why not on the Dodgers need to get rid of him but Frank McCourt will need those savings to pay his soon to be ex’s alimony . LOL,LOL,LOL !!! Do family members still get that $500,000 for merely turning to board meetings because I just found out that I might he his illegitimate son from a one night stand ?

    tophatal ………….. 🙂

  • mceezy

    Thanks for breaking that down. I always just saw the waiver process as an accessory of the second trade deadline. I just knew players had to “clear waivers” before they could be traded. I’m still wondering, if a team claims a player off waivers, are they obligated to pay his full remaining contract? If you could let me know I’d greatly appreciate it!

    • Chappy81

      It’s up to the team that the player “belonged” to. So like with Alex Rios last year, the Blue Jays didn’t care if they got anything back from him, so they just handed over the rest of his contract to the White Sox. If a team wants to get something out of the player they put on waivers, they can work out a trade with the team that claimed him, but only have two days to do it….

    • tophatal


      Much of the time that’s dependent upon how the contract is set up. Manny was said to have signed a two year $ 40 million contract last season. But the second year is actually deferred and payable over four years. With him now on waivers the Dodgers will be only on the hook for a prorated amount for that second year.

      But look at the other side of this whole mess when A-Rod left the Rangers three years into his 10 year gig with the Texans . They were still paying over 70% of the contract with the Yankees being on the hook for the other 30 %. And people say that the game doesn’t need a salary cap ? What it needs are owners who have common sense and some real business savvy rather than the plethora of as-holes now involved in the game.

      They make the Federal Government and Congress seem like real intellectuals .

      tophatal …………… 🙂

  • tophatal

    chappy & mceezy

    If Manny should go to the White Sox will that mean his relationship with Ozzie Guillen will be better than that of Brett’s with Childress there at the Vikings ? Inquiring minds need to know . So what are your thoughts on the matter ?

    tophatal ………. 🙂

  • tophatal


    That relationship could end up being way more cordial than that of Favre’s and Childress’ by all accounts. But then again who knows ?

    tophatal ………….

    • chappy81

      I think the fact that Manny is A) playing for a contract next year, and B) only going to be there for a few months at most, it should be fine. The Dodgers and Red Sox loved him, but once they got to know him those antics got old. Plus using Manny over Andruw Jones and Quentin sounds like an upgrade to me!

  • tophatal


    Andruw Jones ? Wasn’t he laying the wood to skanks and strippers way before Tiger went down that road ? Manny’s salary for this season is deferred until 2014. So that’s $ 5 million due but the Dodgers would only have to pay a prorated $1.4 million with whomever taking him having to pay the rest unless they can come to some mutual agreement. Who says the finances of baseball is in such a healthy state ? Bud that’s who …….. and we all know how bright that a_shole is now don’t we ?

    tophatal ……. 🙂

    • classic17

      This isn’t right. If the Dodgers let Manny go on the waiver claim for no players and no agreement a la Alex Rios, the White Sox are on the hook for all commitments from that moment forward including the $1.1 million still owed this year and the deferred payments that he’s still owed plus a $20k fee.

      • tophatal


        That’s not necessarily the case as it’s dependent upon how the contract is actually drawn up and the agreements made between the teams. It doesn’t contravene any rules that MLB has in place but on the face of it , it is rather asinine !

        tophatal ……… 🙂

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