The July 31 non-waiver trade deadline came and went for Major League Baseball without just a ton of activity. Now, trades must be made using the waiver system during the month of August. Here's how that works.
Any player may be placed on waivers, which are essentially a process of simultaneously attempting to remove a player from one's team and dangle him for potential takers.
The waiver wire, which is supposed to be secret among MLB teams, holds a player for three days. If no team claims the player after the three-day period, he has cleared waivers and may be traded to any team, sent to the minor leagues our released.
If another team claims the player, the original team may work out a trade within two business days. If they'd rather not lose the player, they can rescind the waivers. If they want, they can also let the claiming team take the waived player, assuming all contract responsibilities.
The situation can get hairy if more than one team claims a player on waivers. If that is the case, then the team with the worst record gets precedent (So, if the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves both claim a player, the Nationals would have the first shot at him.).
Also, just because a player is on waivers doesn't necessarily mean a lot. His team could just be evaluating interest in him.
August trades are usually not blockbusters, but they can lead to some interesting but important deals that fill in a very specific niche.
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