With July 31 a Sunday this calendar year, Major League Baseball pushed back the non-waiver trade deadline to Aug. 1 — the latest date it’s ever been. While the majority of trade activity comes prior to that proverbial buzzer, deals continue throughout August.
The next date that steps into the spotlight is Aug. 31. Trades can continue into September, but a player must be on a club’s roster by the final day in August in order to be eligible for postseason play. Thus, any player who is traded during this time must first be placed on revocable waivers, which last 47 hours.
Should said player clear waivers, his team can trade him without any restrictions. If a player is claimed then his club has three options.
A trade can be completed with the team who filed the claim (48.5 hours to negotiate a deal), the player can be pulled off waivers, or the claiming team can simply be given the player and assume his contract.
If a claimed player is taken off waivers, he will remain with his original team. If this occurs and the same player is placed on waivers a second time, they are irrevocable waivers and the player cannot be recalled.
Should more than one team claim a player, priority is first determined by worst to best record in the league of the waiving team, followed by worst to best record in the other league. The worse a team’s record is, the higher their priority.
It’s commonplace for clubs to place several players on waivers, even those whom they have no intent of trading. Players who aren’t on a club’s 40-man roster are eligible to be traded without first needing to clear waivers.
Last season the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Chase Utley from the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 20. Los Angeles also traded for Justin Ruggiano last season, just beating the deadline for him to be eligible for the postseason roster.
That wound up proving key as injuries led to Ruggiano being with the Dodgers for the 2015 National League Division Series.
On Aug. 25, 2012, the Dodgers completed a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox to land Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto. The deal added over $250 million in salaries to the Dodgers’ books.