Even though they traded six players ahead of the July 31 non-waiver deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays aren’t necessarily done making moves. In fact, it’s possible that their biggest trade of the summer has yet to be completed.
Trades become more complicated in August, but they’re still possible as long as certain conditions are met, and anyone traded before Aug. 31 is still eligible to play in the post-season.
First of all, players must be placed on trade waivers to be moved after July 31. If a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (assuming he doesn’t have no-trade protection). If the player’s claimed on waivers, his team has three choices: let the player and his contract obligations go to the claiming team, work out a trade with the claiming team within two days or pull the player back.
Teams will typically place most of their rosters on waivers as a way to gauge interest even when they aren’t serious about making trades. Since trade waivers are revocable, teams can gather a little extra information by putting a player out there.
GM Ross Atkins said Tuesday that he expects the Blue Jays to be active on the trade market this month. It could be a busy one given the number of potential trade chips on the Toronto roster…
A few years ago, the idea of trading Donaldson in an August waiver deal would have been hard to fathom. At this point, though, it’s an option the Blue Jays have to consider.
Technically speaking, the Blue Jays can’t place Donaldson on waivers just yet. He has made significant progress of late, according to Atkins, and once that progress allows the 32-year-old to play in minor-league rehab games, the Blue Jays can place him on waivers.
Would any team place a claim, knowing that Donaldson earns $23 million? He’s still owed more than $7 million this season, so it’s possible he’d clear waivers. If that happens, the Blue Jays would be able to trade him without restriction and recoup some value before Donaldson hits free agency.
Teams have shown interest in Donaldson, who produced at an elite level as recently as last year. At this point his health remains a significant question, though. For that interest to lead to a trade, he’ll have to show he can play.
Estrada’s $13-million salary would likely clear waivers now given that he spent most of July on the disabled list before allowing four runs in his return to action Monday. But if he can string together a few vintage starts and a contender finds itself short on starting pitching, he’d become a legitimate August trade candidate.
Granderson was traded last August (for a player to be named later who became Jacob Rhame), and it’s easy to envision a similar deal this summer. Along with fellow veteran Tyler Clippard, Granderson drew interest ahead of the non-waiver deadline.
“There are teams that would like to have them,” Atkins said. “Ultimately the price wasn’t right. There could be more opportunities in August for those guys”
Like Granderson, Clippard was traded last August. His $1.5-million salary is also affordable, making him easier to move.
The Blue Jays have enough infielders to get by without Solarte, but would he appeal to contending teams? After a strong start at the plate, his offensive production has dropped off to the point that he has an OPS+ of just 88 on the season. That’d be fine for a player who makes up for it on defence and on the bases, but Solarte’s no longer a viable shortstop and he has grounded into a league-leading 21 double-plays. The play here might be to hope for a late-season recovery that would create off-season trade possibilities.
Morales earns $11 million this year and $12 million next year, so he’ll presumably clear waivers. He’s hitting, too, with a .320/.395/.539 batting line since ditching his glasses in May and a respectable 114 OPS+ on the season. Still, this one’s complicated because of all the money involved.
Martin earns $20 million per season this year and next, meaning he’ll almost certainly clear waivers. The Yankees are short on catching depth with Gary Sanchez sidelined, but they’re also looking to avoid competitive-balance tax penalties. It seems more likely that Martin stays put.