Now that the Yankees are looking for a starter, it seems like a good time to review how waiver trades in August work.
This information via Padres exec Paul DePodesta, who has his own blog:
* No player can get traded after July 31 without being placed on trade waivers. Unlike outright waivers, August trade waivers are revocable. If a team places a player on trade waivers, and another organization places a claim on that player, he can be taken off waivers.
* Once a player is placed on trade waivers, the other 29 organizations have 48 hours during which to place a claim. If a player is claimed by another organization, one of two things can happen:
1. The player can be traded to (or simply given to) the claiming organization only.
2. The player can be pulled off of waivers by the originating club. Any trade with the claiming club has to be consummated within 48 hours.
* If a player is claimed on trade waivers, and the originating club pulls that player off of waivers, he connot be traded for the remainder of the season unless the originating club puts the player on trade waivers a second time. If they do this, however, the waivers become irrevocable so any claim would result in the automatic assignment of the player to the claiming team.
* If a player goes unclaimed, he can be traded to any other team at any time.
I hope that clears up any questions you have. It was once common practice for competing teams to claim all players to block trades. Then some teams got stuck with players they didn’t want (like the Yankees with Jose Canseco in 2000) and that process slowed.
Be careful about getting too excited about hearing a certain player is on waivers. Teams routinely try and get one player through by putting the entire roster on waivers over a period of days