Conine, among others, could be involved in waiver deals
By Jerry Crasnick
Updated: August 1, 2007
Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline has passed, but front office executives continue to plug away in the quest for upgrades. It's August, that time of year otherwise known as the "Jeff Conine Olympics."
Conine, a 17-year veteran with a quick stroke and terminally dour expression, is a professional hitter and waiver-clearer. In 2003, Florida acquired him on Aug. 31, and he helped the Marlins win a World Series. Last year the Phillies traded for him on Aug. 28, and 10 days later he was batting fifth in the order behind Ryan Howard.
If history is a guide, this is the type of player you'll see moving in August: Stable veterans. Bench guys. Underachievers. Emergency injury fill-ins. With baseball in such a blissful economic state, fewer clubs than usual are desperate to make trades to dump stars with big salaries.
"You aren't likely to see any talented players clear waivers," said a National League front office man. "The only players that will clear [waivers] are poorly performing players who the industry doesn't value."
It's more challenging to make a headline-grabbing trade today than yesterday, because players must pass through waivers first. If a player clears waivers, his current team is free to trade him to any of the other 29 clubs.
If the player is claimed, Team A can either pull him back or step aside and lose him to Team B, which assumes the player's entire salary. (This bad-news scenario happened to Padres GM Kevin Towers in 1998, when he claimed Randy Myers to block him from Atlanta and got stuck with a $13 million contract). The teams also have a 48-hour window in which to make a deal.
August can be a busy time for trades. Last season, Livan Hernandez, Javy Lopez, Eric Hinske, Jamie Moyer, Guillermo Mota, Shawn Green, Scott Schoeneweis, Russell Branyan, Neifi Perez, Phil Nevin and David Wells were among the players who changed addresses in August.
So which players will be making news in August? This week's installment of "Starting 9" is devoted to names you'll be hearing in trade speculation over the coming weeks. Some are a lot more realistic than others