Red Sox place a group of players on waivers – what does it mean?


Red Sox Nation was a little baffled by the lack of action at the trade deadline from Boston’s front office, but there is still plenty of time to make some moves. Sox fans are well aware that, while it may not be easiest thing to pull off, a franchise-changing move can be made after the deadline – Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez were sent packing to the Dodgers in August of 2012.

Once the MLB trade deadline has passed, a player must be placed on waivers in order to make a deal with another squad. If the player is claimed by another team, a trade can be worked out with that team only. It is called “revocable waivers” because the team can pull the player back if they do not want to deal said player. If there are no claims put down on the player, he can be dealt to any team if a trade is offered.

It’s an interesting process to watch and discuss since the actual intention of the team putting a player on waivers is unknown. While it seems obvious that a team must want to trade a player if they are putting them on waivers, that is not always the case. Some baseball executives like to find out a player’s value throughout the league by putting a player on waivers and seeing which teams takes a shot. Sox fans may also remember that Manny Ramirez was put on waivers almost annually without a deal ever happening after the deadline.

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Boston decided to place a group of players on waivers this week. Daniel Nava was claimed by the Rays on Tuesday ending his time with the Sox. Per the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, the Red Sox have decided to put Mike Napoli, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., Brock Holt, Hanley Ramirez, Craig Breslow, and Justin Masterson on the waiver list as well. That’s quite the variety of players. So, what does it mean for each of these guys?

Mike Napoli – Napoli attempted to climb out of a monster hole all season long and only recently has started to produce. He’s a free agent at the end of the season so it certainly feels like the Red Sox would love to get something…anything…back for him at this point.

Rusney Castillo – This is an interesting one as we clearly haven’t seen Castillo reach his full potential. However, his raw fielding and high priced salary may be leading the Sox to listen to any offers.

Jul 31, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Rusney Castillo (38) bats during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Jackie Bradley Jr. – Jackie struggled mightily at the plate last season, but hasn’t really been given an opportunity in 2015. The Sox front office may not see him as a fit in Boston and would likely send him packing for the right deal.

Brock Holt – Holt has become a centerpiece over the last couple season in his super-utility role and even made the All-Star team this season. There is no doubt that his value is at an all-time high. Jen McCaffrey from Masslive put it well: “The Red Sox probably do not want to trade Holt, but a claiming team in the playoff hunt might be willing to overpay for him, given his versatility in the field and consistency at the plate. Boston would be willing to listen.”

Hanley Ramirez – Ramirez has been public enemy number one for Sox fans, so it’s not a shock to see him on this list. They would probably not mind having another squad put a claim on him given his salary and Boston not having a solid position for him after this year’s experiment in left field.

Breslow and Masterson are most likely giveaways for any team that is willing to claim them.

This by no means is any indication that these players will in fact be moved this month. But it’s an interesting mix with Castillo and Ramirez clearly raising the most eyebrows. Some fans wonder why more players aren’t on this list, specifically Pablo Sandoval and Rick Porcello. It’s not clear why they haven’t been put on waivers, but Porcello is technically on the DL which would probably prevent any waiver claims. It may also be that Boston has no intention whatsoever of trading the two of them and therefore there is no need to go through the motions. Also, it could be argued that certain players may react negatively by hearing their name on waivers, and their confidence could be affected.

I wouldn’t put any money on Boston making a trade, but after the precedent was set in 2012, anything is possible. Fenway fans haven’t had a good deal to get excited about lately, but prospects getting called up and trades always spark some enthusiasm. We’ll have to wait and see what the waiver wire brings.

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