Dodgers reportedly place embattled outfielder Yasiel Puig on trade waivers
Almost every player will be placed on trade waivers this month
The Yasiel Puig saga took another turn over the weekend, though this one was not entirely unexpected. The Dodgers placed their supremely talented yet supremely frustrating outfielder on trade waivers Sunday.
Source: #Dodgers placed Puig on trade waivers today.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 28, 2016
Puig, who is still only 25, is currently in Triple-A, where he is hitting .375/.420/.641 with four home runs, five walks, and seven strikeouts in 17 games. It's not all that surprising a big league veteran at a peak age is destroying Triple-A pitching.
Before being sent down, Puig hit only .260/.320/.386 (92 OPS+) with seven home runs in 81 games with the Dodgers. He also battled some ongoing hamstring problems. Puig performed like an MVP when he first broke into the league in 2013, though his production has steadily trended downward since.
Trade waivers are common this time of year and while they're generally pretty straight forward once you get the hang of it, the entire process can be a little confusing. Here's a quick primer on how trade waivers work and what this means for Puig.
How many types of waivers are there?
There are four different types of waivers in Major League Baseball and they all serve different purposes. Here are the four:
- Trade Waivers: Used for making trades after the deadline.
- Release Waivers: Used to release a player from the organization.
- Outright Waivers: Used to remove a player from the 40-man roster but keep him in the organization. Players who have been outrighted more than once can elect free agency rather than be assigned to the minors.
- Optional Waivers: Players more than three calendar years removed from their MLB debut must go through optional waivers to be assigned to Triple-A. These are revocable, meaning the team can pull the player back if claimed. Players are rarely claimed on optional waivers. There is essentially a gentleman's agreement in place throughout the league. If you claim one of my players on optional waivers, I'm going to start claiming all of yours to make your life miserable. That sort of thing.
Puig was placed on trade waivers, which are completely revocable. That means the Dodgers can pull him back and keep him if another team places a claim. Release and outright waivers are irrevocable. If you put a player on release or outright waivers and he gets claimed, he's gone.
What happens if Puig gets claimed?
Players sit on trade waivers for 48 hours, and the waiver priority list goes through each league by the reverse order of the standings. So Puig will first cycle through the National League before going through the American League. Here are the Dodgers' three options if Puig gets claimed:
- Pull him back and keep him. (Most likely to happen.)
- Let the other team have him on the waiver claim. (Least likely to happen.)
- Work out a trade with the claiming team. The two sides have 48 hours to do so.
For what it's worth, one executive told Jon Heyman of Today's Knuckleball that "no one's claiming (Puig) ... if they do, they're going to get him." That indicates the Dodgers would let Puig go on the waiver claim, though I'm not sure I buy that. Teams only do that when they want to unload bad contracts, like when the Blue Jays dumped Alex Rios on the White Sox in 2009.
As enigmatic and frustrating as Puig can be, he's still only 25 and insanely talented. Also, he's owed only $17.428 million from 2017-18, so he's not expensive. Puig absolutely has some trade value. He's not a negative asset who should be dumped on another team at the first opportunity.
What happens if Puig does not get claimed?
This is easy. If no team claims Puig, the Dodgers can trade him to any team the rest of the season. See? Nice and simple. Keep in mind though the deadline to acquire a player and have him be eligible for the postseason roster is 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Anyone acquired after that point is not eligible for the playoffs. That applies to Puig and every other player. There are loopholes around that one.
Can Puig be put on trade waivers again?
Yes, but with a catch. The second time a player is placed on trade waivers, they are irrevocable. The Dodgers couldn't pull Puig back if he gets claimed the second time he's on waivers. I'm sure it's happened at some point, but I can't ever remember a player being placed on trade waivers twice in one season. For all intents and purposes, trade waivers is a one time thing. You get one shot at it.
Why would the Dodgers put him on waivers?
The million dollar question. What's the point of putting Puig on trade waivers? Surely that's a sign they want to trade him, right? Well, no, not necessarily. Every team will put almost their entire 40-man roster on trade waivers at some point. Yes, even guys like Mike Trout and Kris Bryant. Pretty much the only players who don't go on trade waivers at some point are players on the DL.
There is zero downside to placing a player on trade waivers. They're revocable, so if the player gets claimed, you pull him back. No big deal. Putting players on trade waivers serves two purposes. One, gauge his trade value. Sometimes that even leads to a trade. And two, hide the players you actually want to trade. By putting your entire roster on trade waivers, other teams don't know who you want to trade.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of trade waiver claims are "block" moves. Say, for example, there's a good reliever on trade waivers the first place Dodgers could have interest in. The second place Giants, who have a higher waiver priority, could then claim the player to block him from going to Los Angeles. That happens all the time. Every single day.
Now, that said, sometimes teams do want to trade a player. If they were to stick that one player on trade waivers, everyone would know they're trying to move him, and he'd get blocked. By flooding the market with other players from your roster, no one knows who is really available. The goal is to get players through waivers unclaimed to open up the market, not have him get claimed and be forced to negotiate a trade with one team.
Heyman says the Dodgers have gauged trade interest in Puig in recent weeks, though they're not desperate to move him. In fact, Heyman says they've rejected offers for him. If a trade is made, it will have to wait for the offseason, in all likelihood.
Puig being placed on trade waivers over the weekend was merely a formality. Puig is on trade waivers because pretty much every player is put on trade waivers at some point. It doesn't mean the Dodgers are ready to give him away just yet. They're still looking for the best possible package of talent.