Even though the trade deadline passed last week, teams are still able to make trades through the trade waivers process.. Short version: players who are claimed on trade waivers can only be traded to the claiming team, but players who go unclaimed can be traded anywhere.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, who come into Saturday 4 1/2 games back in the NL Central, are already making moves on trade waivers. They brought back utility man Sean Rodriguez in a trade with the Braves on Saturday.
Rodriguez, 32, missed the start of the season following shoulder surgery stemming from an offseason car accident. He hit .162/.326/.351 in 15 games with Atlanta before the trade. Rodriguez spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons in Pittsburgh, and last year he put up a stellar .270/.349/.510 batting line with 18 homers in 342 plate appearances.
The language of the tweet -- "awarded on a waiver claim" -- tells us the Pirates claimed Kontos on trade waivers, and the Giants simply let him go like a straight waiver claim. They could have pulled him back and tried to work out a trade with Pittsburgh, but decided against it. That kind of surprises me.
Kontos, 32, has a 3.83 ERA with 55 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings this season, though he has been a very reliable middle reliever for San Francisco the last few seasons. From 2012-16 he pitched to a 2.90 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP in 258 innings. Kontos was part of the club's 2012 and 2014 World Series teams.
The Pirates are fringe contenders this year given their place in the standings, though the Rodriguez and Kontos moves are more about 2018, not 2017. Rodriguez is under contract next season at an affordable $5.75 million. Kontos will remain under team control as an arbitration-eligible player in both 2018 and 2019, and his salaries won't climb much higher than $3 million.
Most August trade waiver trades are small deals involving role players, and Pittsburgh's two deals Saturday fit the bill perfectly. Rather than wait until the offseason, the Pirates did some value shopping on trade waivers and nabbed a nice bench piece and a solid bullpen option.