Tampa Bay Rays Rumors: Could Still Add a Right-Hand Bat


Although the non-waiver trade deadline has past, it will not prevent the Tampa Bay Rays or any other team from making trades. However, the trade will not be as forthcoming, since an entirely different process is used.

The Tampa Bay Rays were busy in the days leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, first acquiring shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from the Marlins in the early part of the month and progressed with the additions of relievers Sergio Romo, Dan Jennings, Steve Cishek and power hitting first baseman/DH Lucas Duda.

Although their main goal was to address their anemic bullpen, which they did,  Tampa Bay Rays were unable to come up with a right-handed hitter. While they may decide not to add a right-handed bat, the opportunity still exists even though the trade deadline has passed.

Over the years, teams have placed players through waivers at this time in order to trade players or not, dump salary and at the same time teams would claim players to block them from being traded to contending teams.

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Case in point was back in 2000 when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays placed Jose Canseco on revocable waivers and he was claimed by the New York Yankees. The Yankees did not need him or want him, but the Devil Rays saved around $2 million in salary and the Yankees blocked him from going to another team.

Welcome to baseball’s revocable waivers where a team can trade players without restriction between August 1 and August 31 to any team in the AL or NL if they are not claimed within 47 business hours.

Revocable waivers is determined by reverse standings, worst to first and it gives the potential trading team three options should a player be claimed. If a player is claimed, the team has three choices and has 48.5 hours to make the decision.

  1. It can trade the player to the claiming team
  2. Revoke the waiver request (in which case the player will remain with his original team)
  3. Allow the claiming team to take the player and his salary (although a player with no-trade rights can block this from happening)

MLBTradeumors.com reports that Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com via Twitter tweets that the Atlanta Braves today placed pitchers R.A. Dickey and Jim Johnson on revocable waivers. While the Rays may not place a claim for either player, there always remains that wee bit of speculation they could on Johnson more so than on Dickey.

Johnson had been the Atlanta Braves closer but was just removed from the role as he blew his eighth save on Saturday, is 6-2 with a 4.09 ERA through 44 innings (45 appearances). He had 22 saves, with 52 strikeouts and 16 walks.  Per Fangraphs, he is averaging a 10.6 K/9 rate along with a ground-ball rate of 50%.

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What could make him an appealing pickup for the Rays is his salary, which is $5.5 million this season and for next season. In regards to Dickey, I would speculate that his salary (earning $7.5 million this season) and potential salary for 2018 is not favorable along with his age (42-years-old) for a Ray’s team that has potential starters waiting in the wings.

As the days in August begin to click away, speculation on my part is that many teams will be placing some of their pending free agents or high priced veterans on revocable waivers in hopes of getting some sort of return other than a draft pick if they are signed as a free agent in the off-season.

The short list of some right-handed bats that could become available is Cleveland switch-hitter 1B Carlos Santana, Nationals catcher Matt Wieters, Rockies C/1B Jonathan Lucroy, New York Mets 2B, switch-hitter Neil Walker and Athletics OF Rajai Davis (2014-2016: .276/.323/.458 hitter against lefties). Again, this list is speculation on my part and I doubt the Rays would take a flyer on these players.

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While the Tampa Bay Rays may decide not to add a right-handed bat, the opportunity does still exist if the right player for the right price is available through revocable waivers.