It’s that time of year, when teams that were holding out hope for a last minute surge decide that it’s time to at least put themselves in a position to make trades if competitiveness is not going to happen for them.
Thus, as we heard earlier, the Nationals placed a number of guys on waivers this weekend, and several have been claimed:
Here's at least a partial list of the players the Nationals placed on revocable waivers, per source: Murphy, Harper, Adams, Reynolds, Wieters, and Gonzalez. At least Murphy, Harper, and Adams were claimed.
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) August 21, 2018
Unlike with Murphy – whom we discussed earlier, and who I do think has a chance of being moved – I don’t see any way Harper is traded to the claiming team. There just isn’t going to be enough leverage there for Washington to get the kind of return they’d need to deal a franchise superstar they are hoping to re-sign.
As for the rest of that group, the Nationals either need to let a lot of guys go/trade a lot of guys in order to get under the luxury tax limit (and, let’s be honest, lose some more games), or they need to hold onto everyone and see what magic might happen over the final six weeks. I think they will regret hanging out somewhere in the middle.
Meanwhile, another team hanging out at .500 and seven games out of the Wild Card race, the San Francisco Giants will be facing some decisions this week of their own.
It will be very interesting to see how far Andrew McCutchen gets up the waiver chain:
Not surprising given the way #sfgiants played in Cincinnati, but I’m hearing Andrew McCutchen has been placed on revocable waivers. Very good chance he is wearing another uniform by the end of the week.
— Andrew Baggarly (@extrabaggs) August 21, 2018
McCutchen, 31, is hitting .257/.354/.414 (113 wRC+) on the year while playing his now typical fine-but-not-excellent outfield defense. He’s making $14.5 million this year, and, for a number of teams, taking on the $3+ million he’s owed the rest of the way will be too much. The Giants, who are very close to the luxury tax line, may be inclined to just let McCutchen go if he’s claimed. In many ways, this is a very similar decision to the Nationals with Daniel Murphy.
The Cubs have a very crowded outfield picture right now, so as much as you might want to seem them bringing in a quality veteran like McCutchen, I’m not so sure he’s an obvious fit for them. The flip side of that is that the offense clearly needs a boost, and maybe McCutchen could give them a little extra kick down the stretch if the Cubs could figure out a way to accommodate him on the roster until expansion comes on September 1.
I tend to think it’s academic, because if McCutchen is going to be claimed, he’ll probably be claimed by another contender in the NL with a worse record than the Cubs.
We shall see.