Whenever a player of pretty obvious value is claimed off of waivers, or is released and signed at an equal or higher contract value, there’s always a fair question that follows: why didn’t they just trade that guy for at least a small return?
That’s a reasonable question today after the Cubs picked up lefty Wade Miley off of waivers from the Reds. The situation is this: Miley, a fantastic starter in 2021, had a team option worth $10 million for 2022, or had to be bought out for $1 million. The Reds are in cost-cutting mode, and weren’t going to pick up that option for their own use in 2022, and also wanted to save that $1 million buyout if possible. So that’s why they put him on waivers, hoping a team would take him off their hands (and he didn’t make it far up the waiver wire, because there is pretty clear value there on a one-year deal).
But if there’s clear value, why not trade him? Especially since you’re on the hook for at least $1 million anyway, so you could’ve eaten that $1 million and made Miley even more attractive in a trade? Surely some team was interested in a trade! I mean, obviously the Cubs were interested, right!
Well, it turns out that the Reds of course tried to trade Miley first before getting to this point. But no team bit. In fact, the Cubs might’ve played a little rope-a-dope:
The Cubs didn’t show interest for Wade Miley on the trade market before claiming him, GM Nick Krall said.
“We talked to everybody before over the last, probably month, and they were not one of the teams that expressed interest.” #Reds
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) November 5, 2021
So the Reds put out feelers, and the Cubs – unlike other teams? – didn’t show interest. But obviously the Cubs DID have interest. So they effectively called the Reds’ bluff and waited on a waiver move to jump. It seems likely that the Reds could’ve picked up the option and then later traded Miley for a little something if they were patient. They weren’t.
Not sure why the Reds are essentially admitting that they got finessed by the trade market, but it’s fun to know that the Cubs got a guy they wanted, at a salary they wanted, without having to give up even a low-level prospect.
Obviously Miley didn’t have a TON of trade value at one year and $10 million, so I don’t want to go too crazy with my praise here. But the reality is, if Miley were a free agent, and the Cubs just signed him for one year and $10 million deal, I would be out here talking about how that’s a perfect signing at a very reasonable price. So I have to give the same credit when the Cubs pulled it off this way.