Roster Roulette

Many people are under the delusion that a trade cannot happen after the July 31st trade deadline. That is not necessarily the case. Prior to July 31 a team can trade any player that they own the rights to. After that time a player can still be traded but he first must clear waivers. After the deadline has passed on July 31 teams will place players on waivers hoping to get them through and allow them to continue negotiating with other teams on potential trades. If a player is claimed on waivers the team placing him on the waiver wire has the option of pulling the player back or letting the team who claimed him have him at a prorated salary for the remainder of the season. The waiver wire becomes a cat and mouse game where teams place players on waivers and teams interested can claim them for their own team or in many cases to block that player from clearing waivers and being traded to one of their competitors. In many cases players will be claimed more as a defensive move than because of real interest. I liken it to a game of hot potato. When the game stops you might find yourself with a nice baked potato but then again you might just find that all you got was burned. Such is the case with the Arizona Diamondbacks this year.

During the first three days of the waiver wire game the Diamondbacks have found themselves holding some questionable potatoes. Arizona is now the proud owner of three new ball players which have left fans, players, and members of the press scratching their heads. After not making any deals prior to the July 31st deadline the Diamondbacks were extremely active in the waiver market. The Florida Marlins had placed right-handed pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim on waivers while the Minnesota Twins placed third baseman Jeff Cirillo on waivers. The Diamondbacks were fearful that these two players could end up at either San Diego or Los Angeles making their divisional foes a bit more powerful. They claimed both of these players anticipating that the Marlins and Twins would pull them back rather than lose them. Instead the Diamondbacks were awarded both players forcing roster moves. The result was that Yusmeiro Petit was optioned to Tucson and Sidewinders third baseman Brian Barden was designated for assignment. Kind of a tough thing to explain to a couple of kids who have been a part of the Diamondbacks success this season. A day later the Diamondbacks claimed left-handed pitcher Joe Kennedy off waivers from the Oakland Athletics. This again was seen as a defensive move thinking the A’s would pull back Kennedy. Instead the Diamondbacks were awarded the waiver causing another roster move. This time pitcher Dustin Nippert was sent to Tucson after being with the parent club all season. Now the Diamondbacks have 2 new pitchers and yet another corner infielder to plug into the roster for the last two months of the season. The question is, are the Diamondbacks any stronger now than they were before these moves? If not, that might be $2 million that could have been better used elsewhere.

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