The waiver period is one big tease. Exciting talk with no action. But given the alternative of no action with boring talk deploring the lack of action, the wavier period is welcome.
Big names! Proposed trades! Playoff relevance! Wahoo!
The trick is, before the non-waiver deadline, teams can ponder who they want to trade in private, and rumors tend (I said "tend"!) to surface when actual discussions occur. For anyone to be moved after the waiver deadline, they have to be put on waivers, which gets reported and--by God!--that sounds serious!
"Paul Konerko is on waivers?!?!??!" (clutches chest in pain, eats final onion ring on plate, dies)
The constant ability for a team to pull a player back sorta blunts the urgency of any of these moments, so does the claim process determining which team has exclusive rights to negotiate a deal, or the fact that anyone claimed has to be dealt for another player who has been waived or isn't on the 40-man roster.
It's all just not conducive to very big trades going down. Mostly players teams are eager to get rid of but are of minimal cost get moved. For example, Delmon Young to the Tigers for a cruddy High-A reliever was a prototypical waiver trade.
It's rare, but every now and then a player of some value but an undesirable contract will just get claimed and his contract transferred. But that's only if one team goes craaazzzzzyyy
Ed's Note: The White Sox have acquired a player this way in back-to-back seasons. Mixed results!
With the twinge of doubt installed, let's review things that won't happen (or might, because the White Sox <3 waivers), but have been talked about
1. Paul Konerko, Matt Thornton, John Danks or Gavin Floyd are on waivers.
More on Floyd in a bit, but Konerko has 10-5 no-trade rights, and probably wouldn't take to well to this shuffling around. He and Danks would both command a hall that the waiver process just isn't built for.
It's built for Delmon Young, struggling players that drive their managers insane, usually by being themselves.
Matt Thornton is possible due to his upcoming raise, but that would be dependent on the White Sox admitting that they're toast....which maybe they are.
2. Jim Thome to the White Sox
The White Sox are widely rumored to have won the claim for Jim Thome, which would given them the chance to exclusively negotiate a deal with the Twins. There's a possibility this claim was just made to block Cleveland, but when has that stopped a deal from going through before?
J.J. Stankevitz pops this bubble kind of easily, as if he used a Walther PPK when any sane person pops bubbles with their hands. He points out that Paul Konerko--the team's best hitter--can't play first base, and may not be able to do so for the rest of the season. Jim Thome, has also not shown much acumen for playing first base, at least not in the last 4 years.
While having Jim-Jam on the bench to pinch-mash would be quite the luxury for the playoffs, maybe the White Sox aren't going to the playoffs. Has anyone considered that?
3. Jason Kubel to the White Sox
A lot more interesting considering that Kubel might be spry enough to play an amusing parody of 1st base. However his wOBA is 30 points lower, and--
A. Would anything in the Sox barren farm system that entice the Twins more than the supplemental draft pick they could get by holding on to Kubel?
B. Why would the Twins ever help the Sox?
C. Do I have to be the guy who asks why they don't just promote Viciedo if they need a 1st basemen?
The White Sox have made a lot of moves that I've disagreed with--some of them wholeheartedly--but nothing's yet indicated that the front office is insane.
Dealing a starting pitcher under contract for two more seasons for $16 MM, who is on his third straight year of an xFIP at 3.75 or less, a solid bet to eclipse 185 IP for the 4th straight season, on a waiver deal....for lower level prospects or the waiver bait on the Cubs roster....it's just a little bit, you know, insane.
Well, I just don't think the front office is insane yet. But hey, it is waiver season.