Deals not done: A guide to waiver trades

Deals not done: A guide to waiver trades

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is considered the height of the summer transaction season, but trades do not stop on July 31. However, in order to deal a player on its 40-man roster after that date, a team must go through the waiver system.

Just last season, Carlos Ruiz (Phillies to Dodgers), Marc Rzepczynski (A's to Nationals), Coco Crisp (A's to Indians) and Fernando Salas (Angels to Mets) were among the players dealt in August. On occasion, there is also a major trade during the waiver period. For example, on Aug. 25, 2012, the Dodgers and Red Sox pulled off the massive nine-player swap that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to Los Angeles.

Glossary: Trade waivers and the Aug. 31 "Deadline"

How do August trades work? Here's a primer:

• It's important to note that teams expose most of their players, except those on the disabled list, to revocable waivers at some point during August. So that act, by itself, does not mean much, as there is no risk involved.

• When a player is on waivers, other teams can submit a claim. If more than one team does, those in the same league as that player's team get first priority, starting with the club with the worst record on the day of the claim. Then, the priority moves to the other league, starting with the worst record. For example, if a National League team puts a player on waivers, the NL team with the worst record gets the first shot at him, and the last-place American League club would be right behind the top NL club.

• Once a player is claimed, his team faces three options. It can pull the player back and keep him, negotiate a trade with the claiming team or let the player go. In the last scenario, the claiming team takes full responsibility for the player's remaining salary. If the two sides decide to work out a trade, they have two days to do so.

• If a player goes unclaimed for two days, he "passes through" waivers. His team then can trade him to any other team for the rest of the season, unless he has a no-trade clause, a limited no-trade provision or 10/5 rights (10 years in the Majors, five consecutive years with his current team).

• Players dealt after Aug. 31 are not eligible to participate in the Postseason.

• A team can pull a player back from waivers only once. So if a player is pulled back, but then placed on waivers a second time and claimed, his rights go to the team that is awarded the claim.

Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.