The July 31st trade deadline doesn’t signal an end to trades, it simply signals an end to the non-waiver trades. What I mean by this is simply players can still be traded, only the process is more involved.

In order to be traded after the deadline, a player needs to clear revocable waivers. This is a somewhat complicated process. When a player is placed on revocable waivers, teams in the league have 48 business day hours to put a claim on the player. If a claim is put on a waiver, the original team has three options:

  1. Make a trade with the team that claimed the player.
  2. Give the player to the other team so they can take on their whole remaining contract.
  3. Take the player off waivers.

The Waiver Wire Process

Priority of the waiver wire is set by the standings, with the teams in most need getting first choice. This works out to priority being the standings but in reverse, with the teams with the worst record with the most power.

One thing to keep in mind is all players can be only taken back through waivers once by the original team. So if the player is claimed after being placed on waivers for a second time after getting claimed once, then the team that claimed him has to either make a trade or take on his whole contract for no return.

If revocable waivers are cleared than the player can be traded to any team in the league with the restriction that any player on the 40-man roster has to also clear waivers. All waiver trades need to be completed by August 31st in order for traded players to be eligible for postseason play.

The most notable waiver trade in the past decade was the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, and Nick Punto to the Dodgers in an effort to clear up cap space for the Red Sox.

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How the Cardinals Can Benefit

For the Cardinals this means they have time to decide whether they want to buy or sell some players. Some potential players the Cards could get are:

Acquire Giancarlo Stanton

With potential new ownership, the Marlins may be looking to get rid of any major contracts to increase buyer interest. With Stanton’s recent contract extension running through the 2027 season this would obviously be a large financial commitment for the Cards, but as he has shown so far this year, .277/.370/.611 and 37 bombs, he may be the best power hitter in the game of baseball. This would be the much needed power the Cardinals have been searching for all year.

Acquire Zach Britton

Although this is a longshot, it is still worth looking at. If the Cardinals could somehow swing a deal to get Britton, their bullpen would jump to a top three bullpen in baseball. Britton is up for arbitration after this season before he becomes a free agent, so he wouldn’t be just a rental.

Acquire Jay Bruce

Bruce recently cleared waivers, and is a free agent after this year. Currently, Bruce is ranked 4th in the NL in homers with 29. This could be a great fit for the Cardinals who just got back to a .500 record, and now have the easiest remaining schedule in baseball.

Bruce could offer a power bat in the outfield that the Cards desperately need, and will also get a compensation pick after this year, assuming he turns down the qualifying offer the Cards would most likely give him. Basically, the Cards could give up some players, make a potential good run, and then get a compensation pick at the end of the year for a high potential prospect.

Move Lance Lynn

Placing Lynn on waivers wouldn’t hurt. If a contender offers enough for him, it could be better than receiving a compensation pick when he declines the Cards qualifying offers, which he will, most think he commands at least 100 million this offseason.

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Photo Credit: Jeff Curry @ USA Today Sports