July 31 was MLB's official trading deadline. That doesn't mean no more trades can be made by teams looking to beef up playoff chances or by cash strapped organizations looking to economize.
Here's how late season waiver claims/trades work: A player exposed to waivers can be claimed by any team, and if there are multiple claims, the player would be offered to the team with the worst record. At that point, a team has 48 hours to either try to work out a trade with the claiming club or remove the player from waivers. A player can only be pulled back from waivers once, but if he clears waivers either the first or second time through, a team can attempt to trade him to any club.
An intriguing variable included in waiver rules creates a wondrous chess match among major league general managers. It states waiver claims are "...a secret within the personnel of the Major League Baseball clubs; no announcement of a waiver is made until a transaction actually occurs. Many players are often quietly waived during the August "waiver-required" trading period to gauge trade interest in a particular player. Usually, when the player is claimed, the waiving team will rescind the waiver to avoid losing the player unless a trade can be worked out with the claiming team." (Wikipedia.com, "Major League Baseball transactions").
Basically what this tells fans is teams do not know who is bidding on players until a deal is actually completed. I thoroughly enjoy this aspect of waivers. Washington just placed slugging 1B Adam Dunn on waivers. There could be plenty of suitors. Boston lost key cog Youkilis to a thumb injury yesterday. Philadelphia, already without All Star 2B Chase Utley, lost slugger Ryan Howard to an ankle sprain. Anaheim also needs 1B help as they've been playing short handed without Kendry Morales. The White Sox had been actively chasing Berkman, who opted for Yanks, might throw their hats into the ring. Detroit has been bitten hard by injuries lately and need offense. Texas has been busying adding in hopes of advancing to their first ever World Series. Dunn could go a long way to creating a pound for pound heavyweight playoff matchup vs Yanks. San Francisco could use a power hitter too. All in all, know one will know until we know.
Dunn happens to be baseball's first big name exposed to waivers. There will be plenty of others. How many claims will be successful? We'll find out soon. Get ready for more big headlines and deadline deals. Also, be prepared for blocks by teams attempting to prevent opponents from gaining strength. It's baseball's version of poker. Waiver period ends (for playoff eligibility) August 31.