Report: Cole Hamels, Marlon Byrd Claimed on Waivers

It’s news, though not exactly surprising news. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Phillies ace Cole Hamels and right fielder Marlon Byrd have been claimed by separate, unidentified teams on revocable waivers. Closer Jonathan Papelbon cleared waivers.

It sounds more enticing than it really is. The Phillies had the ability to leverage many interested teams into bidding up the price for Hamels leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline and decided to hold onto the lefty. Now, they may only deal with the team who put in the claim over the next 48 hours. Otherwise, they have to take him back off of waivers. What that means is the probability of winning the lottery and Hamels being traded over the next two days are virtually identical.

Hamels has a limited no-trade clause in his contract. For this season, he may veto trades to all teams except the Braves, Red Sox, Angels, Yankees, Dodgers, Padres, Cardinals, Rangers, and Nationals.

Why did the Phillies put him on waivers, then? It’s standard fare for most veterans on non-competitive teams. There was a tiny chance Hamels, because of the money he is still owed going forward ($96 million through 2018), passed through waivers unclaimed, which would have allowed the Phillies to negotiate a deal with any interested club.

Byrd being claimed is also expected, as there aren’t many productive outfield bats readily available. Byrd moved in a waiver trade last year, as the New York Mets sent him to the Pittsburgh Pirates on August 27 in exchange for prospects Vic Black and Dilson Herrera. Both have turned out to be useful players. The Phillies’ likelihood of moving Byrd is significantly greater than it is for Hamels, but is still complicated by the fact that Byrd is guaranteed $8 million for 2015 and has a 2016 club option for $8 million that can become guaranteed by hitting one of two playing time thresholds. Byrd’s limited no-trade clause allows him to veto a trade to the Royals, Mariners, Rays, and Blue Jays.

Papelbon cleared waivers for obvious reasons:

  • He’s owed $13 million for 2015 and has a $13 million option for 2016 that is very likely to vest;
  • His peripherals — velocity and strikeout rate in particular — don’t portend well for the future despite his success this season;
  • He has said he would only waive his limited no-trade clause (which grants him the ability to reject trades to any of 17 teams) if he was his new team’s closer

The Phillies are unlikely to strike deals for any of the handful of players they put on waivers recently (Antonio Bastardo, A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez, Ryan Howard, and Kyle Kendrick are the others). As a result, it makes more sense for the Phillies to explore trades once the season is over. Stranger things have happened in August, though.

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  1. GB

    August 06, 2014 08:20 PM

    I’d work out a trade with the team that claimed Byrd…he has no future here in Philadelphia, the leverage and his value will never be higher and the Phils certainly should be wanting to get out from his contract so they can not only free up that payroll, but also the roster spot and ability to play Ruf, Brown etc. in the OF for the rest of the season….we need to see if those guys can develop. Pulling Byrd back and wasting the rest of the season playing him in RF has only a downside i.e. he gets injured or his production slides. After the Lee debacle, hopefully we’ve learned the lesson and will strike when the iron is hot rather than continuing to fiddle while the city burns…

    • Tim

      August 06, 2014 11:25 PM

      Agreed. And on top of all this, we’ve found an ideal suitor, a team willing to take on Marlon’s full contract. Meaning picking up a portion of his money isn’t a prerequisite for a deal, like it would have been with other teams, but a means of sweetening the return.

      RAJ needs to swallow his pride and lower his expectations on this one. If we get anything decent back, or anything at all back for Byrd, it is a good thing.

      • Scott G

        August 07, 2014 12:27 PM

        Is it really a consolation that the Phillies might not have to eat some of his contract? I (and the Phillies should be in the same position) would prefer that the Phillies be open to eating some/all of the available players’ contracts in order to bring back better prospects. At this point, if they don’t trade they players, the Phillies will end up paying the contracts anyway with nothing but a 70 win season to show for it. At least if they get better prospects, they’re paying the contracts and have a hope of something in the future.

        I understand that it’s not ideal for a team to pay players to play for other teams, but the Phillies are not in an ideal situation right now.

  2. edwin

    August 07, 2014 06:07 AM

    Did Amaro clear waivers? Just asking.

  3. TomG

    August 07, 2014 09:43 AM

    Byrd’s having a really good season and I’d miss his bat for these last couple months if he went, but if some other team is willing to take on his contract?

    I can live with an outfield of Sizemore, Revere and Brown (with an occasional dash of Ruf). Easily.

    And if they get more than just moving his contract? It’s all gravy.

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