The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be the team who placed a waiver claim on Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee. The Dodgers, of course, also put a claim on Joe Blanton and the two sides worked out a deal. But please relax, the waiver claim means nothing.
After July 31, a player must clear waivers to be traded. Teams have the chance just once to place a player on waivers. Players on the waiver wire may be claimed by teams. The team who controls' the claimed players' contract has two options: let the player go to the other team, or pull the player back and never place them on waivers again.
So, the Los Angeles Dodgers have money. They were willing to take on Joe Blanton's salary, so the Phillies were happy to let him go. The Dodgers may also have been willing to eat Cliff Lee's money, in the off chance the Phillies were simply looking to dump Lee's contract.
There could be a couple reasons the Dodgers did it.
First, they want Lee and could afford him in the off chance the Phillies were looking to unload him. With the rumors the Phillies were hamstrung in the payroll department, mabye the Phillies would simply let him go with no compensation. The Phillies won't.
The other possibility is that they were trying to block the Phillies from trading Lee to another team. Maybe they have high hopes for a World Series and don't want to face Lee in it. They could have known how badly Nolan Ryan loves Cliff Lee and did not want to risk facing him in the World Series.
Cliff Lee is not going anywhere. So why put him on waivers?
"I used to put everyone on waivers", said former Reds and Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden on his radio show today. You see, either someone could make a ridiculous offer that you can't refuse, or you can just keep a lot of names going to slip people through you hope to trade later. After all, you can always pull them back.
The Phillies really scored by getting rid of Joe Blanton's contract. While the luxury tax is not a fixed cap, there's an extra penalty for being over it this year. The Phillies were willing to go over it for a playoff team, but since they're not making the playoffs, there was simply no need to go over that number this year and hurt the team later.
Well done, Ruben.
Additionally, Amaro stated today that he himself claimed a few players that he would not mind adding to the team.
"We've claimed some players over the last couple of days, players we think would help us. Whether we're going to get them or not is a completely different issue. But we're still trying to improve our club for this year and beyond. I'd like to do more. And if we can, we will."
I'd love a right-handed outfielder, personally.
The waiver game is something the General Manager has to play. Be not alarmed until someone is actually traded.