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DOWN THE LINE

For baseball contenders, help is still wanted

The Angels are among the teams that will scan the waiver wires as the Giants did last season in making key acquisitions for a World Series title run.

August 06, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Giants outfielder Cody Ross, who was a key acquisition after the trade deadline last season, is congratulated by teammate Jeff Keppinger (8) after hitting a leadoff home run in the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Giants outfielder Cody Ross, who was a key acquisition after the trade deadline… (Thearon W. Henderson / Getty…)

Help (still) wanted

Few contending teams addressed all of their needs at last Sunday's nonwaiver trade deadline, so the next month figures to be busy with teams trading for players who clear waivers.

The whole process is a lot more complicated — but typically, for the receiving team, a lot cheaper — than a nonwaiver trade.

Between now and the end of the season a player must clear waivers before he can change teams. That means every team, beginning with the club with the worst record, has the right to claim the player and his contract off the waiver wire. If the teams can work out a deal, the trade goes forward. If not, the team offering the player can simply cancel the waiver and hold on to him.

But if a player on waivers is not claimed, he is said to have "cleared" waivers, meaning he can be traded anywhere.

And this is where things get interesting.

Teams risk almost nothing by putting players on waivers since they can cancel the waiver at any time. As a result, teams traditionally dump nearly their entire roster on the super-secret waiver wire without anyone other than high-ranking club officials knowing who has been offered.

The vast majority of players pass through unclaimed, setting up another feeding frenzy of trades in mid- to late August.

Which is why Angels General Manager Tony Reagins, after failing to make a move in July, looked confidentially ahead to mid-August.

"We think there will be some opportunities later on that may materialize," he said.

Last August the Giants added Jose Guillen, Mike Fontenot and Cody Ross for the stretch run and wound up with a World Series title.

Proving his worth

If Boston wins the American League East, Adrian Gonzalez, who leads the majors in hitting and runs batted in, will be a shoo-in for the most-valuable-player award.

But teammate Dustin Pedroia should receive support too. Not only is the gritty soul of the Red Sox having his best season since his MVP year of 2008, but he's also on pace to score 100 runs and set career highs in homers, RBIs, on-base percentage, walks and OPS (on-base plus slugging).

No surprise the Red Sox are 66-41 in games he has started.

Stat watch (Trade deadline edition)

Of the big-name bats to change teams at the trade deadline, first baseman Derrek Lee, who went from Baltimore to Pittsburgh, got off to the best start, homering twice in his Pirates debut.

Hunter Pence, traded from the Astros, hit .360 in his first six games in Philadelphia while Carlos Beltran, who went from the Mets to the Giants, was hitting .265 with seven strikeouts in eight games.

Of the frontline pitchers, new Cardinals starter Edwin Jackson gave up nine runs — including four homers — in two starts while reliever Mike Adams gave up a run in his first inning with Texas and Koji Uehara gave up one in his second inning.

Doug Fister gave the Tigers seven strong innings and a win in his debut in Detroit. Ubaldo Jimenez had a rocky outing in his first start for Cleveland on Friday, and Erik Bedard gave up three runs in five innings and lost his first start for Boston.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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