The invaluable MLB Trade Rumors site has a guide to how August waiver deals work that is worth taking a look at.
Per MLBTR: A player must be cleared through waivers to be traded. If only one team claims a player, he can only be dealt to that team. If more than one team claims a player, he can only be traded to the team in his league with the worst record.
One thing to keep in mind is that teams will put most of their roster on waivers. That doesn’t mean they want to get rid of a player, it’s a just way to gauge interest in that player or camouflage the actual move they want to make. Since the waivers are revocable, if a team claims, say, Albert Pujols, the Cardinals simply pull him back.
So if you read, “Shocking news, the Red Sox have placed Kevin Youkilis on waivers,” that really isn’t news. It’s just one of those only-in-baseball procedural things.
Lots of folks are e-mailing to ask whether he Red Sox will make a waiver move in August. The short answer is nobody knows right now. If they’re three games out on Aug. 15, I’m sure they’ll be looking for a bullpen arm. But it’s hard to say who will be available.