Welcome to the wonderful world of waivers

If the Red Sox’ season isn’t blown up by the Yankees this weekend (or by the Indians tonight for that matter), waiver deals could become very important to them before the August 31 roster deadline.

Last season the Sox were able to add Billy Wagner and Alex Gonzalez with waiver deals, so they can make a big difference.

Teams asking waivers on players are generally routine in August, but the reasons vary.

There are “optional” waivers and “trade” waivers.

Optional waivers are more book keeping in nature and a player can’t be claimed. Optional waivers are required to option a player who has debuted in the majors more than three years ago.

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At this time of the year, trade waivers are the ones to watch.

If a player is placed on trade waivers, the player could be claimed by the other teams, but the claim would be rewarded to the team with the worst record in that particular league. If it’s an American League player, he would go to the AL team with the worst record. If the player passed through the AL unclaimed he would pass through the NL and if taken by a few teams, would be awarded to the team with the worst record.

Once a player is claimed on trade waivers, the team could either award the team the player (take him and his contract, please), work out a deal with the team who has been awarded the claim, or pull the player back. If they pull the player back the player can’t be traded the rest of the season. If the player passes waivers with no claims on him, he’s free to be traded anywhere.

Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com reported Jonathan Papelbon had been claimed by an American League team. The Red Sox may have explored a deal with the claiming team, but more than likely the Sox have pulled Paplebon back.

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On Monday, the Sox put Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida (who had been designated for assignment), David Ortiz, Papelbon, Marco Scutaro and Tim Wakefield on trade waivers. Added Adrian Beltre, Jed Lowrie, Victor Martinez and Daisuke Matsuzaka on Tuesday and Mike Lowell on Wednesday. These are obviously veteran players the Sox could consider dealing if there was a claim put on them either because their contract is close to expiring or simply to gage interest. Both Ortiz and Wakefield are also 10-5 players which would require their permission to be dealt. The Sox have also put Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Scott Atchison and Hideki Okajima on “optional” waivers, but book keeping more than anything.

Once a player is on “trade” waivers, there’s a 48-hour period which must go by to see if any player has been claimed or unclaimed.

There have been interesting players on “trade” waivers throughout the league like Seattle reliever Dave Aardsma, KC outfielder Jose Guillen, Twins outfielders Jason Kubel and Delmon Young, Chicago’s Gordan Beckham, Gavin Floyd, JJ Putz and Matt Thornton. Oakland’s Dallas Braden, Coco Crisp, Mark Ellis and Jerry Blevins. The Cubs put outfielder Kosuke Fukodome and righty pitcher Carlos Zambrano out there, two players they’d love to move. The Phillies put Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt and Raul Ibanez on “trade” waivers. The Nationals put Adam Dunn out there.

Of course, we’ve also seen names who have little chance of being dealt on “trade” waivers including Albert Pujols, Tim Lincecum, Ubaldo Jiminez, Chris Carpenter, Ichiro, and Zack Greinke.

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