Players who could still be traded before Aug. 31 waiver deadline
Teams can place any player they want on waivers; if another team claims him...
The first team can pull him back, work out a trade or let him and his salary go
Claiming high-salried players risks being stuck with their salary
Some of the biggest names discussed in potential trades before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline have too much value to clear waivers and be traded now, such as Washington's Adam Dunn and Toronto's Jose Bautista. And some who might have cleared waivers were already traded, possibly including Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood, Cristian Guzman and Jake Westbrook.
But there will be trades before the August 31 waiver deadline. There always are. Many players will clear waivers (though many of those players have such onerous contracts, it'll still be difficult to deal them). And some will be dealt.
More players may clear this year than ever considering how few teams seem willing to take on money in this economy. Here's a list of many of the players who are very likely to clear waivers and thus would remain eligible to be traded.
NOTE: Some players who are claimed by a team may still be traded if a deal can be arranged with the claiming team, and that happens occasionally. (Thanks to Cot's Contracts for much salary info.)
1. Chone Figgins, Mariners 2B. He's in the first year of a four-year, $36 million contract, and for whatever reason, Seattle doesn't appear to be the perfect match it seemed to be. He recently had a dispute that became public with manager Don Wakamatsu. Someone may still remember his productivity from his days with the Angels and see him as a potential igniter atop a lineup.
2. Barry Zito, Giants SP. The Giants are said to have wanted to keep all their starters "unless they were lucky enough for someone to take Zito," one competing executive said. He is actually pitching extremely well now -- his 3.38 ERA is his lowest in seven years -- but that $80 million he's still owed through 2014 still looks very steep. He'll get through, but no deal is likely because he has a full no trade clause.
3. Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs OF. His name was out there. But with an $11 million salary and the likelihood he'd only be a fourth outfielder for a contender make him a non-claim.
4. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays OF. With 20 home runs and 55 RBIs, he has regained his form this year, but his salaries are still outrageously high ($23 million next year, then $21 million the three years after that) and he has a complete no-trade clause.
5. Aramis Ramirez, Cubs 3B. He's hitting .303 since coming off the disabled list in late June. But that $14.6 million player option for next year is something no one wants (except him, of course).
6. Nate McLouth, Braves OF. At the moment, he's in the minor leagues after batting just .168 in his first season in Atlanta. Less than $3 million remains this year (there's also a $1.25 million buyout for next year) but he just hasn't been the same player since leaving Pittsburgh.
7. Travis Hafner, Indians DH. With just 9 home runs and 33 RBIs, he's about half the hitter he used to be but still has a $13 million salary. Not a speck of trade chatter was heard despite the Indians' obvious selling mode.
8. Raul Ibanez, Phillies OF. He was great in the first half last year but has been unproductive for more than a year and has just 10 home runs and a .266 batting average. Also has $11.5 million salary this year and next.
9. Aaron Harang, Reds SP. His $12.5 million salary plus $2 million buyout isn't justified by his recent performance, which includes a 5.02 ERA.
10. Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers SP. His four-year, $38 million contract looked reasonable when it was signed before the 2007 season, but he's a back-end of the rotation starter now, not worthy of $10 million per year.
11. Hideki Matsui, Angels DH/OF. There's an outside chance he could be claimed, but he makes $6.5 million which doesn't look especially cheap at the moment. The Angels are not sellers at present, either.
12. Aaron Cook, Rockies SP. His name was out there on the market before the deadline, but a salary of $9 million for this year, a couple more years and a mutual option means he'll likely make it through waivers.
13. Alfonso Soriano, Cubs OF. He can still hit but his $18 million salary through 2014 is unwarranted.
14. Derrek Lee, Cubs 1B. He already invoked his no-trade to a nice place like Anaheim, so he should be presumed to be staying in Chicago. But his $13 million salary means he should get through should he have a change of heart.
15. Ollie Perez, Mets SP. The Mets offered him around but there were no takers. They'd like him to go to the minors but he is said to not want to return after spending more than a month down there already this season. Manager Jerry Manuel told Mets people he is loathe to use Perez at home considering the reception he gets at Citi Field. Maybe they can continue to talk about a deal with the Cubs for Carlos Zambrano.
16. Carlos Zambrano, SP. He's making $17.875 million this year and still has three years left on his deal, both of which make him impossible to trade -- unless it's for that rare player who is similarly overpriced. The Cubs would like him out, though, especially after his dugout blowup with teammate and good guy Derrek Lee (and probably long before that).
17. Luis Castillo, Mets 2B. The Mets have been trying to trade him for years, with no success. Has slipped to the point where he isn't worth close to his $6 million salary.
18. Jeff Francoeur, Mets OF. With Jason Bay on the shelf with a concussion, it might be hard to deal Francoeur. He's great in the clubhouse but has continued to be inconsistent offensively, batting just .236 with a .288 on-base percentage.
19. Carlos Beltran, Mets OF. Great talent who is just back from his knee injury and hasn't yet showed his old form. He has a full no-trade clause but might be amenable to a deal after his winter disagreement with the team over the knee surgery that kept him out half the year. One more year left in $119 million, seven year deal he signed before the 2005 season.
20. Randy Wolf, Brewers SP. Solid starter hasn't proved worth his $29.75 million, three-year deal. Could help a contender if the Brewers fall completely out of it, though, assuming he's OK after being struck by a line drive Saturday.
21. Dave Bush, Brewers SP. Strictly a back-end of the rotation pitcher who is being paid $4.215 million.
22. Paul Maholm, Pirates SP. With about $8 million to go through next year he could get claimed. Solid starter drew interest from the Padres.
23. Pedro Feliz, Astros 3B. A disappointment as a hitter, he's making $4.5 million.
24. Brandon Lyon, Astros RP. Nice reliever but $5 million salary is quite high for a non-closer.
25. Mark Ellis, A's 2B. Also a nice player, but with $3 million to go through next year (including buyout), he could get through.
26. Coco Crisp, A's OF. Good defender could draw interest. Has about $2.5 million through next year left.
27. Milton Bradley, Mariners OF. With $16 million to go through next year, no chance anyone claims him. But does anyone want him, either?
28. Casey Kotchman, Mariners 1B. Looks like strictly a defender now. No one should claim him with $1.5 million to go.
29. Joe Blanton, Phillies SP. No way he gets claimed in the first year of a three-year, $24 million contract.
30. Trevor Hoffman, Brewers RP. He reportedly drew interest from the Red Sox, but no one should claim him with $3.5 million to go through next year (including a buyout).
31. Jose Guillen, Royals OF. He's making $12 million and has a reputation for having a bad attitude, but he can still hit, as evidenced by his 16 home runs and 61 RBIs.