[Update 2:04pm] We just spoke with the Rays front office and they confirmed that the Rays paid the O’s the standard $20K waiver claim fee for Bradford.
This means that even though the Orioles pulled Bradford back from waivers and traded him to the Rays for a player to be named later, that has since been changed.
In other words, the “trade” never happened.
Our guess is that the Orioles did not like any of the players offered by the Rays (likely very low-level prospects) and have since rescinded the “trade” making the original deal a simple waiver-claim.
[1:42pm] The last time we heard about the enduring Chad Bradford-deal was in early November when Orioles GM Andy MacPhail announced that the “player to be named later” would be announced some time between the end of the World Series and the beginning of the Winter Meetings. Bradford was originally traded to the Rays in early August.
Nearly six months later and we are still waiting for an official announcement from the O’s and Rays on who or what the Rays sent to the Orioles to complete the deal.
But buried deep in a piece at the Baltimore Sun about the Orioles payroll, one writer may have the answer.
On December 27, while responding to comments on his blog, Peter Schmuck wrote the following:
Pete’s reply: …I’ve gotten the Bradford question dozens and dozens of times and I have asked Andy [MacPhail] about it. It started out to be a PTNL, but apparently turned out to be a cash payment, though they have never officially announced anything. Andy has conceded that the deal turned out to be a mistake, because nobody stepped up to take over that role.
So why are we still skeptical? Because that comment was written at 5:30pm. Four hours earlier, at 1:10pm, Schmuck wrote something a little different:
Pete’s reply: I’ve answered the Chad Bradford question about a hundred times. They almost certainly will get a cash payment, if they aren’t already. The alternative would be a player you’ve never heard of.
What is not clear is why Schmuck changed his tune four hours later. Did he contact MacPhail and finally confirm the “cash payment”? Or is he just reaching his own conclusion based on the evidence we have all seen?
Clearly, without a player moving from the Rays organization to the O’s, we can assume that the Rays will send cash. But if the deal has already been completed, it is interesting that a formal announcement was never made and we still don’t know how much money the Rays were required to send.
Our own research seems to indicate that a deal involving a “player to be named later” must be concluded within six months, although we have been unable to confirm this. If this is true, the deal must be completed by February 7.