Last week it was reported that the Rays had placed Kyle Farnsworth on waivers. Turns out James Shields and Johnny Damon were also exposed to waivers to possibly test the trade waters on both players (thanks Jame).
It is a little early to get too excited about this news. These moves could mean something, or they could mean nothing.
In order to make a trade in August, a player must first be exposed to waivers. If no team claims the player, the Rays are free to trade that player to any team. If however, that player is claimed, the Rays will pull the player back from waivers and the only team they can work a deal with is the team that claimed him.
Of course, one part of this cat-and-mouse game is that teams can claim a player in which their only intention is to keep that player away from another team. The risk is that the team placing the player on waivers won’t pull the player back. This happened in 2000 when the Yankees tried to block Jose Canseco from the A’s when the Devil Rays placed the oft-injured slugger on waivers, and instead the Yankees were stuck with a player they didn’t want.
We still don’t know who claimed the three players (although in the case of Damon, he may have gone unclaimed). But with just one team to negotiate with, it seems highly unlikely that Shields will be moved now. The other two players are certainly candidates to be moved.