Dan's Dugout: Baseball Waiver Wire Runs Wild • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Baseball Waiver Wire Runs Wild

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Although they are buried in this year’s National League East standings, the Mets are making off-the-field news as the end-of-month waiver trade deadline nears.

Former postseason stud Daniel Murphy gets a new chance with the Cubs

Daniel Murphy, the club’s offensive star during the 2015 postseason, will get another October opportunity in the wake of the Tuesday trade that sent him to the Chicago Cubs.

Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda, other former Mets sluggers, have not only cleared waivers but could be returning to New York as the Yankees seek to patch lineup holes caused by injuries to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.

A current member of the Mets, versatile infielder Wilmer Flores, once cried when traded by the Mets but never left because the deal was cancelled after incoming outfielder Carlos Gomez failed a physical. Flores, however, is trade bait again and a prime target for a contender that needs a solid bat against lefthanded pitching.

The red-hot St. Louis Cardinals, on fire since changing managers just before the All-Star break, picked up a prodigious bench bat Tuesday when they reacquired Matt Adams, another man suddenly sent out of Washington. Like Murphy, Adams delivered many long hits for the Nats, especially after brittle first baseman Ryan Zimmerman missed long stretches earlier in the campaign.

Adams, a lefthanded batter, is the opposite of Flores: he murders righthanded pitchers.

One potential waiver pickup who handles pitchers of all types is Andrew McCutchen, completing is first year with the San Francisco Giants. Once the National League MVP for Pittsburgh, he’s capable of playing anywhere in the outfield and batting anywhere from first to fourth.

Andrew McCutchen could find a new club by August 31

McCutchen may be having a bad year but he’s a five-time All-Star who can help a contender. At age 31, landing with a potential playoff team could be the shot in the arm he needs to revive his game. The Giants are reeling after a sweep by the lackluster Reds in Cincinnati and are willing to sell with an eye toward 2019. Madison Bumgarner, once a stalwart southpaw starter, could even be changing uniforms for the first time in his career.

With free agency looming for Gio Gonzalez, Matt Wieters, and Mark Reynolds in Washington, all have cleared revocable waivers. That means they can be claimed, traded, or retained. Bryce Harper, the team’s biggest star, was pulled back when claimed and his waivers have expired. He’ll stay put for now but could walk in the fall, when free agency also beckons for him.

The jury is still out on Justin Smoak, Josh Donaldson, and C.J. Cron, American League heavyweights who have cleared waivers but come with handicaps ranging from health issues to questionable defense – not to mention hefty salaries, even for the five-and-a-half weeks left in the season.

Then there is Adam Jones, who spent most of this season playing center field for the awful Baltimore Orioles. He’ll be a free agent too and has cleared waivers but has 5-and-10 rights allowing him to veto any trade he doesn’t like. If he wants to play in October, however, his only choice is to accept, especially if the acquiring team sweetens the pot.

Postseason rosters freeze at midnight on August 31 so a deluge of deals is likely.

Even if revocable waivers expire on a player, such as Harper, a team could request waivers again. If that happens, those waivers are irrevocable and the player will move if claimed.

There are four divisions up for grabs, with the Boston Red Sox virtually certain to keep control of the American League East and the Cleveland Indians cruising in the AL Central.  And don’t forget about the wild-card scenario, with two teams owning the second-best records in each league meeting in a single-game showdown to determine who moves on in the playoffs.

To cite one example, the Cardinals began play Tuesday tied for the National League’s second wild-card spot with the Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies. They were 3½ games behind the first-place Cubs and just a half-game behind the Milwaukee Brewers in an NL Central race that could send three clubs into the playoffs (the division winner and both wild-cards).

The American League West is even crazier. The surging Oakland Athletics have actually caught the World Champion Houston Astros and sit in a tie atop the AL West standings. But the Seattle Mariners, probably the most trade-happy club in the game, are keeping the pressure on both. Barring a total collapse by the Yankees, however, there’s only one wild-card spot open in the AL.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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