MLB concessions explained: How the Angels’ payroll dump could change the pennant race

At first the Angels went for it on deadline. Then it collapsed in epic fashion. Now they may have the final say in baseball pennant races.

The Angels put nearly a fifth of their roster on waivers on Tuesday, according to the athleteKen RosentaFor, base exploitation — and a roster management tactic — that was relevant back before baseball was consolidated into a single trade deadline. Headliners include starter Lucas Giolito, relievers Matt Moore and Reynaldo Lopez, and outfielders Hunter Renfro and Randall Grischuk.

“You feel like there are occasional people making money from (the exemptions) but not a huge (salary) dump like this,” an AL executive said Tuesday night. “I think it takes a crazy set of circumstances for this to happen. And the angels are over the top in terms of crazy.”

Other players granted waivers, according to Rosenthal, include Yankees outfielder Harrison Bader, Mets outfielder Carlos Carrasco and White Sox outfielder Mike Clevinger. But the Angels’ gambit—unexpected in its breadth and scale—provided plenty of intrigue as baseball contenders contemplated whether to capture the large influx of players on waivers.

Any players claimed on waivers will be awarded to their new team on Thursday. Here’s a primer on what could happen.

pitchers on concessions

player a team throws g/p intellectual property era









97 2/3





48 2/3





153 2/3










53 2/3


Put players on waivers

player a team POS. g scale down HR OPS+

New York


















How do waivers work?

The system is simple. When a player is placed on outright waivers, all 30 teams have a chance to claim him. Assignment priority runs in reverse order of record; Ties broken by record last year. The team with the worst record that makes a claim will receive the player, add him to their 40-player roster, and pay the remainder of his contract. If a player is not claimed, his original team continues to pay his salary.

The repercussions in this case are widespread. Consider this: Before Tuesday’s games, there were 16 teams over . 500 weighed and within 2 1/2 games of the playoff spot, and another (Red Sox 69-63) out 5 1/2 games out. That means the majority of the league is licking their chops to add one or more impact players who got off waivers on Tuesday — and all it will cost them is money.

But it’s also going to take some good luck, because they need this player to fall into their hands. Keep in mind: records are not locked. The waiver order is still in flux. It will be determined based on records during Wednesday’s games. As of Tuesday afternoon, the waiver order had been issued [deep breath] Athletics, Royals, Rockies, White Sox, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Tigers, Mets, Nationals, Padres, Guardians, Angels, Yankees, Marlins, Reds, Giants, Diamondbacks, Twins, Red Sox, Cubs, Blue Jays, Phillies, Astros , Rangers, Brewers, Mariners, Rays, Dodgers, Orioles and Braves.

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So you’re saying the Sailors shot themselves in the foot with this hot streak?

I did not say that. you did.

Why is this happening now?

To be eligible for the postseason, a player must be on the roster by September 1st. The waiver window is open for two days. This means that players will be awarded to the claiming team around 1 PM (ET) on Thursday, August 31. You see how these puzzle pieces fit, right?

Okay, but didn’t they get rid of this system?

system, but not this system.

The old commercial waiver system was abolished in 2019, and it was stipulated that the waiver order be determined by registry And League affiliation. Prior to this, teams would dump almost everyone on their rosters onto revocable waivers, meaning they could be drawn without losing them. Teams used this tactic to mask players they actually wanted to trade, letting them know if they could strike a deal on the other side. So John Smoltz went to Atlanta, Jeff Bagwell went to Houston, Larry Walker went to St. Louis, Bert Blelevin went to Minnesota, Justin Verlander went to Houston (the first time) all in August. Until August 31, teams can trade players on waivers and make them eligible for postseason play, effectively creating two trading deadlines.

In MLB after 2019, waivers no longer exist and there is only one trade deadline. The order of assignment is also strictly determined by the register. Although players can still be claimed on waivers after the trade deadline, they can no longer be traded on waivers. Their original team will only receive salary relief, not leads or extra money.

There has to be a catch, right?

No hunting. What you see is real. There are a group of players clearing waivers right now who were coveted trade targets just a month ago. Now they can play for your favorite team (unless it’s the Angels) for the low price of whatever it costs to hire them for a month. There are no possibilities of abandoning it. Only cash. It’s a really good deal for the team, if you can get one of those guys.

Can one team intercept all these men?

In theory, yes. Because a waiver claim does not affect another claim, the waiver order remains the same. For example, all 30 teams could make claims for each player, but Team A would get all of them by virtue of getting waiver claim No. 1. A getting the first guy doesn’t change their odds of getting the others. See, compromises are fun right?

What exactly are angels thinking?

They are thinking about cutting their losses. The Angels have been the worst team in baseball since the trade deadline, going 7-17, and while not mathematically eliminated, the playoff odds on Fangraphs are 0 percent. They’re elite, and pushing a large portion of their roster onto waivers could save some money while waving the proverbial white flag.

They think about taxes, specifically about avoiding them. When the Angels went all out in the final week of July, it pushed their team’s payroll into the first level of the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT). Eliminating some salaries would drop them below the $233 million cash transfer threshold and avoid any associated taxes, penalties and anger from smaller salary earners.

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And they’re considering pitting themselves against the inevitability of Shuhei Ohtani making it to free agency. If Ohtani declines the Angels’ qualifying offer this fall — which he will — and they are above the first CBT threshold, the compensation pick they will receive will come after the fourth round. However, if they fall below the minimum, the compensation selection will come after the Comp Round, after the second round. This is no small matter. In this year’s draft, there were between 60 and 70 picks in the two draft positions.

So, despite how much grief the Angels will feel over this dump of desperate condescension, there are strategic decisions to be made. They were overwhelmed by the sad state of the club.

Where could Giolito end up?

with whoever wants it. The Angels acquired Giolito before the deadline — along with the aforementioned López — in exchange for top prospects Edgar Quero and Lefty Ky Bush. He posted a 6.89 ERA in six starts with the Angels, so the recent record is spotty, but there’s certainly a team out there that would buy his overall body of work.

The Twins, in particular, could use a promotion and would be well-positioned in the waiver order compared to other contenders. This could be a second chance for the Reds, without Nick Lodolo, to make a move to add a veteran to their young starting staff. The Diamondbacks are getting a second crack at it, too. The Giants, after weeks of playoffs and home openers, are another team that could use a rotation boost, though they have a strange roster crunch with a parade of injured players returning. It’s possible the Red Sox could make a play for Giolito, if they believe they’re still in the wild-card hunt. Sure, the Orioles could use the deadline as well, but will Giolito still be available when their (currently second-to-last) turn comes?

What about the other players?

As a general rule, competitors are always looking for another home. Left-hander Matt Moore appears to be a perfect fit for the Astros, while reliever Reynaldo Lopez could fit anywhere — even if it means finally saying goodbye to longtime teammate Giolito. The Rangers need help, even though their forfeit order is down. Randall Grichuk has history in Toronto, and the Blue Jays’ shortstop is in desperate need of an offense.

The whole exercise feels like a game on The Price is Right. (Peace be upon you, Bob Barker.)

Do you want Matt Moore or do you want to succeed? You have 10 seconds“.

Who are the contenders best able to add real talent?

This is truly a great opportunity for the top six contenders in the current waiver order, which, once you exclude the sub-.500 teams, goes: Marlins, Reds, Giants, Diamondbacks, Twins, Red Sox. There’s suddenly an abundance of weapons on waivers, at cheap prices, and these teams are first in line (unless non-contenders play spoiler) to grab them.

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Another team we didn’t mention: the Cubs, who are in the midst of the NL wild-card race and should be in a decent position in the waiver standings.

What teams can be chaos factors?

There is a long history of teams higher in the pecking order (and lower in the pecking order) doing everything they can to shut out a competitor. Yankees Jose Canseco arrested with no reason. The Giants claimed Cody Ross to spite the Padres. The Padres banned the Braves for Randy Myers, but it backfired when the Blue Jays continued the claim and San Diego stopped paying $13 million for an injured reliever.

There’s no limit to the number of claims a team can file, so, in theory, the Athletics could use waiver priority #1 to claim a quarter of the Angels’ roster over waivers, as long as they find the roster space to fit all of them. This is clearly an exaggeration. Why would you need more when you have Zach Geloff? But it does show that the door is open to chaos~.

“I think teams will definitely demand players they don’t necessarily want in order for other teams to not get them,” the AL executive said. Claim them all and find out later. “The chaos is due to the current concession order and the appetite and creativity of individual teams,” he added.

I wonder where we can find such a hungry and creative team right now. Oh no, that’s the music of AJ Briller. The Padres walk the line between cooked and competitive if you stare too hard. They’ve all been in, but there are eight games under .500 and seven out of the wild card range. Giolito could replace Rich Hill or Pedro Avila. Badr could start at center. Bullpen could use restocking. The more I thought about it, the more I wondered if this was the moment the Padres had been waiting for, and preparing for, all this time.

Now that they’ve knocked Noah Syndergaard off the roster, the Guardians might not mind taking another arm to eat the innings in September. The Yankees have a chance to disrupt the four teams ahead of them in the division, but it would be surprising to see them feed off the waivers and pull off the backfield at the same time.

The real chaos can come from watching the scoreboard. The waiver order won’t be locked until after Wednesday’s matches, which means there’s still time for some movement up and down the pecking order. Did you just hear Wrigley’s “Tank to Giulito” chant? However, with a bunch of concessions claiming this to be interesting, 48 hours might be pretty silly.

the athlete Mark Caregg and Evan Drilich contributed to this report.

(Top photo of Lucas Giolito making his Angels debut: Cole Burston/Getty Images)

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