A litany of notable MLB players reportedly hit the waiver wire on Tuesday evening. Let's not go crazy and say this is akin to when some shady former friend drops his entire fantasy football team in a fit of rage or vengeance and ruins the league, but there were enough names to move the needle here for a playoff team or two.
As a reminder, teams can grab any of these players for just the money remaining on their respective deals. The players run through waivers in reverse order of the standings. This means the most sought-after players will very likely be selected before they get to the best teams, but all of the players are unlikely to be nabbed by non-contenders. No players will be going back to the teams that placed these players on waivers. It's all about just saving money.
Let's get to it. It's Waiver Matchmaker time.
Lucas Giolito: Cubs
Once they held at the trade deadline, they were fully committed to try and win this year and the team has rewarded the front office for playing well since the deadline. The rotation became a problem, though. Marcus Stroman had a tailspin and then injury. Once he was ready to return from said injury, he fractured rib cage cartilage and that's such an obscure injury we can't really be sure about a timetable for a return. Drew Smyly has pitched his way out of the rotation. The Cubs need to hope rookie Jordan Wicks and youngster Javier Assad hold up. Jameson Taillon has been mostly bad this year. And Justin Steele has now thrown 25 more innings than last season, his previous professional career high.
The Cubs have a doubleheader on Friday and could reconfigure the rotation to allow a Giolito start on Saturday in hope that a return to a Chicago team shakes something loose for the former White Sox All-Star.
He's a lottery ticket, basically, but the Cubs can afford to spend on one right now.
Mike Clevinger: Reds*
The Reds punted on starting pitching at the trade deadline, but Hunter Greene has been terrible since he returned from injury and it looks like Nick Lodolo might not come back. Rookie Andrew Abbott appears to be running out of gas, too, and there's only so much a resurgent Graham Ashcraft can do on his own.
Clevinger is a fit. He was throwing the ball really well for the White Sox.
I threw the asterisk on here, however, because my hunch is the Reds won't spend the money, nor will any other team. Between his remaining salary and the buyout on a mutual option for 2024, any claiming team would likely be on the hook for over $5 million just for claiming Clevinger right now.
Due to this, I bet he clears waivers.
Hunter Renfroe: Marlins
The Marlins already showed at the trade deadline that they'll desperately grab anyone who could possibly get hot and help the offense. Renfroe has five seasons under his belt with at least 26 home runs and has 18 this season. He had a 124 OPS+ last season. He's another potential big bat in a lineup that has several. Why not try another?
Harrison Bader: Twins
The Twins are mostly playing Michael A. Taylor in center field and it's possible he's better than Bader the rest of the season. It's also possible that Bader would be an upgrade and it's probably worth the less-than-$1 million payout Bader is due to find out here in the coming weeks. Bader had a hot bat in the playoffs for the Yankees last season and plays excellent defense in center. He's an excellent fit here.
Randal Grichuk: Red Sox
Grichuk has been awful since joining the Angels, but he has plenty of potential. The Red Sox don't really have a center fielder right now and promoted hotshot prospect Ceddanne Rafaela Tuesday. They don't plan on playing him everyday and adding Grichuk to the fold would give them another depth option as they throw enough things at the wall in hopes that something sticks for the rest of 2023.
Carlos Carrasco: No team
Carrasco is 36 years old and has a 10.24 ERA since the All-Star break. He's owed more than $2 million in the last month of the season. I gave this a big effort to throw a team and asterisk on Carrasco like I did Clevinger, but I just don't find a fit that even works there.