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Twins should consider claiming these 4 pitchers if they're waived

MLB teams can still acquire players through outright waivers.
Wade Davis

Wade Davis, shown here making the final pitch of the 2015 World Series with the Royals. 

The 2019 MLB trade deadline has passed and teams can no longer make trades with one another at the Major League level. In pervious seasons, teams were able to orchestrate trades after the first "soft deadline" in August through trade waivers, but that's not the case anymore.

Teams can technically still acquire players who are put through outright waivers. This happens when a team options a player off its roster. The player then goes through waivers, and other teams can make the decision to put in a claim. 

But if a team puts in a claim, that means they're taking on that player's remaining guaranteed salary. So even though teams aren't surrendering prospects or players, they're taking a big gamble towards the future payroll. 

The order of waivers is determined by the lowest winning percentage, so the Twins won't have first pick. 

Twins General Manager Thad Levine joined MLB Network Radio over the weekend and said that it wouldn't be surprising to see a few head-scratching moves this month.

"There will be a few players that change hands between now and the end of August," said Levine. "That will leave some fans scratching their head that they were available just on an outright waiver claim."

It's worth noting that it's tough to predict who will end up on outright waivers, but as MLB Trade Rumors points out, often times it is players with hefty contracts on non-contending teams. 

Here are five candidates (all pitchers) who the Twins should considering claiming if they wind up on waivers. 

Wade Davis, Colorado

Wade Davis has had a rough go of it in his second season in Colorado. In 37 games, Davis has allowed 24 earned runs (6.61 ERA) in 32 innings with 34 strikeouts and 20 walks.

However, from 2014-17, he allowed just 143 hits in 241 innings, with 313 strikeouts.

He's also been a monster in the postseason, which included back-to-back World Series appearances with the Kansas City Royals. In his seven appearances in the World Series, Davis didn't allow a run and struck out 18 of the 32 batters he faced.

Here's the yearly breakdown of his remaining contract.

  • 2019: $18 million 
  • 2020: $17 million 
  • 2021: $15 million (mutual option)

So if he were to be claimed, the Twins would have to pay him about $5.5 for the rest of this season, while assuming the remaining $32 million on his deal. 

If he can regain the form he had in recent years, he'd be a valuable asset in the postseason.

Danny Duffey, Kansas City

The Kansas City Royals are more than 30 games under .500 (40-73) and are heading towards a massive rebuild, or to be blunt, they're on track to be terrible for a long time.

Left-handed starter Danny Duffey is earning $15.2 million this season and is on the books for $31 million through the 2021 season.

Over the last two years, Duffey has an ERA of 4.90 in 255 innings, while pacing a 162-game average of 171 strikeouts and 70 walks.

Although he's been a starting pitcher the last two seasons, he was used as a reliever in parts of the 2015 and 2016 seasons and yielded impressive results. In 28 career relief appearances, Duffey has an ERA of 2.08 in 34 innings while punching out 44 batters.

So it seems like a wise move to get him back in the 'pen, but $15 million a year for a reliever is what a guy like Craig Kimbrel *cough* makes, not Duffey. 

But with the Twins needing all the relief help they can get, it might be worth the risk, if Kansas City were to outright him. 

Nathan Eovaldi, Boston

After injuries caused him to miss the majority of the first half of the season, Eovaldi  returned in July and has been primarily used as a reliever for the Boston Red Sox.

Currently, the Red Sox are in a free fall having lost eight straight games and are now 6.5 games back of a wild-card spot.

Following his return from injury, Boston moved him to the bullpen where he's struck out nine batters in 4.2 innings, but has also allowed five earned runs.

Eovaldi was Boston's postseason hero last year in their World Series season. In 22 innings, (six appearances, two starts) the right-hander posted a WHIP of 0.80 and an ERA of 1.61.

He was rewarded with a four-year, $68 million contract in the winter. It's probably unlikely they outright him but if Boston doesn't want to be on the books for the remaining $51 million of his contract in his age 30, 31 and 32 seasons, maybe they deem him expendable.

Jeff Samardzija, San Francisco

The one they call "Shark" is actually having a nice bounce-back season for the Giants. In 22 starts, Samardzija has an ERA of 3.75 in 122.1 innings, with 107 strikeouts to just 33 walks. 

After an All-Star season in 2014, Samardzija hit a rough patch from 2015-2018 where he owned a 4.53 ERA while earning $60 million between the White Sox and Giants.

He's on the books for $19.8 million this season and in 2020. If he were to be outrighted, the Twins would be on the hook for about $26 million of his contract – $7 million for the rest of 2019 and $19.8 in 2020.

Probably the only situation where he would be outrighted is if the Giants hit the wall over the next few weeks and decide it's not worth paying him the $19.8 million he's owed next season.

For context, The Los Angeles Angels outrighted Jonathan Lucroy and the Atlanta Braves did the same to Kevin Gausman, who was claimed by the Cincinnati Reds, so teams are already starting this process. 

Time will tell if other teams follow suite.

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