The Cubs still hope to add help for the stretch run during the August waiver period, but general manager Jed Hoyer said it could be tougher than some other years because of parity this season.
“There’s a lot of teams that are vying for the playoffs, so I think that’ll probably mean a little bit more blocking than usual,” Hoyer said. “There’ll definitely be deals. Whether those will be big deals or not, I would probably say no, simply because I do think people are pretty active on the waiver wire and there’ll be quite a bit of blocking.”
Players are routinely placed on revocable waivers in August. Those who clear can then be traded freely by their clubs. If a player is claimed, the player’s team has 48 hours to trade him or pull him back off waivers – in which case, he can no longer be traded during the period. (If more than one team claims a player, the claim is awarded based on reverse order of standings).
The Cubs last August were granted their claim on Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels but couldn’t work out a deal before Hamels was pulled back.
Hoyer said the Cubs already have been awarded claims this month on players who were pulled back.
“Certainly we’re spending a lot of time every morning on the waiver wire and making our claims,” he said. “But a lot depends on who happens to clear.”
Sources said one of the Cubs’ targets this month is Phillies veteran second baseman Chase Utley, who could be close to returning healthy from a season-long ankle injury. The Dodgers and Yankees also are reportedly interested.
Utley is a $15 million player with a vesting contract option who is a candidate to clear waivers. The Cubs would win a claim among the three teams, based on current standings.