The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported this past weekend that both Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy were placed on revocable waivers, noting on Twitter that the Washington Nationals placed, “a number of players,” on waivers last Friday though he added that the Nationals’, “intentions [were] not clear,” and, “... virtually every player goes on waivers as matter of procedure this time of year.”
“Harper owed ~$5M [and] Murphy ~$4M,” Rosenthal wrote in a follow-up tweet, are, “... both potential FAs.
“[Nationals] might simply want to see if they clear, giving GM [Mike] Rizzo option(s) to make [a] deal before 8/31 if [the] team fades.”
If any player placed on revocable waivers clears (or is not claimed), the Nationals are free to trade them before August 31st, “... however, if one team puts in a claim on that player,” as Fangraphs.com’s Waiver explainer explains:
“... the original team has three choices: let the player go to the claiming team (at which point, the claiming team will take on the remainder of that player’s contract and salary), work out a trade with the claiming team within 48.5 business-day hours, or pull the player from waivers and keep him.”
According to a report by New York Post writer Joel Sherman tonight, Murphy has actually been claimed by an as-yet unidentified team.
Writing about the New York Yankees’ search for a bat to add to their roster, Sherman wrote that, “Washington’s Daniel Murphy was claimed before he reached the Yankees.”
Murphy, 33, who’s playing out the final year of his 3-year/$37.5M deal with the Nationals, missed the first 65 games this season, but after struggling to get up to speed once he’d returned to the lineup, he’s looked more like himself (at the plate at least), putting up a .336/.379/.514 line since July 1st, leaving him with a .300/.341/.442 line after he had an 11-game hit streak end in Sunday’s loss to the Miami Marlins.
MLBTraderumors.com’s Jeff Todd mentioned in writing up the news that Murphy had been claimed, that, “... [t]he unidentified team would have been awarded the claim on Sunday, setting off a period of 48.5 hours during which that club and the Nationals will see if they can work something out.”
Murphy received a qualifying offer from the New York Mets before he left via free agency and signed with the Nationals in January of 2016, so he can’t receive one this winter if he hits free agency again.
Will Rizzo and Co. in the Nats’ front office, who dealt Brandon Kintzler to the Chicago Cubs at the non-waiver deadline at least in part to get, “some financial relief not only in 2018, but in ‘19 to allocate towards the ‘19 team,” as Rizzo told 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies after the July 31st deadline, opt for some more financial relief by dealing Murphy as well with the team 7.5 out in the NL East and 6.5 out of the second Wild Card spot (behind three teams), considering they wouldn’t receive a compensatory pick if he were to leave via free agency?
Will they pull Murphy off waivers? If they did that, they’d still have options, as noted in the Fangraphs.com explainer:
“If a player has been placed on revocable waivers, claimed, and then withdrawn from waivers, he cannot be pulled from waivers again that season.
In other words, if the team placed that player on waivers again that same season and he was claimed, they’d have to work out a trade or let the player go – they can’t pull him back a second time.”
If the Nationals did trade Murphy, or let him go, they could play Wilmer Difo at second, or... call up Carter Kieboom and let him play second, where he might end up in the future with Trea Turner firmly ensconced at short right now?
We should know what the Nationals decide to do by tomorrow when the 48.5-hour period is up, assuming the dates discussed (put on waivers on Friday, claimed on Sunday, etc.) are in fact accurate. Also, who claimed Murphy?
UPDATE: Washington Post writer Jorge Castillo reported on Twitter that both Bryce Harper and Matt Adams were claimed as well, though the teams that claimed them are not known either...
Here's at least a partial list of the players the Nationals placed on revocable waivers, per source: Murphy, Harper, Adams, Reynolds, Wieters, and Gonzalez. At least Murphy, Harper, and Adams were claimed.— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) August 21, 2018