Twitter is abuzz this morning after a report came out indicating that Elvis Andrus had cleared waivers. People are asking the usual questions when news like this breaks...why was he on waivers? Are the Rangers trying to trade him? Why wouldn't any team claim him? Doesn't this mean his contract is awful?
Here's the reality -- Elvis Andrus being put on waivers, and clearing waivers, means nothing. From July 31 of each year until the end of the season, a player on the 40 man roster cannot be traded unless he clears "revocable waivers." They are revocable waivers because, if a team claims a player, the team who put the player on waivers can pull him back and keep him.
Now, I suppose that, years ago, teams would only put players they had an interest in dealing on waivers. Nowadays, though, virtually every player ends up being put on waivers during the August waiver period. Why? Because, well, why not? The chances that one of those guys is going to be dealt is infinitesimal, but as we saw last year, when Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett were all sent to the Dodgers, the chances aren't zero. So just in case, just to prepare for a Black Swan event, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland, and just about every other player on the Rangers 40 man roster will most likely be put on waivers.
And since there is a limit to the number of claims a team can put in on players in any given day, teams usually won't waste their time putting in a claim on a player they know won't be dealt anyway.
Don't believe me? Here's what Jayson Stark wrote about this, nine years ago:
Virtually every player in the major leagues will be placed on waivers this month, whether a team intends to trade that player or not. If nothing else, the sheer volume of names can at least disguise players whom clubs do want to sneak through so they can be dealt.
Now, does that mean that for any and every player, whether they are on waivers, or clear waivers, is irrelevant? No. A player who could get dealt in August being on waivers, claimed, or clearing waivers is noteworthy. If Kendrys Morales or Mike Morse are on waivers, or clear waivers, that's something to pay attention to, because they could be traded. The waiver status of any free-agent-to-be on a bad team is of import, because that's the type of player who a contender would look at picking up.
But as far as Rangers being put on waivers right now, there's nothing to see here.