The non-waiver trade deadline passed last week, and to many people's surprise, there were no deals involving the Texas Rangers' two hottest pieces of trade bait remaining, Alex Rios and Neal Cotts.
Just as the Rangers acquired Rios last season, deals can still be made post-July 31, it's just a bit more of a process as players must pass through waivers to be dealt to any team. If a player is claimed, they can be traded to that team, only.
According to numerous reports over the past couple of days, the Washington Nationals are hot on the trail of Rangers reliever Neal Cotts, who has now become the Rangers setup man with Joakim Soria's and Jason Frasor's departures.
Cotts is 2-5 with a 3.38 ERA and has pitched much better as of late after some pretty serious struggles earlier in the season. He's been nothing like his splendid season last year when he put up a 1.11 ERA, but he's been closer to that version lately.
The chances of him passing through waivers seem low, considering he's a free agent this winter and is only owed the remainder of his $2.2 million for this season, which would be less than $1 million. In order for the Nationals to get him, he'd have to pass through all of the American League teams and then most of the NL teams first.
If Cotts is claimed, he can either be traded to that team, granted to that team for the remainder of his salary or pulled back off waivers for the rest of the year. If he passes through without being claimed by anyone, he can then be traded to any team, as was the case with Rios last season.
The Rangers have expressed interest in bringing Cotts back next season, and he'd be a nice piece to have going forward, but if they could get something for him for a couple of months and then bring him back in 2015, more power to them.