Every year, MLB‘s trade deadline brings about a flurry of activity. And every year, players get traded after that deadline, throwing many fans into confusion. Isn’t a deadline supposed to mean something?

The July 31 trade deadline is officially called the non-waiver trade deadline, meaning that in order for players to be traded after July 31, a much more complicated process is followed.

First, a team must place that player on waivers. That means that each of the 29 other teams has the opportunity to claim that player. Teams in the same league as the player’s current team have first priority, going from worst record to best record. If no team in the same league of the player’s current team claim him, the same rules apply for the other league.

Once a player is claimed, three things can happen:

  • The player can be called back by his current team, making him ineligible to be traded.
  • The player can be outright released to the team that claimed him.
  • The two teams can work out a trade for the claimed player. If no trade agreement is reached in 48 hours, the player is removed from waivers.

If a player goes unclaimed by all 29 teams after 48 hours, then he is eligible to be traded anywhere. Players must be acquired by Aug. 31 in order to be eligible to play in the postseason.

Because of the added complications that come with players traded after the non-waiver deadline, many players who are traded during this time are expensive, not productive or older. Last season, Adam Dunn and Jonathan Broxton were two of the biggest names that were traded in August. The most notable August trade in recent memory came in 2012, when the Red Sox traded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers took on over $250 million in salary commitments in the deal.

This is a look at what each team would hope to accomplish before the waiver deadline in an ideal scenario. For teams out of contention, the goal is typically to shed expensive contracts. Contending teams looking to acquire players are usually trying to address smaller issues, such as adding an extra bullpen arm or a reserve infielder.

To offer up your own suggestions as to what each team should try to accomplish in the coming weeks, fire away in the comments section. 

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