FLB: Art of the Deals

Pardon the cliché, but Bill Veeck was right, sometimes the best trades are the ones that are never made. (Of course, this year it didn't seem like any trades were made, so it's easy for anyone to say that.) But while it's important to note all the changes in the baseball landscape once the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline passes, sometimes it's just as important to consider the impact of moves that weren't made.

In Chicago, the White Sox's decision not to trade for an established closer like Tampa Bay's Danys Baez virtually assures Dustin Hermanson's job security. Hermanson, 10th in the majors with 25 saves, has battled back problems of late, but with three saves in his last four appearances, he's looking a lot more like the elite fantasy closer he was when he saved 13 games with a 1.40 ERA in an 18-game span from April 27-June 10. He's a mild health risk, of course, but the White Sox would have a tough time finding a better finisher on the waiver trade market this month. If anything, an injury to Hermanson would more likely mean rookie Bobby Jenks, he of the 100-mph fastball, could get a look, so if he's available in an AL-only league and you're looking for insurance, consider adding Jenks.

Speaking of waiver trades, the means by which Brian Giles and Jeff Conine were dealt in Aug. 2003 and Larry Walker was moved last August, here's how they work: Teams can now place up to seven players per business day on waivers for the purpose of trading them. If another team places a claim, the player's original team has the option of either retracting the move, working out a deal with the claiming team or letting that team just take the player's contract. If the player clears waivers, going unclaimed by all 29 other teams, he can then be traded without restriction, just as he could have a week ago.