While I think there is definitely a chance that Justin Morneau will be traded soon, I think that the chance is lower now that he has cleared waivers. Usually, when something like that happens, a player clearing waivers, it’s good news for a team looking to move a player, because it opens up the market to all teams, rather than focusing it on one team.
Instead, though, in this case I look at it from a claiming teams’ perspective. Most of the time, when a player goes unclaimed on the waiver wire, it’s because they are owed a lot of money. Teams don’t want to take on a bunch of salary if they don’t have to, and the team can just dump a contract on another team if someone is claimed. Usually, if a highly paid player is traded, money is sent along with the player to cover part of the contract.
Some might theorize that Morneau wasn’t claimed because the money owed him was offputting. Teams didn’t want the Twins to unload his entire salary on them. I think, though, it should be apparent through the actions of the team to this point that the Twins aren’t simply looking to unload Morneau. They want to receive a bit of value for Morneau, and giving him away for nothing would play poorly for a team that needs a little positive spin. Basically, Morneau is too popular a player for the Twins to simply give up on.
What I’m trying to say is, if there wasn’t a chance that the Twins would just dump a contract on a team, and he was, in fact, a desirable player, wouldn’t you want to put in a claim in order to ensure you had exclusive negotiating rights? That seems logical to me. But nobody made that claim. Yesterday, I was sure that Morneau would be gone by season’s end. Today, I’m less sure.