Things are going fantastically for the Atlanta Braves as they just secured their sixth straight series win over the Rockies last night thanks to a stellar start from Charlie Morton. However, the same cannot be said for the Los Angeles Angels after a nightmarish month of August.
After the Angels decided to go for it at the trade deadline in an effort to make one last playoff push before Shohei Ohtani hits free agency, the Angels faceplanted in August. Not only have they played exceptionally poorly, but both Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani got hurt effectively ending any hope they had of making a run at a playoff spot.
At the very least, the Angels know that their season is basically over and yesterday, they made the surprising (but pretty savvy) move to place a number of players on waivers. Assuming the likely event that a few of these guys do get claimed by the end of Thursday, the Angels should be able to dip low enough payroll wise to not be in the severe luxury tax penalties.
The question now is are there any players that the Angels just put on waivers that would interest the Braves? The name that sticks out the most is starting pitcher Lucas Giolito.
The Braves would love Lucas Giolito to get to them on the waiver wire
While Lucas Giolito has not had a great time pitching for the Angels after they acquired him at the trade deadline, this is still an arm that would interest the Braves as a waiver claim. Giolito is generally a very steady performer on the mound with multiple top 10 Cy Young finishes on his resume. On top of that, he was putting together a nice season with the White Sox before the trade with a 3.79 ERA while striking out 9.7 batters per nine innings pitched.
Given all of the turmoil that the Braves have experienced at the backend of their rotation, the potential opportunity to get a guy like Giolito would be an amazing gift this late in the season. Unfortunately, the Braves basically have no shot at getting him.
The Braves are in a terrible position when it comes to the waiver wire
The way waiver claims work is that each player will essentially be offered to each team in reverse order of record. If that team claims the player, he is either pulled off waivers (unlikely in this case) by the Angels or that player joins that team. If a team passes, it goes to the next team and the next team until either the player is claimed or he passes through all teams and clears waivers. The important deadline to note here is that a player has to be on a team's roster by September 1st to be eligible for the playoffs.
The one problem with the Braves being the best team in baseball right now is that the Braves will be picking dead last on the waiver wire. The exact order is still in flux, but the Braves being at the bottom is a mortal lock. With the number of contending teams between Atlanta and Giolito, it seems impossible that he will float down to them.
As a result, one should expect one of the wild card contenders in need of pitching to snatch up Giolito. As for the Braves, they will have to settle for wondering what might have been.