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Pull up a chair and brace yourself for the silver lining of silver linings. All one asks is you don’t shoot the messenger and you take this for what it is: an attempt to extract some positive from a total mess.
The Boston Red Sox entered Wednesday with the worst record in the American League, which, as The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier pointed out earlier this week, might not necessarily be a bad thing.
OK, it’s a bad thing — a very bad thing — and the Red Sox surely never envisioned this when they spent almost $200 million on Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval over the offseason. This team was supposed to go places. (Again, don’t shoot.) But, as Speier eloquently highlighted, there’s some benefit to having the worst record in the AL as opposed to, say, the second-worst or the third-worst record.
You see, waiver order is determined by team record. The worst teams in the American League and National League have top priority when it comes to claiming players exposed to waivers, with teams in the same league as a player put on waivers having priority over teams in the opposite league.
In other words, the worst team in the AL receives the first crack at any players exposed to waivers by AL teams. And the Red Sox, as of Wednesday afternoon, were the team in that potentially favorable, yet unflattering, position.
The Red Sox also own a tiebreaker over the Oakland Athletics — the second-worst team in the AL, as of Wednesday afternoon — by virtue of finishing with a worse record than the A’s in 2014, meaning Boston would be awarded the waiver claim in any scenario in which both teams claimed the same player.
Does this really mean a whole lot? Probably not. Waiver claims rarely precipitate significant August trades, although it’s possible, as most players placed on revocable waivers — there are quite a few — are pulled back by their respective teams. But, as Speier notes, virtually every player gets placed on revocable waivers in August — and subsequently pulled back — so there’s room for due diligence.
That’s tantalizing for the Red Sox, who used the July 31 Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline as an opportunity to gauge the marketplace and to  …Read More