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A silver lining for such players is that while stuck in such limbo they at least earn a major-league salary and accumulate service time.
Major League rosters need to be flexible. A key injury, or a series of injuries, could occur at any time, and a team in a tough spot needs to be able to react. But the Blue Jays' use of the waiver claim system is frivolous and unsustainable (in that a class of players would be trapped in waiver loops indefinitely if other teams imitated the Jays), and it's unfortunate for the players involved.
For now, this is a minor problem. But it's still a problem, and it would be an easy one to fix. If a team claims a player, it ought to be required to keep that player on its 40-man roster for 30 days. That way, a waiver claim carries a small but real cost. Such a rule would have little effect on waiver claims by weaker teams like the Astros, since there would be little harm in a team in the Astros' situation committing to keeping a player on its roster for 30 days. And it would prevent already-strong teams like the Jays from trying to use the waiver claims process to supplement their minor-league systems, rather than to improve their Major League rosters.
Add in a bonus for anyone claimed to help minor leaguers who get caught up in it (say, $25k per time)
That is all that would be needed to fix this in my opinion.
It doesn't eliminate waiver merrygorounds - but it does essentially ensure that the fringers are covered. I.e., the big issue for a guy who signed without a big bonus, made the 40 man, then got dropped and claimed is that these are probably guys for whom breaking a lease actually WOULD be a big deal.... where the cost of shipping a car IS a big deal.
Maybe there should just be a more relocation expenses reimbursement policy. I don't see why a player should get a bonus for sucking and getting waived.
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