For all the talk about how so-so the Minnesota Twins trade deadline plans were, they officially won't be the biggest losers.
While Minnesota's front office frustrated fans by not making any moves, the Los Angeles Angels made some big splashes to try as a show of force for Shohei Ohtani and the AL West race. That has all come crashing down as the Angels essentially waived the white flag on their season and in doing so might have gifted the Twins front office some Get Out Of Jail Free cards.
According to ESPN's Jeff Passan, the Angels waived starter Lucas Giolito, reliever Matt Moore, and outfielder Hunter Renfroe. All three of those guys were on the Twins radar at one point or another but the team didn't make a move to get any of them.
Now there's a chance one of them ends up in Minnesota after all.
MLB waiver order: How do MLB Waivers work?
Before we get into how excited the Twins should be about this news, let's first assess how realistic is is they might land one of the players Los Angeles waived.
MLB waivers work a little differently than they did in years past. There once was a time when players could still be traded after the deadline if they were waived, but the MLB has done away with that. Now the waiver wire in baseball works exactly like it does in the NFL where any team can claim a waived player for free.
Where it gets tricky is the order.
Any team can claim a player who was waived, but the order to do so is based on reverse winning percentage at the time the move is made. The worst teams in the league get first dibs and the best teams are at the back of the line.
Minnesota currently sits 16th in line to place a claim. Among true playoff contenders, the Twins are first in line which means they have a pretty good chance of landing one of these players. Of course, there's startegy involved which could mean a team like Cleveland places a claim on a player to block the Twins from getting him.
Twins Rumors: 3 trade deadline targets could end up in Minnesota on waivers
Of the group, Giolito is the only guy the Twins arguably had no shot at landing. The White Sox fire sale at the deadline saw the team ship their former ace out for two top 10 prospects -- which, let's address this before we go any further.
Minnesota's front office deserved every piece of frustrated criticism it got for cowering at the deadline, but what the Angels did is nothing short of miraculously disastrous. Los Angeles trading away two highly-rated prospects to land Giolito only to wave him is mind blowing, and is the sort of thing that is used in defense of not making moves at the deadline.
Usually it takes a year or so for deals to bottom out and blow up, but the Angels managed it in record time.
The Angels big goof could be a blessing for the Twins. Giolito getting to them in the waiver order would be outrageous as he'd be a no-brainer claim by the front office. He'd instantly slot into the Twins rotation and could make a case for himself to be the team's third starter a Wild Card rotation.
Hunter Renfroe was also on the Twins radar -- at least in so far as he was on almost every list of targets written about the team -- and could help fill some outfield depth. Byron Buxton is starting a rehab assignment in St. Paul but the Twins could always use another outfield bat to prepare against an unfortunate situation occuring.
Matt Moore is both the best and most likely candidate to end up on the Twins. Before the season he looked like he could be a decent addition to the bullpen, but Minnesota ended up standing pat on signing any veteran help. Now that we've seen the bullpen very much needs that sort of assistance, adding Moore for a fraction of the cost the Twins would have needed to pay either in Spring Training or at the trade deadline feels like the sort of luck you only see when the computer glitches a transaction in MLB The Show.
It's unclear if any of these guys will end up making it to the Twins on the waiver wire, especially since it makes as much sense for other playoff contenders to move on them as it does for Minnesota. At the very least the Twins can feel good knowing they won't be even remotely close to being dubbed losers from the deadline, and at best could end up with key championship pieces before the end of the week.