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Royals notebook: Club stands pat as non-waiver trading deadline passes

Reliever Ron Mahay can breathe easier. Second baseman Mark Grudzielanek’s desire to play for a contender now likely hinges on the Royals somehow climbing back into the race.

Everyone is staying put for now.

The clock struck 3 p.m. Thursday without the Royals making any trades prior to the non-waiver deadline.

“We just felt at the end of the day,” general manager Dayton Moore said, “that we needed to keep this group together and stand pat with what we have. If we felt, if I felt, there was an opportunity to improve our team for the long term, I would have done it.”

Several clubs, notably the Phillies and Red Sox, sought Mahay, who has a 1.75 ERA in 47 appearances. Mahay’s value is further enhanced because he is under contract through next season at $4 million a year.

The Royals remain willing to trade Grudzielanek, who will be a free agent after the season. Unless the club offers arbitration on his $4.5 million salary, which seems unlikely, it will receive no compensatory draft picks if he signs elsewhere.

Moore also showed a reluctance to tamper with the club’s young rotation. The Rangers and numerous other clubs asked about Zack Greinke; the Yankees took a long look at Brian Bannister.

“We felt it was important to protect our (starting) pitching staff and keep our core together,” Moore said. “We also wanted to keep our bullpen intact. It’s one of the best bullpens I’ve ever been associated with.”

The deadline doesn’t prevent teams from making trades throughout the season’s final two months. It gets tougher, however. Players must now clear waivers before they can be traded.

That means all 29 other teams must choose not to put in a waiver claim _ and assume the player’s contract _ in order for a player to be dealt.

Teams routinely send each of their players through waivers in an effort to gain maximum flexibility. A team can recall a claimed player only once during a waiver period.

If a player is sent through waivers a second time in the same waiver period and claimed, that team gets the player. Also, a team can’t rescind a claim. If a team is awarded a player through a waiver claim, it has to take him.

A team losing a claimed player receives no compensation.

The new waiver period starts today and runs through the end of the season.

Other waiver rules:

If no team claims a player, he can be traded to any team in either league.

If a player is claimed by only one team, he can only be traded to that team if he isn’t recalled by his current team.

If a player is claimed by more than one team, the team with worst record in that player’s league is awarded the player. He can only be traded to that team if not recalled by his current team. The same procedure applies if the player is only claimed by teams in the other league.

Teams can place up to seven players on waivers each day.

Players remain on waivers for 47½ hours before clearing. One other thing to remember: Players added to a club’s roster after Aug. 31 are not eligible for postseason play.

Soria’s year at closer

The Mexicutioner marked his one-year anniversary Thursday as the Royals’ closer. It was last July 31 that Joakim Soria assumed the role when the club traded veteran Octavio Dotel to Atlanta for pitcher Kyle Davies.

Let’s run the numbers:

Soria is 2-2 with 37 saves in 40 opportunities and a 1.83 ERA in 68 games. He is averaging 9.4 strikeouts and just 1.6 walks per nine innings while allowing only 40 hits in 73 2/3 innings. Only six relievers have more saves in that span and only two relievers have a lower ERA while recording at least 20 saves in that span. Twins closer Joe Nathan is the only reliever who ranks ahead of Soria on both lists.

Minor details Right-hander Carlos Rosa hasn’t pitched at Class AAA Omaha since July 13 because of soreness in his forearm. Club officials don’t believe the injury is serious but are taking a cautious approach since Rosa, 23, is viewed as of the organization’s top prospects. Rosa is 4-2 with a 3.78 ERA in nine starts since his promotion from Class AA Northwest Arkansas. Tentative plans call for him to test his forearm next week in a simulated game.

Looking back It was 15 years ago Friday _ Aug. 1, 1993 _ that Royals owner Ewing Kauffman, 76, succumbed to bone cancer in his sleep at his home in Mission Hills. Kauffman’s illness prevented him from attending the renaming of Royals Stadium in his honor on July 2. To reach Bob Dutton, Royals reporter for The Star, call (816) 234-4352 or send email to bdutton@kcstar.com.

Saves leaders since Aug. 1, 2007

1. Francisco Rodriguez, Angels 592. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox 443. José Valverde, Diamondbacks/Astros 434. Joe Nathan, Twins 425. Mariano Rivera, Yankees 406. Brad Lidge, Astros/Phillies 397. Joakim Soria, Royals 37Billy Wagner, Mets 37

Closers’ ERA leaders since Aug. 1, 2007

(minimum 20 saves)

1. Joe Nathan, Twins 1.362. Takashi Saito, Dodgers 1.803. Joakim Soria, Royals 1.834. Bobby Jenks, White Sox 1.895. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox 1.916. Mariano Rivera, Yankees 2.067. Troy Percival, Rays 2.488. Francisco Rodriguez, Angels 2.66

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