"We felt that it circumvented the rules of claiming players on waivers. It wasn't following the order of teams on the list," said MLB spokesman Patrick Courtney.
The following story was written shortly after the deal with Tampa Bay that made Livingston a Phillie; temporarily.
To get from Seattle to Philadelphia, you rarely see Tampa, Florida. Technically, Bobby Livingston didn't see Tampa although he was a member of the Devil Rays for at least a little while. The D'Rays acquired him on waivers after Seattle cut him loose. The Phillies sent cash to Tampa to acquire Livingston.
Bobby Livinston made his major league debut this past season and it wasn't pretty. The 24 year old left-hander pitched in three games for Seattle, lasting five innings and posting an ERA of 18.00 with the Mariners. It capped a somewhat disappointing season at Triple-A Tacoma, where Livingston went 8-11 with a 4.59 ERA.
Livingston didn't earn his major league debut until late in the season when he put together a stretch of strong outings for Tacoma. In his last five starts, Livingston had a 3.09 ERA and was impressive with each of his last nine starts going at least six innings. In fact, Livingston went six innings or more in 18 of his 22 starts last season.
Phillies' assistant GM Mike Arbuckle called Livingston "intriguing" and looks at him as another option for the club in spring training or possibly an insurance policy should the Phillies need another starter somewhere down the road.
The Mariners drafted Livingston in the fourth round of the 2001 Draft and he had generally pitched pretty well in their minor league system. The only real struggle for Livingston came in 2005 after he was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A; his ERA jumped from 2.86 at San Antonio to 4.70 at Tacoma. It was the first season that Livingston had pitched above the High-A level.
The way things stand now, Livingston's chances of making the big league club appear to be pretty weak. The Phillies currently have six starters on their roster, although they are actively shopping Jon Lieber to other clubs. Even if Lieber were to be taken out of the mix, Livingston would likely have to start at Triple-A since the rotation appears to be pretty well written in stone. With the trade of Gavin Floyd to the White Sox last week, Livingston will likely play the insurance role that Floyd would have played with the club.