Sunday, January 01, 2006

Transaction Rules

This website has a handy glossary of the transaction terms, which are frequently confusing -- especially because there doesn't seem to be any single source for this information. Since it's hosted on a college website, and given their transient nature (and the fact that the website stopped updating in 2005, I'm going to reproduce it here for posterity's sake.

The Transactions Glossary
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Bereavement List: A player who is grieving (due to the death of a family member or friend) can be placed on the bereavement list with league permission. He must stay on the list for at least three days and be activated within ten days. His roster spot can be filled by another player. This rule is a new part of the Basic Agreement.
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Designated for Assignment: When a player has been designated for assignment, his team has 10 days to decide to return him to the active roster, outright him to the minors, trade him, or release him. A player may only be designated for assignment if the 40-man roster is full and a player needs to be added. If a trade is made, a player is often designated for assignment to make immediate room for him on the 40-man roster. Most often, a player is designated for assignment when the team doesn't have time to wait for him to clear waivers to add another player to the roster. Since any player who is removed from the 40-man must clear waivers to be released or sent to the minors, any player who isn't traded within the 10 day span must pass through waivers. The only time a designated player can be returned to the roster is when the player provides proof of an injury that hindered performance, in which case the team will place that player on the disabled list.
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Disabled List: The disabled list is restricted to players who have been given a medical diagnosis by an authorized doctor. There are two types of major-league disabled lists, the regular or 15-day disabled list and the emergency or 60-day disabled list. Players who are placed on the disabled list are inactive for a minimum of 15 or 60 days depending on the list. Players on the 15-day DL can be moved the 60-day DL at any time. Players on the 60-day DL cannot be moved to the 15-day DL. Players on the 60-day DL do not count against the 40-Man Roster. Often a player is moved to the 60-day DL to add a non-roster player to the roster. For every player on the 60-day DL, another name may be added to the playoff eligible list at same position as the player on the 60-day DL on August 31. A player may be placed on the DL retroactive to any date after the last date he appeared in game, up to 10 days before the date of placement on the DL. If a player spends an entire season on the 60-day DL, it does not count against rookie eligiblity. All players must be removed from the disabled list by the end of the free agent filing period (15 days after the conclusion of the World Series). Injured players can not be optioned to the minors.
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Expanded Rosters: Active rosters must be set at 25 the midnight before the first major-league game that counts in the standings. The active roster may be expanded to as much as 40 after August 31. After the last game of the regular season, all 40-man rosters players become a part of the active roster. Rosters are gradually cut down to 25, at the discretion of each team, before the following opening day. 40-man Rosters must be set by November 20 to protect minor-leaguers from the Rule 5 Draft.
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Non-Roster Players: Non-roster players are players signed to minor-league contracts who attend major-league spring training on invitation. These players can be added to the opening day roster by having their contracts purchased and being added to the 40-man roster. A non-roster player with at least five full years of major league experience has the right to refuse assignment to the minor leagues during the first 45 days of the season unless he signs a waiver stating that he cannot choose this option.
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Options: A player who is still on the 40-man roster but not on the 25-man roster or the disabled list is on an optional assignment to the minor leagues. One of the more complicated matters in baseball, options can be simply explained. A player has three years after he is added to the 40-man roster in which he can be sent to the minors without being removed from the roster, these are option years. An option is used every year such a player is sent down unless the player remains in the minors for less than 10 days in each stint. A player "out-of-options" has exhausted his option years. There are many exceptions to this rule however. If a player has not been on the major-league roster during the season during his career, then he can have a fourth option year. Players with at least five years of major-league experience who haven't been optioned to the minors three times may be optioned to the minors and still remain on the 40-man roster, but must give their permission. A player with three full years of major league service time must pass through waivers in order to be optioned down. Injured players cannot be optioned down.
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Outright: When a player is sent outright or outrighted to the minors, then he has cleared procedural waivers and been removed from the 40-Man roster. A player may be outrighted once in his career without a choice. After the first time, the player may choose to accept the assignment and report or refuse the assignment and opt for free agency. After the assignment is made, the player has 72 hours to make a decision about his status. Players who are outrighted to the minors may return to the major-leagues by having their contract purchased (sometimes referred to as "selected") or being signed to a major-league contract with another team as a free agent. If the player has five years of service time, he may reject his assignment regardless of whether it is his first outright.
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Players to be Named: A player to be named (later) is a term used for an undecided player or a player ineligible to be traded at the time of a trade. Players to be named must play in a different league than the league they are traded to. Sometimes the team which offers the player to be named later will submit a list of names to the other team to choose from by a certain date. Other times a player is on the disabled list. In rare cases, the player to be named is a recently drafted player, who cannot be traded until at least a year after his signing. Trades must be completed within six months of their initial announcement.
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Playoff Rosters: Playoff rosters must be set at 25, not including disabled players, on August 31. For each player on the 60-day DL, teams may add players to the eligible list during the playoffs at the same position, provided that they were in the orginization on August 31. This is why some teams will bring up injured minor-league players and put them on the 60-day DL. Teams must choose 25 players from their playoff eligible list before each round of the playoffs.
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Rookie Status: The BBWAA dictates that a rookie shall have not have pitched 50 innings or had 150 at-bats in the majors before a particular season in order to be considered a rookie. He must also not have more than 45 days of service time outside the month of September.
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Ten and Five Rule: Any player who was 10 years of major-league service time and has spent the previous five years with the same time has the right to veto any trade and must be protected from expansion and Rule 5 drafts.
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Trades: Players on the disabled list cannot be traded without permission of the Commissioner. For more information on trades, see "Players to be Named," "Trade Demands," "Trading Deadline," and "Waivers."
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Trade Demands: Players with five years of experience traded prior to the last year of a multi-year contract may request a trade in the offseason. If that player is not traded by March 15, he can be granted free agency.
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Trading Deadline: There are two trading deadlines in baseball, July 31 and August 31. July 31 (at 4 PM EDT) is the last day teams can make a trade without having to pass a player through waivers until 5 PM on the day after the scheduled end of the regular season. This results in most of the biggest trades being made at that time. By August 31 at midnight, teams must set their postseason rosters. By this time, most teams know whether or not they have a shot at the playoffs. Teams who are out of the race will put some of their more expensive players on the block sometimes and offer them in trades. Role players often get moved so they can be pinch-runners, pinch-hitters, or utility players for playoff teams; however, cheap players are often claimed on waivers, and, so, most of this type are moved before July 31.
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Waivers: A player usually takes three business days to clear waivers if no one claims him. Once he clears, the team can trade him, outright him to the minors (if he doesn't have 5 years of major league experience), or release him for the rest of the waiver period (the rest of the calendar month). If a player is claimed, the original team has 48 hours to let him go, pull him off, or negotiate a trade. Teams can put a maximum of seven players a week on waivers and can only make 40 claims a week. Almost every player is placed on waivers at some point during a season, but most will be pulled back or clear. When a player is placed on waivers, every team has a chance to claim him within three business days. If more than one team claims a player the team in the same league has preference and the team lower in the standings if all are in the same league (exception: in March and April, the standings from the previous standings are used). A player is often placed on waivers to be taken off the 40-Man roster, although in August and September a player must pass through waivers to be traded. The original team may block a claim and pull a player off waivers once a month. The next time a player is placed on waivers that month a claim cannot be blocked and the player automaticall goes to the other team. There are three main types of waivers: unconditional release waivers, irrevocable waivers, and procedural waivers (which allow players to be traded or sent outright to the minors). Waivers are completely confidential and officials may not disclose to the media the waiver status of any player.
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Often-missed rules: One rule states that any player released between August 31 and opening day cannot re-sign a major-league contract with that team until May 15. Any player added to the 40-man roster between August 15 and opening day must be released to be removed from the 40-man roster.