The 2013 I-Cubs season is a mere 16 days away. Rosters for the respective teams are being pared down at the major league camps and discussions are ongoing regarding rosters for all the farm teams. Especially in AAA, the rosters are in constant flux. Along with the roster moves come the ever-confusing terms that go with the moves. A player can be optioned or designated for assignment among other things. What does it all mean? Here is a primer on the verbiage that is baseball roster moves.
There are two different rosters, the 25-man roster and the 40-man roster. The 25-man roster is the roster of players available on a day to day basis. In order for a new player to be added, one must be taken off, keeping the number constant at 25. The 40-man roster includes the 25-man roster and 15 others. The 15 others include players on the 15 day disabled list and minor leaguers with major league contracts. Any minor league player can be called up but in order to call up someone not on the 40-man roster, that player must be added and another player taken off so the number always remains at 40.
The terminology in players moving up to the major league team is fairly simple. A player is called up, or re-called. The only difference here is a player is called up the first time it occurs and re-called on subsequent occurrences.
Two main terminologies are used when a player moves from the major league team to a minor league team. Many times this season, you will see a player optioned from Chicago to the I-Cubs. In a nutshell, options are the amount of time a major league team can call a player up and send him down without any restriction. The option period on a player is generally 3 years from the time he is added to the 40-man roster. After that 3 year period, a player is said to be “out of options.”
When a team wants to make a change to the 25-man roster and the player they want to remove is out of options, the team will designate the player for assignment. When a player is designated for assignment, he is immediately removed from both the 25 and 40-man rosters. In the following 10 days, the team can trade the player, release the player from his contract, or put the player on waivers.
When a player is put on waivers, he is made available to other teams. If another team “claims” the player, his original team can either try to work out a trade with the claiming team, the original team can allow the new team to assume the players contract, or the original team can pull the player back but then must keep him on the roster. If none of these occurs, a player is said to have passed through waivers.
If a player passes through waivers, there are two options for the team and the player. The team can either assign him to a minor league team or release him from his contract. The player can accept the team’s assignment to the minor leagues, or, he can refuse the assignment. If he refuses the assignment, he is released from his contract and becomes a free agent. One time during a player’s career, he can be outrighted to the minor league team without his consent. When a player is outrighted, he has no options left and has cleared waivers.
These are the most common transactions during the season. With any luck, injuries in Chicago and Des Moines will be kept to a minimum this season and there will be some continuity on the rosters.