Roster Management

The 25 Man and 40 Man Rosters

There are three categories of players within each organization; non-roster, 40 man rosters, and 25 man rosters

Most draft picks (all picks signed except those given major league contracts) fall under non-roster players.

All players drafted or signed via the international market who are 18 and under must be placed on the 40 man roster after their 5th pro season. Example; Jon Singleton, who turned 18 in September of 2009, his draft year, will have to be placed on the 40 man roster after the 2013 season, which will be his 5th pro season.

All players drafted or signed via the international market who are 19 or older must be placed on the 40 man roster after their 4th pro season. Example; Vance Worley, who turned 21 in September 2008, his draft year, must be placed on the 40 man roster after the 2011 season, which will be his 4th pro season.

Players on the 60 day DL do not count against the 40 man roster

Options

Options are one of the most confusing aspects of roster management, so here are some details

* Every player, when added to the 40 man roster, has three option years, not three total options. A player can be optioned up and down as many times as the team sees fit, though the player must remain in the minors for 10 days unless he is replacing a player going on the disabled list.

* If a player spends less than 20 days on optional assignment, an option year is not used. Example; the Phillies option Matt Rizzotti down to the minors at the end of spring training next year, he spends 1 week in the minors, then comes up and remains on the active roster all season without being optioned again. An option year is not burned.

* After 3 option years, a player is considered to be “out of options” and he has to clear waivers before being sent down to the minors again.

* There is a rare case in which a player who has used his 3 options can be eligible for a 4th. If he has less than 5 years of full season experience. Scott Mathieson falls under this rule, and you can read about it here.

Service Time

You often read about a player’s service time, or his arbitration clock. Teams control a player until they have accrued more than 6 years of service time. Here are the basics.

* 1 year of service time = 172 days on the big league roster. When you see a player’s service time number at a place like Cots Contracts, its given in days. So, 2.86 is 2 years + 86 days.

* Players with less than 3 years of service time can have their contract renewed by their Major League team for any amount they deem appropriate, as long as it is equal to or greater than the MLB minimum.

* Players with less than 3 years of service time, but more than 2.86 years of service time who qualify as a “Super 2″ are eligible for salary arbitration. To qualify for Super 2 status, you must have more than 2.86 years of service, less than 3 years of service, and rank among the top 17% of 2 year players in service time. The general cutoff for this is 2.128 and 2.140 years, per Cots.

Further Reading:

Cots Contracts
The Biz of Baseball

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