Waivers

Waivers must be secured before certain types of transactions can be completed.

There are two types of waivers (release waivers and assignment waivers), and while there is only one type of release waiver (Outright Release), there are three different types of assignment waivers (Trade Assignment, Optional Assignment, and Outright Assignment). Each type of waivers has a special set of rules that apply.

The MLB waiver list is transmitted at 2 PM (Eastern) every business day. Every day is an MLB business day during Spring Training and the MLB Regular Season, but Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays (Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and Dr. Martin Luther King's Birthday) are not considered MLB business days during the off-season, so the MLB waiver list is transmitted at 2 PM (Eastern) Monday through Friday only (not including national holidays that fall on a weekday) during the off-season.

If a club requests a waiver prior to the 2 PM (Eastern) deadline, the waiver request is transmitted that day. If the waiver is requested after 2 PM (Eastern), the waiver request will not be transmitted until the next business day. Any of the other 29 MLB clubs can make a claim while the player is on waivers, and then at 1 PM (Eastern) on the second business day after the waivers are requested the MLB office determines if any claims were made, and if so, which club is awarded the claim.

RESTRICTIONS ON WAIVER REQUESTS:

1. A club can place no more than seven players on waivers per day, and a club can make a maximum of 50 waiver claims per week.

2. A player on a Disabled List cannot be placed on assignment waivers during Spring Training, and a player on a Disabled List cannot be placed on assignment waivers during the MLB regular season until he is both eligible to be reinstated from the DL and healthy enough to play.

3. Neither assignment waivers nor release waivers can be requested on a player while he is on the Bereavement List, Military List, Suspended List, Disqualified List, or Ineligible List.

4. Outright Release Waivers (but NOT assignment waivers) may be requested on a player while he is on the Voluntary Retired List.

5. A player cannot be traded while he is on waivers.

6. A player can be on only one type of waivers at any one time.  

 

Waiver Periods

The four MLB waiver periods are:

1. February 16th through the 30th day of the MLB regular season;
2. 31st day of the MLB regular season through July 31st;
3. August 1st through November 10th;
4. November 11th through February 15th.

 

 

Awarding Waiver Claims

The procedure for awarding waiver claims is different depending on the type of waivers and the time of the year.

PROCEDURE FOR AWARDING OF WAIVER CLAIMS (TYPE OF WAIVERS):

1. For Optional Assignment Waivers, Outright Assignment Waivers, and Outright Release Waivers (but NOT for Trade Assignment Waivers): If a player is claimed by only one club, that club is awarded the claim. If more than one club makes a claim, the club with the lowest winning percentage (regardless of league) on the day the player clears waivers is awarded the claim. If two clubs with the same winning percentage make a claim, the club in the player's own league is awarded the claim. If two clubs from the same league make a claim and they are tied in the standings, the club with the lowest winning percentage from the previous season is awarded the claim. If the clubs are still tied, standings from two years back (or three years back, four years back, etc) are used to break the tie.

2. For Trade Assignment Waivers (only): If a player is claimed by more than one club, the club in the player's own league with the lowest winning percentage is awarded the claim, even if that club has a higher winning percentage than the club or clubs making a claim from the other league. So a player placed on Trade Assignment Waivers must first be "waived out of his own league" before he can be assigned to a club in the other league.

PROCEDURE FOR AWARDING OF WAIVER CLAIMS (TIME OF THE YEAR)

1. During the off-season and up through the first 30 days of he MLB regular season, the previous season's MLB standings are used to determine waiver claim priority. 

2. Beginning on the 31st day of the MLB regular season through the conclusion of the MLB regular season, the MLB standings as of the date the player clears waivers are used to determine waiver claim priority, with the previous season's MLB standings only used to break ties.

RESTRICTION ON MAKING WAIVER CLAIMS:

A club is not permitted to make a waiver claim and then trade the player to another club if the purpose of the claim was to prevent a third club from being awarded the waiver claim. (A waiver claim that is judged by the MLB Commissioner to have been made for this purpose will be revoked).

Trade Assignment Waivers

The deadline for "non-waiver" (unrestricted) trades is 4 PM (Eastern) on July 31st. No trades can be made between 4 PM and 5 PM (Eastern) on July 31st, and then beginning at 5 PM (Eastern) on July 31st and extending through to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, Trade Assignment Waivers must be secured before players on MLB 40-man rosters can be traded. (Waivers are never required to trade a player on a minor league reserve list).

If a player is placed on Trade Assignment Waivers and is not claimed, waivers are said to be "secured" and the player can be traded to any MLB club at any time, just like prior to the non-waiver trade deadline.

Trade Assignment Waivers are revocable the first time they are requested on a given player in a waiver period, so if a player is claimed, the player's club has the option to either withdraw the waiver request and retain the player, or allow the waiver claim to stand. The player's club has 48 hours to make this decision, and during this "window" the club has the right to trade the player to the claiming club (but ONLY to the claiming club). If the player is not traded to the claiming club before the window closes, and the player's club chooses not to withdraw the waiver request, the player is automatically assigned to the claiming club for the $20,000 waiver price ($25,000 for Draft-Excluded and Rule 5 players) and the claiming club assumes 100% of the player's contract. (A player with a "no trade" right can refuse both a waiver claim and a trade assignment, however).

If a player is claimed but not traded and the waiver request is subsequently withdrawn, the player cannot be placed on Trade Assignment Waivers again for at least 30 days from the date the waiver request is withdrawn, and if the player is placed on Trade Assignment Waivers again before the end of the season, the waivers become irrevocable and cannot be withdrawn. A player who has a "no trade" right (full or partial) cannot be placed on Trade Assignment Waivers a second time before the end of the season unless the player first waives his "no trade" right.

Trade Assignment Waivers secured on a player on Optional Assignment to the minors or on an MLB Disabled List expire after 72 hours.

If a player on an MLB Disabled List is placed on Trade Assignment Waivers, he must be eligible to be reinstated from the DL and healthy enough to play. If waivers are secured, the player must be reinstated from the DL within 72 hours. If the player is claimed and the waiver request is subsequently withdrawn, the player must be reinstated from the DL immedialtely.

 

Optional Assignment Waivers

Optional Assignment Waivers must be secured before a player can be optioned to the minors once he has reached the third anniversary of being added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB Disabled List for the first time, or the two-year anniversary if the player spent one full season on Optional Assignment to the minors prior to being added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB Disabled List for the first time, or the one-year anniversary if the player spent two full seasons on Optional Assignment to the minors prior to being added to an MLB Active List (25-man roster) or MLB Disabled List for the first time.

Optional Assignment Waivers are revocable and can be withdrawn if a claim is made, but if a player is claimed off Optional Assignment Waivers and the waiver request is subsequently withdrawn, the player cannot be placed on Optional Assignment Waivers again for at least 30 days from the date the waiver request is withdrawn, and if a player is placed on Optional Assignment Waivers a second time in the same waiver period, the waivers become irrevocable and the request cannot be withdrawn. A player who has a "no trade" right (full or partial) cannot be placed on Optional Assignment Waivers a second time before the end of the waiver period unless the player first waives his "no trade" right.

Optional Assignment Waivers secured during the waiver period that commences on February 16th and during the waiver period that starts on the 31st day of the MLB regular season are in effect for the entire waiver period, but Optional Assignment Waivers secured during the waiver period that begins on August 1st are in effect only through the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

Optional Assignment Waivers secured on a player who is on an MLB Disabled List expire after 72 hours.

If a player on an MLB Disabled List is placed on Optional Assignment Waivers, he must be eligible to be reinstated from the DL and healthy enough to play. If waivers are secured, the player must be reinstated from the DL within 72 hours. If the player is claimed and the waiver request is subsequently withdrawn, the player must be reinstated from the DL immedialtely.

A club does not have to option a player to the minors after Optional Assignment Waivers have been secured.

Optional Assignment Waivers cannot be requested after October 1st or secured prior to February 16th.

Optional Assignment Waivers are not required if a player is being sent to the minors using a 4th minor league option, or if a player is being optioned to the minors within 24 hours after being acquired in a trade, or if a player is being optioned back to the minors after being recalled to serve as the "26th man" in a doubleheader.

OPTIONAL ASSIGNMENT WAIVERS MUST BE SECURED BEFORE PLAYER CAN BE OPTIONED (last updated 7-28-2014):
Jake Arrieta, RHP 
John Baker, C (also must give his permission before he can be optioned)
Starlin Castro, INF 
Chris Coghlan, OF
Ryan Kalish, OF
Blake Parker, RHP
Anthony Rizzo, 1B
James Russell, LHP 
Brian Schlitter, RHP
Ryan Sweeney, OF (also must give his permission before he can be optioned) 
Carlos Villanueva, RHP (also must give his permission before he can be optioned) 

Outright Assignment Waivers

If a club wishes to remove a player from its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) and send the player to the minors, the club must first secure Outright Assignment Waivers.

For all players on an MLB Reserve List (40-man Roster) other than Rule 5 players, Draft-Excluded players, and injured players, Outright Assignment Waivers can generally be requested anytime in a given waiver period, and they are always irrevocable. The waiver price is $25,000 for Rule 5 and Draft-Excluded players, and $20,000 for all other players.

Once secured, Outright Assignment Waivers remain in effect for a set period of time:

1. Seven days or until the end of the waiver period (whichever comes first) for Outright Assignment Waivers secured September 1st through the 30th day of the MLB regular season:

2. The entire waiver period for Outright Assignment Waivers secured starting on the 31st day of the MLB regular season through August 31st.

3. 72 hours if the player is on Optional Assignment to the minors or on a Disabled List.

If a player on an MLB or minor league Disabled List is placed on Outright Assignment Waivers during the MLB regular season, he must be eligible to be reinstated from the DL and healthy enough to play. If waivers are secured, the player must be reinstated from the DL within 72 hours. If a player on an MLB Disabled List is placed on Outright Assignment Waivers after the conclusion of the MLB regular season and waivers are secured, the player must be reinstated from the DL within 72 hours.

A player who has a "no trade" right (full or partial) must waive his "no trade" right before he can be placed on Outright Assignment Waivers.

A club does not have to outright a player to the minors after Outright Assignment Waivers have been secured.


 

Right to Refuse an Outright Assignment

A signed player who has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time cannot be sent outright to the minors without his consent. The player can waive this right, but the waiver cannot be signed more than ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, the player has the right to designate in advance which minor league team to which he can be assigned, and the waiver automatically expires if the player is not outrighted to the minors within 45 days or by the 45th day of the MLB regular season (whichever is later).

CUBS WHO MUST GIVE PERMISSION BEFORE THEY CAN BE SENT OUTRIGHT TO MINORS (last updated 7-30-2014): 
John Baker, C
Emilio Bonifacio, IF-OF
Edwin Jackson, RHP 
James McDonald, RHP
Nate Schierholtz, OF
Ryan Sweeney, OF 
Carlos Villanueva, RHP   
Wesley Wright, LHP

Per Article XX-D of the CBA, a player on an MLB 40-man roster who has been outrighted previously in his career and/or who has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time can elect to be a free-agent if he is sent outright to the minors. The outrighted Article XX-D player can elect to be a free-agent immediately upon being outrighted, or he can accept the Outright Assignment and defer his option to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season. However, a player eligible to be a free-agent if outrighted who accepts an Outright Assignment and defers his option to elect free-agency until after the conclusion of the MLB regular season forfeits his right to elect free-agency if he is added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season.

If a player eligible to be a free-agent if outrighted elects to be a free-agent immediately, his contract is terminated and he receives no termination pay. But if the Article XX-D player accepts the Outright Assignment and defers his right to be a free-agent until the conclusion of the MLB regular season, the player continues to get paid, receiving the balance of his salary through to the end of the season. And then if the outrighted Article XX-D player is not subsequently added back to an MLB 40-man roster prior to the conclusion of the MLB regular season, the player can elect free-agency anytime beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season through October 15th.

A player who has not previously been outrighted to the minors or who has not yet accrued three years of MLB Service Time but who qualified for salary arbitration as a "Super Two" player after the conclusion of the previous MLB regular season can elect free-agency if he is outrighted to the minors, but an outrighted "Super Two" player cannot defer free-agency until the conclusion of the MLB regular season. To become a free-agent, the outrighted "Super Two" player must elect free-agency immediately.

CUBS PLAYERS ELIGIBLE TO ELECT FREE-AGENCY IF SENT OUTRIGHT TO MINORS (last updated 7-30-2014): 
Jake Arrieta, RHP
John Baker, C
Emilio Bonifacio, IF-OF
Starlin Castro, INF
Chris Coghlan, OF
Felix Doubront, LHP
Edwin Jackson, RHP
James McDonald, RHP
Blake Parker, RHP
Hector Rondon, RHP
Justin Ruggiano, OF
James Russell, LHP 
Nate Schierholtz, OF
Brian Schlitter, RHP
Pedro Strop, RHP 
Ryan Sweeney, OF
Luis Valbuena, INF
Carlos Villanueva, RHP 
Travis Wood, LHP
Wesley Wright, LHP

Once an outrighted player eligible to elect free-agency becomes a free-agent, the player can sign a major league or minor league contract with any club, including the player's previous club.

The club must advise an Article XX-D player in writing when it has decided to outright the player to the minors. (The club can notify the player up to eight days in advance of the assignment during the off-season or if the player is out of minor league options, and up to four days in advance if the assignment is contemplated during Spring Training or during the MLB regular season). Once notified, the player must make his decision whether to accept or decline the assignment within eight days if he is outrighted during the off-season, or within three days if he is outrighted during Spring Training or during the MLB regular season.


 

Restrictions on Outrighting Players During the Off-Season

1. A player cannot be sent outright to the minors on the two days prior to the Rule 5 Draft and on the day of the Rule 5 Draft up through the conclusion of the draft.

2. A "Rule 5 Player" cannot be outrighted to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to the start of the MLB regular season.

RULE 5 PLAYERS ON CUBS 40-MAN ROSTER
NONE

3. A "Draft-Excluded Player" can be outrighted to the minors only if Outright Assignment Waivers are requested no later than 2 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series, and if a "Draft-Excluded Player" is not outrighted to the minors prior to the Rule 5 Draft, the player cannot be sent to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to the start of the MLB regular season (same as a Rule 5 player).

POST-2014 DRAFT-EXCLUDED PLAYERS ON CUBS 40-MAN ROSTER  
NONE

4. An unsigned player who is eligible to be an Article XX-D minor league free-agent if outrighted can be outrighted to the minors anytime during the off-season, but a player who would have been eligible to be an MLB Rule 55 minor league free-agent if the player had been on a minor league reserve list cannot be outrighted to the minors after 5 PM (Eastern) on October 15th or after 5 PM (Eastern) on the 5th day following the conclusion of the World Series (whichever is later) unless and until the player signs a major league contract for the following season or agrees (in advance) to sign a minor league contract for the following season.

POST-2014 UNSIGNED MLB RULE 55 PLAYERS ON CUBS 40-MAN ROSTER 
NONE 

5. If a player accrues at least one day of MLB Service Time in a season and then is outrighted to the minors prior to being tendered a Major League contract for the following season, the player's minor league monthly salary for the following season must be at least 80% of his final monthly salary from the previous season.

 

Restrictions on Outrighting an Injured Player

An injured player cannot be outrighted to the minors during the MLB regular season, but most injured players can be outrighted to the minors at certain times during the off-season:

1. An injured player who has accrued less than three years of MLB Service Time in his career and who did not accrue any MLB Service Time the previous season, has not previously been outrighted to the minors, and who was not selected in the immediately-preceding Rule 5 Draft, can be outrighted to the minors during a period of time beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until the 15th day prior to the start of the next MLB regular season.

CAN BE OUTRIGHTED IF INJURED  UNTIL 15TH DAY PRIOR TO 2015 MLB OPENING DAY (last updated 3-17-2014):
TBD post-2014

2. Most other injured players can be outrighted to the minors only during a period of time beginning on the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season up until reserve lists are filed in November, but an injured "Rule 5 Player" can be outrighted during this period only after Rule 5 restrictions have been removed, and a "Draft-Excluded Player" can be outrighted during this period only if Outright Assignment Waivers are requested by 2 PM (Eastern) on the 4th day following the conclusion of the World Series.

Outright Release Waivers

Outright Release Waivers are irrevocable and cannot be withdrawn once they are requested.

While a player claimed off Outright Assignment Waivers costs $20,000 (or $25,000 for a Rule 5 or Draft-Excluded player), a club can claim a player off Outright Release Waivers for the miniscule sum of $1. However, a club that claims a player off Release Waivers is responsible for paying 100% of the player's remaining salary, whereas if the same club waits until the player clears Release Waivers, the club can sign the player for the MLB minimum salary (or prorated portion of the MLB minimum salary), with the player's former club responsible for the balance.

A player who is claimed off Outright Release Waivers has the option to decline the assignment and become a free-agent (he has up to five days to decide). For most players, refusing an Outright Release waiver claim means the player's contract is terminated with no severance and his former club owes him nothing (same as an Article XX-D minor league FA who refuses an Outright Assignment), but for a player with "no trade" rights who refuses an Outright Release waiver claim, the player is owed his full salary for the balance of the contract, same as if he had not been claimed.

A player on an MLB 40-man roster who is released during the period of time extending from April 1st through August 31st cannot be added back to the MLB Active List of the club that released the player for at least 30 days, and a player on an MLB 40-man roster who is released anytime during the period of time extending from September 1st through March 31st cannot be added back to the MLB 40-man roster (or MLB 25-man Active List) of the club that released the player until May 15th. Note that while a player who is "non-tendered" on 12/2 becomes a free-agent, it is not considered the same thing as an outright release, so a club can re-sign a non-tendered player to a Major League contract (or minor league contract) without any restrictions anytime after the player is non-tendered. Thus, December 2nd is a sort of roster "island oasis" in the middle of the off-season where a club can drop a player from its MLB Reserve List (including injured players) without having to worry about waivers or restrictions on off-season outright assignments or outright release.

A player on an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released more than 15 days prior to Opening Day receives 30 days salary as termination pay (paid at the "minor league rate" if the player is signed to a "split contract"), and a player on an MLB Reserve List signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released 15 or fewer days prior to Opening Day receives 45 days salary as termination pay (all players paid at the "Major League rate"). A player on an MLB Reserve List signed to a non-guaranteed contract who is released during the MLB regular season receives 100% of his salary as termination pay (paid at the "minor league rate" for players on Optional Assignment to the minors). An unsigned player on an MLB Reserve List released during the off-season receives no termination pay.

A Rule 5 player cannot be released until Rule 5 restrictions have been removed, and if Rule 5 restrictions have been removed and the player is released, the player's termination pay is always paid at the "Major League rate" as long as he is released prior to being outrighted to the minors.

Outright Release Waivers cannot be requested on a player while he is on the Bereavement List, Military List, Suspended List, Disqualified List, or Ineligible List. 

A club cannot option a player signed to a "split contract" to the minors if the purpose of the assignment is to release the player and avoid paying termination pay at the "Major League rate."

A player is automatically & immediately removed from his club's Reserve List (40-man roster) and Active List when placed on Outright Release Waivers.

 

 

 

Designated for Assignment (DFA)

Sometimes a club wants to remove a player from its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), but it has to be done immediately because the player's roster slot is needed. Or sometimes a club wants to remove a player only from its MLB Active List (25-man roster), but Optional Assignment Waivers must be secured before the player can be optioned to the minors. In those cases, a club can place a player on the Designated List.

When a player is placed on the Designated List (and is "Designated for Assignment"), the "Designated Player" is removed from his club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), and then the club has up to ten days to either trade, release, non-tender, or outright the player to the minors. A club can also return a Designated Player to the 40-man roster and either option the player to the minors or reinstate the player to the 25-man roster, as long as the Designated Player is not replaced on the 40-man roster by another player while the player is on the Designated List. (A club might have to DFA a player to buy time while it attempts to secure Optional Assignment Waivers).

A player on Optional Assignment to the minors must be "Recalled - Not to Report" before he can be Designated for Assignment.  

The player continues to be paid and the player accrues MLB Service Time while on the Designated List.

Also, a player acquired off waivers can be placed back onto Outright Waivers by his new club and can be outrighted to the minors if he is not claimed, but if a club acquires a player off waivers and the claiming club's 40-man roster is full so that the club needs to remove a player from its MLB Reserve List in order to open a spot on its 40-man roster for the newly-acquired player, the player who was claimed off waivers cannot be the player who gets "Designated for Assignment."


Recalled - Not to Report

Before a player on Optional Assignment to the minors can be traded or Designated for Assignment, he must be recalled from his minor league assignment ("Recalled - Not to Report").

If a player who was "Recalled - Not to Report" is claimed off waivers while on the Designated List and either the waivers are irrevocable (Outright Assignment Waivers) or the player's club elects not to withdraw a revocable waiver request, the player is assigned to the claiming club.

A player acquired off waivers after being "Recalled - Not to Report" who is subsequently optioned to the minors by his new club must remain on Optional Assignment for a minimum of ten days, unless he is recalled to replace a player on his club's MLB Active List (25-man roster) who is placed on an MLB Inactive List (Disabled List, Bereavement List, Paternity List, etc), or the player is recalled as a "26th Man" for a doublheader scheduled at least 48 hours in advance, or the player's minor league season is over, or the player gets traded. However, if a player is traded after being "Recalled - Not to Report" and then is optioned to the minors by his new club within 24 hours after the trade, the player can be recalled (without any restriction) prior to spending ten days on optional assignment to the minors.

A player who is "Recalled - Not to Report" for the purpose of being Designated for Assignment accrues MLB Service Time equal to the number of days he is on the Designated List prior to being traded, released, or sent outright to the minors.