Restrictions on Optioning Players to the Minors
1. A player who has accrued at least five years of MLB Service Time cannot be optioned to the minors without his consent. The player can waive this right, but the player's waiver (consent) cannot be granted more than ten days prior to MLB Opening Day, the player has the right to choose which minor league team to which he can be assigned, and the player's waiver (consent) automatically expires if the player is not optioned to the minors within 45 days or by the 45th day of the MLB regular season (whichever is later).
2. No player may be optioned to the minors prior to the start of Spring Training.
3. A "Draft-Excluded Player" cannot be optioned to the minors any earlier than 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.
4. A "Rule 5 Player" (a player selected in the Major League Phase of the previous Rule 5 Draft) cannot be optioned to the minors at any time.
6. Normally an injured player cannot be optioned to the minors, but an injured player with less than three years of MLB Service Time who did not accrue any MLB Service Time the previous season can be optioned to the minors during Spring Training, as long as he is optioned to the minors no later than the 16th day prior to the start of the MLB regular season.
7. A player who is optioned to the minors generally must remain on Optional Assignment for at least ten days. (A player optioned to the minors during Spring Training generally must remain on Optional Assignment for the first ten days of the MLB regular season). The only exceptions are if the player is recalled as the "26th man" for a day where a doubleheader was scheduled at least 48 hours in advance, or is recalled to replace a player on the 25-man roster who is placed on the Disabled List, Bereavement List, Paternity List, Restricted List, Military List, Disqualified List, or Ineligible List, or if the player's minor league season is over, or if the player is traded.
8. All players on Optional Assignment to the minors must be recalled no later than the day after the conclusion of the MLB regular season.