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MLB Transactions Part Nine: Options, Service Time Charts and the DL

In this final (I promise) installment of Purple Row Academy on MLB Transactions, I take a look at the disabled list. But first, the Rockies have made their final spring roster moves. These charts assume that Franklin Morales is optioned down to Colorado Springs, Juan Morillo is put on waivers, and Jeff Francis is moved to the 60 day DL (explained later) because the Rockies signed Jason Hammel and Matt Belisle to major league contracts (AKA placed them on the 40 man roster).

All of these transactions mean that it is necessary to update my 40 man roster charts for major league service time/player rights and minor league options. This information is not exactly easy to find around the internet and is often my interpretation of transaction logs--so it might not be entirely accurate. However, these charts should be a fairly accurate representation of our 40 man roster's service time and options situation. 

Colorado Rockies 40 Man Roster Sorted by Major League Service Time and Player Rights

This table sorts the Rockies' 40 man roster by service time and player rights, found courtesy of Cot's Contracts. The categories are zero service time, less than one year, not arbitration eligible, arbitration eligible, free agency eligible, ten and five rights, and key non-roster players. Note that this chart does not reflect the fact that several players (like Tulo and Jimenez) have signed multi-year deals that buy out their arbitration years. Also, Jeff Francis is currently not on the 40 man roster so he is placed in the non-roster category. For more on these levels of player rights, refer to the Service Time session of PR Academy.

Zero UAY NAE AE FAE T&F Rights Non-Roster
Deduno Morales Corpas Belisle Cook Helton Flores (AE)
Lindsay Register Jimenez Buchholz Embree Fogg (FAE)
Mattheus Reynolds Hammel JDLR Marquis Francis (AE)
Rogers Fowler Hirsh Grilli Rusch Fasano (FAE)
Gomez Gonzalez Speier Street Torrealba Ortmeier (NAE)
Nelson S. Smith G. Smith Atkins
Young Jr Stewart Baker Barmes
Iannetta Hawpe
7 (4P, 3H) 7 (3P, 4H) 12 (6P, 6H) 8 (5P, 3H) 5 (4P, 1H) 1 (1H) 5 (3P, 2H)

Colorado Rockies 40 Man Roster Sorted by Minor League Options Remaining

This chart sorts the 40 man roster by number of options remaining. Note that, with the exception of Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki, all of our young players were optioned down and have two options remaining. Also, Jeff Francis has one option remaining but is not currently on the 40 man roster. Players with a * are in their final minor league option season (they can be optioned this year but not next).

Three Two One One (ST Constraints) Zero Options Ineligible (5+ years of ST)
Fowler Corpas Register Street Belisle Cook
Tulowitzki Deduno Reynolds Atkins Buchholz Embree
Jimenez Rogers Hawpe JDLR Marquis
Lindsay Gonzalez Grilli Rusch
Mattheus Stewart Hammel Helton
G.Smith Hirsh* Torrealba
Gomez Morales*
Iannetta Speier
Nelson Baker
S. Smith Barmes
Young Jr Murton*
2 (2H) 11(6P,5H) 5 (3P,2H)

3 (1P, 2H)

13 (8P,5H) 6 (4P, 2H)

Chart Analysis

As you can see from the charts, the Rockies have a lot of young players on their team, with many either arbitration eligible or soon to be. This is the result of Dan O' Dowd's focus on homegrown players on the big league club and in part unwillingness to bring in free agent hitters or non-scrap heap pitchers. The problem with this business model is that soon a number of Rockies will be in their arbitration years, which means that even to keep the status quo ownership will have to increase payroll (as they did this year) in arbitration settlements.

GMs who get too attached to their own talent often fall into the trap of paying too much for marginal players (Cory Sullivan, anyone?) and not bringing in talent from other teams. O'Dowd's method of bringing in talent has mostly been through trades, taking on existing contracts, or by searching through the scrap heap and hoping to find gold.

Join me after the jump for an explanation of the disabled list...

The Disabled List

Many baseball fans know about the disabled lists, but this is a quick reminder of how they work. Firstly, there are two different disabled lists for each club: the 15 and 60 day DL (also called the Emergency DL). I'll explain each list briefly below as well as rehab assignments and the bereavement list. To be eligible to be placed on the DL, a player must be certified by a doctor as disabled, but that isn't that tough of a requirement to meet.

Note that a player on either the 15 or 60 day DL continues to accumulate major league service time (Francis will accrue a year's worth of service time this year on the 60 day DL), but he must remain inactive for a minimum of 15 or 60 days, with Day 1 beginning after the player’s last game appearance. A club may make the placement of a player on either list retroactive to the last date on which he played, up to a maximum backdating of 10 days. For instance, if Brad Hawpe got hurt with a strained hamstring, the Rockies would have 10 days to decide whether to put him on the 15 day DL without losing him for more than 15 total days. 

15-Day DL

A player can be placed on the 15 day DL to remove him from the 25 man major league active roster--though NOT the 40 man roster. As a result, the player may not play for at least 15 consecutive days. A player may be activated at the beginning of Day 16, though the club is not required to reinstate him at any specific time. There is no limit to the number of players a club may put on the 15-day DL.

In addition, a player can be transferred from the 15-day list to the 60-day list if his injury is more serious and/or the team wants to open up a 40 man roster slot, but the opposite is not permitted. If a player is transferred, his time on the 15-day list is credited toward the minimum stay on the 60-day list. 

60-Day (Emergency) DL

A player that is placed on the 60-day disabled list does not count against either the 25-man or 40-man roster. The player may then not play for 60 consecutive days (retroactive up to 10 days). A player may be activated beginning Day 61, though the club is not required to reinstate him at any specific time. A player placed on the 60-day list after August 1 remains there for the rest of the season.

There is no limit to the number of players on the 60-day DL, but teams are only allowed to take advantage of it if their 40 man roster is full. In addition, once the season is over, the Emergency DL players must be placed back on the 40 man roster or be designated for assignment.

The major advantage of having a player on the 60-day DL, as mentioned above, is the ability of a team to open up a 40 man roster slot--though it is a temporary advantage, it allows teams to keep a couple of extra major league players on their roster or make a couple of prospects eligible for an easy call-up if necessary.

Rehabilitation Assignments

As an extension of a team's options with injured players, a club may send a player on the DL to the minor leagues for a rehab assignment lasting a maximum of 20 days for position players and 30 days for pitchers. These assignments do not count as a minor league option.

Bereavement List

Implemented in 2003, the Bereavement List allows clubs to replace players on the 25 man roster who are experiencing a family emergency or the death of a loved one for 3-7 days with the permission of the commissioner's office. The definition of loved one has in 2004 been expanded to include extended family or in-laws, but does not include the birth of a player's child. The team must use a 40 man roster player to replace the bereaved player. Players on the bereavement list accumulate major league service time.

Sources and Additional Reading

These sources were essential to the writing of this article and, as always, are highly encouraged reading material.

Cot's Contracts, Jeff Euston

Rockies 40 Man Roster, Colorado Rockies

ML Service Time, Jabberwocky

Minor League Options, Jabberwocky

MLB Transaction Primer, Rob Neyer (ESPN)

MLB Transactions, Wikipedia

Disabled List, Jeff Euston

Bereavement List, Jeff Euston