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Understanding Trades in the Majors

Aug 17, 2007
Understanding the trades in the majors can be one of the most important parts of understanding the game. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as one might would hope.

First, it's important to understanding the very beginning of how transactions in MLB operate. This occurs when amateurs sign their first contract and a lot regarding how things progress depends on certain factors regarding that first contract signing. For example, if an amateur is at least 19 years old then he is given three years in the minors and after that he has to moved on up to the roster. If however, the player is under the age of 19 then he is given an extra 'inning' in the minor leagues before he must be moved up to the 40-man roster.

It should be noted that not all minor league players make it to the 40-man roster. In fact it's not uncommon at all for a minor league player to never make it to the 40-man roster at all. This is primarily due to the fact that there are not many vacancies on the 40-man roster. The players who do not make their way to the 40-man roster can become eligible for what is known as the Rule 5 Draft. This gives other organizations the opportunity to draft those players. If they do draft them; however, the organization must keep them in the majors throughout the entire season. On average, a little less than two dozen players make it in due to the Rule 5 Draft. Another alternative would be for those players who didn't make it to the 40-man roster to become a free agent. In order for this to happen; however, the players must have at least six years of professional experience and their contracts must have expired.

The players who do eventually make the 40-man roster have three options. The player can be sent to the minors without penalty during any given year. It is important to note that a player doesn't necessarily use up an option every time he gets sent back to the minors. Instead, an option covers the entire season. So, theoretically, a player could be bounded back to the minors multiple times during an entire season and all of those returns would be covered under only one option.

If, in the event an organization wants to send a player back to minors but that particular player does not have any options left then they would need to use waivers and that involves the process of outrighting. In this process, the player would be taken off the 40-man roster and put on waivers. This automatically gives all of the other teams a total of three days in which they can lay claim to the player. The teams with the worst records get priority over all of the other teams. If there should not be any team claim him then the player will be sent back to the minors. Of course, if the player in question has at least five years of experience in MLB then he can go free agency and that's a whole different ball game, so to speak.

In the event that the original team wanted to pull him back in again, they would first have to purchase his contract.
About the Author
Joe Kenny is a fan of many sports but soccer is the main love of his life, he writes for the UK soccer forum site, FootballTalk.org. Join the football forum for free today and have your say!
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