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 BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others

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PostSubject: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:42 am

Saturday, June 21, 2008
Lynn Henning: Baseball 101
Who's ready for the show?
Major league promotions merit thorough consideration

Freddy Dolsi had been all of a week at Double-A Erie when the Tigers called him to the big leagues seven weeks ago. He had pitched three innings for the SeaWolves and allowed a lone hit.

Essentially, he was still a Class A pitcher, a right-handed reliever who had been a bullpen staple for the Lakeland Flying Tigers during the 2006 and '07 seasons. Dolsi might have been among the top 20 Tigers prospects heading into this season, but not by a wide margin.

And then, in a jiffy, a 25-year-old pitcher with a big fastball was in the majors.

Summoning a minor leaguer to the big leagues is a decision seldom based on numbers only. Psychology and makeup, the suddenness with which a player seems to have hit a new plateau, the simple matter of a big league team's raw roster needs -- everything goes into the mix on a decision that involves a committee of consultants.

It was why Dolsi got his surprise upgrade when the Tigers needed a replacement after Denny Bautista went on the disabled list the first week of May. Like other rookies who have joined the Tigers in shotgun promotions this spring -- Clete Thomas and Jeff Larish to name two more -- Dolsi is a testament to how fast the minor leagues can deliver a fresh face to a big league roster.

"Last year, Dolsi made very, very strong progress," said Glenn Ezell, the Tigers director of player development. "And when he came to spring training he opened some eyes."

He also took it hard when the Tigers sent him back to minor league camp. He pitched almost as if he were pouting in his early work with Lakeland, but, Ezell said, "all of a sudden, boom, he got his feet back on the ground and was throwing the ball the way he was supposed to."

After a fast promotion to Erie, Dolsi got an even faster promotion to Detroit.

Keeping tabs

The chain reaction that leads to a player from the bushes hopping a plane -- or sliding into a car -- bound for Detroit begins with Dave Dombrowski, the Tigers president and GM. He generally phones Ezell, the man who monitors and inspects Detroit's farm prospects.

"I receive daily game reports and statistics on our minor league clubs, so I have a good feeling about who we would call up in case of need," Dombrowski said. "However, Ezie (Ezell) will have a better feeling. I always ask him to be prepared, in case of need, as to who would be most deserving."

Ezell does his own research, beginning with personally scouting the players. He confers with the manager of a particular team. He might talk with the hitting coach or pitching coach. He will call one of the Tigers' roving minor league instructors -- hitting coach Toby Harrah or pitching coach Jon Matlack -- who tour the various farm-system levels to work one-on-one with Detroit's prospects.

Ezell comes away with a recommendation. He passes it on to Dombrowski.

"I think it's important that Ezie does this," Dombrowski said, "since he maintains the chain-of-command."

Dombrowski next huddles with assistant GM Al Avila. They discuss any options and sit down with manager Jim Leyland.

"Sometimes, he may want a left-handed reliever versus a right-hander, depending on how our pitchers are throwing and the club we are facing," Dombrowski said. "Then we make the final decision and have Ezie advise the (minor league) manager and allow him to tell the player.

"Sometimes, there are slight variances in this, depending upon time frames, travel schedules, and availability of personnel But this is the general format."

Ready for the next step

In the case of Dolsi, Ezell had seen him pitch twice at Erie and had concluded he was ready for Detroit if the Tigers called.

They did, and Ezell's response to Dombrowski was instant: "Dolsi." Ezell double-checked with Matlack who agreed:

"Good, go with him," Matlack said.

Ezell concedes that statistics can be liars when it comes to assessing when a minor-leaguer is big league ready.

"Absolutely, the mind-set and the ability all have to be there for those guys to go to the next level," Ezell said. "Face it: They're not going to step in there and tear things up. A lot of being promoted is a learning process. That's why it's so important to have conversations with the other guys in the system.

"You've got to put two and two together and see who can handle the second or third tier up there without trouble."

The "second or third tier" in Ezell's parlance refers to the huge crowds and to the exponential increase in pressure when a bush-leaguer advances.

"I can remember telling Brandon Inge (in 2001), 'When you go up there, do you know what a headline on a newspaper is? Well, you can magnify that by a zillion times when you get to Detroit. That scoreboard in the majors is so big it looks like it blocks out the sun.' "

Inge took his time adjusting, as Dolsi is learning to do in 2008.

For the guys who make the call, it's all about identification. And, they would add, a good deal of fingers-crossing.

You can reach Lynn Henning at lynn. henning@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:17 pm

Saturday, June 28, 2008
Lynn Henning: Baseball 101
Sacrifice fly is deceptively tough

A runner is fidgeting as he stands a few feet from third base. The scoreboard says there are no outs; on a similar occasion, there might be one out.

The man at bat has one objective: put the ball in play, preferably with at least a long fly ball that can score his teammate.

The sacrifice fly seems like such a simple request.

"Yeah, sure," Carlos Guillen said with a sarcastic laugh before Thursday's Tigers-Cardinals game at Comerica Park.

Just to back up his mockery, Guillen strode to the plate in the first inning of Thursday's game as Curtis Granderson rested at third, eager to come home on one of Guillen's patented drives to center or to right field.

Guillen popped to the shortstop.

"Everybody thinks that getting down a good bunt can be hard, but (the sacrifice fly) is harder," said Gene Lamont, the Tigers' third-base coach who must decide, in an instant, to send a tagging runner or hold him, depending upon the distance a fly ball is hit in a scoring situation.

"To me, it (a sacrifice fly) is less automatic than it used to be."

On the down-low

The reason, say Lamont and Tigers bullpen coach Jeff Jones, is that pitchers tend to throw lower in the strike zone than they did in earlier eras. The high strike is not called the way it was before umpires adopted the inside-the-shirt chest protector that put them in a low crouch over the catcher.

Thus, pitches tend to cruise at a lower altitude. It means fewer fly balls and more ground-outs, which delights a pitcher who wants a hitter to bang his toss into the ground, freezing the runner, or leading to a put-out at the plate.

This can make life tense for a hitter who is trying to smack a ball on the nose, preferably on the baseball's lower hemisphere, with enough backspin to send it soaring into the heavens.

Small wonder Guillen laughed at the supposedly simple act of hitting a fly ball.

"You look for a good pitch to hit, and you try to hit it hard," Guillen said, turning serious about his thought process when a fly ball means an important run for his team.

Marcus Thames, the Tigers' home-run thumper who can hit long flyballs with the best of them, agreed with Guillen that clubbing a sacrifice fly is from the school of Easier Said Than Done.

"You just want to get a pitch up in the zone and try to elevate it," Thames said, acknowledging that the pitcher has an opposite strategy.

"He's trying to keep it (the pitch) down and in. You just hope he makes a mistake and you can hit the mistake."

Staying grounded

Jones, who pitched for the Oakland A's from 1980-84, understands sacrifice flies from the perspective of an enemy camp. A pitcher wants the ball at the knees with a runner at third and fewer than two outs.

"I want to try to throw whatever pitch he'll hit on the ground," Jones said.

The emphasis will be on sinking, two-seam fastballs. Or breaking pitches down and in. Scott McGregor, the old Orioles left-hander, was known as a wizard at the low, boring slider that could handcuff a right-handed hitter in such situations.

Lamont believes another factor enters into how batters are pitched in scoring situations. The strikeout is more of a weapon. The paradox is that a pitcher in 2008 might be careful in deciding when he can safely shoot for a strikeout.

And one of those times might come with a runner at third base and nobody out.

"With no outs, sometimes you can't pitch as tough," Lamont said. "If you're not careful, all of a sudden it can be a big (scoring) inning.

"With one out, a pitcher is more likely to go for the strikeout."

It tends to explain why hitting is such a difficult assignment -- in any circumstance -- for a big league batter. The pitcher is in control. What he throws and where he throws it is his decision. A batter must react. And when the task at hand is not only to hit the ball, but to hit it high and far, all so that a runner can tag the base and sprint home, well, that's why big league checks can be on the hefty side.

You can reach Lynn Henning at lynn.henning@detnews.com


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–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Sat Jul 05, 2008 10:14 pm

Saturday, July 5, 2008
Lynn Henning: Baseball 101
Bad injury to stomach: What exactly is oblique muscle sidelining Tigers?

SEATTLE -- Now there's an appropriate name for a muscle that has become the Tigers' training staff's Public Enemy No. 1.

Oblique.

In dictionary terms, oblique means "neither perpendicular nor parallel; not straight or direct; deviously achieved."

The "deviously achieved" part would suit the Tigers' explanation for what has, at various times this season, sidelined Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez, and Brandon Inge.

The oblique muscle is baseball's vogue anatomical term. Old-timers never heard of an oblique muscle. But it wasn't because the oblique, like the designated hitter, evolved during a meeting of the American League owners.

It has always been there. It has simply been concealed by layman's language.

In previous years, a strained oblique was known by a slew of terms:

"Strained abdominal muscle."

"Ribcage injury."

"Strained side."

In fact, the oblique muscle is not one muscle, but a series of muscles within the torso: internal, external, posterior

"In earlier years, they were all lumped together," said Kevin Rand, the Tigers' head athletic trainer, comparing the oblique muscular family to similarly simplistic terminology that once applied to shoulder injuries. "It used to be, you just had a bad shoulder. You didn't hear about a torn labrum. Or a torn rotator cuff.

"Or, it was a bad elbow. It was never a frayed ulnar nerve, or a UCL (ulnar collateral ligament). With the advent of MRIs, we've gotten to more accurately diagnose injuries."

'It will shut down your swing'

The external oblique muscles allow the trunk to twist, which is why swinging a bat with a strained oblique is a bit like having a hot fireplace poker inserted into your ribs. The internal oblique muscles operate in an opposite fashion, each of them twisting as the opposite muscle contracts.

"One handles rotation," Rand said. "The other flex-and-extend actions. They've got different functions."

It's hardly a wonder a muscular system so complex gets messed up when exposed to the trauma of swinging bats or stretching in contorted fashion to catch a line drive.

Inge, who, like Ordonez, is now on the 15-day disabled list because of an oblique mishap, says he would have to think long and hard if you asked him to choose between an oblique injury and, say, being stretched over an ant hill.

"I wouldn't wish that injury on anyone," said Inge, who tried for two weeks to play with his strained oblique and would just as soon forget those 14 days.

"You breathe, you talk, you laugh -- and it's like someone's slicing your lung out," he said.

"It will absolutely shut down your swing. So, I'm very, very, very happy to be able to do things now and not swing a bat with that stabbing pain."

Because the oblique injuries to Inge, Sheffield, and Ordonez happened in such close order, it has been theorized by some fans that there must be a shortcoming in the Tigers' strength-and-conditioning operations.

Not so, say players and medical staff.

But three? It's just a coincidence

"We're not doing anything differently from before," Rand said. "We've asked ourselves the same question: Is there something we can do differently? Is there something we've done differently?

"Myself and Javair (Gillette, Tigers strength and conditioning coach) have sat down and looked at what we've been doing, and it's the same program as when Magglio hit .363 last season. It's the same for Brandon and for Sheffield, too.

"Sometimes, you have to come to the conclusion that it just happens.

"It is what it is."

Inge agrees.

"I know in my heart that Javair and our trainers are fantastic," Inge said, adding: "They will get you on the field if you want to be there."

Inge concedes that was where he wanted to be for two long and painful weeks -- on the field rather than giving in to the agony of a strained muscle. But now he's on the disabled list, which only proves to him that a stressed oblique is not only a painful son of a gun.

It's boss.

You can reach Lynn Henning at (313) 222-2472 lynn.henning@detnews.com


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–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:54 am

Saturday, July 26, 2008
Lynn Henning: Baseball 101
Demotion is not just a minor inconvenience

It all seems like a dream at first. The bright stadium lights. The crowds. The realization that you are playing in an actual Major League Baseball game.

And because it all can seem so fantastic and otherworldly, there is one moment, and only one, that can ruin the rapture.

It happens when a coach stops at your locker, delivering a dreaded message: "Skip needs to see you in the office."

Matt Joyce got the word from Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont after the Tigers' May 28 game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium.

Joyce headed for manager Jim Leyland's quarters, pretty much anticipating the news.

"We've enjoyed having you here, but we've got to send you back to Toledo," Leyland said to the rookie outfielder, who had joined the team a month earlier. "You gave us a spark, but we're gonna let Marcus (Thames) get some more at-bats."

Leyland told Joyce that he needed to work on his approach against off-speed pitches. It is considered essential by Leyland, and other managers, that the player being sent down be given a project, a mission that can make a later trip to the big league club a longer stay.

"It's business," Leyland said of his conversations with players who are headed back to the minors. "But you share information with them on what you think it will take for them to get better.

"I just always try and tell them the truth. If they're a victim of circumstances, I tell 'em."

Leyland refers there to what is known as the "options game." A big league player in most cases is allowed three option years. It means he can be called up and returned to the minors, and recalled, any number of times during those three years.

A player who is out of options is subject to the waiver wire or to the "designated for assignment" realm where, for 10 days, a team tries to trade a player, or have him clear waivers so that he can be reassigned to the minors.

Just talkin' about shaft

Leyland had to deliver one of those "you're getting shafted" explanations last August to right-handed pitcher Zach Miner, who was sent to Triple-A Toledo for the third time since spring training.

The Tigers at the time had to face simple roster facts:They could demote Miner and keep him in their possession. Other pitchers -- Jason Grilli, Jose Capellan, Yorman Bazardo, etc. -- were out of options and would likely have been grabbed by another club.

"Zach was (ticked) off, and he should have been," said Leyland, who acknowledged there can be "some interesting conversations" during sessions that otherwise tend to be brief and to the fact.

"You feel bad (when a player is demoted), but you try and be honest with him. What you never do is promise him he's coming back."

No guarantees

Leyland has seen too many cases where players who have spent time with the big league club believe they have "graduated." If they get sent down and an appropriate roster spot opens up, they can assume that there's entitlement -- that they deserve the next promotion.

Leyland, though, never makes the call. It is the front office and, more directly, the minor league overseers who know intimately what player is ready when the big club calls for a player.

Miner concedes he had a problem with last year's demotion but that "you try and be a man about it. They (big league bosses) expect you to be upset. But you try not to say something that you'll regret.

"It's difficult for them, too."

But never is it as tough as it is on a player headed back to the bushes. Joyce, and infielder Ramon Santiago, who has ridden the options road plenty, each mention the suddenness of the culture change when players return to the minors.

A huge difference, they say, are stadium lights that are dramatically dimmer than in the big leagues.

Joyce has noticed how much bigger the strike zone is in the minors. Santiago has come to appreciate another difference, a big one in terms of lifestyle.

"Here, it's nice," he said of the big-league routine. "Everybody picks up your bags in your room. Down there, you carry your own luggage.

"We stay in nice hotels here," he said, and then Santiago laughed as he named a couple of bargain-rate chains that are favored by farm teams on tight budgets.

It is a minor grievance for a man accustomed to the minor leagues -- a man who hopes he has heard for the last time those ominous words:

"Skip wants to see you."

You can reach Lynn Henning at lynn.henning@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Sat Aug 02, 2008 11:35 am

Saturday, August 2, 2008
Lynn Henning: Baseball 101
Trading places: Midseason deals tough for players and families

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Kyle Farnsworth got the word from the Yankees about the same time Wednesday as Pudge Rodriguez was hearing it from the Tigers.

They were headed elsewhere, to new teams, new towns, new lives.

They had been traded for each other. Conversations that began at 10 that morning with a call from Dave Dombrowski, Tigers president and general manager, to his counterpart in New York, Brian Cashman, led a few hours later to a deal that was conceived, discussed and finalized in amazingly sudden fashion.

Even if Farnsworth had played for the Tigers for a few months in 2005, Wednesday's reality was the same as if he had been shipped to the West Coast.

He had to move to a new town. He had to relocate his family inside of 48 hours. He had to close down one residence and find another.

He, his wife, and 5-year-old son, Stone, grabbed their essentials from an apartment in Ft. Lee, N.J., and loaded them into Farnsworth's truck. They hit the road at 9 p.m. and stopped at 1 a.m., when they were somewhere in Virginia, checking into a hotel for a few hours of sleep.

By 7 a.m., the Farnsworths were back on the road. At 8:30 p.m. Thursday, they pulled into their offseason home in Orlando, Fla., 90 minutes from Tropicana Field, where Farnsworth joined his new/old team Friday.

Settling financial obligations on the apartment in New Jersey become part of the Tigers' responsibilities in any kind of midseason trade for a new player. The Yankees have no such hassles with Rodriguez, who owns a second home in Bloomfield Hills.

Finding a new residence inside of a few hours is another trick. The Tigers provide help there, if necessary, but Farnsworth had already settled on new digs.

His old teammate, Jamie Walker, now with the Orioles, has a house in Livonia that he has not yet been able to sell. Farnsworth has become Walker's new tenant.

"You never know what's gonna happen," Farnsworth said Friday in the Tigers' clubhouse at Tropicana Field.

Tough on families

He acknowledged that midseason trades are not only unsettling and, in most cases, shocking for a player. There are wives and kids who likewise see their environments and routines turned upside down.

"It's hard on them, too," Farnsworth said.

The Tigers had their own obligations Wednesday to Rodriguez. They needed to give him the word in straight, yet sensitive, fashion ahead of any media announcements. They were intent on giving Rodriguez proper time to say goodbye, to deal with a departure so stunning.

They were not obligated to make flight arrangements for him to New York.

There, he will shop for an apartment or rental home with his new wife. His clothes and belongings have to be packed up and moved to New York (on the Yankees' tab).


Mixed feelings

All of this for a two-month stay, which is as long as Rodriguez figures to be in New York and Farnsworth in Detroit (barring a playoff appearance).

Each stands to become a free agent later in the autumn, although it is reasonable to assume the Yankees and Tigers will at least have discussions about contract extensions with their new players.

Farnsworth appeared to have mixed feelings as he spoke Friday. The Yankees are battling for a playoff spot, as are the Tigers. Farnsworth had become a key pitcher in the back end of manager Joe Girardi's bullpen. He had settled down after a couple of rough seasons and was pitching brilliantly in 2008.

All of that made pitching for the Yankees gratifying. But he also conceded Friday that, "New York is definitely a tough place."

Now, he is being asked to pitch with the same mettle for the Tigers. He did it once, before his impending free agency and intent on hitting the marketplace induced Dombrowski to trade him to Atlanta ahead at the 2005 trade deadline.

He believes he will pitch just as well as he pitched for the Yankees this season, as well as he threw for the Tigers in 2005. It is a matter of acclimation, he said Friday.

A baseball player is something of a mercenary. He is paid to play -- for whatever team enlists his services.

Tuesday, he pitched for the Yankees. Wednesday, he was told he would be performing elsewhere.

Friday, he got reacquainted with a Tigers uniform.

It was at the same moment his family was getting reacquainted with a home in Orlando they never figured to see until October.


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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:19 pm

Saturday, August 16, 2008
Lynn Henning: Baseball 101
Sheffield's type of waiver still undisclosed

Gary Sheffield was right this week to pooh-pooh his appearance on baseball's waiver wire.

"I've been on waivers all my career -- lots of times," Sheffield said, with absolute accuracy after it was learned the designated hitter made the list. "Manny Ramirez and a lot of good players have been on waivers."


The question Sheffield could not answer Wednesday was the only one that mattered:

Had he been made available to other big league clubs by way of tradewaivers or had the Tigers gone the more extreme step of placing him on outrightwaivers?

A big difference, although don't expect the Tigers or other front-office personnel sworn to secrecy to tell you what Sheffield's status was (all refused to comment).

Trade waivers are the standard list on which most players will find their names during August and September as teams test the market for deals that could be helpful the following season.

The simple fact is, each year, almost all players on a team's 25-man roster will find their names on the waiver wire -- the tradewire, which hums during August or September.

Outright waivers are vastly different. They are an invitation to "take this player off our hands."

A team making a claim on a player placed on outright waivers is responsible for nothing more than that player's contract, although in Sheffield's case that responsibility would be $14 million for 2009 and the remainder of his paychecks for 2008.

Market not there

It helps explain why Sheffield today remains with the Tigers.

If Sheffield, in fact, was placed on outright waivers, the timing could hardly have been coincidental. Sheffield popped off about his role with the Tigers, and through midweek, continued the discussion at a distance from a "flabbergasted" Jim Leyland.

But what became clear as the week wore on was that Sheffield, no matter his waiver category, had not been claimed by another team. And that says everything about the market value of a potential Hall of Fame slugger.

Sheffield has had a shoulder problem since 2007, and at the moment is not an attractive add-on, even for a team such as Tampa Bay, which needs a slugger to replace two players lost to injury, Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria.

Waivers a tricky business

The waiver process is baseball's most complex and least understood area of subterranean science. The waiver wire itself is a top-secret computer file controlled by Major League Baseball and accessible only by way of passwords and codes available to a tight circle of general managers and front-office assistants.

There are lots of fish hooks within the waiver galaxy, but a few basic rules apply:

Teams generally put seven players at a time on trade waivers, the maximum number allowed.

It is important to note that a team risks nothing in putting a player on trade waivers. The team has the option of pulling him back if a team claims him and if it doesn't like what's being offered for that player within 48 hours.

Before Aug. 1, trades can be made without moving players through waivers. It is why the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is viewed with such drama.

The trade-waiver wire also can be a defensive position for other teams. If they don't want a team with which they're contending for a playoff spot to pick off a particular player, they can claim him themselves.

But they need to be careful.

The Padres learned the hard way in 1998 when they got stuck with reliever Randy Myers and $12 million owed him when they blocked the Braves from claiming Myers from the Blue Jays. The problem: Toronto never pulled Myers back, as San Diego had anticipated. The Blue Jays simply unloaded him on the Padres.

The Tigers might -- or might not -- have been looking for just such a customer this week.

Or, Sheffield might simply have been a part of the annual formality known as clearing waivers, which, as Sheffield would tell you, happens all the time.

Baseball 101 You can reach Lynn Henning at (313) 222-2472 lynn.henning@ detnews.com .


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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:31 am

25-man and 40-man roster

Main article: Major League Baseball rosters

Each Major League Baseball team maintains both a 25-man roster and a 40-man roster of players. Players on the 25-man roster are eligible to play in official major league games throughout the season. The 40-man roster includes the players on the 25-man roster plus as many as 15 players who are either on the team's 15-day disabled list (see below) or who are in the team's minor league system. From September 1 through the end of the regular season, any player on the 40-man roster (also referred to as the "expanded roster") is eligible to play in an official regular season game. Many young players make their Major League debuts in this way, as "September call-ups". Players must be on a team's 25-man roster as of August 31 to be eligible for post-season play. The only exception is that a player on the 60-day disabled list may be replaced by another player from the team's 40-man roster (as of August 31) who plays the same position.


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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:35 am

Trades

Teams may trade only players currently under contract, except those players who have been drafted in the last year. From the end of the previous World Series through July, trades between two or more major league teams may freely occur at any time. In August, trades may only be made after all players in the trade clear waivers or are not on 40-man rosters. Players acquired after August 31 are ineligible for the postseason roster unless they replace an injured player. Unlike in the NFL, NHL and the NBA, teams may not trade draft choices, but may purchase the rights to Rule 5 Draft Picks.[1]

The August 31 rule was waived in 1945 for returning servicemen. Over the years, there have been several notable cases where a player acquired after the August 31 deadline made a significant contribution to a playoff-contending team but was ineligible for the postseason; for example, Pedro Ramos with the 1964 New York Yankees and Sparky Lyle with the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies.

If a player has been on an active major league roster for ten full seasons and on one team for the last five, he may not be traded to another team without his consent (known as the 10 & 5 rule). Additionally, some players negotiate to have no-trade clauses in their contracts that have the same effect.

In some trades, one of the components is a "player to be named later" which usually turns out to be a minor league player. The unnamed player is included as part of a trade when the teams cannot immediately agree on a specific player or when the player is not yet eligible to be traded. In these cases, the player in question must be named within six months. Cash or other considerations may be exchanged in lieu of the player to be named later. For example, during the 1994 Major League Baseball strike, the Minnesota Twins traded Dave Winfield to the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline. Among the conditions of the trade were that if the Indians played no more games in 1994, "Indians general manager John Hart must write a check for $100 made out to the Minnesota Twins and take Twins general manager Andy MacPhail out to dinner."


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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:41 am

Waivers

Any player under contract may be placed on waivers at any time. If a player is waived, any team may claim him. If more than one team claims the player from waivers, the team with the weakest record in the player's league gets preference. If no team in the player's league claims him, the claiming team with the weakest record in the other league gets preference. In the first month of the season, preference is determined using the previous year's standings.

If a team claims a player off waivers and has the viable claim as described above, his current team (the "waiving team") may choose one of the following options:

* arrange a trade with the claiming team for that player within two business days of the claim; or
* rescind the request and keep the player on its major league roster, effectively canceling the waiver; or
* do nothing and allow the claiming team to (1) assume the player's existing contract, (2) pay the waiving team a waiver fee, and (3) place the player on its active major league roster.

If a player is claimed and the waiving team exercises its rescission option, the waiving team may not use the option again for that player in that season. If no team claims a player from waivers in three business days, the player has cleared waivers and may be assigned to a minor league team, traded, or released outright.

The waiver "wire" is a secret within the personnel of the Major League Baseball clubs; no announcement of a waiver is made until a transaction actually occurs. Many players are often quietly waived during the August "waiver-required" trading period to gauge trade interest in a particular player. Usually, when the player is claimed, the waiving team will rescind the waiver to avoid losing the player unless a trade can be worked out with the claiming team.


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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:00 am

Assignment to a minor league team

Options


If a player is on the 40-man roster but not on the active major league roster, he is said to be on optional assignment—his organization may freely move him between the major league club and the minor league club. If a player is on the 40-man roster and not the active 25 man roster for any part of more than three seasons (in which he spent 20 or more total days of service in the minors), he is out of options and may not be assigned to the minors without first clearing waivers. However, if a player has less than 5 years of professional experience, he may be optioned to the minors in a fourth season without being subject to waivers. If a major league player is ineligible for free agency and "has options" remaining, his team may option him to a minor league team without consequence. This is usually what is meant when players are "sent down" to the minors. Likewise, when a player on the 40-man roster is added to the active major league roster, he is "called up" to the majors.....


Designated for assignment

Main article: Designated for assignment

A player who is designated for assignment is immediately removed from the 40-man roster. This gives the team time to decide what to do with the player while freeing up a roster spot for another transaction, if needed. Once a player is designated for assignment, the team has ten days to do one of the following things: the player can be traded, the player can be released, or the player can be put on waivers and, provided he clears, outrighted to the minors. A player who is outrighted to the minors is removed from the 40-man roster but is still paid according to the terms of his guaranteed contract. A player can only be outrighted once in his career without his consent.


Veterans' consent

If a player has 5 years of major-league service, he may not be assigned to a minor-league team without his consent, regardless of whether he has already been outrighted once, even if he clears waivers. If the player withholds consent, the team must either release him or keep him on the major league roster. In either case, the player must continue to be paid under the terms of his contract. If he is released and signs with a new team, his previous team must pay the difference in salary between the two contracts if the previous contract called for a greater salary.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:05 am

Disabled list

If a major league player cannot play because of a medical condition, he may be placed on the 15-day disabled list. The team then frees up a spot on its active major league roster of 25 players, and the player may not play for at least 15 consecutive days. An injured player may also be placed on the 60-day disabled list. The team then frees up a spot on both the active major-league roster and the 40-man roster; the player may not play for at least 60 consecutive days. Players on the 15-day disabled list are removed from the 25-man roster, but are still a part of the 40-man roster. Players on the 60-day disabled list do not count against either the 25-man or the 40-man roster.

Players placed on the 15-day disabled list may be moved to the 60-day list at any time, but not vice versa. Players may be placed on either disabled list retroactively for a maximum of 10 inactive days and may remain on either list for as long as required to recover. Injured players may not be traded without permission of the Commissioner nor may they be optioned to the minors, though they may be assigned to a minor league club for rehabilitation for a limited amount of time (30 days for pitchers, 20 for non-pitchers).


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:06 am

Bereavement list

The bereavement list may be used when a player finds it necessary to leave the team to attend to a serious illness or death in his (or his spouse's) immediate family. A player placed on the bereavement list must miss a minimum of three games and a maximum of seven games. The team can use another player from its 40-man roster to replace a player on the bereavement list.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:09 am

Rule 5 draft

Main article: Rule 5 draft

If a player not on a 40-man roster has spent four years with a minor-league contract originally signed when 19 or older or five years when signed before the age of 19, he is eligible to be chosen by any team in the rule 5 draft during the offseason. No team is required to choose a player in the draft, but many do. If chosen, the player must be kept on the selecting team's 25-man major league roster for the entire season after the draft—he may not be optioned or designated to the minors. The selecting team may, at any time, waive the rule 5 draftee, such as when they no longer wish to keep him on their major league roster. If a rule 5 draftee clears waivers, he must be offered back to the original team, effectively canceling the rule 5 draft choice. Once a rule 5 draftee spends an entire season on his new team's 25-man roster, his status reverts to normal and he may be optioned or designated for assignment. To prevent the abuse of the rule 5 draft, the rule also states that the draftee must be active for at least 90 days. This keeps teams from drafting players, then "hiding" them on the disabled list for the majority of the season. For example, if a rule 5 draftee was only active for 67 days in his first season with his new club, he must be active for an additional 23 days in his second season to satisfy the rule 5 requirements.

Any player chosen in the rule 5 draft may be traded to any team while under the rule 5 restrictions, but the restrictions transfer to the new team—if the new team does not want to keep the player on their 25-man roster for the season, he must be offered back to the team he was on when he was chosen in the draft.

The intent of the rule 5 draft is to prevent teams from holding major league-potential players in the minor leagues when other teams would be willing to have them play in the majors. However, this draft has also become an opportunity for a team to take a top prospect from another team who might not be ready for the major leagues. For example, Cy Young award winner Johan Santana was chosen by the Florida Marlins four years before winning the award, when the Houston Astros declined to put him on their 40-man roster. The Marlins chose Santana in the 1999 rule 5 draft, and traded him to the Minnesota Twins who kept him on their roster for the 2000 season, in which he toiled to a 6.49 earned run average at only 21 years of age. Two years later, he legitimized himself as a Major League pitcher, with an ERA under 3.00, and two years after that, he was recognized as the best pitcher in the league. Had he not been chosen in the rule 5 draft, he likely would not have made his major-league debut until the 2001 or the 2002 season with the Astros.


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PostSubject: Re: BASEBALL 101 - RULES PLUS from Henning and others   Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:10 am

Free agency and salary arbitration

If a player is drafted and is offered a contract by his drafting team (or any team he is traded to) each year, he may not become a free agent until he has been on a major league roster or disabled list for at least six years. Otherwise, any player without a contract may become a free agent and sign with any team.

A player is eligible for salary arbitration if he:

1. is ineligible for free agency
2. is without a contract
3. cannot agree with his current team on a new contract
4. has been on a major league roster or disabled list for at least three years

"Super Two" exception[3] - A player with at least two years of experience may be eligible for salary arbitration if he:

1. Meets the first three requirements from above
2. Played in the majors for at least 86 days in the previous season
3. Is among the top 17 percent for cumulative playing time in the majors among others with at least 2 years, but less than 3 years experience

In this process, the player and the team both submit a salary offer for a new contract; the arbitrator chooses one number or the other, whichever is thought to be most "fair" given comparable wages among players with similar ability and service time. Players thus rely on arbitration and free agency to increase their salaries.

Players eligible for neither free agency nor salary arbitration are very seldom offered contracts for much more than the league minimum salary, as the player has no recourse to try to obtain a better salary elsewhere. For this reason, in the first three major league years of their careers, players accept comparatively low salaries even when their performance is stellar. This is an accepted practice; talented, young players are usually content to "pay their dues" in this way and earn a chance to negotiate for more in their fourth year. Occasionally, a team may wish to sign a player in his second or third year to a long-term contract, for which negotiation can take place for a much higher salary.


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