Waivers (MLB)

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A permission granted from all 30 clubs to assign a Major League player’s contract to another Major League team or a minor league affiliate. Such permission is granted only for a specific period of time. The actual request is filed through the Commissioner’s Office and is not disclosed to the public until the contract is rewarded.[1]


Procedures for obtaining waivers[2]

  1. May request 7 players on any given business day.
  2. The waivers must be requested by 2:00pm ET on any business day.
  3. Waiver claiming period expires on the second business day after the initial request at 1:00pm ET.
  4. A Club desiring the assignment of a player on the waiver wire must submit a claim prior to 1:00pm ET on the last day of the claiming period.
  5. Priority for the waiver claim awards is given to the Club with the lowest winning percentage in the player’s league when there are multiple claims submitted for the same player.
  6. If only one claim is entered, the claiming Club is eligible to be awarded the player contract.
  7. There is no specific limit on the number of claims that may be submitted on a particular day. However, no Club is permitted to exceed the 40-man or the 25-man roster limit.
  8. If a Club is awarded a player on a waiver claim which causes them to exceed the 40-man or the 25-man roster limit they must designate a different player for assignment.

Types of Waivers

There are four types of waivers:

  1. Unconditional Release waivers
  2. Outright waivers
  3. Major League waivers
  4. Special waivers

Unconditional Release Waivers (UR)

This irrevocable waiver is used for the purpose of an unconditional release of a player. At the time of the request the player shall be removed from all player limits.

A player may be informed of the clubs intention to release him on a weekend, but the actual waiver process won’t begin until the following business day.

During the time a player is on an unexpired waiver request bulletin he may discuss employment with other clubs but may not contract with another club. If the player has been claimed, he must be informed the end of the two-day period that his contract has been claimed.

The player has five days from the time he was notified of the claim to either accept the assignment or terminate his contract. If the player terminates his contract he forfeits termination pay. Termination pay may vary depending on the time of year.[3]

A club that wishes to release a player places him on unconditional release waivers. He then may be claimed for $1, but the player may choose to refuse the claim and become a free agent.[4]

Outright Waivers (OR)

This type of irrevocable waiver needs to be secured in order to Outright a player. An outright is to assign a player to a club’s minor league affiliate without the right of recall. In other words, to remove a player from the 40-man roster.

Also a player who has exhausted his options must clear this type of waiver if the club wishes to assign him to minor league affiliate.

An outright waiver secured is good for entire waiver period. These waivers are needed from the 31st day of the season through August 31.[5]

A club that wishes to remove a player from its 40-man roster but keep him in its minor-league system must first place him on outright or special waivers.

Outright waivers are not revocable, so a player claimed on outright waivers may not be pulled back by his original club.

When a player in the middle of a guaranteed contract is claimed on waivers, the claiming club pays $20,000 and a pro-rated portion of the league minimum salary, with the original club remaining responsible for paying the rest of the money due under the contract.

A club may not request outright waivers on a player with a complete no-trade clause or on a player ten-and-five rights.[6]

Major League Waivers (ML)

This type of revocable waiver is common and it is used to either option a player to a club’s minor league affiliate or assign a player outright to another Major league club from August 1st to the end of the regular season. A player claimed on this type of waiver may be pulled back by the requesting club. This is known as a waiver withdrawal.

Generally a club needs to secure this type of waiver in order to option a player if the date of the assignment is three or more years after the date the player first reported to a Major League club during a championship season. One year shall be deducted from the above three-year period for each season in which the player may have been charged with an option prior to first reporting to a Major League club during a championship season.

A claimed player pulled back by the requesting club may not be assigned and cannot be placed on waivers again (except for UR waivers) for 30 days.

When ML waivers are asked for a second time in the same period the request shall state that it is irrevocable.[7]

Major League waivers are utilized in August as a means to gauge trade interest. Between August 1 and the end of the season, a player may not be traded without first clearing Major League waivers. If the player is not claimed within 47 business-day hours, he may be traded to any club.

If the player is claimed by another club, the request may be revoked, allowing his current club to pull him back. However, the player’s current club also may:

  1. work out a trade with the claiming club within 48 ½ business-day hours, or
  2. elect to allow the claiming club to take the player for a $20,000 fee and assume responsibility for his current contract.

If more than one club claims a player, the club with the lower winning percentage has priority. Once a player on major league waivers has been claimed and the waiver request revoked, any subsequent request for major league waivers during the same waiver period is irrevocable.[8]

A player with a no-trade clause who is claimed on Major League waivers must be pulled back if the player’s no-trade clause allows him to block a deal to the claiming club. However, the player may waive the no-trade clause and join the claiming club.[9]

In addition, major league waivers are required when optioning a player who has options remaining but who is more than three calendar years removed from his first appearance on a Major League roster. Because major league waivers are revocable, players usually clear in this scenario.[10]

Special Waivers (SPL)

These waivers are also irrevocable, the special waiver is used for the same purpose as an outright waiver. One difference is these waivers are used from September 1 to the 30th day of the following season.

A secured special waiver is good for seven days, as opposed to being good for an entire period like the outright waiver.[11]

Outright waivers secured between September and 30th day of the next season.[12]

Waiver withdrawl

Waiver request may only be withdrawn on players who have been claimed on a Major League Waiver wire. If a player is claimed on a Major League Waiver wire, the request must be withdrawn within two business days or the contract will be awarded to the eligible club.

During the two-day waiver withdrawal period the requesting Club can try to negotiate a deal with the eligible Club and make a waiver claim award under the terms of that deal.

Waiver prices

Major League, Special and Outright Waivers are $20,000 or $25,000, while Unconditional Waivers are $1.00.

Waiver claim priority

November 11 - April 30 (Nov. 11 - 30th day of the next season)

  • The club with the worst won-loss record in the previous season has priority[13].

May 1 – July 31 (31st day of the season – July 31)

  • The club with the worst won-loss record in the current season has priority.[14]

August 1 through November 10

  • The club with the worst won-loss record in the current season has priority, but American League clubs have priority for AL players, and National League clubs have priority for NL players.[15]

Timeline of waiver periods

February 15

Waivers secured on/after November 11th expire at 5:00 p.m. ET.[16]

February 16

New waiver period begins. Outright Waivers secured on/after this date are good for seven days (or until 5:00 p.m. ET on April 30, whichever is earlier). Optional Waivers secured on/after this date are good through 5:00 p.m. ET on April 30.[17]

April 30 (intended to be 30th day of season)

Waivers secured on/after February 16th expire at 5:00 p.m. ET.[18]

May 1 (intended to be 31st day of season)

This is the 31st day of the 2007 championship season. New waiver period begins. Assignment waivers secured on/after this date are good through 5:00 p.m. ET on July 31st.[19]

July 31

Waivers secured on/after May 1, 2007 expire at 5:00 p.m. ET. Players may be traded between Major League clubs until 4:00 p.m. ET without Trade Waivers in effect.[20]

August 1

New waiver period begins. Trade waivers secured on/after today (8/1) are in effect until the conclusion of the championship season. Outright waivers secured on/after today (8/1) are in effect for until midnight ET on 8/31.[21]

November 10

Waivers secured on/after Aug. 1, 2007, expire at 5:00 p.m. ET.[22]

November 11

New waiver period begins. Waivers (exclusive of Outright waivers) secured today and after shall be in effect until February 15.[23]

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