Originally Posted by Sea Ray
Walk me through the particulars so I understand how this works because that doesn't add up to what others have written in this thread. It was written earlier that a guy who is signed before his 18th b-day gets 5 minor league years before having to be put on the big league 40 man roster. His first minor league season was 2009 making this yr his 4th. Why doesn't he get a 5th season next yr or am I missing something?
I'll try to get detailed here, so brace yourself.
If a player is 19 years old or older when he signs his first professional contract, he must be added to the 40-man roster or subject to the rule five draft following four years as a professional. For someone 16-to-18 years old (even 18 years and 364 days), they get an additional year.
To be clear, these do not need to be whole years of service time. Whether a player signs in April or August, it still counts as one year as a professional for the sake of determining rule five eligibility. Therefore, the earlier in the season you can sign someone to his first professional contract, the more beneficial it is since it gives a team more time to develop the player.
To clarify a couple things, players under 19 years of age when they signed in 2008 will be eligible for the next rule five draft, which is likely to be held in December. So will players who were 19 years of age or older when they signed in 2009.
One interesting thing to note is that there is a slightly different method for determining which players are eligible to become six-year free agents. If a player is drafted and signed in 2012, he will not be eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season provided he is not placed on the 40-man roster. I bring this up because a player needs six whole
years of service time to become a minor league free agent, and players who are drafted and signed this year would actually be playing seven years as a professional before possibly becoming what is known as six-year free agents. However, when it comes to the rule five draft, the only things that matter are the age of the player and the date the contract was signed.