I thought this article was interesting. I thought others might like it to. Unfortunately I don't think we will have to worry about our playoff roster.
posted: Monday, September 3, 2007 | Feedback | Print Entry
Jennifer B., a diehard Cleveland fan and a regular correspondent, asked me for some clarification on players' eligibility for postseason rosters.
I know that playoff roster eligibility is based on the 25-man roster plus 60-day disabled list players plus players on the 15-day DL on Aug. 31. Then before the playoffs begin the playoff roster is set based on those eligible. Once the playoffs have been set if a player becomes disabled he can be replaced by any player from the 40-man roster except that a pitcher must be replaced with a pitcher and a position player with a position player. At least I think that is right.
My question -- there is confusion on the net -- is suppose there are 26 playoff eligibles (the 26th player is a DL position player) in setting the playoff roster:
(a) Is the team limited to the 26 players for the 25-man roster?
(b) Can the team designate 24 active players and choose someone not on the list of eligibles (thus bypassing one active player on the DL) with a position player (the DL player was a position player)? or
(c) same as (b) above, but it doesn't matter whether it is a position player or a pitcher?
The correct answer here is (b), and here's why.
Major League Rule 40(a) states that to be eligible to play in a postseason series for a certain club, a player must be on the Active Roster, Disabled List, Bereavement List, or Suspended List of that club as of midnight ET on Aug. 31 of that year. But if any eligible player is unable to play in a playoff series because he's hurt, his team can apply to the Commissioner's Office to replace that player with any player who was in their organization -- meaning that he was on the roster of one of their affiliated minor-league clubs -- on Aug. 31, so long as he remained in the organization through the end of the major league season. The only restriction, other than requiring the Commissioner's approval for all such substitutions, is that a pitcher must be replaced by a pitcher, and a position player must be replaced by a position player.
This rule was most famously exploited in 2002, when the Angels used the spot created by having Steve Green on the DL all season to add Francisco Rodriguez to their playoff roster. K-Rod wasn't added to the Angels' 40-man roster until after Sept. 1, but played a huge role in the team's world championship run that October. Although the rule was on the books prior to 2002, since that year we've seen more clubs set themselves up to take advantage of it by calling injured players up from the minors and placing them on the 15-day DL. Cleveland recalled outfielder Brad Snyder and placed him on the 15-day DL; the Padres recalled two minor leagues pitchers and placed them on the 15-day DL.
Such a move isn't costless; these players get 30 days of service time and about $66,000 in salary, they might have to be added to the 40-man roster if they're not already on it, which requires clearing a spot and also means their minimum salaries for the following year will be $62,500 even if they spend the whole year in the minors. As a result, you don't see teams using this trick with top prospects, nor do you see players pulled from A-ball. But given the impact that a player sneaked on to the roster via this back door can have in the postseason, such a move can more than justify the cost.