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Thread: Explaining the "Option Years" term

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    Explaining the "Option Years" term

    I posted this in the August 1 minor league thread but I feel as thought it might get lost in the shuffle and since so many people were asking about it, or didn't fully understand it I thought I'd make a separate thread so people could easily find it. So, here is my full explanation of what exactly means by 'option years, being optioned, ect.":


    Once you are added onto the 40-man roster, you have 3 option years. Say player X was added this past off-season to the 40 man for the first time. This spring training he was sent down, that is one option used. Say he spent the entire year in the minors.
    Spring 2011 he was sent down again, that's his second option used. Say he got called up in May, that's fine. Then he was sent back down later in the year, he has only used two option years (2010, 2011)
    Then 2012 he was sent down in spring training. That is his third and final option. He can be called up and sent down as many times during any of the three years. Once 2013 comes around, player X CANNOT be sent down without first going through waivers.
    So in other words, you have 3 option YEARS. You can be sent down as many times during a season as long as you have an option year left.

    Now, there are some exceptions to the rule.
    1) A player can gain a 4th option year if he has LESS THAN 5 years of minor league service. (Yonder Alonso falls under this rule. He signed a big league contract in 2008 and was sent down, first option used. Then in 2009 he was sent down, second used. And now this year his third has been used. In 2011 he can be sent down a 4th time because he has less than 5 years of minor league time.)
    2) If a player is optioned and recalled less than 20 days after, that option was not used.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Thanks for this. I was wondering in Bray's case, or other injury circumstances during the year, how do options play out then?
    2015 Rotation: Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Leake, Cingrani

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by mdccclxix View Post
    Thanks for this. I was wondering in Bray's case, or other injury circumstances during the year, how do options play out then?
    There are some other tricky things. I have heard, but not received full explanations as to this, but if a player misses a majority of the year due to injury (and was optioned) the team might be able to retain that option back. The only example I have is Marlins left-handed pitcher Taylor Tankersley. His contract was purchased in May or June of 06 and was never sent down that year. But he was optioned in 07,08, and 09. However, he missed all of the 09 season with basically a broken elbow. He, somehow, was optioned during spring training, thus using a 4th option. I looked into it and I believe that him being out the whole year was the reason as to the "extra" option.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by cinreds21 View Post

    Now, there are some exceptions to the rule.
    1) A player can gain a 4th option year if he has LESS THAN 5 years of minor league service. (Yonder Alonso falls under this rule. He signed a big league contract in 2008 and was sent down, first option used. Then in 2009 he was sent down, second used. And now this year his third has been used. In 2011 he can be sent down a 4th time because he has less than 5 years of minor league time.)
    This isn't true. Well, the first sentence is. But Yonder did not use an option year in 2008. He didn't spend enough time in the minor leagues in 2008 to use up an option. 2009 was his first option year.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    I just posted this in the other thread, but here it is again:

    This is a very important post for people who want to know about options. To help clarify the exceptions at the bottom of cinreds21's post, I'm going to use Yonder Alonso as an example.

    First of all, he signed a major league deal. A lot of people were freaking out about this because they thought it meant he would have to be rushed to the big leagues and stick to the major league roster by 2011. That would've been true if his only three option years were 2008-10, but both exceptions listed above allow the Reds to wait until 2013 before needing to keeping him on the 25-man roster.

    Starting with the second exception, the Reds called him up to the big leagues for 18 days in September of 2008. Because he spent less than 20 days on a minor league roster, an option year was not used in 2008. Had he spent just a little while longer in the minor leagues, it would have been his first option year. It was a clever loophole used by the Reds.

    This is where the other exception applied to Yonder Alonso. Because he will have less than five years of professional service by the time his third option is used, he will qualify for a fourth option year.

    For another example of a fourth option year, this is how Bill Bray managed to qualify. First, I'll expound on how a player may qualify for a fourth option. If a player is optioned in three seasons but doesn't have at least five full seasons of professional experience, he qualifies for a fourth option year. A player must be on an active professional roster for at least 90 days for the season to count for the sake of determining whether a player qualifies for a fourth option. In case you didn't know, being put on the 60-day DL takes you off an active roster. However, if a player spends at least 60 days on an active roster before being put on the 60-day DL, he may get credit for a full season of professional service.

    If you look at Bill Bray, you'll notice that he has played in parts of every season since he was drafted.

    2004: signed a minor league contract but spent less than 90 days on a roster--not a full season
    2005: spent entire year in the minors; first full professional season
    2006: called up in June and stayed in the Major Leagues--second full season
    2007: struggled with the Reds--first option used and third full season of service
    2008: didn't make the team out of spring training--second option used and fourth full season of service
    2009: third option used in spring training but was not on an active roster for at least 60 days before being put on the 60-day DL; therefore, it was not a full season
    2010: this will turn out to be his fifth full season, and this is also his fourth and final option year

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    This isn't true. Well, the first sentence is. But Yonder did not use an option year in 2008. He didn't spend enough time in the minor leagues in 2008 to use up an option. 2009 was his first option year.
    Didn't realize that. Either or, he still can be sent down in 2011.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by cinreds21 View Post
    Didn't realize that. Either or, he still can be sent down in 2011.
    He can be sent down in 2012, too, believe it or not.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    He can be sent down in 2012, too, believe it or not.
    Makes sense. I looked on the Reds August 2008 transactions page to look at the history of it, so I guess it is true.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by cinreds21 View Post
    Makes sense. I looked on the Reds August 2008 transactions page to look at the history of it, so I guess it is true.
    He got 18 days of Major League service time for that season.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    He got 18 days of Major League service time for that season.
    Really? I had no idea. He didn't play at all though, right? (Sorry, I wasn't following the Reds until last year)

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by cinreds21 View Post
    Really? I had no idea. He didn't play at all though, right? (Sorry, I wasn't following the Reds until last year)
    Correct, he hasn't had a single appearance as a Cincinnati Red. It was merely a paper move.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    Correct, he hasn't had a single appearance as a Cincinnati Red. It was merely a paper move.
    Interesting. I don't know if I've seen that happen before. Well than, so Yonder will still have an option in 2012. But, he should not have to worry about that by then.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by cinreds21 View Post
    Interesting. I don't know if I've seen that happen before. Well than, so Yonder will still have an option in 2012. But, he should not have to worry about that by then.
    Yeah, I'm not sure I've seen it either. I'd be curious to know if the Reds were open about it with Alonso's agent because if they weren't, the agent probably left the negotiations thinking Alonso would be a Red no later than 2012. If that was the goal, Alonso and his agent would have been better served not to have held out so long on his contract.
    Last edited by camisadelgolf; 08-02-2010 at 05:46 AM.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    Yeah, I'm not sure I've seen it either. I'd be curious to know if the Reds were open about it with Alonso's agent because if they weren't, the agent probably left the negotiations thinking Alonso would be a Red no later than 2012. If that was the goal, they would have been better served not to have held out so long to his contract.
    Yea, I dunno. I am pretty confident that Yonder won't be a Red come 2011 anyway. I just don't see the Reds keeping him.

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    Re: Explaining the "Option Years" term

    A related question about the postseason roster. I know a guy has to be on the 25 by Aug. 31 to qualify. But my question is, does to have to be on the 25 on THAT DAY to qualify (provided he's not on the DL)? In other words, could they bring up, say, Francisco, now, send him back down in a couple weeks, and have him eligible for the postseason even if he's not called back up until around Sept. 5 or 10?


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