SoSH Glossary: MLB Option

Baseball is filled with statistics, rules, and archaic terms that can often form what sounds like a foreign language. Sons of Sam Horn’s glossary provides a better understanding of these terms through straightforward definitions, clear explanations, and examples pulled straight from the baseball world. If there is anything you would like us to add to our glossary, please contact us.

MLB Option

When a player is placed on the 40-man roster, he has three MLB options or option years. Any MLB season during which the player is sent to the minor leagues for 20 days counts as an option year. Once a team has burned a player’s option, he may be sent up and down throughout the year with no effect on his options. When the player runs out of options, he must be placed on and clear waivers before he may be sent to the minors.

How It Works:

Teams often need to reconfigure their 25-man roster because of injuries or poor performance. They do this by sending players up and down from the minor leagues. Any player on a 15 day DL assignment who spends 20 days off the 25-man roster loses an option. Players who have used their three options but have not played in at least five professional seasons receive a fourth option year. This occurs most often when a player receives a major-league contract when drafted. If a player is on the disabled list for the entirety of a season, then no option is used for that player.

Pete Hodges has written about the call up of a top prospect, an odd tradition, and Leo the Lip.

Follow Pete on Twitter @PeterWHodges.

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