SoSH Glossary: MLB Roster

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SoSH Baseball Glossary

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 Roster

25-Man Roster

The 25-man roster, or active roster, is the list of players that are available to play each game. To be eligible for the 25-man roster, a player must first be on the 40-man roster. The 25-man roster often consists of 13 hitters and 12 pitchers, though there are no rules putting a limit on those numbers. The active roster may have no fewer than 24 players unless an exigent circumstance (i.e. a multi-player trade) causes such a scenario. Teams have 48 hours to bring the 25-man roster to the 24 player minimum should such a scenario occur.

26th Man Rule

If a doubleheader is scheduled at least 48 hours before the day of the games, each team is allowed to use a 26-man roster for both games. The extra player must be on the 40-man roster. If the doubleheader is scheduled within 48 hours of the games, the teams are only allowed the extra player in the second game.

40-Man Roster

This list, also known as the Reserve List, comprises the 40 players signed to a major-league contract who are eligible to be placed on the 25-man roster. While 25 are in the MLB, the remaining 15 are in the minors, on the disabled list, on a reserve list(see below), or suspended. For a player to be moved onto the 25-man roster, another player must be moved from the 25-man roster into one of the aforementioned categories or be designated for assignment.

Inactive Lists

There are three circumstances in which a player may be temporarily replaced on the roster. Players in these situations are kept on the 40-man roster, but are no longer on the active roster.

  • Bereavement List: If a member of a player’s immediate family passes away, that player may leave the team for three to seven days.
  • Paternity List: In the event of the birth of a child, a player may leave the team for at least 24 hours, but no more than 72 hours.
  • Family Medical Emergency List: If a player has a family member with a medical emergency, then he may leave the team for three to seven days.

Taxi Squad

When a team is unsure of the availability of a player (“Player A”) on the active roster, the team may recall a player (“Player B”) from his Optional Assignment to be on the Taxi Squad. Player B must be placed on the active roster by either 3 P.M. (EST) of the following day, or three hours before the scheduled start of the next day’s game, whichever is later. If he is not placed on the active roster by that time, he must be returned to his Optional Assignment.
For example, if Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch on a Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays may decide to place Richie Shaffer on the taxi squad in case Longoria is unable to play on Ray’s Wednesday night game. If it is determined on Wednesday that Longoria is able to play, then Shaffer can be returned to AAA Durham with no real transaction made.

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

Follow Pete on Twitter @PeterWHodges.

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