Assignment Waiver

Sometimes a club needs to remove a player from its MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) and/or MLB Active List (25-man roster) immediately, but the club has not yet decided the final disposition of the player. In this case, a player can be Designated for Assignment (DFA).

 

DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT BY CUBS (last updated 11-2-2017):
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1. When a player is Designated for Assignment, the "Designated Player" is removed from his club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) and MLB Active List (25-man roster), and then the club has up to seven days (formerly ten days) to either trade, release, or non-tender the player, or option or outright the player to the minors.

2. A Rule 6 Selected Player cannot be Designated for Assignment while the player has Selected Player status, and a Rule 6 Draft-Excluded Player cannot be Designated for Assignment between the conclusion of the MLB Rule 5 Draft and 20 days prior to MLB Opening Day.     

3. A player on Optional Assignment to the minors must be "Recalled - Not to Report" before he can be Designated for Assignment.   

4. A player continues to be paid (at the "Major League rate" for players with "split" contracts) while he is Designated for Assignment.  

5. A player who is Designated for Assignment (DFA) accrues MLB Service Time for the entire period of time he is Designated for Assignment during the MLB regular season, but if the player is Designated for Assignment prior to the start of the MLB regular season and the DFA period extends into the MLB regular season, the player does not accrue MLB Service Time while he is Designated for Assignment.  

6. A player can be Designated for Assignment and then subsequently returned to the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) and optioned to the minors as long as the player is not replaced on the club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) by another player after the player is Designated for Assignment.  

7. A player acquired off waivers can be optioned to the minors by his new club (as long as the player has a minor league option available, unless the player has the right to refuse an optional assignment and does not give his consent) or can be placed onto Outright Assignment Waivers and be outrighted to the minors if he is not claimed (unless he has the right to refuse an Outright Assignment and does not give his consent), but if a club acquires a player off waivers and the claiming club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) is full so that the club needs to remove a player from its MLB Reserve List in order to open a spot on its 40-man roster for the newly-acquired player, or the claiming club's MLB Active List (25-man roster) is full so that the club needs to remove a player from its MLB Active List in order to open a spot on its 25-man roster for the newly-acquired player, the player who was claimed off waivers cannot be Designated for Assignment to alleviate the roster logjam. 

8. A player acquired off waivers cannot be Designated for Assignment for at least 48 hours after the club is awarded the waiver claim or until the player has been on the claiming club's MLB Active List for at least one MLB regular season game (whichever comes first).

Definition

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster. Within seven days of the transaction (had been 10 days under the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement), the player can either be traded or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

If the player is claimed off said waivers by another club, he is immediately added to that team's 40-man roster, at which point he can be optioned to the Minor Leagues (if he has Minor League options remaining) or assigned to his new team's 25-man roster. If the player clears waivers, he may be sent outright to the Minor Leagues or released. Players with more than three years of Major League service time or who have been previously outrighted may reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency.

Clubs may utilize this option to clear a spot on the 40-man roster -- typically with the intention of adding a newly acquired player (via trade or free agency), a Minor Leaguer or a player being activated from the 60-day disabled list.

Example

In April 2014, the Toronto Blue Jays designated right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress for assignment. Jeffress went unclaimed on waivers and, having previously been outrighted once before, was able to reject the assignment in favor of free agency. Jeffress did just that and went on to sign a Minor League contract with the Brewers shortly thereafter.

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