The Significance Of The 40-Man Roster & Option Rules

One of the purposes of this blog is to also educate baseball fans on rules or other areas like stats and terminology and I wanted to start off with something that we routinely hear about this time of year which is the 40-man roster and its significance.

Let’s first start with the 25-man roster, which is a bit simpler to understand and can be easily looked at as a team’s active Major League roster.

Now the 40-man gets a little more complicated as it’s made up of the 25-man roster, players on the disabled list, as well as other players who have been signed to Major League contracts as well as Minor Leaguers who have MLB contracts but are on “optional assignments” to the Minor Leagues.  These players have 3-option years before having to be placed and clearing waivers once they surpass these 3 options.  (More about options below)

So when you hear a player was sent to the Minor Leagues, they have been “optioned” to the Minors.

Another reason a team may add a player to the 40-man roster who doesn’t have a Major League contract, would be a minor league prospect who is taking some time to develop and would be eligible for the Rule-5 draft, which we will cover at another time.

Now if a player is removed from the 40-man roster like Chad Smith recently was for Detroit, it means he was designated for assignment (DFA) and the team/player has 10 days to be traded, released, or accept assignment to the minors.

Keep in mind that players on the 60-day disabled list or that have been suspended, do not count against the 40-man roster

Lastly, on September 1st, rosters expand to the entire 40-man roster allowing all players to be called up.

Here’s a look at the current Detroit Tigers 40-man roster.  The most recent move was adding Joba and losing Chad Smith when he was DFA’d.


  • Al Alburquerque RHP
  • Joba Chamberlain RHP
  • Buck Farmer RHP
  • Tom Gorzelanny RHP
  • Shane Green RHP
  • Blaine Hardy LHP
  • Ian Krol LHP
  • Kyle Lobstein LHP
  • Joe Nathan LHP
  • Angel Nesbitt RHP
  • David Price LHP
  • Bruce Rondon RHP
  • Kyle Ryan LHP
  • Anibal Sanchez RHP
  • Alfredo Simon RHP
  • Joakim Soria RHP
  • Jose Valdez RHP
  • Drew VerHagen RHP
  • Justin Verlander RHP
  • Alex Wilson RHP
  • Josh Zeid


  • Alex Avila
  • Bryan Holaday
  • James McCann


  • Miguel Cabrera
  • Nick Castellanos
  • Jose Iglesias
  • Ian Kinsler
  • Dixon Machado
  • Hernan Perez
  • Andrew Romine


  • Wynton Bernard
  • Yoenis Cespedes
  • Tyler Collins
  • Rajai Davis
  • Daniel Fields
  • Anthony Gose
  • J.D. Martinez
  • Steven Moya

Designated Hitter

  • Victor Martinez

Major League Options Rules

  • Lets say a player is sent down in April, that year only counts as one option usage.  That player can then be brought up and sent down as many times as needed and it only counts as one
  • If a player is called up and stays on the MLB teams roster for the year, that player does not use an option
  • When a player is optioned to the Minors, that player must wait 10-days before being recalled, unless that MLB team places a player on the 15-day DL
  • A team cannot option a player who has five or more years Major League service time without that players consent

2 thoughts on “The Significance Of The 40-Man Roster & Option Rules

  1. Pingback: What Is The Rule 5 Draft? « Sons of '84

  2. Pingback: Youngsters Making An Impact In 2016; American League East « Sons of '84

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