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Deeper Insights into Baseball: DFA Waivers and More

Baseball is one of America’s favorite pastimes and has been the subject of many novels, movies, and songs. However, for those new to the game, understanding the jargon can be challenging.

Terms like “DFA,” “waiver,” and “outrighted” can leave you scratching your head. In this article, we will be explaining two essential aspects of baseball: DFA and baseball jargon.

DFA in Baseball

DFA stands for “designated for assignment,” and it is a term used in baseball when a team is forced to remove a player from its active roster. This usually happens when the team wants to add a new player, but the 40-man roster is already at its limit.

Teams are then required to move the player off the active roster to create room for the new player. Once a player is designated for assignment, they are placed on waivers.

Here, other teams have the option to claim the player. The claiming team assumes the contract that the player had with the original team, including any remaining option years or free agency eligibility.

It is worth noting that not all players who are designated for assignment are claimed off waivers. If a player passes through waivers unclaimed, they can be released, traded, or outrighted to the minor leagues.

There is a priority order followed when deciding which team has the first option to claim a player off waivers. Teams in the American League have priority over teams in the National League.

Additionally, the team with the worst record in the league has the first claim, followed by the team with the second-worst record, and so on.

Notable DFAed Players

Over the years, many players have been designated for assignment. One of the most notable ones is Hanley Ramirez, who was designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox in 2018.

The move saved the team over $15 million in salary costs. Additionally, Hunter Renfroe was designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021 after he struggled to produce at the plate.

Other players that have been designated for assignment include Hunter Pence, Tim Collins, Preston Guilmet and Dixon Machado.

Importance of Understanding

Baseball Jargon

Growing up, many of us have heard the phrase “that’s how the ball bounces.” But, did you know that it’s a legitimate baseball term? Understanding the language and terminology used in baseball is essential to fully appreciate the sport.

Baseball Jargon

Baseball jargon is the specific vocabulary used when discussing the sport. These words are often not used in day-to-day conversation, and it can be challenging to keep up with discussions without being aware of these terms.

Examples of jargon used in baseball include “assists,” “at-bat,” “bullpen,” “can of corn,” “double play,” “ground rule double,” “hold,” “sacrifice,” and “whiff.”

Importance of Knowing Baseball Terms

Knowing baseball terms is essential to get the most out of your experience at a baseball game. Without knowledge of these specific words, phrases, and expressions, spectators may miss crucial nuances happening on the field.

For instance, knowing the difference between a “single” and a “double” can change how one perceives a play or how the game is unfolding.


Baseball is a sport that has captured the hearts of many and has become an integral part of American culture. However, understanding the language and terminology used in baseball can be difficult for newcomers.

In this article, we have looked at two essential aspects of baseball: DFA and baseball jargon. We hope that this article has provided useful insights that will help you to better appreciate the sport.

Technicalities around Waivers

In baseball, waivers refer to a permission granted to a Major League Baseball (MLB) team to release a player from its roster, with the main aim of giving the rest of the teams in the league an opportunity to claim that player on a new contract. Waivers either apply as unconditional releases or as a means to trigger a trade agreement between two teams.

When a player is placed on waivers, they are essentially put up for grabs by other teams in the league. If another team claims the player, they automatically assume the new contract terms, along with any units of the contract that the original team still owed the player.

There is usually a priority list followed, based on the team’s ranking in the league. The team with the lowest record gets the top priority, meaning if multiple teams claim the same player, the lowest-ranked team has the first right to claim them.

If the player goes unclaimed in a 48-hour period, the original team can then remove them from waivers. The team can then choose to keep the player, trade them, release them or outright them.

Technicalities around Outrighting and Trading Players

Outrighting is another method of moving players from a Major League roster to a Minor League roster. To do this, a team will first have to waive the player, allowing other teams a chance to claim him on any terms remaining in his contract.

If no other teams make a claim, the player is then “outrighted” to the Minor League team belonging to the same organization. Players who are outrighted usually still have to be paid under the same contract terms as before.

However, they don’t have to be paid the same amount immediately as they would if they were still on the Major League roster. In practice, big league contracts that are outrighted to minors are worth much less in the Minors.

Lastly, if a player has been outrighted previously, he gains the right to refuse the next outright assignment if he has less than five years of MLB service time. However, if the player has more than five years of service time, he can refuse without consequence.

Trading players is a way for teams to move players between MLB teams in exchange for other players or other forms of compensation, such as draft picks or cash considerations. In some cases, teams can use waivers to facilitate trades, with teams sometimes claiming players just to give up their rights without compensatory considerations.

Trading players does come with its restrictions. Each player on an MLB team has the right to refuse any trade, with most players needing either 10-and-5 rights (ten years of MLB service time, five with the same team) or no-trade clauses in their contracts.

Additionally, teams can only trade players who have options remaining or who have been designated for assignment to the minor leagues. If a player gets traded, his option years and service time remain intact, alongside the contract rights that were traded between the two respective teams.


Understanding the technicalities around waivers, outrighting and trading in baseball can help fans appreciate the challenges players face when navigating their way through the sport. Although the rules around these aspects of baseball may seem complex, they are essential in ensuring that the league has a level playing field and operates in an organized manner.

With this knowledge, baseball fans can enjoy games with a deeper understanding of the behind-the-scenes operations that keep the game running.

Reasons for DFAing Players

In baseball, DFAing players refers to the act of removing a player from the active roster, and it is an essential tool used by teams to manipulate their roster. Since the MLB’s rosters have a limit of 40 players, it is necessary for teams to make some tough decisions on which players will remain on the roster and which players will be removed.

Here we will be examining the purpose of DFAing players and the scenarios when it is necessary.

Purpose of DFAing Players

The main purpose of DFAing players is to create room for new players on the 40-man roster. When a team needs to add a new player to the roster, they must free up space by removing another player from the roster, and this is where DFAing comes in.

Typically, a team will designate a player for assignment, which means that the player is removed from the active roster, giving the team ten days to decide what to do with the player. During this period, a team can choose to waive the player, trade them, release them, or send them to the minor league.

Scenarios when DFAing Players is Necessary

1. New Member from the Minor League

One of the key scenarios where DFAing players is necessary is when a new player is coming up from the Minor League.

When a player in the minor leagues shows enough potential to warrant a spot on the main roster, a current player on the active roster is usually made way for the newly promoted player. However, when promoting the player from the Minor League, the team has to follow the MLB roster limits, meaning they have to drop another player from the active roster.

In this case, DFAing the player from the active roster becomes necessary. 2.

New Member from Trade or Free Agency

Another scenario where DFAing players is necessary is when a new player is brought in a trade or acquired through free agency. When a team acquires a new player in a trade or signs a free agent, they have to create new space on the active roster to join the new player.

This means that an existing player must be removed from the active roster to make room for the newly acquired player. In this case, it’s usually the least productive player that will be replaced, and this player is often DFA’d.

3. Player Returning from the Injured List

One scenario where a team may be forced to DFA a player is when a player returns from the injured list.

Before a player can return to the active roster, the team must remove another player from the current active roster, making DFA’ing a necessary move. The challenge of DFA’ing a player returning from the injured list is that there is no guarantee the player will be the same player they were before their injury.

Here, the team must weigh the risk of potentially losing a productive player if they let the player return, against the risk of potentially losing the player they DFA’d.


DFAing players is just one of the many technical aspects of baseball that is essential for teams’ success. Understanding why and when a team chooses to DFA a player helps fans appreciate the complexities that teams often have to navigate to win games.

With the knowledge of why and when DFAing players is necessary, baseball fans can appreciate the tactics behind each win or loss, leading to a deeper understanding of the game’s complexities. Baseball is a complex sport with its own unique terminology and technicalities, including DFA, waivers, outrighting, and trading players.

Understanding these concepts is crucial for players, teams, and devoted fans as they navigate the game’s rosters, trades, and injuries. Teams DFA players when they need to free up space on their active roster for incoming talent or returning players from injury.

Meanwhile, outrighting and trading are methods of moving players to and from the Major and Minor Leagues, with waivers playing a pivotal role in facilitating or negating trades. These technicalities provide fascinating insights into the mechanics of the game, and understanding them can elevate the fan’s sports experience.


Q: What is DFA in baseball? A: Designated for Assignment (DFA) is a term used when a baseball team needs to remove a player from its active roster to create room for a new player.

Q: Why do teams DFA players? A: Teams DFA players to create roster room for new incoming players, trades, or players returning from injury.

Q: What are waivers in baseball? A: Waivers refer to a permission granted to a Major League Baseball team to release a player from its roster, which then provides the rest of the teams in the league an opportunity to claim that player on a new contract.

Q: What are outrighting and trading players in baseball? A: Outrighting refers to the process of moving a player from a Major League roster to a minor league roster, while trading refers to the process of moving players between MLB teams in exchange for other players or other forms of compensation.

Q: Why is it important to understand the mechanics of baseball? A: Understanding the jargon, technicalities, and concepts in baseball can help fans appreciate the sport’s complexities and elevate their sports experience.

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