The supposed 30-day waiver rule

DMZ · August 18, 2008 at 10:48 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Hi — I’ve seen this restriction mentioned but cannot find evidence that the M’s couldn’t put Washburn back on waivers within 30 days of their first (now withdrawn) attempt. If this restriction does exist, this obviously means he’s much less likely to be claimed, as he couldn’t be put on a team’s playoff roster (and you know how valuable Washburn is in the playoffs). But while there are two waiver periods (essentially it’s up to Aug 1 and then Aug 1 onwards) I can’t find anything that would have prevented a second (irrevocable) waiver request within 30 days.

If anyone who can cite the actual rule — not a story about the rule, not someone claiming the rule exists — could help with a comment, that’d be much appreciated.


20 Responses to “The supposed 30-day waiver rule”

  1. Grizz on August 18th, 2008 11:10 am

    Do you have access to the Major League Rules (which do not appear to be generally available to the public)?

  2. Ben on August 18th, 2008 11:44 am

    I’m assuming not or else the request for help would be a little silly. No?

  3. vj on August 18th, 2008 12:01 pm

    If you scroll down on the bottom right of the screen you will find links to MLB’s official rules as well as the collective bargaining agreement. Derek’s question is presumably covered by the CBA, a 241-page document. Also, legalistic documents like this are not necessarily easy to read and understand for the layman. I think the issue of length and interpretation are the motivation for Derek’s question.

  4. ChrisB on August 18th, 2008 12:08 pm

    The rules that are linked to just cover the rules of play. The CBA merely references “Major League Rule 10” in regards to waivers.

    The actual rules covering player movements are apparently not widely disseminated and not found on the net anywhere to the best of my knowledge, despite ESPN, CNNSI etc. pointing out how weird that is.

  5. BaltimoreDave on August 18th, 2008 12:12 pm

    [yes, I wrote a whole post explaining this, thanks though]

  6. DMZ on August 18th, 2008 12:13 pm

    My question is not covered by the CBA. If this restriction exists, it’s in the Major League Rules themselves.

    It’s not that weird that MLB doesn’t make them public. I don’t think the NFL or the NBA* publishes the rules for player transactions and stuff either.

    * screw the NBA

  7. smb on August 18th, 2008 12:30 pm

    That is the greatest use of an asterisk in the history of the world.

  8. azfred on August 18th, 2008 12:33 pm

    it is almost David Foster Wallace-esque.

  9. Evan on August 18th, 2008 12:35 pm

    It’s not that weird that MLB doesn’t make them public. I don’t think the NFL or the NBA* publishes the rules for player transactions and stuff either.

    At least MLB makes the rules of the game on the field freely available, though (unlike the NFL, which only sells the rules, and NASCAR, which keeps its rules secret).

  10. mwb on August 18th, 2008 12:53 pm

    I know you said “If anyone who can cite the actual rule — not a story about the rule”, but here’s the best info I’ve found:

    Here’s what ESPN had to say about MLB transactions rules:

    All the ins and outs of transactions are covered, sometimes in excruciating detail, in a large loose-leaf binder titled, “The Official Professional Baseball Rules Book,” something completely separate from the “Official Baseball Rules” (which cover only the game on the field).

    Unfortunately, Major League Baseball doesn’t make that loose-leaf binder available to the public. There’s not really anything controversial or confidential in there, so maybe they just think we don’t care and/or wouldn’t understand the arcana contained within. And of course, MLB isn’t famous for its public-relations acumen.

    FWIW, DePodesta did not mention a 30 day waiting period when he outlined the Waiver rules:

  11. the other benno on August 18th, 2008 12:58 pm

    This is a blog entry, but appears to be a copy of the MLB rules. My apologies if it turns out to be incorrect. The relevant info is the 4th bullet point in Section (C).

  12. cdowley on August 18th, 2008 1:04 pm

    I don’t think the NFL or the NBA* publishes the rules for player transactions and stuff either.

    I know the NFL’s CBA is publicly published on the NFLPA website, or at least it was before the last revamp (haven’t bothered to look since, their site is way too clunky now). I have a copy of it on my computer, it’s a good guide on how player transactions work, tho a bear to read.

    And yes, screw the NBA. Preferably with something sharp and spiky…

  13. DMZ on August 18th, 2008 1:10 pm

    If that rules copy is correct, there is indeed such a rule:

    # If a request is withdrawn, waiver may not be requested on that same player for 30 days (except for Unconditional Release Waivers).

    I’ll see if I can’t double check that.

  14. Tuggler on August 18th, 2008 1:25 pm

    Brief and spotty legal research: the only Lexis-Nexis hit for Major League Rule 10 is in “Step Up to the Bargaining Table: A Call for the Unionization of Minor League Baseball,” 14 Hofstra L.J. 265 (1996), which claims that the rules for waivers are reprinted in The Baseball Bluebook (1988). Doubtless they’ve changed since then, but does the Baseball Bluebook still exist in any form?

  15. bakomariner on August 18th, 2008 1:48 pm

    If the 30 day rule is, in fact, correct, it just makes not getting rid of The Bus that much worse…

    He is at a total “sell high” time right now. Trading him in the off-season probably won’t get us what we could have gotten from contenders needing him for the playoffs…

    They should have gotten any warm body they could if the other team was willing to take his salary…

    The Ms are DUUUUUUUUMB…

  16. vj on August 18th, 2008 1:55 pm

    Hoping this comment is more helpful than the last…
    On this page ( – scuse me, I can’t do HTML formatting without the tools on the page) they say that they don’t have the actual rules but just summaries.

  17. cdowley on August 18th, 2008 2:19 pm

    Nevermind, this editor doesn’t like fake code…

  18. frannyzoo on August 18th, 2008 3:45 pm

    Whenever I get mad at Strat-O-Matic for having arcane and ill-defined rules I’ll refer to this thread and remember that the rules ain’t terribly clear in the real world, either.

    *Bonus for the David Foster Wallace reference…

  19. Matt the Dragon on August 18th, 2008 4:42 pm

    The 30 days is, I believe, originally [publicly] cited in an old Steve Phillips article on ESPN: ( (on Insider now unfortunately) )

    I think a certain gossip site not to be named later cited the article and that point.

    I’m reasonably sure it’s not true. (I can’t find for sure but a nagging memory suggests it should be 3 (three) not 30 (thirty).)

    If I recall correctly, and I quite possibly don’t, the 30-day delay is not for trade waivers (i.e. those applicable in August for waiver trades) but for assignment waivers (i.e. where a player is DFA’d for re-assignment, removal from the 40-man or unconditional release.)

    Re-requesting trade waivers are specifically irrevocable waivers so the 30 day delay would make little sense (or none, depending on when the clock starts.)

    In theory with 30-day delay: Trade waivers come into effect following the non-waiver trade deadline, so the earliest a player could be placed on them would be 1st August. If the date the player was originally placed on waivers was used to start the 3-day period, those players for whom waivers were requested on that first day could then be re-requested on the 31st August and wouldn’t therefore clear until September.

    Given that players must be on the roster prior to 1st September to be playoff eligible what would be the point?

    Ok, once in a blue moon a team right on the edge of a playoff spot with an injury gap might take a flyer on a player to get them there who can’t then play in the postseason (filling for short-term injury, maybe?) but generally if you trade for the guy you want him on your post-season roster.

    That’s certainly not proof (see the previous post for proof that MLB’s rules do not need to make sense) but I’m pretty sure that it’s an error. If I can find the correct rule I’ll re-post (hopefully with less waffle and parentheses.)

  20. jwb on August 20th, 2008 10:47 am

    It appears the thirty day rule may not apply for assignment waivers, either. Bryan Corey (then with Boston, now with San Diego) was DFAed twice in April. So either the second DFA did not require waivers because it was in the same waiver period (then why not just outright him without the additional delay?) or a player can be waived twice in 30 days.

    Anybody here on good terms with Keith Law? Since this involves a current Padre, would this be a question Paul DePodesta might answer?

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