Baseball has some pretty weird rules when it comes to, well, everything. From the ever-complicated free agent market, to the luxury tax, to the ever popular waiver wire, Major League Baseball must think their fans went to MIT or something. (Which makes me think we should probably do something like this for the NBA. Any volunteers?) So if you’re like me you don’t want some ridiculously long explanation that someone is giving you because they want to look smart, you just want the goddamn information. So without further ado here is the “The Stupid Fans Guide to MLB Rules”.
Waivers: This one is crazy but the bottom line is that any player (see: Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer) can be placed on waivers before and after the trade deadline. Think of it as waving goodbye to someone, you’re saying bye to a player who may end up on a different team or in the minors or in a gutter somewhere. Who gives a shit he’s no longer your problem.
Waiver Wire: The MLB likes to be shroud in mystery and loves to preserve it’s integrity which is why they have a secret “wire”. It’s simply a way to let people know you are placing a guy on waivers after the trade deadline so you can get rid of overpaid players (see: Josh Beckett)
Options: Everyone loves options, right? This one is kinda complicated but I’ll do my best to dumb it down, my head hurts reading all that technical garbage. If you’re on the 40-man roster of a real life MLB team they have a few years to send you up and down from the minors to the majors, aka living the dream. (see: Ramiro Pena, any other horrible Yankee)
Rule 5 Draft: There’s a bunch of crap in there no one cares about but the premise is basically this…if a player has been in the minors for 5 years there is a draft for those players in the offseason, the stipulation is that the drafted player has to take up a spot on the bench on the drafting teams 25-man roster.
Free Agency: Talk about a clust-er-fuck, this is the cream of the crop of confusing. Even more confusing than the actual plot line in that M. Night Shyamalan movie with Mark Walberg where everyone is breathing, or something, and dying all the time. Let’s break this down:
Free Agent: Any player without a contract (see: Sidney Ponson) who isn’t offered a new contract or arbitration from current team
Arbitration: Really long and detailed, bottom line is that a team and player couldn’t strike a deal by the deadline so they enter into a long winded arbitration period where they both argue over like $5 or a box of Mike and Ike’s. The arbitrator is then handcuffed by the MLB to pick a salary somewhere in the midst of players with similar numbers. Click the link if you want to enter into the finer details of arbitration hell.
Wait, there is much more Free Agent craziness…
Type A Free Agent: Any player defined by Elias Sports Bureau as being in the top 20% of baseball players based on the past two seasons.
“Isn’t there more than just that?”. Yes, it’s miserable.
When a team loses a Type A free agent, as long as they offered arbitration, they receive a top draft pick and a compensation pick from the team that signs said player in that years draft.
Type B Free Agent: Simply defined as the next 20% of players.
“What the hell do they get if they lose one of those players?”. You mean besides a better team?
When a team loses a Type B free agent, once again as long as they offered arbitration, they only receive a shitty compensation pick which means they get the son of some former MLB player who will never get any playing time…WOO HOO!
Unclassified Free Agent: Pretty much means you should just give up, no one cares about you. Stop calling people to sign you Pat Burrell!
5 and 10 Rule: Been with a team for 5 years? Been in the league for 10? Apparently that means you’re in control of your own destiny and can deny any trade they are trying to sneak you into agreeing with. A-Rod to the Royals doesn’t seem so likely any more.
Luxury Tax: Are you trying to use your hard earned money to buy players and steal them from competitors? Well fuck you then because now you have to pay some ridiculous fee due to your success, while other teams (see: Royals) get that money like some homeless guy outside of a McDonald’s because that shitty $0.99 Iced Tea really costs $1.07 with tax and no one likes having that much change on them. Since 2003 only four teams have had to pay the luxury tax Tigers, Red Sox, Angels and Yankees.
Those shitty rules are just the tip of the iceberg, if you have any more you want me to dumb down go fuck yourself. Just kidding leave a comment and we will butcher the definition so much that you won’t even know why you asked in the first place.