Aug 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Matt Harvey (center) is escorted from a press conference before a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Harvey today was placed on the disabled list with a partially torn UCL. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Business of Baseball Series: Inactive Lists


The series continues with an explanation of the use of inactive lists in major league baseball.  Inactive lists are used to place players who are unable or unavailable to play for whatever reason in a status that removes them from the team’s active or reserve roster, thus opening up a spot for a replacement.  The one inactive list that doesn’t fit this category is the Suspension List, on which placement doesn’t remove the player from the roster.  There are a number of inactive lists, some of which are rarely used.  Players accrue service time while on some of these lists, but not on others.

The most widely used inactive list is the Disabled List.  There are major league and minor league disabled lists, but for the purpose of this post, all of the lists covered will be the major league version.  In the major leagues, there are 3 disabled lists; the 15 day DL, the 60 day DL, and the 7 day DL for concussions.  The 15 day DL and the 7 day DL remove the player from the 25 man roster but not the 40 man roster.  A designation to the 15 day DL can be backdated for up to 10 days, but not more than 9 days prior to Opening Day.  The 7 day DL can be backdated for up to 4 days.  A placement to the 7 day DL can be renewed once, but if the player is not reinstated within 15 days, the player is automatically transferred to the 15 day DL.  Players placed on the 60 day DL are removed from both the 25 man roster and the 40 man roster, but no player may be placed on the 60 day DL unless the 40 man roster is full.  Players on all disabled lists accrue service time.  A player can be transferred from the 15 day DL to the 60 day DL, but not the other way around.  In the case of a transfer, the time spent on the 15 day DL counts toward the 60 day minimum.  Players on the DL can be traded, even if they are not eligible or healthy enough to be reinstated, except for the purpose of trade waivers; the player must be eligible and healthy enough to play to be placed on waivers.  A traded player on the DL can be transferred to the acquiring team’s DL.  All 60 day DL players must be reinstated to the 40 man roster on or before the 5th day following the end of the World Series.

The next list is the Bereavement List.  A player can be placed on this list due to an illness or death in the immediate family.  This does not include the birth of a child, which is a separate list.   A player placed on the Bereavement List must remain for at least 3 days, but not more than 7 days.  A player on this list is removed from the 25 man roster, but not the 40 man roster, and accrues service time while on the list.

The Paternity List is for a player who is attending the birth of his child.  The player must remain for 24 hours but not more than 72 hours.  The player is removed from the 25 man but not the 40 man roster, and accrues service time while on the list.

The Voluntary Retired list is used for players who retire while still under contract or under team control.  A player on this list is removed from both rosters, does not accrue service time, and does not get paid.  A player must remain on the list for 60 days before applying for reinstatement.

The Military List is for players who are called to active duty.  The player is removed from both rosters, but continues to accrue service time.

The Restricted List is used for players who are unavailable to play for personal reasons, for extended bereavement exceeding 7 days, or for failure to report to Spring Training.  Players who are suspended under the Joint Drug Policy are also placed on this list.  Players who are suspended under the drug policy continue to accrue service time; players on the list for other reasons do not.  Players on this list are removed from both the 25 man and the 40 man roster.  Players on the list for other than extended bereavement or suspension under the drug policy cannot be reinstated during the period between August 1st and October 31st.  Players reinstated from the list must be added back to the 40 man roster within 30 days of reinstatement or when he is placed on the 25 man roster, whichever occurs first, or by Opening Day of the following season if placed on the list during the offseason.  Players on the restricted list do not get paid while on the list.

Players are placed on the Suspended List, due to on field, or off field, misconduct.  Players on this list are not removed from either roster (thus cannot be replaced).  The player accrues service time but is not paid.

The Disqualified List is for players who violate the terms of their contract (refuse to play, or for an unexcused absence from his club).  Placement on this list requires the approval of the Commissioner’s office.  A player on this list is removed from both rosters, does not accrue service time, and does not get paid.  A player on this list cannot be reinstated between August 1st and October 31st, and if reinstated, must be added back to the 40 man within 30 days, or Opening Day.

The Ineligible List is the death penalty of inactive lists.  Players on this list are indefinitely or permanently banned from baseball.  Pete Rose is on this list.  Only the Commissioner can place a player on this list. Players on this list must remain for a minimum of 1 year.  The player is removed from both rosters, ceases accruing service time and does not get paid.  Reinstatement is under the same terms as the Disqualified List.

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