At Pirates Prospects, not only do we cover the entire farm system, but we also focus on the business side of the game, specifically tracking the service time, options, waiver rules, trade rules, and the MLB draft. The rules surrounding these events can be vague, so to clear things up, here are some important dates to remember for the 2011 MLB season.
April 11th - The earliest a player can be called up without using a full year of service time in 2011. A year of service time is 172 days, and being called up on this date would give a player 171 days in 2011.
April 20th - The date which an optional assignment at the beginning of the season becomes official. An option year is only official when a player spends 20 or more days on optional assignment. Anyone who was optioned at the start of the regular season, and wasn’t recalled prior to this date, would use an option year. Note that a player can be recalled and optioned as many times as necessary during the 2011 season, and they only end up using one option year. The Pittsburgh Pirates players who were optioned at the start of the season, and the amount of options they had remaining heading in to the year:
Chris Leroux (1)
Pedro Ciriaco (1)
Aaron Thompson (2)
Alex Presley (3)
Daniel McCutchen (2)
Bryan Morris (2)
Gorkys Hernandez (2)
Jeff Locke (3)
Kyle McPherson (3)
Tony Watson (3)
Daniel Moskos (3)
April 30th - Beginning of a new waiver period. Prior to this date, the waiver priority was based on the previous season’s rankings, with no preference given to individual leagues. This means that the Pittsburgh Pirates have the number one waiver priority on any player up until April 30th, regardless of the league they came from. Starting April 30th, the priority is based on the 2011 standings, although there is still no preference given to individual leagues.
May 31st - This is the beginning of the Super Two period. Calling a player up on this day would give him 121 days of service time in 2011. In 2010/2011, the cutoff for a Super Two player was a record low of 2 years, 122 days. Calling a player up after this date would reduce the chances of the player becoming Super Two eligible after the 2013 season. Note that the player would have to remain on the Major League active roster that entire time, in order to potentially qualify as a Super Two player. There are also no guarantees that the future cutoff will be 122 days. It could be higher, or even lower. This date only applies for players who have zero days of service time.
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ candidates (only the guys who could realistically make the majors this year) would be: Aaron Thompson, Bryan Morris, Gorkys Hernandez, Jeff Locke, Tony Watson, Daniel Moskos, and any prospect who isn’t currently on the 40-man roster.
June 6th-8th - MLB First Year Player Draft.
June 16th – The earliest date a club can trade a player it signed during the off-season. A team can trade players on an earlier date, as long as the player gives his written consent. For the Pirates, this applies to Lyle Overbay, Kevin Correia, Matt Diaz, Scott Olsen, Jose Veras, Joe Beimel, and anyone else who was signed this past off-season.
July 31st - The trade deadline, which expires at 4:00 PM EST.
August 1st – Beginning of a new waiver period. This is the most common waiver period, which is based on the current season’s standings, but which gives priority to individual leagues. For the Pirates, this means if a player is designated for assignment by an American League team, that player has to pass through the entire American League before moving to the National League rankings. These waiver rules are in effect until November 11th.
August 15th - Draft pick signing deadline, at 11:59 PM EST. All players must be signed by the deadline, with the exception of college seniors (who may sign at any time), and independent league players (who may sign up until a week before the 2012 draft).
August 31st - Last for teams to trade for a player who has cleared waivers, and have that player qualify for their playoff roster. Any players who are acquired after August 31st would not qualify for the playoffs, if the acquiring team made the playoffs. In order to be traded, players must either pass through waivers without being claimed, or be dealt to the team that placed the claim.
September 1st – Active roster expands from 25 to 40 players.
September 5th - Final day of the Indianapolis Indians’ regular season, which could determine when the Pirates make their September call-ups.
September 28th - Final day of the MLB regular season.