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Week in Transactions: Awaiting the September callups

Everything you always wanted to know about the Aug 31/Sept 1 roster rules but were afraid to ask.

Yandy Diaz is not on the 40-man roster, but could be shortly.
Joe Sentry

Latest 25-man/40-man Roster

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MLB Transactions

So with September right around the corner, there’s a couple of key dates that’s worth noting when it comes to rosters.

August 31: In order to be eligible to play on a team’s postseason roster, a player must be on that team’s 40-man roster by this date, with one exception. Teams can still make trades up to the end of the regular season, but for teams looking to make the playoffs, August 31 is their last chance to add a player that could play in the postseason. On a semi-related note, Abraham Almonte is ineligible to play in this year’s postseason because he was suspended for a PED.

The exception is if a player on the 40-man roster is injured; the club can then add a player to the postseason roster who wasn’t on the 40-man roster as of August 31 (such as Greg Allen or Yandy Diaz). Note that the player had to have been in the organization as of August 31, so a player acquired in a trade in September cannot be added to the postseason roster in this way. With Michael Brantley out for the year, the Indians will have at least one exception should they choose to use it, and possibly another if Yan Gomes isn’t able to return to action before the end of the season.

September 1: Teams can call up as many players on the active roster (aka the 25-man roster) as they wish, up to the number of players on the 40-man roster. So in theory the Indians (or any other MLB club) could have 40 players in their dugout in September. In practice it doesn’t work this way, as minor-league seasons are still going on, and there aren’t enough innings or at-bats to give to that many players. Still, I’d expect the Indians to immediately call up 2-3 players, with more to come up after the minor-league seasons conclude. Also, after September 1st, the 15-day Disabled List ceases to exist, though the 60-day Disabled is still used if a club needs to add a player to the 40-man roster.

August 25

Released RHP Tommy Hunter

There were a couple reasons for this move, and both of them were related to transaction rules and deadlines. Hunter was nearing the end of his rehab assignment, and so the Indians had to either add him back to the active roster, release him, or keep him on the Disabled List if he sustained a setback. As Hunter was healthy, the Indians could not keep him on the DL. And because there was still a week until the active roster expanded, the Indians would have had to send Mike Clevinger to the minors or designate another reliever (McAllister?) for assignment, neither of which would make the team any better. And so they made the decision to release Hunter. By releasing Hunter before August 31, they open a spot on their 40-man for either an acquisition from outside the organization or an addition from the minors (Yandy Diaz?), and that player would be eligible to play on the postseason roster.

The Orioles quickly snapped Hunter up, and so he went from one playoff contender to another. In two appearances with Baltimore he’s given up two runs in two innings pitched.

August 29

Placed RHP Danny Salazar on the Paternity List

Recalled RHP Shawn Armstrong from Columbus (AAA)

The way the timing works, Shawn Armstrong will be able to stay with the major-league club the rest of the season, as Salazar won’t have to return to the club until September 2, his next scheduled start.

Minor-League Transactions

August 26

A-: Placed RHP Kieren Lovegrove on the Disabled List (retro Aug 24)

OF Andrew Calica and LHP Kenny Matthews promoted from Mahoning Valley (SSA) to Lake County (A-)

C Juan de la Cruz demoted from Lake County (A-) to Mahoning Valley (SSA)

LHP Alsis Herrera promoted from AZL Indians (R-) to Mahoning Valley (SSA)