Midday Mailbag: How do options work? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Midday Mailbag: How do options work?

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Each weekday, I’ll be answering at least one Orioles question, sometimes more. If you’d like to submit a question, send it to: [email protected]. Questions may be edited for clarity, length and style.

Question: Maybe this is a general baseball question that insiders already understand, but it concerns Ryan McKenna and options. I like the guy. I like his hustle. What does it mean to be out of options and does clearing waivers change that? Does it reset in any way, or do I understand correctly that if they call him up they cannot send him back to Norfolk again? From: Doug Sachtleben, Lorton, Virginia

Answer: Doug, this is one of the most popular questions I get. Once a player is put on the 40-man roster, he can be optioned to the minor leagues in three separate years. McKenna was optioned to the minor leagues in 2021, 2022 and 2023. Teams can option a player to the minor leagues up to five times in a season.

Once a player is out of options, he must pass through waivers, and McKenna did to be outrighted to the minor leagues. If the Orioles select his contract, he must be added to the 40-man roster and if they wish to send him to the minor leagues again, he must pass through waivers.

Since McKenna has already been outrighted once, he can refuse a future assignment to the minor leagues and declare free agency.

Question: Is it a requirement for a player’s contract to be made public? From: John Miller

Answer: John, player contracts are given to the Players Association, and then they eventually become public record. You can find contract terms in BaseballReference.com or Cot’s Baseball Contracts.

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