Sometime’s it’s annoying to skim through the entire OFFICIAL RULES to find the one specific clause or sentence that applies to your current situation, especially given the excess of rule unrelated jibber-jabber needlessly recorded therein.
So…as a quick preseason reminder/refresher and hopefully as also an inseason crib sheet, behold…
THE QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE FOR THE MOST VEXING/FREQUENTLY FORGOTTEN RULES:
Table of contents:
1. Trade = How Many Moves?
2. Minor League Flowchart
3. 12/3 Rule considerations
4. Can my RP start please?
5. Legally cheating the 12/3 rule at the start of the season.
1. HOW DOES THAT WORK WITH MOVES AFTER A TRADE? DO I GET ALL THOSE BACK? WHY DO WE HAVE THAT RULE?
BULLET PTS – For those with no time for explanation
* YOU GET CREDITED MOVES USED TO ACTIVATE PLAYERS TRADED FOR
* YOU GET CREDITED MOVES USED THAT WERE NECESSARY TO MAKE YOUR LINEUP LEGAL
The easiest way to conceptualize the way trades affect your move total is to imagine that all of the players you traded for were placed on your roster as “ACTIVE”. (Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren’t.) You will regardless, be credited for any move you use to activate a player that you traded for.
In addition, when trades involve uneven numbers of presently active players or players at different positions, you will be credited lineup moves that are necessary to make your lineup legal. The KEY word is “necessary”…,and the only moves that can be credited are moves effective the same day of the trade.
And…the reason we made this rule, if anyone is pondering, was to neutralize the chilling effect that using 7 of your 20 monthly moves to get your roster straight post-trade had on trading in general. It’s spring after all, the less chill the better.
– Phantoms trade Kluber to Sox and after the trade Kluber shows up on Sox reserve roster. The move Sox use to activate Kluber after the trade is credited.
– Sox trade Goldschmidt to Phantoms while he’s on the IR. Goldschmidt is placed in Phantoms reserve roster after the trade. Phantoms are not credited the move used to place Goldschmidt on injured reserve because that move is not “necessary” to maintain a legal lineup.
– The trade leaves Sox with no one at 1B. Sox could move Posey to 1B and activate Gomes. If Sox do that they are credited 1 move for activating Gomes. Sox could pick up a free agent to play 1B. If Sox do that they are not credited a move for picking the free agent up. (Note: If the free agent is not automatically placed in the active lineup then the move used to activate him would be credited.)
2. IS ___________________ ELIGIBLE TO BE PUT ON MY MINOR LEAGUE ROSTER?
Did you draft __________________ in the regular draft?
IF ANSWER, “YES I DID”, then : NO, HE’S NOT. Stop here.
IF ANSWER, “NO, I DIDN’T”, then….
Has _________________ appeared on your roster this year* in any capacity other than your minor league roster?
* if you are asking this question in the preseason then “this year” refers to the previously concluded season
IF ANSWER, “YES HE HAS”, then : NO, HE’S NOT. Stop here.
IF ANSWER, “NO, HE HASN’T”, then….
Does ________________ still have his rookie status intact?
IF ANSWER, “I DON’T KNOW”, then : Look him up on baseball-reference.com real quick and then come back
IF ANSWER, “NO HE DOESN’T”, then….
Is it the preseason AND __________________ lost his rookie status in the previous season?
IF ANSWER, “YES HE DID” then skip down to the next question.
IF ANSWER, “NO, IT WAS BEFORE THAT.”, then “NO HE ISN’T.” Stop here.
IF ANSWER, “YES HE DOES”, then…
Has the regular season started?
IF ANSWER, “NO IT HASN’T”, then “YES, HE IS.”. Stop here
IF ANSWER, “YES, IT HAS”, then…
Has the Minor League Draft for this season been held this season?
IF ANSWER, “YES, IT HAS”, then : “YES, HE IS”. Stop here.
IF ANSWER, “NO, IT HASN’T”, then : “NO, HE ISN’T”. Stop here.
I think that works.
3(a). WITH THE 12/3 RULE, DOES THAT MEAN HE CAN COME BACK ON THE 12TH (OR 3RD) DAY?
SHORT ANSWER: No. That’s not what it means.
The 12/3 rule restricts owners from activating or reserving a player they have recently activated or reserved. The player must stay in the roster position for the designated number of days. The count begins on the EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE INITIAL MOVE.
Example: SP activated on 5/1 is eligible to be reserved effective 5/13.
3(b). AND WHEN CAN I RESERVE HIM EARLIER IF HE GETS HURT?
When, and ONLY WHEN, he is placed on the OFFICIAL MLB DISABLED LIST.
3(c). IT APPLIES TO POSITION PLAYERS TOO? HUH, I NEVER NEW THAT!
Yes. It does. Relief Pitchers AND FIELDERS must be active/reserve THREE DAYS before they can be reserved/activated.
4. STATED QUESTION: “IS MY PITCHER AN SP OR AN RP?”
REAL QUESTION: “HOW DO I GET THREE STARTS OUT OF THIS GUY WHO’S CURRENTLY AN RP?”
THE KEY QUESTION: Has the RP established himself as an RP on your active roster prior to your attempt to circumvent the spirit of the roster rules?
First, it should be understood that the rules have evolved specifically towards making it difficult for you to get multiple starts from the RP position.
The three-in-a-row rule generally dictates when a reliever switches to a starter. The ONLY way an RP gets multiple starts while remaining an RP is when he is on a teams ACTIVE ROSTER as an RP before the “transformation” to SP status begins.
EXAMPLE OF CUNNING STRATEGY THAT SUCCESSFULLY MANAGES THIS RULE AND LEGALLY ACHIEVES THE DESIRED RESULT STATED IN THE “REAL QUESTION”.
An RP is acquired by a team because there are rumors he may be moved to the starting lineup at some point. He is placed on the ACTIVE ROSTER as an RP. The next day he pitches two innings in relief. His next appearance however is a start, and thereafter he remains in the rotation.
In this scenario the player loses his RP status effective the day after his 3rd start. You did it! You had six starters going for almost two weeks! Congratulations! Hopefully those extra three starts were losses with many earned runs.
However….a bewarement to be aware of. If your strategery is anything less than cunning, or you’re just unlucky…or karmic forces attempt to teach you a lesson, problems can accrue. For example, say you hear the rumor, pick up the guy, but his FIRST appearance on your roster is a START rather than a relief appearance, then that player becomes an SP effective the following day and MUST REMAIN ACTIVE FOR ELEVEN MORE DAYS pursuant to the 12/3 rule. This means you’ll have to not only deactivate one of your actual SP’s and pick up another legitimate RP. But if the guy does start relieving again, he doesn’t become eligible to be placed in your RP slot again until he relieves three times in a row….and you can’t drop him.
When confronted with such dire consequences the inclination may be to petition for mercy. However, this is kind of equivalent to me of a guy engaging in insider trading and then it turns out his insider was a moron and he loses a bunch of money. Now to be clear, TRYING to get three starts out of an RP is not illegal and is only assaulting the “spirit” of the rule, but even so, it’s difficult to sympathize. So if then say, that guy you wants his money back or the RP spirit-of-the-rule abuser wants someone to “fix it for them” the reaction is going to be unempathetic. So, be prepared for that should your marginally ethical conniving generate just desserts instead of points.
5. HOW’S THAT GO AGAIN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON, WHERE YOU CAN START SHOP….A LITTLE?
NOTE: AS OF 2016 YOU CAN NO LONGER PROCEED THROUGH THE LOOPHOLE BELOW DESCRIBED. SEE REVISED RULE:
Your opening day roster is considered, for purposes of the 12/3 rule, to be the initial ACTIVATION DATE for all of the players active in your opening day lineup.
And now you may continue to read RULE TIP #5 for “historical context” only knowing that it describes a bygone era and that the rule typed in RED directly above this sentence is the ACTUAL CURRENT RULE and there is absolutely no confusion about that!
The 12/3 rule is “triggered” only when a player is ACTIVATED or RESERVED.
Because setting the initial lineup doesn’t require “moves” the 12/3 rule is not triggered, therefore you can have a guy start opening day, reserve him the next day and activate a different pitcher pitching the following day.
NOTE: Agreed…this also circumvents the spirit of the rule, but it’s a minor circumvention given the rules that have been imposed to counteract excessive start shopping, (12/3, GS penalty, move limits) and given that this is a “Memorial” fantasy baseball league, it’s sort of a “memorial” to the start-shopping that begat the league as it is today.