Rules 2, 13-16 - Reserve & Inactive Lists


Reserve List


On November 20, each major league club shall file major league and minor league reserve lists with the Commissioner's Office. The major league reserve list (the 40-man roster) must include all players under major league contract or who have been promoted to major league status to be tendered a major league contract that off-season. The club must also file a minor league reserve list for each affiliate, containing all players under minor league contract or players who have been outrighted to the minor leagues. Minor league affiliates are also required to each file reserve lists including all players under contract of that affiliate.

The Commissioner's Office shall continuously maintain and update the reserve lists by recording all transactions and making them available to clubs through electronic communications. All clubs are required to notify the Commissioner's Office immediately of all changes to the reserve lists. Such reserve list changes will not take effect until approved by the Commissioner.

Except for outright assignments or the addition of free agents, minor league reserve lists may not be amended during the time period from November until the Rule 5 Draft. No player on a reserve list shall be eligible to play or negotiate with another team until that player is removed from the reserved list.

Reserve List Limits:
  • MLB: 40
  • AAA: 38
  • AA: 37
  • A: 35 per affiliate
  • Rookie: 35 per affiliate

Active List


Each major league club must maintain an active list for each of its affiliates with the Commissioner's Office. The active list may only include players on that major league club's reserved list. The active list must include all players who are eligible to play in games for each affiliate. Active lists must initially be filed at least one hour before the start of the first game of the season. An optional player who is recalled shall not be counted until the player physically reports to the recalling club.

Active List limits:
  • MLB: 25 from opening day until midnight on August 31, then 40
  • AAA: 24
  • AA: 24
  • A: 25 per affiliate
  • Short-Season A: 30 per affiliate, 25 of whom may be in uniform per game
  • Rookie: 35 per affiliate, 30 of whom may be in uniform per game

Inactive Lists


Major League Disabled List

A player who is unable to render services because of injury or ailment may be placed on the disabled list. To place a player on the DL, the club must apply to the league. The application must be accompanied by a standard form diagnosis signed by a physician. The club must designate either the 15-day or 60-day DL (corresponding to the minimum period a player must remain on the list). There is no limit on the number of players that may be placed on the DL.
  • 15 Day DL: If placed on the 15-day DL before the start of the season, a player must serve at least 6 days on the DL. Players on this list count against the Reserve List limit but not against the Active List limit. The club physician must re-certify the injury once a player becomes eligible to come off the DL, and every 15 days thereafter.
  • 60 Day DL: A player may not be placed on the 60-day DL unless the team’s 40-man roster is full at 40 players. Players on this list do not count against the Reserve List or Active List limits. No re-certification of injuries is required for players on the 60-day DL.

Minor League Disabled List

Players unable to render services because of a specific injury. There are two lists:
  • Regular DL: 7-day minimum. Players on this list counts against Reserve List limits but not the Active List limits.
  • Emergency DL: 60-day minimum. Players on this list shall not count against the Reserve List limits or the Active List limits.
  • Rehab: A minor league player on rehab assignment while on the DL shall count against the Reserve List limit of the assigning club, but not against the limits of the club that he is assigned to.

Major League Bereavement List

Major League players may be placed on the bereavement list due to a severe illness or death in the player’s or his spouse’s immediate family. The minimum period is 3 days, the maximum is 7 days. Players on this list are counted towards Reserve List limits but not Active List limits.

Suspended List

A player may be suspended by his club or the league for insubordination, misconduct, or failure to report in playing condition. In the majors, a player on the suspended list counts towards both the Reserve List and the Active List limits. In the minors, a player on the suspended list counts towards the Reserve List but not the the Active List.

Voluntarily Retired List

A player under contract who chooses to retires is placed on the Voluntarily Retired List. If a player desires to return, he may not be reinstated until 60 days after the end of the season during which he retired. He may also not play baseball elsewhere while retired without obtaining consent from the club owning his rights. Players on this list do not count towards the Reserve List or Active List limits. A player may remain on this list for two consecutive years before he is removed.

Restricted List

The Restricted List is for players who fail to report to the team or who fail to sign an agreed-upon contract with the team. Players on this list do not count towards the Reserve List or Active List limits. Players on the restricted list do not receive pay, and may not sign with another team. A player may remain on this list for two consecutive years before he is removed by activated or released. Often, placing a player on the Restricted List is a means of releasing him without fully relinquishing his rights. However, sometimes younger international signees can be placed on the Restricted List while they are finishing school.

Disqualified List

The disqualified list is for players who have violated their player contract. Players on this list do not count towards the Reserve List or Active List limits. A player may remain on this list for two consecutive years before he is removed.

Ineligible List

The Ineligible List is for players found guilty of serious misconduct (gambling, tanking, bribery, violence toward umpires). Players on this list do not count towards the Reserve List or Active List limits. A player may remain on this list for two consecutive years before he is removed.

Military List

The Military List is for players with definite orders to report for military service. Players on this list do not count towards the Reserve List or Active List limits. Upon learning that a player has separated from military service, a team must immediately notify the Commissioner. Upon discharge from military service, a player will count against reserve and active limits 15 days after that player physically reports or when that player plays in an offical game, whichever is earlier.

Temporarily Inactive List

The Temporarily Inactive List is for players who are unable to render active service due to: (1) necessary temporary absence due to family member’s illness; (2) absence excused for personal obligations; or (3) awaiting release for the purpose of allowing the player to sign with a foreign league. Minimum placement is 3 days. Players on the TIA count towards the Reserve List limit but not the Active List limit.

Players Signed After Selection

Players signed to minor league deals after the Rule 4 Draft are excluded from the Reserve and Active List limits until the earliest of: (1) filing for reserve lists for the following season (November 20); (2) 15 days after an assigned player signed his contract (only for players who have been assigned to a team); or (3) the player participates in a game. After that time, the player shall count against the Reserve List and Active List limits. Players signed to major league deals after the Rule 4 Draft immediately count towards the Reserve List limits.

Players Signed for Future Services

After July 1, a team may sign a player with no previous professional experience to a contract for the following year. There is a limit on such players to 12 per each Class A, Short Season, or Rookie League Club. Such players count against the Reserve List limit but not against the Active List limit. They do count against the Active List limit starting on opening day of the following season. Players in the military can be signed for future services and immediately moved to the military list.

Designated List

When the Active or Reserve List Limit has been reached for a particular club, and the club desires to add an additional player, one player from that club must be designated, meaning giving notice to the Commissioner to release or assign that player within 10 days. Such players do not count towards the player limits, but cannot participate until released or assigned.