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Business of Baseball Glossary
Written by Jeff Euston   
Tuesday, 30 January 2007 15:24

Eligibility

A player with at least 6 years of Major League service time and no contract for the next season is eligible to file for free agency and negotiate with any club.

Filing period

  • A player has 15 days from the first day after the World Series ends to file for free agency.
  • His former club retains exclusive negotiating rights until 15-day filing period expires, and the former club may re-sign the player at any time, during or after the filing period. During the filing period, a player who has filed for free agency may engage in general discussions with other clubs but may not discuss contract details or sign with them.

Procedure

  • A club receives compensation if it loses a free agent before December 2. See Free Agent Compensation.
  • By December 1, each club must decide whether to offer salary arbitration to their former players who have filed for free agency. A club not offering arbitration may continue to negotiate with the player but does not receive compensation if he signs with another club.
  • By December 7, player must accept or reject the arbitration offer. If the player accepts the offer, he returns to his club’s 40-man roster. The player and club may continue to negotiate before the February arbitration hearing. See Arbitration. If the player rejects the offer, he may continue to negotiate with any of the 30 clubs.
  • A free agent who signs a major-league contract may not be traded without his written consent before June 15 of the following season.

Limits on free agent signings

  • If 0-14 players qualify as Type A and B free agents, no team may sign more than 1 Type A or B player.
  • If 15-38 players qualify as Type A and B free agents, no team may sign more than 2.
  • If 39-62 players qualify as Type A and B free agents, no team may sign more than 3, with the limits increasing accordingly for higher totals.
  • A club may sign an unlimited number of free agents who do not qualify as Type A or B free agents.
  • A club may sign as many type A and B free agents as it has lost, regardless of the limits above.
 
 
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