With the Jays’ roster finally coming into shape with the return of Darren Oliver, last week I started working on a big post about which players on the club have minor league options remaining, with the goal of figuring out how the Opening Day roster might shake down. It turned out that Bluebird Banter had beaten me to it, which was just as well, as far as I was concerned, because I had been having a devil of a time clearing up one last confusing piece of information about options.

It was being claimed by several sources that once three years had passed from the time of a player’s debut, he could no longer simply be optioned to the minors– provided he still had an option year remaining– as he had to clear revokable waivers first. As with the waiver process in August, this means that the club would put the player on waivers in order to option him down, but could remove him from waivers if another club attempted to claim him.

Maybe I’m just not good at Google, but there was a ridiculously small amount of information about this process, and how, say, a guy like Travis Snider sailed through it when he was optioned last year– long after the third anniversary of his 2008 debut. Some pages talking about the options process ignored it completely, others noted it but offered no explanation of it, and some folks even denied the existence of the procedure.

Well, thanks to Gregor Chisholm, in his latest at BlueJays.com, we’ve learned that it really is a thing… technically.

Happ, meanwhile, just has to pass through optional waivers before joining Buffalo. In other words, Toronto could pull Happ off waivers if another team put a claim in without running the risk of losing his services.

On the surface, that may appear difficult, but in reality, it’s a mere formality and not one that is expected to cause Anthopoulos any troubles if that’s the route he decides to take.

“I don’t think in the history of the game anybody has ever been claimed on optional waivers,” Anthopoulos said. “It doesn’t mean a club can’t, it’s just something I haven’t seen done and everyone needs to do it.

“It’s basically a way to block someone from sending the player down, and you’d probably have wars going back and forth if that happened. It’s pretty standard and it doesn’t really impact anything. I’ve never seen players get claimed, but it doesn’t mean they can’t be.”

Well, then. So I guess that clears that up, huh? Kinda weird. Like, did Brian Burke design this process or something?

Anywho, I guess J.A. Happ almost certainly sounds like he’ll be in the rotation in Buffalo to start the season, barring injury– as he should be– and that getting him there, despite technically having to put him on waivers, isn’t going to be a problem.

Comments (66)

  1. Sucks not playing for the Astros, doesn’t it.

  2. Didn’t Tony Batista get claimed on optional wavers by the O’s? Then Gord Ash whined about it even though he should of prevented it.

  3. How does one explain the Beck debacle where he was on the Pirates 40-man then back on the Jays 40-man and then cleared waivers? Maybe the Jays letting Canzler go to the Yankees? Who the fuck knows? My sense is that there are lots of little deals made.

    • out of options

      • The difference is that Happ will remain on the 40 man roster. Beck was designated off the forty man. A player has to clear waivers for that.

        • I realize all that. Just saying how its funny where some DFA guys clear waivers (ie: Beck) and other DFA guys don’t. In other words, I have wondered if one GM says to the other, hey, don’t claim this guy and I won’t claim that guy.

          • To make a waiver claim, you need room on the 40-man roster. As the off-season goes along, 40-man rosters fill up, changing the landscape of who may or may not claim players.

          • I think it mostly depends on whether a) other teams actually want the guy and b) whether the managers are even reading the daily waiver wire. Some times of the year, there are dozens of players on the wire, and some guys just float through under the radar.

            Basically, if I were a GM, I’d have a list of maybe 10-20 guys from each system that I’d be looking for on the waiver wire. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t pay much attention. You have to be somewhat selective, because if a guy needs to clear waivers then you need to put him on your 40-man if you’re claiming him.


    where’s the Griffbag LOL

    it’s cold and depressing outside and Griffbag makes me smile

  5. I still just can’t shake the knowledge that Happ was a shitload better than Ricky Romero last year. Feels a little unfair.

  6. Happ’s a pretty good starter to have in AAA.

    If he’s still not needed by the time Hutchinson and Drabek come back, maybe he could be used for trade bait. I think he’d be a totally acceptable #4 or #5 guy for most teams.

    • Drabek is due back after the AS Break but I doubt (barring injuries) he’ll see any MLB action til Sep at the earliest. As for Hutchison, his surgery wasn’t til aug 2012 and he wont be back til 2014.

  7. uh why would they put him in waivers he would be snatched up quickkly

  8. Shame for Happ, but we will see him, and who’s to say he doesn’t make the BP? He’s the 2nd best lefty if out of the pen.

  9. If Burkie had designed it, you just now that optional waivers would not be permitted in the week leading up to a long weekend or a player’s birthday or wedding anniversary.

  10. Just tossing out a guess, but could it be for players with 3 years of service time as opposed to 3 years since his debut?

    It would explain how it wasn’t a thing with Snider but is a thing with Happ.

    Anyway, thanks for the post as it made a slow winter day more interesting.

  11. I though Happ would be long man outta the pen/spot starter???

    • I’m not sure the need for a spot starter being on the MLB roster is as pressing as it was when the AAA team was in Las Vegas, or on the road in some other city on the other side of the continent. If they need Happ, Jenkins or Lincoln to make an appearance, it shouldn’t be a huge issue getting them up to the big league team on most nights.

      • Yeah I’m more thinking about a game were shit goes sideways in the 1st…I like the security of not having to burn ur entire BP in that case but I see your point about the spot starters…

        • True, I can definitely see the upside of having a long man to come in if the starter gets pulled in the first or second inning, or when the first game of a series goes 14 innings. That said, when that happens it’s usually pretty seemless for a team to bring up a fresh arm from the minors to fill the void the next day, and hopefully with the drastically improved rotation, keeping the bullpen fresh will be a lot easier in 2013.

  12. Stoeten,

    As per the comment in your article, I believe those that claim a player can only be put on optional waivers or optional assignment within their first three years (service years, calendar years, whatever) are wrong. A player has three “option years” which are generally valid for three different calendar years. However, these three “option years” – which are valid over three “calendar” years – can be used any time over the player’s first five service years, which are a different form of accounting than calendar years. At this point in time (5 years of MLB service time), even if a player has not had all three “option years” used, the player can refuse a demotion to the minors – even if not picked up on “optional waivers”.

  13. Who the fuck is Brian Burke?

  14. Am I the only one who thinks putting J.A. Happ in the minors is kinda stupid. The guy’s actually a pretty decent pitcher and would have quite a bit more value than someone like Cecil. And the whole talk about needing to keep him ‘streched out” is kinda ridiculous isn’t it? We kept Chalie V. on the roster in the bulpen and when he needed to be used as starter it seemed to work out pretty OK

    • I was about to post this exact some comment. Seriously almost word for word. Villanueva had no problem going 5 after they put him in the rotation. Let Happ throw 3 or 4 innings in the weekly blowout game.

      • Although, I suppose it all comes down to options. Happ has options, he goes down. It’s better than losing even a marginal talent like Cecil on waivers.

        • Salary also counts in these kinds of situations.
          Happ just signed 1yr for $3.75m.
          That is not the kind of salary that gets shuffled off to Buffalo.

          Crawford, Delbar and Loup all have options.
          Look to those guys for the demotions.
          MLB Depth Charts has Crawford and Loup as being “on the outside looking in.”

    • The thing about Cecil is he’s out of options, which means the Jays risk losing him on outright waivers if they try to send him down to the minors, and I have a hard time believing there isn’t one team out there willing to take a chance on him at the cost of nothing.

      At the moment, we can’t say with any degree of certainty whether Happ is better as a reliever than Cecil, as we haven’t really seen Cecil as a reliever in anything close to a sample size big enough to draw a conclusion on. For his career, almost entirely as a starter, he’s got a .289 wOBA against versus left-handed hitters, and a 3.71 FIP. I think he could turn out to be a very useful bullpen piece if he can continue to get left-handed hitters out.

      Not to keep dumping on Happ, but like Romero opening the season in the rotation over him, this decision makes sense to me.

      • I actually get the sense that Loup or Crawford, but not Happ would be the guy to get the call if a need for a left-handed reliever arises. It’s almost inevitable that a starter will miss time at some point this year, and it makes sense that the Jays want to be able to seemlessly slide Happ into the rotation when that happens without having to ease him into it with a couple of 5-inning starts.

  15. Certainly Cecil’s numbers against lefties were solid last season, but its still not enough to protect him by keeping him on the big club because he’s out of options. First of all, its a small sample size of “success”. And maybe I’m in the minority here, but a guy who is limited in his skill that much (only able to face lefties) better be Cy fucking Young with that skill, because otherwise he’s simply a liability to the teams chances of winning, relative to the next best option.

    I’m just not sold on him at all. That’s based on watching him pitch over the years. And considering its suddenly a World Series or bust year, he better be on as short a leash as possible come spring training.

    • I think having a “LOOGY” makes sense for the Jays when they’ll go up against guys like Ellsbury, Ortiz, Cano, Granderson, Gardner, Markakis, and to a lesser extent, Fielder, Hamilton, Mauer, etc. over the course of the season. Oliver doesn’t fit the mold as he doesn’t typically have a platoon split, so it would have to be Cecil, Happ, Loup or possibly Crawford if he starts the year well in the minors.

      That said, Cecil’s career wOBA against vs LHB is .289, while Happ sports a career mark of .303, Loup seems likely to regress a ton if he pitches in the majors this year, and I don’t think Crawford has any chance of making the team out of spring training. Considering Happ is the best available starter not penciled into the opening day rotation, I think it makes sense to let him keep starting somewhere if there’s a player equally, if not more well-equipped for that role. Obviously everyone else still having options is a big factor, but I think the decision, if this is what it ends up being, is a reasonable one regardless.

      If Cecil falls flat on his face in April and/or May, I don’t think the team will have any reservations about making a switch, as the risk of losing him will by then have been mitigated by his own performance, and as you said, the team will not be content to lose games this year for the sake of next year.

  16. In Buffalo, AA also said he thinks that no team would make a claim on an optional waiver because it would open a pandora’s box where everyone would claim everyone else’s players and it would be difficult to send anyone down.

  17. Guys I know things are slow now so I’m hoping you can help a brother out. Last summer we put in a pool so every nice weekend I have my kids and the nieghbour kids on the deck.
    Traditionaly I just have the radio on and listen to the Jays but this year I’m so wound up I got to have something to watch.
    When I went to mlb thinking I could buy the Jays stream, it says all of Canada is blacked out. I can run cable out there and hook up the telly but wondering if I’m missing something or what you guys use.
    Sorry to be so off topic but I’m all ready in the planning stages.

    • http://www.unblock-us.com

      $5/mth. you’ll see what it’s all about on the site…in a nutshell, it allows you to access US content that would otherwise be blocked here in canada. i use it primarily to get at US netflix content (which is about a billion times better than what’s available on cdn netflix). i assume it would allow you to access jays games on mlb.com (or you could try finding games on atdhe.net).

  18. ^^^^What the Fuck?

  19. Sorry just wondering if I can use a laptop to watch the jays games when I’m outside or is there a blackout on streaming Jays games through the internet in Canada.

  20. Be gentle I’m just an old construction worker that loves watching the Jays and I’m not media savy.

    • When the games are broadcast,there will be plenty of people here to help you.

      1, Go to the dollar store,get a splitter and 100 feet of coax for $20.
      2. There are plenty of illegal streams available.check back during the season.
      3.Rogers On Demand.
      4.Subscribe to Mlb.tv using a US feed through a proxy server,to avoid Canadian blackouts.
      5.Have your neighbour tune his TV into the game and put the screen up to his window and his speakers on the porch.
      6 Have the wife watch the neighbourhood kids and go to the bar with your buddies.Don’t be a cheap prick and buy a round while you’re at it.

  21. Thanks guys I had taken a wrong turn. I thought I had to buy it from MLB and they have a black out on all Jays games in Canada.
    I haven’t been this excited about our chances since the late 80′s to the early 90′s so I’m planning the summer to catch every game I can.

  22. You’ve got it the wrong way around regarding Brian Burke. When Burke was GM of the Vancouver Caschmucks, Philadelphia GM Bobby Clarke offered restricted free agent Ryan Kesler, then as now Vancouver property, a deal for $1.9 mil a year, a maneuver called an “offer sheet” in hockeytalk. Although possible under the CBA of the NHL, this was something that just wasn’t done — like AA says about another team claiming a baseball player under optional waivers — and Burke was quite torqued about it. He was forced to match the offer if he wanted to keep Kesler, which he did.

    • No hockey talk

    • At least the offer to Kesler was reasonable and Burke easily matched it and didnt flip shit like he did when Lowe posted an offer sheet on Penner of the Ducks for a ridiculous amount which eventually backfired in the Oilers faces.

    • don’t really see the similarities, other than the ‘it’s not really done’ kind of thing. in the hockey scenario, the player doesn’t have a current contract – he’s a FA (albeit restricted). in baseball, if a claim is put in on a player placed on optional waivers, the team doing the placing merely takes him off (and keeps him with the big club). in the hockey scenario…well, there isn’t really an equivalant manouver. to retain the hockey player, the team is forced to match the offer (creating a new contract).

  23. Marcum signed with the mets at least he’s back with jP

  24. Holy crap, how does an article about Happ ‘possibly’ an option to go on waivers get this many comments???

  25. You actually make it appear so easy along with your presentation however I to find this topic to be really one thing that I feel I would by no means understand. It seems too complicated and extremely large for me. I am taking a look forward for your subsequent put up, I will attempt to get the dangle of it!

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