Designated for Assignment, often abbreviated “DFA”, is a term used in baseball to describe how the player’s contract from his club’s 40-man roster has already been expired. Under the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the player has to be removed within 7 days from the date of designation. The club still has the choice for the removed player if they should waive, trade, or release them into the Minor League Baseball.

Where to Place Contractual Players

DFA is also known as “Player Limit” or “Designated Players”, and they are seen under Rule 10(b), called “The Procedures for Obtaining Waivers”, where they can be transferred to the Minor League Baseball. One of the things that a club can do these players is they can position contractual players on waivers. This means that even though he was removed from the club’s 40-man foster still he will be paid according to his contract with the club.

The removed player has to clear his waiver so he will be sent to the minor league team. However, if the player has played for the Major League for more than 5 years, then he must permit being assigned to the Minor League. If he insists to withhold the consent, then he should be released to other major league teams. Whatever his case may be, the club has to agree that they must follow the contract worth and pay him.

How Can a Removed Player be Outrighted?

Just in case that the player had already cleared the waiver being the DFA, then he will be removed from the 40-man roster and will be immediately sent to the minor league affiliate of the major league team. The outrighting player can only once in their career.

Trading vs Releasing the Removed Player

The removed player is usually traded to other clubs. One of the examples is when Marlin’s Austin Pruitt became DFA, so he can give space for Paul Campbell after Campbell recovered from Covid-19. Another example is when Brian Shouse was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. Since Shouse was already playing for more than 10 years, the club should not trade him without his consent.

Releasing players can only be imposed if the removed player has already cleared waivers. This means after release, the player will be a free agent and he has the independence to sign with any team, which also includes the team that released him.