Change is in the air right now in the baseball world with MLB free agency and a new CBA (hopefully) on the horizon. Ultimate Fantasy League Baseball has also finalized how the player waiver process will work in the inaugural season.
There will be two types of waivers for the 2022 season and until the minor league set up is complete. Franchises will have the choice of ‘Release Waivers’ if they need a spot on the 40-player list freed up or ‘Protected List Waivers’ if they want to move a player from their 26-player roster to the protected list and the player is out of minor league options in his MLB contract.
“We have to get a little creative until we have the minor leagues going and our 40-player list can act as it does in MLB, so that’s where these two waiver systems come in,” said Dean Millard, Head of Baseball Operations for UFF Sports. “It still gives franchises options when it comes to overall roster management, but it’s not a get out of jail free card either.”
Along with input from UFLB Director of Competition Matt Soren, the decision was made that UFLB franchises will retain the Annual Average Value (AAV) of any player contract that is released, and it will count towards their Luxury Tax total. It will also cost each franchise $10 USD worth of SCO to release a player, with 90% going to the prize pool and 10% to the league/platform. As soon as a franchise places a player on Release Waivers, they are removed from their 40-player roster. If a player passes through Release Waivers, the franchise will release them, and they will become league property as free agents and franchises can request a 24-hour auction for them at any time.
A franchise bidding and winning a player in a Release Waiver Auction can put the player on their active roster or protected list. If they don’t have room, they would immediately have to send a player to the protected list – with minor league options in their MLB contract – or by placing a player from their active roster on either Release Waivers or Protected List Waivers.
A franchise looking to move a player – who does not have any minor league options left - from the 26-player active roster to the protected list will place the player on Protected List Waivers where all 29 other franchises will have the chance to bid during a 24-hour auction. If the player passes through waivers, the franchise can place them on the protected list providing there is an open spot. Players with Minor League Options can move from the active roster to the protected list without going on waivers. Each franchise is allowed 3 roster moves between the active roster and protected list per week, resetting each Monday. If a franchise sends down a player with minor league options and calls up another player at the same time, that is considered one roster move. Any claimed player in a Protected List Waiver auction must go on the active roster of the winning franchise. If they do not have room, they must immediately place a player on Protected List Waivers or Release Waivers.
If the player gets claimed in either form of Waivers Auction, it is 60% to franchise losing the player, 30% to prize pool, 10% to platform development.
“When we have our minor league set up, there will be players Designated for Assignment who will end up on minor league rosters instead of becoming free agents, but for now this is a good work around situation” said Millard who will also wear the hat of UFLB Commissioner. “In the beginning some things will be a little fluid and change as we evolve and add more elements. The Founders of UFFS also have a big say in things, so while we will strive for consistency when it comes to game play, there will be some things that do change for the betterment of the league and platform as we grow.”
One other thing for owners to keep in mind, is the looming CBA battle between MLB and the MLBPA and what changes might come out of the negotiations, which could have an impact on UFLB.
“If MLB expands its playoffs, so will UFLB, and I hope they do,” said Millard. “We will react and adapt to as much of the changes as we can within our technological and platform limits. Keep in mind owners are allowed to submit proposals on things they might want to change that are currently in the rulebook and that’s where the first ownership meetings in January will come in. We will discuss things and the owners can vote on some elements if they wish.”
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