How irrevocable waivers work
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
In a surprise move, the Boston Red Sox placed outfielder Manny Ramirez on irrevocable waivers Wednesday. But what are irrevocable waivers, and how do they work? MLB.com, with an assist from Houston assistant general manager Tim Purpura, explains the ins and outs of the process:
Q: What are irrevocable waivers typically used for?
A: These type of waivers are usually used to move a player off the 40-man roster and outright him to the minor leagues. They are also used to release players. Teams cannot release a player without first putting that player through waivers.
Q: What are the steps involved when putting a player on irrevocable waivers?
A: It is basically a computer transaction. A waiver bulletin is sent to the 30 teams each day. Teams have until 2 p.m. ET to submit a waiver request. The waiver period lasts for 48 hours, and that is during the business week only. For example, a waiver period that begins on Friday will not conclude until Monday. Since waivers on Ramirez were asked on Wednesday, they will expire Friday at 2 p.m. ET.
Teams select in reverse order of the standings (based on season's end) starting with the player's league. In this case, since Ramirez is with the Red Sox, American League teams, beginning with Detroit, would select first, followed by the NL in reverse order of finish.
Q: Is there a price for making a waiver claim?
A: Usually, but not always, the waiver price is $25,000.
Q: What happens if a player on irrevocable waivers is claimed by another team?
A: If a player on irrevocable waivers is claimed, the club that put the player on waivers cannot rescind the waiver process. Once he is claimed, the player is the property of the claiming club, which would then be responsible for the player's contract.
Q: If a team were to claim Ramirez, how much would they be on the hook for?
A: Ramirez has five years remaining on the eight-year, $160 million contract he signed in December of 2000 -- not including two option years (2009-10) -- meaning a team claiming the outfielder would be responsible for a balance of roughly $106 million.
Q: Aren't irrevocable waivers supposed to be confidential?
A: All waivers are supposed to be confidential. Most players are put on waivers now and then for various reasons, such as to gauge interest, but most players never even know they're on waivers.
Q: Can a team or individual be penalized for breaking that confidentiality?
A: Yes, teams can be fined if they have been found to have leaked information on waivers, but that does not happen very often.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.