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MLB Rules: Why did Cole Tucker already make it through waivers but Jose Suarez is still waiting in DFA limbo? An explanation.

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When a player’s contract is designated for assignment — often abbreviated “DFA” — that player is immediately removed from his club’s 40-man roster. Within seven days of the transaction (had been 10 days under the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement), the player can either be traded or placed on outright or unconditional release waivers.

Both Cole Tucker and Jose Suarez were DFA’d on 6/17. I was wondering why Cole Tucker already cleared waivers and outrighted to the minors by 6/20 while we’ve heard nothing regarding Suarez. Turns out within the 7 day window, there are two options: trade or waivers.

What’s probably happened here is that Tucker was almost immediately placed on waivers because we knew he has no trade value. He sailed through (predictably) and is back with the Bees.

However, the radio silence on Suarez means we’re probably still looking to see if anyone is willing to make a deal on him. Additionally, the following clause might be relevant.

However, players with more than five years of Major League service time can reject an assignment to the Minor Leagues, and players with more than three years of Major League service time, or who have been previously outrighted, may reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency in lieu of the assignment.

It’s kind of confusing because they cite both 5 years and 3 years and associate them with “can” and “may”.

Suarez is at 3.084 years of service time, so he might reserve the choice to reject the outright assignment. This might another reason why we’re holding out so long. The FO is probably trying to squeeze some value out of him in case he decides to walk. Cole Tucker’s at 2 years, so his demotion was a no-brainer by comparison, among other reasons.

It’s already 6/23, with only one day left to go in the DFA process. We should find out tomorrow what becomes of him. If he goes on waivers on day 7, he probably stays there overnight to give teams a chance to claim him, so we find out by 6/25 what his landing place might be.

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