How do playoff rosters work?

August 29, 2012, 11:29 pm
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Since the A's appear to be serious contenders for the first time since 2006, now is a good time to review Major League Baseball's playoff roster rules. Playoff rosters -- how do they work? Under Major League Rule 40 (a), the pool of players eligible for the postseason consists of the 25 players on the active roster and any players on the disabled, bereavement, suspended or military lists before midnight ETon August 31.According to the guidelines listed under rule 40 (a), it is beneficial to leave players that are already on the DL there until 9 p.m. on August 31. That way the team essentially gets a two-for-one deal on the pool of players available to draw from when setting up their playoff roster. As an added bonus, rosters expand September 1 so they can quickly bring up the players they left on the DL without having to send another player down. For example:Josh Donaldson is on the A's 25-man roster with Brandon Inge on the DL. If the A's were to reinstate Inge and option Donaldson before August 31 at 9 p.m. only Inge would be available for the postseason roster. With Inge on the DL however, both Donaldson (on 25-man) and Inge (on DL) are eligible. Another example: If the A's recall Dan Straily prior to August 31, then both he and A.J. Griffin could be eligible for the playoff roster. If they bring up Griffin instead of Straily before August 31, then only Griffin is eligible.
There is a loophole. However, if a player in the organization is on the DL on August 31 and still on the DL at the end of the regular season, that player may be replaced on the playoff roster by any player that was in the organization as of August 31.For example:Andrew Carignan is on the 60-day DL and eligible for the postseason. Since he won't be pitching in the postseason, the A's can replace him with Jemile Weeks, thus making Weeks eligible prior to setting the final 25-man playoff roster. The player a team replaces due to injury doesn't have to be the same position anymore. The Red Sox used this rule to get Jacoby Ellsbury on their playoff roster in 2007. Anyone on the DL prior to August 31 that remains on the DL once the postseason begins is essentially a free playoff roster eligibility spot. A's players eligible for the postseason roster pool (as of now):Pitchers:
Brett Anderson
Grant Balfour
Travis Blackley
Jerry Blevins
Ryan Cook
Sean Doolittle
Brandon McCarthy
Jim Miller
Tommy Milone
Pat Neshek
Jarrod Parker
Evan Scribner
A.J. Griffin (DL)
Dallas Braden (DL)
Andrew Carignan (DL)
Jordan Norberto (DL)
Bartolo Colon (Suspension)Catchers:
George Kottaras
Derek Norris
Chris Carter
Josh Donaldson
Stephen Drew
Brandon Moss
Cliff Pennington
Adam Rosales
Eric Sogard (DL)
Brandon Inge (DL)
Scott Sizemore (DL)
Yoenis Cespedes
Coco Crisp
Jonny Gomes
Josh Reddick
Seth Smith