How the Dodgers optioned an out-of-options player
The Dodgers made a roster move before the series opener against the Astros, recalling outfielder Zach Reks from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Right-hander Yefry Ramírez was optioned to Triple-A.
That evens the roster at 13 position players and 13 pitchers. Only four starting pitchers are active, which means the Dodgers still have nine relief pitchers active. They are also in the middle of a stretch with five games in eight days, so the pitching help isn’t as needed as perhaps it is usually.
Ramírez pitched the final two innings of Sunday’s 13-0 win over Arizona, walking one and striking out two. The 27-year-old had a 5.49 ERA in 15 games in Triple-A Oklahoma City, including 12 starts, with 70 strikeouts and 31 walks in 62⅓ innings.
Ramírez used option years in 2017, 2018, 2019, and is out of options, meaning he could refuse any minor league assignment. But he gave advance consent to be optioned before the Dodgers called him up on Sunday. The Dodgers also did this in 2014 with Chone Figgins, who was last optioned 11 years earlier and had well over the five years of major league service time required to have the right to refuse any minor league assignment.
Figgins had an option remaining at the time, which I assumed was a requirement to give advance consent. I was mistaken.
The clause of the collective bargaining agreement is Article XIX(A)(3):
Any Player who has a right to refuse the assignment of his contract under paragraph 2(a) above may grant consent to an assignment of his contract in advance of any specific contemplated assignment if such consent (a) is granted not more than ten (10) days prior to the start of the championship season for which the consent is given, (b) is in writing, (c) designates the assignee Club and (d) requires that the assignment take place within 45 days from the start of the championship season or the date on which the consent is granted, whichever is later. The Club shall provide a copy of the Player’s consent to the Association contemporaneously upon the Club’s receipt of such consent. No Club shall attempt to secure, by any Major League terms included in a Minor League Uniform Player Contract, an advance consent to an assignment to a Minor League club, and any consent so secured shall have no force or effect.
In other words, an option can appear out of thin air, as long as all parties agree to it in advance.
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