As baseball’s offseason gathers steam, it's time for some roster housecleaning. Teams must set their 40-man rosters by Tuesday, Nov. 14 by 6 p.m. ET ahead of the annual Rule 5 Draft. As per MLB Pipeline, “Eligible players who are not added to their respective organization's roster by then can be selected by another organization in the Rule 5 Draft”, which is on Dec. 6 in Nashville.
The deadline can lead to lots of player movement, as teams leave players they project as borderline unprotected, and also might “non-tender” rostered players, i.e. decline to offer a contract for next season to those not eligible for free agency to clear a 40-man spot for a younger prospect.
The Rule 5 Draft allows teams to select unprotected players not on 40-man rosters who have played in either parts of five professional seasons (if they signed professionally at 18 or younger) or four professional seasons (if they signed at 19 or older). For 2023, that means an international amateur or high school draft pick signed in 2019, who’s played in parts of every season since then has to be protected. A college player taken in the 2020 amateur draft would be in the same position.
Essentially, it’s an opportunity to give a player who’s blocked in another organization a chance to prove themselves in the majors. While teams aren’t required to make a selection, if they do, they pay $100,000 to the club they selected the player from, and must roster him on their 26-man roster (or injured list) for the full season or otherwise place him on outright waivers. If the player clears waivers, he must be offered back to his original team for $50,000; and can be outrighted to the minors if his original team doesn’t take him back.