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Benchwarmer Baseball Rules

12.0 Off Season Procedures

12.1 Salary Cap

Following the championship series, the league will publish salaries for the next season and determine player positions for the next season based on the statistics for the season just completed.


Once the salaries are finished, the league will calculate the new salary cap and distribute money to all the teams, followed by the disbursement of the fantasy cash rewards for post-season finish and player performance.


Actually, instead of a hard salary cap, the new calculation of the cap will determine the amount that each team receives in the off-season. Each team will receive an equal amount of off-season money.  This amount will be enough to get the team with the smallest balance up to the salary cap. The overall cap is determined system-wide for all of BWB. Each league will get a different amount based on its teams.

For example, the BWB Salary Cap is calculated at 47500 (47.5 million). In League A, Detroit has the smallest remaining balance at the end of the season – 1000. Since it takes 46500 to get Detroit up to the cap value, all teams in League A receive 46500 in cash. In League B, Fort Worth has the smallest remaining cash balance – 2500 – so all teams in League B get 45000.


All teams on new leagues for the coming year will get the BWB Salary Cap rounded up to the next even million. In the example above, startup leagues would get an initial distribution of 48000 Benchwarmer Bucks.

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12.2 Orphan Team Cash

Added 12/8/15

Orphan teams are often left in an uncompetitive state for various reasons - but whatever the reason often require a great deal of overhaul to make them viable franchises.  During the off season (or whenever they are adopted) these orphan teams will get an additional cash distribution to allow them to reform their rosters and take on additional salary or not worry as much about salary rebates.

12.3 Roster Clean-Up

All players on IR will be put back on active status. This may put rosters temporarily over the 40-man limit. Lineup slots, positions, and rotation spots will be cleared.

12.4 Fall Trading Period

Prior to the final selection of the 28 players to be carried over into the new season, teams will have the opportunity to trade players. The trading period will begin after the new salaries and positions are final for the coming season and after the salary cap distribution has been made.


There will be two weeks of trading, with deadline dates to be named each year, as appropriate. There is no cash assumption/rebate of salaries at this time, since no salaries have yet been paid for the new season. Teams may include cash payments, as they do during the regular season, in the trade conditions.


Special Roster Exemption: Since teams may already be at the 40-man roster limit (41 including injured reserve), and there is no mechanism for cuts at this time, teams will be allowed to exceed the 40-man limit during these 2 weeks if they participate in trades such as 2-for-1 and 3-for-2. They're going to have to cut down to 28 players within a week or two anyway.

12.5 Roster Carryover

Modified 4/4/18 in regards to the Prospects roster


After the salaries and cap are calculated, teams choose which players that they want to keep for the coming season. They must follow these guidelines:

  • Teams are not obligated to keep a single player. They could release the whole roster.
  • Teams may keep a maximum of 28 players.
  • Players on the team's Prospect roster do not count against the 28-player maximum.  They may be retained or cut at this time.
  • They must have enough money to pay for all their players at this time. Players on multiyear contracts have already been paid for, so those salaries are not calculated into this total.
  • Players on multiyear contracts must be retained. That is one of the risks of singing players to long-term contracts.
  • Teams do not have to conform to roster minimums but cannot exceed roster maximums (for example, you cannot exceed the number of allowable players making over 250 in salary).
  • Teams do not have to be able to fill every position at this time.
  • Once the selection process is complete, the salaries for the next season will be subtracted from the teams’ cash balances.

The remaining players on the rosters will be returned to the free agent pool.

Following the cuts made from the rosters, any players on the Prospects roster will be returned back to the 40-man roster.  As long as they are still eligible, they may be put back on the Prospects roster again, but that is a separate transaction that must be repeated each season.

12.6 League Merger/Contraction

If needed, any league mergers will occur now. Details will be provided at that time.

12.7 Expansion Draft

If there is need to expand a league to a full 16 teams, an expansion draft will take place at this point.

  • After choosing 28 players to keep, each team must identify 20 to protect during the expansion draft.  Teams with fewer than 28 signed players must make 8 players available.
  • All players on multiyear contracts MUST be protected.
  • Teams will arrange the exposed players in order from 1-8 in importance (only the league office will know this order).
  • The expansion draft will last 4 rounds.  In each round, each expansion team will draft 3 players.
  • Once a player is picked from a returning team, the highest-ranked player remaining on that team's list is removed from the draft.  In addition, no one else may be picked from that team in that same round.

The net effect is that each returning team will lose 4 players.  Each expansion team will have a roster of 12 players at that time.


Further procedural details will be stated at the time of the draft.


All expansion teams start with the salary cap in cash PLUS $10 million.

12.8 Redistribution Draft

In reverse order of finish, the league will hold a draft of unsigned players.  Expansion teams will be at the top of the order.

12.8.1 Draft Order

Teams will be ranked in reverse order of their winning percentage in the previous regular season following the redistribution draft, with these exceptions:

  • The league champion will be at the bottom of the list
  • The runner-up will be in the 15th spot.
  • The other two division winners will be 13th and 14th, based on regular-season record.
  • If the league is going through expansion, expansion teams will be at the top of the order.
  • Any ties will be broken by the same process used to determine free-agent signing order.

12.8.2 Draft Procedures

  • Each team will submit a list of up to 15 draft picks - 5 rounds of 3 players each – chosen from the free agent lists.
  • In the draft order listed above, the league office will look at the first group of 3 players from each team.
  • Any players in the team's group of 3 that are at that time still available will be awarded to that team.  Thus, the first team in the order is guaranteed to get the first three players that he/she has listed.
  • After going through the first group of three from all teams, the league office will go through the second group, and so on for all five rounds.  Each round will be done in the same order as the first.
  • If, in any round, one or more of team's selections have already been taken, picks that they submitted for later rounds (in order) will be brought up to the current round until the team can draft three players or the team runs out of picks.
  • An owner may optionally designate an alternate pick for any or all of the draft choices. The alternate works the same way as free agency during the regular season – if the primary pick is gone, the alternate is checked. If the primary pick is moved to an earlier round, the alternate goes along. If the primary pick is awarded, the alternate is discarded.
  • If the selection of a player violates roster maximums, minor league maximums, or causes the cash balance of the team to go below zero, that player will not be awarded to that team.

Obviously, the lower you pick, the more speculation you need to make about which players will still be around when it’s your turn.  Teams at the bottom of the order may need to go for prospects rather than established veterans.

12.8.3 Multi-week results and weekly adjustment of draft list

Modified 12/15/15

Change for 2015:  After each round of the draft, Benchwarmer Baseball will post the results of that round and then reopen the list for all teams to change their lists for subsequent rounds.  Teams should submit complete lists through Round 5 (that allows for players to move up as needed).  If an owner does not change the list between weeks, the existing draft list remains as is.


Adjustment for 2016:  Benchwarmer Baseball will do three posting of results for the draft, instead of five:

  • Round 1.  Teams may then update their draft lists for Rounds 2-5
  • Round 2.  Teams may then update their draft lists for Rounds 3-5
  • Rounds 3-5

12.9 Free Agency

On approximately Jan 1, or whenever the Redistribution Draft is complete, the league will enter a period in which teams may sign/release players.  The exact schedule will be set in December or January. Teams may also trade with other teams at this time.

12.9.1 Waiver Order - Off-season Free agent signings

  • Off-season signings will utilize a waiver list slightly different than the regular season.
  • Teams will be ranked in reverse order of their winning percentage in the previous regular season following the redistribution draft, with these exceptions:
    • The league champion will be at the bottom of the list
    • The runner-up will be in the 15th spot.
    • The other two division winners will be 13th and 14th, based on regular-season record.
    • If there was league expansion, the expansion teams will start at the top of the list.
    • Note: This is the same order used for the Redistribution Draft.
  • The team at the top of the list will get the first pick of that week, and so on.
  • Each time the team selects a player, it moves to the bottom of the list.
  • Rather than reset the order each week, as in the regular season, the order of the waiver list at the end of the transaction period is carried over into the following week (through the next-to final transaction date before Opening Day – Week minus 1).

12.9.2 Waiver Order - Week Zero and First two weeks of the regular season – Returning Leagues

Typically, teams are ranked in reverse order of record for each week’s transactions. However, at the start of the season, there have not been enough games played to get a true feel for team strength. Also, in some seasons there may be a delay in playing early games due to weather problems around the country. The transaction order for Weeks Zero, 1 and 2 will be set to the same order used in the Redistribution Draft.  In a 2015 change, the transaction order will be reset for Week Zero.

12.9.3 Waiver Order - Week Zero and First two weeks of the regular season – New Leagues

For Week Zero, the Transaction Order will be set in reverse order of total team salary (teams with the lowest team salary will draft at the top of the list). Because teams may have cut players during pre-season free agency and received an 80% salary rebate, this may or may not match the actual remaining cash balances. The transaction order will not change for Weeks 1 and 2.

12.10 Complete Rosters

There are no position requirements during the off-season; you do not have to be able to field a complete lineup yet.  However, you cannot exceed the roster/salary maximums: 40 total players, 28 total players making 250 or more, 16 batters making 250 or more, and 14 pitchers making 250 or more.


On Opening Day, each roster must include one eligible player for each field position, to fill the starting lineup.  Other than during first-year league drafts, the "Prim" and "Sec" positions listed for a player are not important. If a player has a position listed in either column, he is eligible to play there.


In addition:

  • Each roster must have 5 bench players.
  • Each roster must have 5 pitchers designated as starters.
  • Each roster must have 2 pitchers designated as spot starters.
  • Each roster must have 5 pitchers designated for the bullpen.
  • This makes a total of 26 players to fulfill roster minimums.

Salaries for all signings will be deducted immediately.  During off-season free agency, if you cut a player, you will earn an 80% salary rebate (it used to be zero, and a change in 2016 increased the rebate from 50%). Don’t forget that players on multi-year contracts and players making 200 or less do not qualify for a salary rebate.

12.11 Salary Rebate Exceptions

RETIREMENT EXCEPTION: If a player officially retires during the off-season, the player's owner may cut that player from the team and receive a rebate of the coming season’s salary.  If the player is on a multiyear contract, there will be no rebate.  The owner may be asked to provide documented proof of a retirement announcement. Players who talk about retirement, but do not officially announce it or do not announce until after Opening Day, or just don’t find a new team during Spring Training, do not qualify for this rebate.


PATRIOTISM EXCEPTION (The Ted Williams Rule): Should this country ever return to mandated military service and a player must leave his team (hey, this still happened in the early 70s and seems more realistic than when this rule was first written in 2000), the owner will receive a full rebate. There is still no rebate for a multiyear contract.


ACT OF GOD EXCEPTION (The Roberto Clemente Rule): If a player dies in the off-season, the owner will receive a 100% rebate for the season salary.  Again, if the player is on a multiyear contract, there will be no rebate.


The following are not exceptions and will not result in a salary rebate (unless accompanied by one of the above): Injury; Cut by his major league team and not signed by another; Holdout; Leaving to play in Japan or Mexico; Being sent to the minors; Playing for the St. Paul Saints; Playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks; Election to public office; Drug rehab; Booze rehab; Rehab from hiring prostitutes; Any other 12-step program; Banned by baseball for gambling; Suspension for any reason; Jail time.  In no particular order, these are The Pete Rose Rule, The Steve Howe Rule, The Denny McClain Rule, The Curt Flood Rule, The Daryl Strawberry Rule (you pick which one fits for him).


Once the first Major League regular-season pitch is thrown, these exceptions are no longer valid. Beginning with Week 1 Transactions, you start receiving salary rebates (starting at 80% maximum).


< Previous : 11.0 Roster Changes and Transactions

Top : BWB Rules Contents

Next: 13.0 Inactive Owners >

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