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Benchwarmer Baseball Rules

4.0 Rosters

Players in Benchwarmer Baseball earn a salary in Benchwarmer Bucks. The salary is based primarily upon the stats for the previous season. Owners create teams through the Startup Draft, which is conducted only once in the lifetime of any league. Teams may add or remove players during weekly transactions. During the draft and transactions, a team must be mindful of its financial balance and will not be allowed to sign any player that will reduce the balance below zero. Teams get a distribution of cash at the beginning of their existence, during each off-season, and they have other ways to earn cash throughout the season.


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Each team will have a roster of 26-40 players, with 6 extra optional slots available that do not count against the 40-man maximum.  The roster is broken down into these mandatory 26 positions:

  • 9 starting hitters

  • 5 reserve hitters

  • 5 starting pitchers

  • 5 relief pitchers

  • 2 spot pitchers

See Lineups for more details on these positions.


Each owner may also fill out the roster with optional positions.

  • The team can utilize a taxi squad/disabled list, which can be used for up to four players (they do not have to be injured to be on it).

  • Up to 10 other players may be signed to the minor league roster.

  • Up to 5 minor league players may be placed on the prospect list.  They do not count against the 40-man maximum.

  • One player may be placed on injured reserve.

(2017 Rule Change - 1/18/17: Taxi squad size was increased from 2 to 4 / minor league roster size changed from 12 to 10).


Any players may be put onto the taxi squad.  However, the minor league roster is limited to players with salaries of 250 or less.  Players on the minor league roster do not have to be in the minors in real life.  Owners may use the minor leagues to store disabled players or major leaguers who are slumping or not playing much or don't fit into the current roster.  The only stipulation is that they don't exceed the 250 salary limit. Note: Any player, regardless of salary, can be put on the team’s major league roster.


In addition, each team's minor league roster will be competing for a separate award and additional funds.  The only statistics that will count for the minor league standings are those actually obtained in real-life minor leagues.  See Minor Leagues for more details.

4.1 Roster Minimums

Given the mandatory positions listed above, each team must fulfill these minimums:

  • 14 hitters (9 starters, 5 bench)

  • 12 pitchers (5 starters, 5 bullpen, 2 spot)

4.2 Roster Maximums

A team can have no more than 40 players, but since minor league players cannot make more than 250, there are some maximum limits placed on rosters based on salary.

  • A team can have no more than 18 hitters making more than 250 (the 14 active spots plus 4 potential taxi squad players)

  • A team can have no more than 16 pitchers making more than 250 (the 12 active spots plus 4 potential players on the taxi squad).

  • Those numbers, however, are not independent and cannot be added together, since both assume the use of the 4 available taxi squad slots. There are 26 active players and 4 taxi openings – anyone else needs to be in the minors. Thus, a team cannot have more than 30 players making over 250.

  • A player on Injured Reserve making more than 250 does not count against any of these limits.

4.3 Injured Reserve

Owners often ask about adding a disabled list. Benchwarmer Baseball doesn’t call it that, but that's essentially what the "Taxi Squad" is (borrowing old NFL terminology). But it's actually better than a disabled list, because you don't have to be hurt to be put on it.


Starting in 2006, we added a new roster designation - Injured Reserve (IR). And, like the taxi squad, the player does not have to be injured to be put on it. However, again borrowing from the NFL, when you put a player on IR, he is done for the season.


You may place one player on IR. Once you do that, his 40-man roster spot becomes open for another player. But, the only option you have for that player the rest of the season is to keep him on IR or cut him. He cannot be placed back on your active roster - including for the playoffs.


If the player is cut and goes back into the free agent pool and another team signs him, he will be made active. If a player on IR is traded, the receiving team gets him as an active player.


This change allows you to hang on to a player who suffers a season-ending injury early in the season and maintain some roster flexibility with your taxi squad positions. Keep in mind, one of the "benefits" of cutting a player in this situation, particularly early in the season, is to get a pro-rated salary rebate. Putting a player on IR will not do that for you.


This is currently limited to one player. BWB still likes to see teams have to make some difficult choices on rosters which from time to time puts some premium players back into the free agent pool (where another team might be in a better position to hold on to an injured player and build for the future). If you already have a player on IR, and want to put another player there, you're going to have to decide to cut one of them.

4.3.1 Transaction Charge for IR Moves

Rule added December 2014

Injured Reserve was added as a means to hold on to a player the remainder of a season and not have it count against the 40-man roster limit, particularly if a player's salary was too high to allow him to go to the minors.  There's no actual requirement for a player to be injured - this brings up timing issues and based on how BWB collects stats and tracks player transactions/status there's no practical (and, primarily, affordable) way to keep immediately current with injury status.  In practice, this for many owners has become a legal loophole in the rules to add a 41st roster spot - players are put here first before cutting them as a hedge.  Then maybe traded away or cut with no penalty (other than a slight reduction in the player's salary rebate for the cut).  That wasn't really the intention of the rule and for some owners this is really a revolving door - with a player put on IR one week and then cut the next week in order for someone else to be put on IR.   There's a significant amount of overhead for BWB to process IR moves - largely in checking no other player is on IR or is also cut that week and verification of the "Inj" lineup status.


Starting with the 2015 season, there is a transaction charge of 250,000 Benchwarmer Bucks (250) to put a player on IR.  If a player is on IR for 11 or more weeks or still on the roster/IR at season end, the transaction charge will be refunded after the season. Subtract the transaction week of the IR move from the transaction week of the cut; if 11 or greater, there will be a refund.  Since we're adding a Week 26 Cut/IR transaction in 2015, "still on the roster at season end" means still there after the Week 26 transactions are processed.


For examples:

  • Move to IR Week 14, Cut Week 24 = 10 - so no refund
  • Move to IR Week 13; Cut Week 25 = 11 - refund
  • Move to IR Week 22; Cut Week 26 = NOT on the roster at season end - no refund
  • Move to IR Week 24 and still on the roster Week 27 = refund

4.3.2 Signing Players Directly to IR

Rule added April 2018

Beginning roughly around Week 11 in 2018 (to allow time for implementation), free agents can be signed directly to IR.  The signing team must pay the prorated salary for the player plus the 250 transaction charge.

4.4 Prospects

Rule added April 2018 - modified in 2023


This roster designation allows for teams to keep a few more players each season from their deep minor league roster.  Only players who have never played in the Major Leagues may given this designation. There are 5 prospect slots available.  These 5 do not count against the 45-man maximum roster size.  In addition, these players may be carried over into the next season without counting against the maximum number of players that can be carried over.  In December of each year, each team picks up to 28 players on their roster to retain for the following season and the rest are cut loose - these 5 players do not count against that 28-player total.



  • Players may be added to the prospect list either from the current 40-man roster or may be signed from the free agent list directly to the prospect designation.
  • In seasons where there is a minor league competition, Prospects will be included in those minor league stats.
  • Prospects will not be eligible to be used as "September call ups"
  • Only players with the minimum salary of 100 are eligible for this.
  • Only players who have never played in a regular season MLB game may be put on this list (if a player's name on the player list or roster pages links to an information/stats page, that player has been in the majors.  Player names that don't appear as links have not been in the majors.
  • For purposes of the "never played in the majors" status, the player's status when a previous week's transaction results are posted sets his status for the current week.  Example: At the time that Week 14 transaction results are posted, John Doe is eligible to be put on the Prospects roster for the Week 15 transactions.  John Doe makes his major league debut a day before the Week 15 deadline - but because his status is fixed for the entire week, he's still eligible.  But once we get to Week 16 transactions, you can no longer make that move.
  • This move is permanent for the season.  Once you put a player on the Prospects roster, he cannot be moved back onto the 45-man roster, whether majors or minors, and cannot be moved to IR.  The only other option for you at this time is to cut him or trade him.
  • There is a non-refundable transaction charge of 500,000 Benchwarmer Bucks (500) per player per season to move a player to the Prospects roster.  This is to cover "development" charges.  This charge is in addition to his salary.
  • The final week to place or sign a player to the Prospects roster is the week after the trade deadline (Week 21)
  • During the selection period for player to carry over on the roster for the next season, a team can choose to keep or cut player on the Prospects roster.  However, any Prospects kept will not count against the maximum 28-player carryover limit.
  • When the carryover choices are processed and BWB moves to the Redistribution Draft, the Prospects will be restored to the 45-man roster.  During the Redistribution Draft, there is a hard 45-man roster limit, including anyone who had been listed previously as Prospects.
  • After the Redistribution Draft, the Prospects roster opens again for players to be added.

4.4.1 Salary cap and team cash considerations for Prospects

With 5 extra roster slots and cash required for moving players to prospect status, teams will have more expenses.

  • The minimum salary of 100 for 5 additional players will be factored into the annual salary cap calculation that is done each November and distributed in December.
  • To help cover the transaction charge of 250, teams will receive an extra 1 million in Benchwarmer Bucks (1000) per season.  This cash will be distributed AFTER the Redistribution Draft, so it will not come into play for paying salaries of players retained in December or for signing players in the Redistribution Draft.
  • The use of Prospects is optional - all teams receive the extra 1000 in cash to cover those costs, but they can spend it on anything.




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Next: 5.0 Lineups >

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