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What Does “DFA” Mean in Baseball?

What Does “DFA” Mean in Baseball?
Date: February 16, 2023 / Author: Maria Abelardo
What Does "DFA" Mean in Baseball?

Decoding the Meaning of “DFA” in Baseball

Like all professional sports, baseball has some fantastic highs and some not-so-amazing lows for many players. There are a lot of very talented players, but there are only so many spots on a team’s roster, so someone who could be doing better will be around for a while.

When a player is DFA’d, short for “designated for assignment,” they are taken off the team’s 40-man roster. The team has seven days to change the player to another team or put him on irrevocable outright waivers. It’s not a place any player wants to be, but as the baseball season goes on and teams get ready for the playoffs, underperforming players often get DFA’d to make room for new ones.

  • When a player is sent to another team, he is taken off the 40-man roster.
  • The team has seven days to trade the player or put him on the outright waiver.

Irreversible Outright Waivers

If such a player has been “designated for assignment,” he must be traded to another team or put on “irrevocable outright waivers” within seven days.

With an outright waiver, a team can get rid of a player from their roster and end their relationship with them. They can also send him to the minors if he has no other options. The process lets the other 29 MLB teams claim the player as their own if they want to add him to their roster.

If another team wants to take the player off waivers, they must pay the player the rest of the money he is still owed, instantly adding him to their 40-man roster. The team can send the player to the minor leagues if he still has options, or they can add him to their roster of 26 players.

After 47 hours, if no other team has claimed a player, he is considered to have cleared waivers. Once this happens, the team that chose the player can send him directly to the minor leagues or let him out of his contract. If a player has been in the major leagues for over three years or has been outrighted before, he can turn down the offer and go into free agency instead.

Players Who Have Been Designated for Assignment

What Does "DFA" Mean in Baseball?

Even though being “designated for assignment” is not good, it doesn’t mean a player’s career is over. Many DFA’d players have returned stronger and better than ever, while others have struggled to find their place in the game.

David Ortiz

Big Papi hit rock bottom with the Minnesota Twins long before being inducted into the Hall of Fame as a ten-time All-Star and World Series MVP.

On December 17, 2002, the Twins told Ortiz he was no longer part of the team. Part of their letting go of the then-future Hall of Famer was to make room for shortstop José Morban. The star-designated hitter had already been hurt, so it was hard to predict what would happen next.

A month later, on January 22, 2003, Ortiz signed a non-guaranteed free-agent contract with the Boston Red Sox. He was offered $1.25 million if he made the team; the rest is history.

Liam Hendriks

In the early years of his career, Hendriks, a closer for the Chicago White Sox, was DFA’d a few times.

The Minnesota Twins released Hendriks on December 5, 2013. The Chicago Cubs picked him up after he was put on waivers.

The Baltimore Orioles then picked him up off of waivers. The Orioles then DFA’d him on February 19, 2014, before he had even played a game, to make room on the active roster for Ubaldo Jiménez.

Hendriks was dealt to the Kansas City Royals on July 28, 2014, from the Toronto Blue Jays. The pitcher was put on waivers again on October 24, but the Blue Jays picked him up before sending him to the Oakland Athletics on November 20, 2015.

Hendriks is now a three-time All-Star and the Reliever of the Year for the American League in 2020 and 2021. It’s hard to believe that he wasn’t always the White Sox’s most important closer.

It can take a little while to find the right team.

Aside from the most recent DFA player, here are some names that have made headlines after DFAs were announced:

  • Hanley Ramirez
  • Hunter Renfroe
  • Hunter Pence
  • Tim Collins
  • Preston Guilmet
  • Dixon Machado


So, there you go! You have read this article that answers “What does DFA mean in baseball?”. Now that you know more, you can watch baseball games on TV and read the news in a new way. It would help if you learned a lot about your niche, which is good. OKBet is always available for betting on MLB games. With the best MLB bets today, like run lines, parlays, player props, and MLB futures. There’s never a break in the MLB betting action at the best online sportsbook.

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