Fuzzy Memorial League Rules
July 23, 2022
This document supersedes the published rules of the game in the book, Rotisserie League Baseball, as well as all previously-issued rules within the Fuzzy Memorial League (FML).
The object of the game is to assemble a lineup of 23 American League baseball players whose cumulative statistics, compiled and measured by the methods described in these rules, exceed those of all other teams in the Fuzzy Memorial League.
The number of teams in the FML shall be set by a majority vote of all owners residing in the continental United States. Proxy votes on this matter and all matters involving league questions are permitted if approved by a majority of all other FML teams.
A team's full active roster shall consist of nine or 10 pitchers, two catchers, one first baseman, a second baseman, one shortstop, one third baseman, one first baseman/third baseman, one second baseman/shortstop, five outfielders, and one utility player or designated hitter (any non-pitcher). If a team chooses the 10th pitcher option, one of the following positions shall remain vacant: designated hitter, first base/third base, second base/shortstop or an outfielder. A 10th pitcher may not replace a catcher or a primary infielder. A team shall be allowed to switch between nine and 10 pitchers at any point during the season or off-season. Beginning with the first transaction period after September 1, teams may expand their rosters to 24 or 25 players. The extra players may come from the list of unsigned free agents, the reserve list, a farm system or via trade.
IV. AUCTION DAY
A major league draft in the form of an open auction shall be conducted prior to Opening Day. The date and time of that auction shall be set by the Commissioner, in consultation with all FML teams and interested parties. The spending cap for the auction shall be set by a majority vote of all FML teams. That cap is set at $260, effective in 2012, until changed by the FML.
Teams may select all 23 of their players at the auction, but are not limited to that number as long as they do not exceed the salary cap. A team may also draft fewer than 23 players. No team may draft in excess of 23 players until all teams have either filled their roster or declared themselves out of the auction. After a name has been placed in consideration, bidding opens with a minimum bid of $1. Open bidding shall take place in increments of $1 until only one bidder remains. That team shall acquire the player for that amount and announce which roster spot the player shall fill. This process continues until all teams have exhausted their salary cap, exhausted themselves, or until all teams declare themselves out of the auction.
Other rules regarding the auction:
1. Players eligible at more than one position may be shifted during the course of the auction.
2. Suspended players or players who have been placed on a major league injured list or prior to the auction are eligible to be drafted. If selected, they may be placed on the reserve list at the conclusion of the auction and then replaced by another draft pick, or another player from any source.
3. Prior to the start of the auction, the Commissioner shall supply all teams with a list of unsigned free agents. The auction, however, shall not be limited to this list.
4. Prior to the start of the auction, a team may release any frozen players who have suffered a significant injury after the roster-freeze deadline. Such a release is subject to league approval at the auction, either by unanimous consent or, if necessary, by a roll call vote. This shall be known as the Garrett Crochet rule.
4. National League players on either the major or minor league level may not be drafted.
V. POSITION ELIGIBILITY
Every player selected in the auction must be assigned to a position where he appeared in 20 or more games the previous season. If a player did not appear in at least 20 games at a single position, he may be assigned only at the position at which he appeared most frequently. Players who spent part of the previous season in the minor leagues shall be subject to the same 20-game standard using a combined total of major league and minor league games played. For players who were injured for most or all of the previous season and appeared in less than 40 games at any level, the league shall refer to the last previous season in which the player appeared in at least 40 games.
The 20-games/most-games measure is used only to determine the position(s) at which a player may be drafted. Following the completion of the auction, a player becomes eligible for assignment to any position at which he appeared in five percent or more of his total games played (all fractions to be rounded up). If a player has less than 20 games played, he is eligible to appear only at the position at which he appeared the most. Position eligibility for players with service time in both the major and minor leagues shall be determined by adding the total number of games played at each level, but that standard can only be used for the previous season. The current season may be used to determine position eligibility once a player has accumulated 20 or more games at a new position at either the major league or minor league level (minor league games added for the 2017 season).
The Baseball America Almanac shall be considered the primary reference source for position information. The Commissioner shall not, however, be limited to the Baseball America Almanac as his only source of information. Other sources, such as USA Today or the Baseball Guide, shall also be accepted as reliable.
Addendum adopted in 2020 for all pitchers/designated hitters (e.g., Shohei Ohtani or Brendan McKay: FML teams that own pitchers/designated hitters (e.g., Shohei Ohtani or Brendan McKay) must place them at either pitcher or of/dh on Opening Day and will be permitted to switch him only three times over the course of the 2018 season with a $5 transaction fee for each switch.
The FML has a schedule of fees covering all player personnel moves. Money does not normally pass from team to team. All fees are payable into the prize pool, and are subsequently distributed to the top four teams in the final standings.
The Commissioner, or his designated officers, shall be responsible for the collection and maintenance of all league funds. The Commissioner shall have considerable discretion in all matters pertaining to collection of these funds. Non-payment is a serious matter. No team whose unpaid balance exceeds $50 shall be permitted to make any type of player personnel transaction. The Commissioner is also empowered to demand cash payment for any unpaid balance when he deems it in the best interests of baseball.
The schedule of fees for the FML shall as follows:
1. The Auction Day salary cap shall be set each year prior to the auction. Effective with the 2012 season, the salary cap shall be set at $260.
2. The fee for trading players is $6, unless the trade is for cash considerations only, in which case the amount of the fee is negotiable between the two teams. Which team pays the fee is open to negotiation. No fee is charged for trades between the conclusion of the regular season and Opening Day.
3. The fee for placing a player on the reserve list is $2.
4. The fee for placing a player in a farm system is $1 per player, unless the player was acquired via the free agent process. In that case, the player's salary at the time of acquisition shall constitute their minor league salary as well. All minor league salaries, including those from the free agent process, are charged on an annual basis beginning on the initial roster freeze date. There is no charge for releasing minor league players.
5. The fee for activating a player from the reserve list is $3.
6. The initial fee for activating a player from the farm system is $3. In addition, the FML team must pay that player a $1 league salary upon activation. There is no charge if a player is returned to the farm system and subsequently recalled.
7. The fee for release is $2. There is no charge to release a player traded out of the American League, and there is no charge for revocable waivers if a player is assigned to another league team via that process. The fee for withdrawing a player from revocable waivers is $2.
8. The fee for September roster expansion is $15 for the 24th player and $10 for the 25th player. These fees are in addition to the player's regular salaries.
VII. PLAYER SALARIES
The salary of a player is determined by the time and means of his acquisition, and does not change unless that player becomes a free agent or is signed to a long-term contract. League salaries are as follows:
1. The salary of a player acquired in the auction shall be his auction price.
2. The salary of a player signed off the free agent list shall be $7 at all times.
3. The salary of a free agent not in the American League at the time of the auction may be set by a special bidding process. If there are multiple claims on a new free agent, the Commissioner shall conduct either a conference-call or a sealed-bid auction for that player. The minimum bid for either auction shall be $15 until after the first transaction period, the first $8 of which shall be a transaction fee. Following the first transaction period, the minimum bid shall be $7, all of which shall be salary.
4. The salary of a player called-up from the farm system shall be $1.
5. The salary of a player claimed on waivers shall be $1 for the remainder of that season. The balance of the player's salary shall be paid by the player's original team. A player under long-term contract who is claimed on waivers shall be paid in full by the claiming team commencing with the following season.
VIII. PRIZE MONEY
The formula for distributing prize money shall be as follows:
First place, 50%
Second place, 25%
Third place, 15%
Fourth place, 10%
Before distributing prize money by the above formula, the Commissioner may deduct from the prize pool a reasonable figure for the costs of operating the league. This figure shall be limited to actual, out-of-pocket expense such as photocopying, printing, league-related computer expenses, and the cost of league meetings. The Commissioner may also deduct funds for any other project or expense deemed worth by a majority of the ownership.
During the course of the season, the Commissioner or his designated officers shall be responsible for the proper maintenance of league funds. The primary considerations in connection with this responsibility shall be security of league funds and maximum interest potential.
The following eight categories shall be used to determine the order of standing:
1. Composite batting average.
2. Total home runs.
3. Total runs batted in.
4. Total stolen bases
5. Runs scored
6. Composite earned run average.
7. Total wins.
8. Total saves.
9. Composite ratio of walks/hits to innings pitched.
All teams shall be ranked from first to last in each of the eight categories, and given points for each place. For example, first place in any category is good for 10 points in a 10-team league. The team with the highest point total at the conclusion of the regular season shall be declared the winner. The regular season shall include any suspended games and any one-game playoffs needed to determine a divisional championship.
In cases of ties within an individual category, the tied teams are assigned points by totaling points for the rankings in question and dividing the total by the number of tied teams. For example, if two teams are tied for second place in one category (again, with as 10-team league), the combined 17 points (9 for second place and 8 for third) are divided by two, and each team is awarded 8.5 points.
In cases of ties in total points, final place in the standings is determined by comparing performances of the tied teams within each category. In other words, a point is assigned to each team for bettering the other in each category. Should one team acquire more points than the other in this tie-breaking comparison, that team is declared the winner of the tie. Should the points be equal, a second tie-breaking system would be used. Under the second tie-breaking tier, a point is assigned to each team for the number of its first-place finishes. The team with the most first-place finished breaks the tie. If that round does not produce a winner, then each team would be assigned a point for the number of its second-place finishes. The process would continue for third-place finishes and beyond, if needed to settle the tie.
The weekly player performance summaries as compiled by CBS Sportsline shall constitute the official data base for computation of the league standings. Since these summaries include all games through Sunday night, the effective date for all FML player personnel transactions shall be on Monday or Tuesday (typically Monday). The deadline, which shall be posted by the Commissioner on the league's web page, shall be approximately one hour prior to the start of the first Major League Baseball game. All transactions reported after that time shall be effective the following Monday.
That deadline is absolute, and all transactions must be time-stamped prior to the deadline and either acknowledged by the Commissioner's Office or listed in either the CBS transactions or the FML transactions. The Commissioner shall have the option of moving that deadline to an earlier time on the same day, should special circumstances make that necessary.
Transactions reported after Opening Day, but before the first transaction period of the season shall be effective on the first transaction date. Performance statistics for a player shall be assigned to a league team only when that player is on an active league roster.
A player who is on a Major League Baseball injury or restricted list may be signed as an FML free agent, but should that player be activated by his MLB time prior to the next transaction date, then he must be immediately activated. If that player is not activated prior to the next transaction date, then his FML team shall have the standard two weeks from the following transaction date to activate or waive that player.
The final transaction period of the season shall be the Monday that begins the last week of the season. The final day to claim players off any waiver list shall be the Sunday prior to the final transaction period. Effective with the 2008 season, there is no additional transaction period for a makeup game from the regular season or a one-game, wild-card play-in game. Even though there is no additional transaction period, either or both a makeup game from the regular season or a one-game, wild-card play-in game will count as the final game(s) of the FML season and shall be considered as an extension of the final week of play.
From the completion of the auction until the Monday following the July 31 major league trading deadline, FML teams are free to make trades of any kind without restrictions. Another unlimited trading period shall take place between the completion of the regular season and a date to be set each year by the Commissioner when the winter roster protection process begins. Trades can be made between the July 31 transaction period and the completion of the regular season only if waivers have been obtained. A complete discussion of waivers follows in Section XIV.
Each trade is subject to the standard transaction fee regardless of the number of players involved. If a trade involves cash, a player to be named later, or a draft pick, the Commissioner shall be so informed.
When a player is traded, his contract goes with him. The team receiving that player assumes all liability for the player's contract unless otherwise specified in the trade agreement. Any such agreement involving split responsibility for a player contract must be reported to the Commissioner at the time of the transaction. Failure to so notify the Commissioner at the time of transaction may render those financial arrangements null and void.
If a traded player is owed bonus money under a long-term contract, the new owner shall assume liability for those payments commencing with the following season.
Effective with the 1998 season, players may not be traded from one FML team to another and subsequently traded directly back to their original teams within a 12-month period. This restriction, known as the "Bill Levy rule," applies to any player on an active Major League Baseball roster at the time of the original FML trade. This restriction shall not apply to FML farm-system players, unless those players are on an active Major League Baseball roster at the time of the original FML trade. This restriction shall also not apply to trading selections in the FML Minor League Draft II. Use of the revocable waiver process is not an acceptable means of sending a player back to his original team, although use of the release waiver process is acceptable. Furthermore, a traded player may not even be claimed off revocable waivers by his original team within that 12-month period.
As of 2003, teams may trade players for auction dollars. Transferring auction dollars from one team to another shall require a debit from one team’s cap—the aggregate total of FML auction dollars will not increase. An auction-dollar trade must be completed by the 15-player freeze date.
Restrictions on player assignments following the FML trade deadline shall include all players not in an FML farm system, as well as farm system players who are currently on a Major League Baseball active roster. Completion of trades involving "major league players to be named" can take place during this restricted period only via the waiver process.
XII. THE RESERVE LIST
An FML team may place a player on the reserve list if that player has been:
A player may not be placed on the reserve list if placed the bereavement list, the family medical-emergency list, the paternity-leave list or suspended/restricted for less than seven days or if not permitted to travel to Canada due to lack of immunization.
To replace a reserved player, a league team must first place that player on irrevocable waivers or place him on the reserve list. A team makes one of the above transactions simply by notifying the Commissioner and being assessed the standard transaction fee. A waived or reserved player is removed from the FML team's roster effective with the following Monday's games. There is no limit to the number of players an FML team may have on its reserve list. Reserving a player protects an FML team's rights to that player. A player under major league suspension may be reserved, waived, or replaced like any other player.
Once a specific action has been taken to remove a player from an active roster, his FML team is free to select a replacement player. The replacement player may come from the list of unsigned free agents, from the farm system (if a player has been called up), from another FML team via trade or purchase, from the waiver list, or from the reserve list.
When a player returns to active major league duty, he must be reinstated to an FML active roster before the Monday deadline two weeks after his reactivation or two weeks after his official acquisition on a transaction date. If that player is not reinstated, traded, or reserved again (the latter can only happen under new circumstances), then he must be placed on irrevocable waivers. Failure to reactivate shall be considered such a waiver. Placing a player on the reserve list and activating a player from the reserve list are both subject to separate transaction fees.
Once a two-week window for activation has commenced, it may not be extended, nor does a new two-week window commence, for a player sent to the minors or placed on a Major League Baseball injured list, restricted list, bereavement list or family medical-emergency list and subsequently returned to active duty in between FML transaction deadlines.
Beginning on September 1, a player may be placed on the reserve list without having been placed on a major league injured list. This action may only be taken with the Commissioner's prior approval based on an announcement from that player's major league team stating conclusively that he will not play anymore that season.
The Commissioner shall approve such a transaction based only on his knowledge of such an announcement and on his certitude that the player is indeed out for the season. In this rule, the Commissioner shall be guided by a very high level of certainty that the player is seriously hurt and not capable of continued action.
XIII. THE FARM SYSTEM
All FML teams are allowed to hold up to 30 players in their farm system. To be eligible, a player must not have achieved major league status. He must still be a rookie as defined by Major League Baseball rules. Those rules are as follows: "A player shall be considered a rookie unless during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days service time on the active roster of a major league team or teams during the time of a 26-player limit (excluding time in the military service)."
A rookie may not be signed to a farm-system contract during the season once he has been added to a major league team's active roster. If a player is returned to the minor leagues and still retains rookie status, he may then be signed to a farm-system contract. Also, a rookie may not be signed to a minor league contract after the season ends if that player finished the season on a major league roster. Players falling into either category shall be considered free agents and subject to Section VII, Part 5 and Section XVII regulations.
Players in the National League are not eligible to be signed to FML farm system contracts. All players entering the American League from the National League, a foreign league or any foreign country shall be subject to FML entry rules. During the off-season, these players shall be considered free agents for disposal at the auction. During the season, these players are subject to standard waiver/conference call entry procedures as outlined in Section XVII.
Selection of farm system players under contract to American League teams shall take place by notifying the Commissioner or his designated officers on a "first-come, first-serve" basis throughout the year. The Commissioner may set other procedures for selection of farm service players if unusual circumstances dictate. If a different procedure is employed, that procedure must outlined clearly to all FML teams and announced well in advance.
Selection of farm system players who have entered the American League from the amateur ranks (college, high school or below), from the National League and not purchased in an FML special auction, or from any foreign league or foreign country shall take place via an FML entry draft. This draft shall take place after the conclusion of Major League Baseball's June draft. The order-of-selection for the FML Minor League Draft shall be based on reverse-order-of-standings from the previous season, with the following draft order: fifth place, sixth, seventh, eighth, nine, 10th, fourth, third, second and first.
An FML International Draft was conducted on Jan. 25, 2022. The next league draft will be held in late-July or early-August 2022 and will be known as the Summer 2022 FML Minor League/International Draft. The summer 2022 draft will include all international players who entered an American League system after the Jan. 25, 2022 draft and all college/high school players selected in the summer July 2022 Major League Baseball Draft. National League minor leaguers who enter the American League are subject to usual free agency procedures. The selection order of the summer 2022 draft will be based on the final 2021 FML standings.
Draft picks in the FML Minor League Draft may be traded, without restrictions, prior to the deadline for draft registration. No major league players shall be included in such a trade, expect as a player to be named, following FML trade deadline.
International minor leaguers who enter the league after the auction and become MLB player are subject to FML auctions, but international players who become part of an American League minor league system following the auction are subject to the next season’s FML auction.
As long as minor league players have not achieved major league status, they may be carried on the farm system roster indefinitely and are not subject to roster freezes. American League farm system players who have achieved major-league status must either be released or added to the active roster. At the conclusion of the regular season, minor league players who were on active FML rosters at the end of the season may be returned to the farm system. These players may also be retained on the active roster, but would be subject to all winter roster protection procedures. Farm system player may also be traded anytime without waiver restrictions.
Farm system players who make a major league team's Opening Day roster must be activated, traded or waived by the third transaction date, with Opening Day constituting the first transaction period . If a farm system player is promoted to a major league team's active roster any time prior to the September 1 roster expansion (when major league teams may expand to 40 players), his major league team has until the Monday deadline two weeks after his promotion to activate, trade, or waive that player. This deadline shall not apply to players promoted on or after September 1.
Rookie-eligible players selected in the auction who are not activated by their major league teams prior to the first FML transaction date must be placed in an FML farm system by the first transaction date. Once placed in an FML farm system, drafted players who retain rookie eligibility shall be treated the same as other FML farm system players. All rookie-eligible players recalled to a major league roster prior to September 1 are subject to Section XII transaction deadlines. Rookie-eligible players called up on or after September 1 may be activated at the discretion of their FML owners and may be optioned back to that team’s FML farm system at the discretion of their FML owner. Rookie-eligible players may also be optioned to the farm system anytime between the conclusion of the season and the date of the 15-player freeze for the following season.
An FML team may place any active player on irrevocable waivers anytime for any reason. This has been, and shall continue to be known as repeal of the "Don Baylor rule." New league members might wish to examine the appropriate historical archives for background on this legal quagmire.
There are two types of waivers: irrevocable/release waivers and revocable waivers. Revocable waivers take place only in the period between the major league trading deadline and the conclusion of the regular season and exist for purposes of gauging other team's trading interests. A detailed discussion of each waiver category follows:
Irrevocable or Release Waivers
Purpose: To permanently rid a bum from your roster.
Procedure: Notify the Commissioner that you are placing a player "on waivers for purposes of giving him his unconditional release. That player is removed from the active roster effective the following transaction date and goes on the waiver list for five days beginning on that transaction date.
Revocable or Withdrawable Waivers
Purpose: To either to gauge interest in a player for trade purposes, or to clear the way for a trade following the trade deadline.
Procedure: Notify the Commissioner that your are placing a player on revocable waivers. That player's name goes on the waiver list for the standard five days. If the player goes unclaimed, then he has "cleared waivers" and can be traded without restrictions at anytime. Following the five-day waiver period, there is an additional 48-hour withdrawal period. During that time, a team may withdraw the name of any claimed player. That player has not, therefore, cleared waivers. He remains on that team's roster the entire time this process takes place. Once withdrawn, a player's name may not be placed on the revocable waiver list for another 30 days. If such a player is placed on waivers again after 30 days, that second round of waivers shall be irrevocable waivers, meaning that the team placing him on waivers may not withdraw the name following the claiming period. There is no fee for revocable waivers until a player’s contract is actually assigned to a claiming team. A team may not seek revocable waivers on more than seven players at one time.
Other Notes on Waivers
New language effective Aug. 20, 2007
Any FML player, not including farm-system players, who has been under contract, at the same salary, for two consecutive seasons must, prior to the auction in his third season, be either released or signed to a long-term contract. In determining a player's status, a "season" is defined as service time on an active major league roster over a full season or any fraction in the same season that a player is under FML contract. Sending a player through any facet of the waiver process shall not negate the long-term contract requirement. The period in September from the day that FML rosters expand until the end of the season shall also be considered a "season" for purposes of this rule. This "season" shall apply to both free agent signings and to players claimed on waivers, but not to FML farm-system players.
FML farm system players remain exempt from this procedure as long as they retain rookie status as defined in Section XIII of these rules. Once a player loses rookie status, he becomes a first-year player for purposes of this rule.
How to Calculate Long-Term Contracts:
Add $5 to a player's present salary. That becomes his salary for the following season. Add another $5 for the second year. There is a two-year minimum for long-term contracts. As an incentive to keep players for longer period of time, a league team may add a third year for $3 and fourth year for $2. For example, a player with an original contract of $5 would become a $10 player in the first year of a long-term contract, a $15 player in the second year, $18 in the third year, and $20 in the fourth and final year.
Think you're home free. Get over it. A signing bonus consisting of 50% of the total value of the contract must also be paid prior to the final year of the contract. Using the same $5 and a four-year contract as an example, the total value of that contract is $63. Fifty percent of $63 is $31.50. Call it $32. That bonus may be paid at any time. As a convenience, the Commissioner will normally pro-rate the total bonus payment over the life of the contract. For auction purposes, only a player's actual salary is deducted from the cap. The bonus money does not figure in.
If a player's contract is assigned to another league team via trade or purchase, the new team shall immediately assume all remaining contract liability. Such an assignment would also include a waiver deal where the player did not miss accumulating statistics due to time spent on a waiver list.
If a player under long-term contract is traded out of the American League, if he retires, if he leaves the American League via free agency, or if he has his contract sold to another league in or out of the United States, that player may be released by his FML team and his long-term FML contract rendered null and void.
Players under long-term contracts who have not left the American League via trade or free agency or players who have filed for American League free agency but remain unsigned may be released only if their league contracts are "bought-out.” Such a "buy-out" shall be equal to the remaining value of the contract, including bonus money.
A player with a long-term contract may be claimed off waivers for the standard $3 transaction fee. Such a claim shall reduce the original owner's contract liability to the remainder of the present season. The claiming team shall assume contract liability for the balance beginning with the following season. If a player clears waivers, the original owner must then immediately pay the entire "buy-out" figure into the pot. Once the player's contract has been "bought-out," he becomes a free agent and subject to disposal by one of the following methods:
When a player's long-term contract expires, he returns to the list of unsigned free agents for disposal at the next auction. At that auction, the player's last previous owner shall retain "Topper's Rights" to that player. Following the final bid for that player, the last previous owner has a one-time option to reclaim the player at a salary of $1 over the final bid. The league team exercising Topper's Rights must, of course, have both the money available within the auction-spending cap and have a natural spot open on the team's roster. The Topper's Rights salary is then in effect for the next two seasons, and all future long-term contracts for that player are based upon his new Topper's Rights salary.
XVI. ROSTERS AND REALITY
In order to maintain a sense of realism, the Fuzzy Memorial League encourages teams to maintain a pitching staff balanced between starters and relievers. While the league's previous rule requiring a team to accumulate 1,200 innings pitched in order to avoid penalties was eliminated at the 1998 rules session, effective with the 2005 season, Section XVI (Rosters and Reality) of the FML Rules shall read, in its entirety:
No team's active roster shall fall below 21 players, and the Commissioner shall have the power to order a team to add a player or players to its roster if it becomes necessary to achieve that level. If a team chooses to play with the minimum 21 players, only one of the two open spots shall be a pitcher. In other words, no team shall carry fewer than eight active pitchers at any given time. The league's previous September exemption to the 21-player minimum was also eliminated at the 1998 rules session.
As of June 2021, an active FML roster must include, at all times, at least one active catcher and four active primary infielders. This catcher/primary infielder requirement includes teams playing with the 21-player minimum.
At no time during the FML season shall a team play with fewer than five starting pitchers. A starting pitcher shall be defined as a pitcher who started games in at least 20 percent of his total pitching appearances the previous season. The 20 percent threshold may include major league appearances, minor league appearances and injury rehabilitation appearances in the minor leagues. The 20 percent threshold shall apply on the day of the auction and is enforceable by the FML Commissioner on each and every transaction period. The Commissioner shall require an FML team to acquire a starting pitcher in order to stay at the level of five starting pitchers. Effective with the 2014 season, the Commissioner may approve a relief pitcher as a starter once that pitcher makes his eighth start of the season.
XVII. FREE AGENTS
Following the completion of the auction, any player on an active American League roster who is not on an FML roster is considered a free agent. Players who enter the American League after the completion of the auction via trade, recall, purchase, or any form of reactivation are also considered free agents immediately upon American League acquisition.
After the first transaction period, free agent acquisition of existing American League players shall be on a "first-come, first-serve" basis by notifying the Commissioner. This procedure shall not apply to players entering the American League from the National League or any foreign country after the completion of the auction. Such players shall be dealt with either by a special auction, or by a sealed-bid sale as set forth in Section VII of this document.
FML farm-system players who have been released by their FML teams are normally available to be signed by another FML team on a “first-come, first-serve” basis. However, the commissioner, under his “best interests of the game” powers, shall also have the discretion to use reverse-order-of-standings to award that player to another league team.
Any released player, either major league or farm system, with a salary of $8 or more shall automatically be subject to a reverse-order-of-standings claiming procedure."
When a player enters the league, FML teams shall have a maximum of five calendar days, beginning with the day after the player enters the league, to register their intent to participate in a special auction or a sealed bid.
These special auctions shall be governed by both a free agent acquisition budget (FAAB). Each team will enter the season with a FAAB budget of $200 for the year. A team may not exceed that budget, and free agent acquisition budgets may not be traded among teams. If the final bidding teams have an equal FAAB, the player in question shall be awarded to the bidding team lowest in the standings on the day the auction begins. Players acquired via a FAAB-process may not be traded for the balance of the season, although they may be released and subject to standard waiver procedures.
If only one team registers such intent, the incoming player shall be awarded to the claiming team at the standard free agent price ($7 for major league players and $1 for minor leaguers) and that amount is not subject to a FAAB budget. If no teams register intent by the initial deadline, the incoming player shall be made available on a "first-come, first-serve" basis.
The final transaction period of the season shall be the last opportunity to sign free agents before the following season's auction. Existing American League free agents, as well as all players at all levels (major league, foreign leagues or minor league) entering the American League after the final transaction period, shall remain unsigned free agents designated for disposal at the next auction. Players released on the next-to-last transaction period with salaries greater than seven dollars who go unclaimed in the final waiver period shall also be considered unsigned free agents designated for disposal at the next auction."
Farm system signings from American League teams are still permitted in the off-season only if those players qualify under Section XIII requirements and if those players did not finish the previous season on a major league or foreign league roster.
Effective with the 2000 season, all players entering the American League from the amateur level, the high school level, the college level and all foreign countries (including but not limited to players from Cuba, Latin America, Korea and Japan, on both a major league and a minor league level) shall be subject to an FML minor league entry draft. This reverse-order-of-standings draft shall be conducted by the Commissioner’s Office soon after the completion of Major League Baseball’s June draft and repeated, as needed, throughout both the regular season and the off-season.
Effective with the 2011 season, all forms of compensation for the loss of either major league or minor league players to the National League, were eliminated.
XIX. WINTER ROSTER PROTECTION
Prior to the annual auction, each league team may protect up to 15 players from their active roster. This total shall not include minor league players on their 30-man farm system roster, although a player with minor league status who finished the previous season on a major league roster may be included on a team's active winter roster. Following that deadline for freezing players, trading is allowed until the start of the auction, but only from a team's 15-man roster.
Following completion of the 15-man freeze, an FML team may activate players from their farm system in anticipation of those players making a major league's Opening Day roster. These players will not count against a team's 15-player limit.
After the 15-man freeze and prior to the start of the auction, FML teams may only release frozen players whose American League status changed following the freeze deadline. That status change would include being released, suspended, traded out of the league, assigned to the minors, placed on the voluntary-retired list, placed on the injured list or suffering a post-freeze injury that places his Opening Day status in doubt. The Commissioner may issue a ruling, subject to review by the league, on the legality of the final category. A player under long-term contract may be released, but he remains subject to terms of a Section XV buyout. A post-freeze released player is automatically added to the list of unsigned free agents for disposal at the auction.
In addition to the 15 frozen players, a team may freeze one additional player who would not count against their 15-player limit, although his salary would count against the $260 auction cap. Only injured players who are expected to be out of action until after the All-Star Break qualify for this waiver, and such a player may not be activated until the first transaction period following the All-Star Break. This action may only be taken with the Commissioner's prior approval based on an his judgment that the player involved will be on the injured list until the period surrounding the All-Star Break. Should such a player return prior to the All-Star Break, he may not be activated until the first transaction period following the All-Star Break.
Concurrent with the deadline for the 15-player freeze shall be a deadline to sign players to long-term contracts. Any player on the 15-player freeze list who is eligible for a long-term contract (see Section XV) must be signed by that date. The dates and procedures for the winter roster protection shall be announced by the Commissioner, in consultation with the ownership. The official league calendar, which includes the dates for all roster freezes, drafts, and the annual auction, shall be released to the ownership at least 30 days prior to the first deadline.
XX. APPEAL PROCESS
All questions involving league rules or procedures shall be referred initially to the Commissioner. The Commissioner's judgment shall not be limited to this document. He may exercise his power at any time on any issue that pertains to or may affect "the best interests of baseball."
Any team dissatisfied with a ruling of the Commissioner may appeal that ruling to the FML Executive Committee. This committee shall consist of three owners selected by the membership prior to the start of the season. Any team dissatisfied with a ruling by the Executive Committee may appeal that ruling to the full membership of the FML. Overturning an Executive Committee's decision shall require an absolute majority of all league teams. In case of a tie vote, the Executive Committee's ruling shall stand. If deemed necessary by a majority of the executive committee, a standing member of that committee may be asked to abstain from voting on certain issues due to bias on conflict of interest. In such a case, the remaining members of the committee may appoint an acting member. The membership of the Executive Committee is Bill Levy (chair), Paul Larson and Wayne Deering, with Melissa Marovich as an alternate member.