Designated for assignment (or DFA) is a contractual term used in Major League Baseball. A player who is selected to the job is quickly removed from the team’s 40-man roster, after which the team must choose either of the following options:
Return the player to the 40-man roster within 7 days from the date of appointment
Make one of the following four contractual moves within 7 days from the date of designation:
- Place the player on waivers
- Trade the player
- Release the player
Completely the player from the 40-man roster into Minor League Baseball
Place the player on waivers
Typically, a player is placed on waivers after being charged for delivery to outright him to one of the club’s secondary league teams. A player who is out righted to the children is removed from the 40-man roster but is still paid according to the terms of his guaranteed contract. A player can only be out righted once in his career without his support. However, a player must clear waivers (that is, no other team placed a reservation claim on the player) to be sent to a minor league team. Also, if the member has five or more full years of major league service, he must give consent to be consigned to the minors. If the player denies consent, the team must either release him or keep him on the major league roster. In either case, the player must proceed to be given under the terms of his contract.
Designated for assignment – Trade the player
Once a player is selected for a job, he may be traded. Some teams have been known to select players for assignment to increase interest in the player, especially among teams that are not at the top of the waiver list (the order of which is determined by record). For example, in May 2006, Texas Rangers reliever Brian House was designated for assignment and then traded to the Milwaukee Brewers four days later. The Brewers could have waited until Souse was placed on waivers so they would not have had to give up a player in a trade, but according to the waiver rules, they would have risked losing the claim if a team ahead of them in line
also put a claim in on him.
Also, under the “ten-and-five rule,” if a player has ten years of Major League service, the last five with his current team, he cannot be traded without his consent.
Release the player
If a player is not traded, but has cleared waivers, he may be delivered
from the team. The member is then a free agent and may sign with any team, including the team that just delivered him. The team that delivers him is responsible for the salary the player is owed, less what he is paid by the team that signs him (in practice, the value paid by the signing team is usually a pro-rated piece of the Major League least wage).