What Does It Mean to Option a Player in Baseball

Learn about the concept of optioning a player in baseball, its impact on players and teams, and real-life examples of optioning players. Discover how optioning can shape a player’s career.


Optioning a player in baseball is a fundamental concept in player development and roster management. In this article, we will explore what it means to option a player, how it impacts the player and the team, and some real-life examples of optioning players.

What is Optioning a Player?

When a player is optioned, it means that the team is sending the player to their minor league affiliates. This allows the team to remove the player from the major league roster without subjecting them to waivers. Each player has a limited number of options, typically three, before they must be exposed to waivers.

Impact on Players

Optioning a player can have both positive and negative impacts on their career. On one hand, it allows the player to continue to develop their skills in the minor leagues and potentially earn a spot back on the major league roster. On the other hand, it can be a blow to their confidence and morale to be demoted from the major leagues.

Impact on Teams

Optioning a player gives teams flexibility with their roster. It allows them to shuffle players between the majors and minors to manage injuries, performance issues, and roster depth. It also helps teams control their player development and prevent losing young talent to waivers.

Real-Life Examples

One notable example of optioning players is the New York Yankees’ decision to option outfielder Clint Frazier to their minor league affiliate in 2021. Frazier struggled at the plate and defensively, leading the Yankees to send him to the minors to work on his game.


Optioning a player in baseball is a strategic decision that can have long-term implications for both the player and the team. It is a tool that teams use to manage their roster effectively and develop players for future success.

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