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Tampa Bay Rays, Alex Torres, and the 4th Option Year

It was thought that Alex Torres was out of options but there is a rule that affords a team a 4th option year and Torres qualifies.


On December 14th I posed the question as to What Should The Rays Do With Alex Torres? The article questioned what his role in 2013 would be and was based on the premise that he was out of options as he was added on to the Rays 40 man roster on November 14, 2009 and the Rays had used all 3 option years in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

When John Sickels of Minor League Ball published his list of Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 Prospects For 2013 DRB contributor Toby David commented that spring training will be interesting for Alexander Torres since he is out of options. A poster named homein22 responded that he was not out of options and was eligible for a 4th option year. He referenced Cot's Transaction Glossary and the rule reads:

A player may be eligible for a fourth option year if he has been optioned in three seasons but does not yet have five full seasons of professional experience. A full season is defined as being on an active pro roster for at least 90 days in a season. (If a player is put on the disabled list after earning 60 or more days of service in a single season, his time on the DL is counted.) The 90-day requirement means short-season leagues (New-York Penn, Northwest, Pioneer, Appalachian, Gulf Coast, Arizona Rookie, Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues) do not count as full seasons for the purposes of determining eligibility for a fourth option.

A quick look at Alex Torres minor league career shows that his 2006, 2007, and parts of 2008 seasons were spent with the Arizona Angels in the Arizona Rookie League and according to his 2008 Minor League Game Logs on Fangraphs he spent less than 90 days with the Ranch Cucamonga Quakes of the California League; therfeore, Torres has only 4 full seasons (2009 - 2012) of professional baseball and the Rays hold a fourth option on him.

Thanks to homein22 for bringing this to my attention and clearing up the issue as to whether Torres was or wasn't out of options. It certainly changes the dynamic of Torres future with the Rays and also increase his trade value should his name come up in trade discussions this winter.