Opening Day is coming fast, and teams around the Major Leagues are beginning to feel the roster crunch. Crucial decisions on who gets the final roster spots will be made soon, and players’ Minor League options could play a factor in who’s in and who’s out.
Players with fewer than five years of MLB service time and at least one option year remaining can be optioned to the Minors without their approval. But if such a player is out of option years, they are subject to waivers before they can be sent down (you can find a full explanation of MLB’s option rules here).
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Out of options: OF Anthony Alford, RHP Rafael Dolis, OF Derek Fisher, RHP Wilmer Font
Notable players with options remaining: SS Bo Bichette (3), 2B Cavan Biggio (3), INF/OF Brandon Drury (1), RHP Sam Gaviglio (1), 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (3), OF Teoscar Hernández (1), C Danny Jansen (2), RHP Sean Reid-Foley (2), RHP Trent Thornton (3), RHP Shun Yamaguchi (3)
The Blue Jays' big three of Vlad Jr., Bichette and Biggio should be franchise cornerstones for years to come, but they're so young that, who knows, they might need some development time. Youth is the defining trait for Toronto's up-and-coming roster, so there are lots of options to go around. The 26-year-old Fisher, acquired from the Astros at last year's Trade Deadline, and the 32-year-old Dolis, signed out of Japan in February, are two notable exceptions.
Out of options: 2B Hanser Alberto, RHP Shawn Armstrong, RHP Miguel Castro, 3B/DH Renato Núñez, C Pedro Severino, RHP Asher Wojciechowski
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Hunter Harvey (1), OF Austin Hays (1), OF Anthony Santander (1), LHP Tanner Scott (1), C Chance Sisco (1), RHP Kohl Stewart (2), INF Ramón Urías (2)
As the Orioles continue their rebuild, their roster could be in flux again this year. They'd like to see what some of these players can do -- like the flamethrowing Harvey, who has closer upside, and Sisco, who should get the chance to prove he can be a solid offensive catcher while No. 4 overall prospect Adley Rutchsman works his way up through the Minors. But there could be a lot of moving parts in the pitching staff for a team that lost Dylan Bundy from the rotation and used 31 different relievers last year.
Out of options: 1B/DH Ji-Man Choi, RHP Chaz Roe, RHP Oliver Drake
Notable players with options remaining: LHP Anthony Banda (1), 1B Nate Lowe (2), LHP/DH Brendan McKay (2), LHP Colin Poche (3), RHP Trevor Richards (1), DH Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (3), INF/OF Joey Wendle (1)
The Rays' plethora of corner infield/DH-type bats means Lowe, who played 50 games as a rookie last year, could start in the Minors and contribute as needed. And remember how some thought Shohei Ohtani should start in the Minors when he struggled his first spring? Well, if Tsutsugo struggles to adjust to the big leagues, he's got options. Blake Snell's balky left elbow makes pitchers like Richards and Banda, plus the two-way McKay, valuable depth options.
Out of options: RHP Austin Brice, RHP Heath Hembree, INF/OF Tzu-Wei Lin, C Kevin Plawecki
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Colten Brewer (1), 1B/2B Michael Chavis (2), LHP Darwinzon Hernandez, INF/OF José Peraza (1), LHP Josh Taylor (2), RHP Ryan Weber (1)
Chavis and Peraza should get a lot of playing time on the right side of the infield, and they give the Red Sox nice roster flexibility for both their multipositional versatility and available options. Weber could win a starting job with Chris Sale on the shelf, and with openers and a nine-man bullpen on the table for Boston, relievers like the underrated Taylor could play key roles.
Out of options: C Kyle Higashioka, RHP Tommy Kahnle, RHP Luis Cessa, C Gary Sánchez, OF Mike Tauchman, 3B Gio Urshela
Notable players with options remaining: 3B/DH Miguel Andújar (2), 1B/DH Mike Ford (2), OF Clint Frazier (1), RHP Chad Green (1), RHP Jonathan Holder (1), RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (1), LHP Jordan Montgomery (2), 1B Luke Voit (2), INF/OF Tyler Wade (1)
The Yankees' rash of injuries -- to stars like Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino and James Paxton -- means it's all hands on deck in the Bronx again. Frazier, despite his ups and downs in pinstripes, might be thrust into a big role early in the season, while Montgomery and Loaisiga are the proven Major League options who could stabilize the pitching staff, rather than top prospects like Clarke Schmidt and Deivi Garcia.
Out of options: INF Christian Arroyo, RHP Adam Plutko, OF Domingo Santana, RHP Hunter Wood
Notable players with options remaining: OF Greg Allen (1), LHP Logan Allen (2), OF Jake Bauers (1), RHP Aaron Civale (2), OF Delino DeShields (1), OF Jordan Luplow (1), OF Oscar Mercado (1), LHP Zach Plesac (3), DH Franmil Reyes (2)
Santana and Wood are expected to make the Indians' 26-man roster, and with Mike Clevinger undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, Plutko could open the season as a member of Cleveland's rotation. Arroyo is on the roster bubble, as he's competing for a utility role.
Out of options: RHP Jesse Hahn, RHP Jorge López, SS Adalberto Mondesi, LHP Mike Montgomery, OF Brett Phillips, LHP Randy Rosario, OF Jorge Soler, OF Bubba Starling
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Chance Adams (1), RHP Scott Blewett (2), 2B Nicky Lopez (3), 1B Ryan McBroom (3), RHP Kevin McCarthy (1), 1B Ryan O'Hearn (2), LHP Eric Skoglund (1), RHP Kyle Zimmer (1)
Lopez, Mondesi, Montgomery, Phillips, Soler and Starling are all expected to be part of the Royals' Opening Day roster, while Hahn and Rosario are competing for roles on a pitching staff that has few certainties. The Royals used their third option on Zimmer last year, but the oft-injured righty was given a fourth by MLB due to the amount of time he has missed since being taken fifth overall in the 2012 MLB Draft.
Out of options: LHP Matthew Boyd, 3B Jeimer Candelario, RHP Buck Farmer, 3B Dawel Lugo
Notable players with options remaining: UTL Harold Castro (2), RHP Jose Cisnero (1), RHP Bryan Garcia (3), SS Niko Goodrum (3), OF JaCoby Jones (2), RHP David McKay (2), LHP Daniel Norris (1), OF Victor Reyes (2), LHP Gregory Soto (1), OF Christin Stewart (3), RHP Spencer Turnbull (2)
Boyd is the likely choice to start for the Tigers on Opening Day, while Farmer will open the year in a setup role. It's unclear if there will be room on the roster for both Candelario and Lugo, who are competing for the starting job at third base. Neither player has done much to differentiate himself this spring.
Out of options: RHP Tyler Duffey, OF Max Kepler, SS Jorge Polanco, RHP Matt Wisler
Notable players with options remaining: 2B Luis Arraez (2), C Willians Astudillo (3), OF Jake Cave (1), RHP Randy Dobnak (3), RHP Zack Littell (1), LHP Devin Smeltzer (2), RHP Cody Stashak (3), OF LaMonte Wade Jr. (2)
Duffey, Kepler and Polanco are all locks to make the team, while Wisler's lack of options give the right-hander an inside track to claim one of the final spots in the Twins' bullpen.
Out of options: RHP Carson Fulmer, RHP Evan Marshall
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Dylan Cease (2), C Zack Collins (2), RHP Jimmy Cordero (1), OF Adam Engel (1), LHP Jace Fry (2), RHP Michael Kopech (3), RHP Reynaldo López (1), OF Nomar Mazara (3), INF Danny Mendick (3), OF Luis Robert (3)
Marshall was one of Chicago's most effective relievers last season, recording a 2.49 ERA in 50 2/3 innings, and he's a lock for the Opening Day roster. Fulmer, however, is on the bubble. The right-hander was the eighth overall Draft pick in 2015, but he has posted a lifetime 6.56 ERA over 94 2/3 innings at the Major League level.
Out of options: RHP Cam Bedrosian, RHP Dylan Bundy, OF Brian Goodwin, RHP Mike Mayers, RHP Noé Ramirez, RHP Hansel Robles, C Max Stassi
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Jaime Barria (1), RHP Taylor Cole (1), OF Michael Hermosillo (1), RHP Félix Peña (1), LHP Dillon Peters (1), INF Luis Rengifo (2), LHP Patrick Sandoval (3), LHP Jose Suarez (2), 1B/3B Matt Thaiss (3), 1B/OF Jared Walsh (2)
Mayers, selected off waivers from the Cardinals in November, has a shot to join Bedrosian, Ramirez and Robles in the Angels’ bullpen. The 28-year-old has struggled in the Majors (7.03 ERA in 73 games) but been successful at Triple-A and is racking up strikeouts this spring.
Out of options: INF Aledmys Diaz, C Dustin Garneau, RHP Austin Pruitt
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Bryan Abreu (2), LHP Cionel Pérez (1), INF/OF Myles Straw (2), RHP Cy Sneed (2), C Garrett Stubbs (2), OF Kyle Tucker (1), LHP Framber Valdez (2)
Acquired from the Rays this offseason, Pruitt could factor into the back end of the Astros’ rotation -- especially now that Justin Verlander may not be ready for Opening Day -- or serve a versatile role out of the bullpen.
Out of options: INF Franklin Barreto, RHP Chris Bassitt, INF/OF Tony Kemp, INF Jorge Mateo, RHP Frankie Montas, RHP J.B. Wendelken
Notable players with options remaining: C Austin Allen (2), OF Skye Bolt (2), OF Dustin Fowler (1), INF Vimael Machin (3) C Sean Murphy (3), INF Sheldon Neuse (3), RHP Burch Smith (1)
Wendelken is looking for a bullpen job after posting a 3.58 ERA in 27 appearances for the A’s in 2019. But the most intriguing battle is at second base, where Kemp looks to have the edge after he came over in a January trade with the Cubs. But Barreto and Mateo, who both have been highly touted prospects, also are in the mix. Either or both also could wind up with bench jobs if the A’s are not ready to cut ties.
Out of options: RHP Dan Altavilla, RHP Carl Edwards Jr., LHP Marco Gonzales, RHP Matt Magill, C Tom Murphy, RHP Sam Tuivailala, 1B/DH Dan Vogelbach
Notable players with options remaining: OF Braden Bishop (2), SS J.P. Crawford (1), RHP Justin Dunn (3), OF Jake Fraley (3), OF Kyle Lewis (3), 2B Shed Long Jr. (1), LHP Justus Sheffield (2), 1B Evan White (3)
Altavilla, Edwards, Magill and Tuivailala all should begin 2020 in the Seattle bullpen and could even get a shot to close at some point. Edwards is perhaps the most intriguing name, based on his high-strikeout success with the Cubs before a lost 2019.
Out of options: RHP Nick Goody, RHP Rafael Montero, LHP Joely Rodríguez, INF/OF Danny Santana
Notable players with options remaining: LHP Kolby Allard (2), RHP Luke Farrell (1), 1B Ronald Guzman (1), OF/1B Scott Heineman (2), RHP Jonathan Hernández (1), RHP Ariel Jurado (1), INF Isiah Kiner-Falefa (3), LHP Brett Martin (1), LHP Joe Palumbo (1), INF/OF Nick Solak (3)
Goody, Montero and Rodríguez should factor into the bullpen, and the Rangers also have several arms with options remaining who should be ready to step in if any of the team’s veteran starters is sidelined.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Out of options: 1B Peter O’Brien, UTIL Charlie Culberson, LHP Grant Dayton, OF Adam Duvall, RHP Mike Foltynewicz, RHP Luke Jackson, LHP Tyler Matzek, INF Yangervis Solarte
Notable players with options remaining: 3B Johan Camargo (2), LHP Max Fried (1), RHP Chris Martin (1), LHP A.J. Minter (2), LHP Sean Newcomb (2), LHP Phillip Pfeifer (3), 3B Austin Riley (3), RHP Chad Sobotka (2), RHP Touki Toussaint (2), RHP Jacob Webb (2), RHP Patrick Weigel (2), RHP Bryse Wilson (2), RHP Kyle Wright (2)
Culberson and Solarte are the top internal candidates for Atlanta’s final bench spot, while Duvall likely has a spot sewn up there. Jackson stepped up in a big way for the Braves last year and is slated for a bullpen spot on Opening Day. MLB.com’s Mark Bowman writes that it’s unlikely that Atlanta carries more than three non-roster invites, and that might mean O’Brien and Matzek end up outside the 40-man roster.
Out of options: 1B Jesús Aguilar, C Jorge Alfaro, LHP Adam Conley, RHP Yimi García, OF Magneuris Sierra, RHP José Ureña
Notable players with options remaining: INF/OF Jon Berti (3), OF Lewis Brinson (1), 2B Isan Díaz (2), RHP Elieser Hernandez (2), LHP Stephen Tarpley (2), RHP Jordan Yamamoto (2)
Díaz is the Marlins' second baseman of the future, and the way is cleared for him with Starlin Castro now in Washington, but he's still only 23 with less than 50 big league games under his belt. Yamamoto did a fine job as a rookie last year and could win a 2020 rotation spot, as could Hernandez.
Out of options: C Tomás Nido, RHP Walker Lockett, RHP Jacob Rhame
Notable players with options remaining: INF Luis Guillorme (1), LHP Steven Matz (1), 1B/OF Dominic Smith (2)
Matz could end up the odd man out of the Mets' starting rotation behind the newly signed Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha. He'd likely go to the bullpen, but he also has an option remaining. So does Smith, who is facing a crowded outfield situation but is also likely to make the team. In addition, the Mets have a slate of Minor League-type bullpen arms who could shuttle to the Majors if needed, like Daniel Zamora, Paul Sewald, Tyler Bashlor and Drew Smith.
Out of options: INF Wilmer Difo, LHP Roenis Elías, 1B Eric Thames, RHP Joe Ross, RHP Hunter Strickland, OF Michael A. Taylor, RHP Austin Voth
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Erick Fedde (1), 2B/3B Carter Kieboom (2), RHP Tanner Rainey (1), RHP Wander Suero (2)
Top prospect Kieboom made his MLB debut last year but only got an 11-game cup of coffee. His likeliest path to the 2020 roster is at third base, but the 22-year-old has to win the job even if he could be a future star.
Out of options: RHP Deolis Guerra, LHP Adam Morgan, RHP Héctor Neris, OF Roman Quinn
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Zach Eflin (1), OF Kyle Garlick (2), OF Adam Haseley (3), RHP Nick Pivetta (1), LHP Ranger Suárez (1), RHP Vince Velasquez (2), OF Nick Williams (1)
Since Andrew McCutchen won't be ready by Opening Day, that opens up the Phillies outfield competition to players like Haseley and Garlick, acquired from the Dodgers in February. The other big open competition is for the fifth starter job, with Eflin, Velasquez and Pivetta all vying for a rotation spot, and Aaron Nola's flu throwing more uncertainty into the situation.
Out of options: RHP Ray Black, RHP Jake Faria, RHP Adrian Houser, RHP Corey Knebel, RHP Josh Lindblom, UTIL Jace Peterson, C Manny Pina
Notable players with options remaining: SS Orlando Arcia (1), RHP Corbin Burnes (2), RHP J.P. Feyereisen (3), C David Freitas (1), OF Ben Gamel (1), 3B Ryon Healy (3), 2B Keston Hiura (2), LHP Eric Lauer (3), INF Mark Mathias (3), C Jacob Nottingham (1), RHP Freddy Peralta (2), LHP Angel Perdomo (3), INF Ronny Rodriguez (2), LHP Brent Suter (2), OF Tyrone Taylor (2), INF Luis Urias (2), RHP Bobby Wahl (2), RHP Devin Williams (3), RHP Brandon Woodruff (1), RHP Eric Yardley (3)
Lindblom figures to begin the season in the rotation, but he’s a bit of a wild card as he makes the transition back from the KBO to the Major Leagues. Knebel is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery, but he’s excelled as the closer behind Josh Hader in previous years. Houser was a useful swingman last year, and Black and Faria are interesting projects in the Brewers’ bullpen.
Out of options: RHP John Gant, RHP Miles Mikolas, 1B Rangel Ravelo, LHP Tyler Webb
Notable players with options remaining: OF Harrison Bader (1), RHP John Brebbia (2), LHP Génesis Cabrera (2), OF Austin Dean (2), UTIL Tommy Edman (3), RHP Junior Fernandez (3), RHP Giovanny Gallegos (1), LHP Austin Gomber (1), RHP Ryan Helsley (2), RHP Jordan Hicks (3), LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim (3), OF Tyler O’Neill (1), RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (1), RHP Alex Reyes (2), INF Edmundo Sosa (1), OF Lane Thomas (2), OF Justin Williams (1)
Mikolas will miss the start of the season with a sore right forearm, but when healthy he has been one of St. Louis’ most reliable innings eaters. Ravelo could earn playing time thanks to both his light-tower power and his ability to come off the bench and man an outfield spot.
Out of options: RHP Alec Mills, RHP Casey Sadler, RHP Duane Underwood Jr.
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Jason Adam (2), OF Albert Almora Jr, (2), RHP Adbert Alzolay (1), INF David Bote (2), C Victor Caratini (1), RHP Jharel Cotton (1), OF Ian Happ (2), INF Nico Hoerner (3), RHP Dillon Maples (1), RHP Trevor Megill (3), RHP James Norwood (1), LHP CD Pelham (2), RHP Colin Rea (2), LHP Kyle Ryan (1), RHP Ryan Tepera (1), RHP Rowan Wick (1), LHP Brad Wieck (1), RHP Dan Winkler (3)
The soft-tossing Mills put up quality innings down the stretch, and could be either a rotation piece or a swingman. Sadler and Underwood are in the thick of a wide-open bullpen race for the North Siders.
Out of options: RHP Michael Feliz, SS Erik González, RHP Clay Holmes, RHP Dovydas Neverauskas, SS JT Riddle, C Jacob Stallings, RHP Chris Stratton
Notable players with options remaining: 1B Josh Bell (2), LHP Steven Brault (1), RHP Nick Burdi (3), RHP Kyle Crick (1), RHP Montana DuRapau (2), 2B Adam Frazier (2), OF Guillermo Heredia (2), RHP Keone Kela (3), RHP Mitch Keller (2), UTIL Kevin Kramer (2), RHP Chad Kuhl (2), C Luke Maile (1), 3B Colin Moran (1), Joe Musgrove (2), SS Kevin Newman (3), INF/OF José Osuna (1), LF Bryan Reynolds (3), RHP Richard Rodriguez (3), RHP Edgar Santana (2), RHP Jameson Taillon (1), INF Cole Tucker (2), RHP Trevor Williams (3)
Stallings and Luke Maile are the only catchers on Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster, so his spot seems safe for now. Kevin Newman is blocking González and Riddle at shortstop, but they could be utilitymen off the bench. Feliz is the safest best here to make the Pirates’ bullpen out of camp.
Out of options: C Curt Casali, INF/P Matt Davidson, OF Phillip Ervin, LHP Amir Garrett, LHP Cody Reed, OF Scott Schebler, RHP Lucas Sims, RHP Robert Stephenson
Notable players with options remaining: OF Shogo Akiyama (3), OF Aristedes Aquino (1), UTIL Alex Blandino (2), RHP Matt Bowman (1), RHP Luis Castillo (2), C Kyle Farmer (1), RHP Raisel Iglesias (1), RHP Michael Lorenzen (3), RHP Tyler Mahle (2), INF/OF Nick Senzel (3), INF/OF Josh VanMeter (2), OF Jesse Winker (2)
Garrett and Stephenson were staples of Cincinnati’s sneaky-good bullpen unit last year, and figure to be key pieces again. Casaili will likely platoon with Tucker Barnhart behind the plate. Ervin and Schebler might be on the outside looking in right now amid the Reds’ crowded outfield corps.
Out of options: RHP Silvino Bracho, RHP Stefan Crichton, RHP Junior Guerra, 1B Christian Walker, INF/OF Ildemaro Vargas
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Taylor Clarke (2), 1B Kevin Cron (2), RHP Jon Duplantier (2), RHP Zac Gallen (3), RHP Kevin Ginkel (3), OF Tim Locastro (1), INF/OF Josh Rojas (3), LHP Alex Young (3), INF Andy Young (3)
Bracho is recovering from Tommy John surgery. Crichton has a good shot at a bullpen job after posting a 3.56 ERA in 28 appearances for Arizona in 2019. Vargas will be a versatile piece off the bench.
Out of options: C Austin Barnes
Notable players with options remaining: LHP Scott Alexander (2), INF/OF Matt Beaty (2), LHP Caleb Ferguson (2), RHP Dylan Floro (1), RHP Brusdar Graterol (3), RHP Tony Gonsolin (2), LHP Adam Kolarek (2), 2B Gavin Lux (3), RHP Dustin May (3), INF/OF Edwin Ríos (2), C Will Smith (3)
Barnes appears set to back up Smith behind the plate, though the Dodgers also have prospect Keibert Ruiz (two options) on the way.
Out of options: LHP Jarlin García, RHP Trevor Gott
Notable players with options remaining: RHP Sam Coonrod (2), OF Jaylin Davis (3), OF Alex Dickerson (1), OF Steven Duggar (2), INF Mauricio Dubón (1), RHP Dereck Rodríguez (2), OF Chris Shaw (2), 1B/OF Austin Slater (1), INF Donovan Solano (1), LHP Andrew Suárez (2), RHP Logan Webb (2)
It looks like Gott will be a prominent part of the San Francisco bullpen, which also could feature García, who was claimed off waivers from the Marlins last month. García had a 3.02 ERA in 50 2/3 relief innings for Miami last year.
Out of options: INF Greg Garcia, RHP Javy Guerra, RHP Pierce Johnson, OF Tommy Pham, INF Breyvic Valera
Notable players with options remaining: LHP José Castillo (2), OF Franchy Cordero (2), INF Ty France (2), OF Trent Grisham (3), C Francisco Mejía (1), RHP Andres Munoz (3), OF Josh Naylor (3), RHP Luis Perdomo (2), RHP Cal Quantrill (2)
Garcia is slated to fill a utility role, and Valera also has a chance to make the team’s bench after being claimed off waivers last month. Johnson will be in the bullpen, and Guerra also is believed to be a frontrunner for a role there.
Out of options: RHP Yency Almonte, RHP Jairo Díaz, RHP Carlos Estévez, RHP Jeff Hoffman, RHP Scott Oberg, RHP Antonio Senzatela, OF Raimel Tapia
Notable players with options remaining: OF David Dahl (1), OF Yonathan Daza (1), INF Josh Fuentes (2), RHP Chi Chi González (1), INF Garrett Hampson (1), OF Sam Hilliard (2), RHP Peter Lambert (3), INF Ryan McMahon (1), LHP James Pazos (1), INF Brendan Rodgers (3)
The speedy Tapia will back up in the outfield. While Senzatela is ticketed for the rotation, Hoffman is one of four pitchers in the mix for the No. 5 spot, although he also could wind up in the bullpen, where he would figure to join the trio of Almonte, Díaz and Estévez.