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13.0 Inactive Owners

From time to time, a league may have an inactive owner.  There may be several legitimate “real-life” reasons for someone not to pay attention to their team, and typically no action will be taken on their behalf.  However, in order to guarantee that the team is ready for a new season, some actions may need to be done for them to ensure the proper start including roster size and lineups.

These steps may be more appropriate for teams that have already paid their season entry fee. If a team has not paid and is unresponsive to League attempts to contact the owner, the League Office may instead take control of the team and attempt to find a new owner.
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13.1 Inactive Owners – Carry Over Decisions

We’ve gone through some winters where the off-season activity is delayed by owners not making roster cut-down decisions in time. In order to keep the league on schedule and get the Redistribution Draft done in a timely manner, there will no longer be any date extensions for carry-overs.


If a team does not meet the roster guidelines due to roster size or salary cap considerations, BWB will take the following approach:

  • As required, all players currently under multiyear contracts will be retained.
  • Any players known by BWB* to be retiring, strongly considering retiring, or otherwise ineligible for BWB rosters next season (foreign leagues, etc.) will be cut.
  • Any players known by BWB* to be on the DL at the beginning of the next season will be cut.
  • Any players known by BWB* to be a free agent with little or questionable expected interest from MLB teams will be cut.
  • Of the remaining players:
    • BWB will automatically keep the position player with the highest salary, the starting pitcher with the highest salary, and the relief pitcher with the highest salary.
    • BWB will automatically cut the position player with the 2nd highest salary, the starting pitcher with the second highest salary, and the relief pitcher with the 2nd highest salary.
    • BWB will keep any players who were first round draft picks in the just-completed season.
    • Random decisions** will be made after that to get the roster into guidelines for roster size and salary cap position.
    • BWB will attempt to leave about $10 million available for the Redistribution Draft and off-season moves.

*”Known by BWB” is a non-scientific phrase. Since a lot of effort is required for running the game, the owner of BWB is often not completely on top of all the MLB player status. The point is – make the decisions yourself, rather than tempting fate.

**”Random decisions” often means pulling out the old Dungeons and Dragons 12-sided or 20-sided dice and picking cuts that way. Again – make the decisions yourself and avoid the grief.

13.2 Inactive Owners – Redistribution Draft – Emphasis

Again, we’re no longer able to put off roster decisions for a few teams while 100+ other teams complete on time. Since the Redistribution Draft is an optional activity, teams that do not submit picks for the draft on time will not participate in it. This is how it’s always been done – and typically 1-3 teams in each league skip this (intentionally or not). There are generally some good players available in the draft – don’t miss out on your chance.

13.3 Inactive Owners – Startup Draft

In most cases, teams will have about a week to fill out their initial draft lists after the league is completely full. This deadline may be a bit shorter for drafts started in mid-March or later. As a team joins BWB, it can begin to assemble the draft list immediately – even before choosing a league. So, there should be no excuse – other than perhaps the late-joining teams – to miss a draft deadline.


If a team does not have a draft list – or if it has started but is incomplete - the BWB office will randomly pick or complete* a team’s draft list so that the draft can proceed on time.


*”Randomly complete” is done by picking a mix of players with high and low salaries and to fill all the positions. Some minor leaguers and prospects may be thrown in. No players who are knowingly questionable to make rosters or to be injured at the time of the draft will be chosen. When picking among a group of possible players, the old D&D dice often get a good workout. The moral of the story is to pick your own team.

13.4 Inactive Owners - Minimum Roster Size

If a team is not able to field a complete roster after the final transaction period of the off-season, the League Office will take these steps to fill the roster.  (Remember, minimum roster size is 29 players - 15 hitters, 14 pitchers - PLUS, a team must have a valid player for every field position). The League will operate with these guidelines:

  • As long as the team has 14 pitchers, the pitching staff is complete.  Relievers might fill starting roles and starters may appear in the bullpen.
  • If the roster is missing 1 player, the Office will calculate the remaining salary cap money and buy the highest price free agent that the team can afford to fill that position - regardless of whether or not that player is injured or will be in the minors.  2012 Clarification - BWB reserves the right to pick a player with a lower salary that is active - thus providing better competitive balance for the league on Opening Day.
  • If 2 or more players are missing, the remaining cash balance will be divided by the number of players needed to determine a maximum signing salary.  At that time, the Office will assign players that are the highest price free agents BELOW the maximum signing salary.  The first priority will be to make sure all field positions are manned.
  • If several players are at the same cash level (for example, if a team must sign a player at the minimum salary) a random draw will determine which player(s) they get.
  • For purposes of filling the roster, pitchers will be assumed to be playing at their published role (SP or RP) and will be selected based on the need of the team.
  • If a team does not have enough money to complete the roster, the team will FORFEIT all games until they can complete the roster.  This will guarantee a 0-6 start to the season.
  • Money used for all the above steps is prior to the distribution of 2 million Benchwarmer Bucks to all teams on Opening Day.  However, if the extra cash distribution is needed in order to sign players to make the roster legal, it will be used (this is an allowable loophole for owners).
    If a team is not able to have a complete team on Opening Day and, after receiving the extra cash, still does not participate in Week 1, the League Office will again attempt to perform the above steps to fill the team.
  • If BWB must cut players in order to free up salary to make the roster legal, it reserves the right to do so and will use its discretion to choose such players.

Note: If more than one team needs to have their roster filled and are competing for free agents at the same salary level, the transaction order for the most recent signing period will be used to alternate the signings.


See the full rulebook for some examples on how this process will be conducted.

13.5 Inactive Owners - Opening Day Lineups

Should a team not fill out a lineup form for Week 1, the League Office will automatically generate a lineup in this manner:

  • Players known by the Commissioner to be on a major league injured list will be placed on the team's taxi squad, providing that they are otherwise able to fill the other roster spots.  If more than 6 players are injured, a random draw will determine which ones to place on the taxi squad.  Any remaining injured players will be placed in the lineup as outlined below, as though they were not injured.
  • Starting rotation.  The five pitchers with SP position designation with the highest salary will fill the top 5 rotation spots (in descending order of salary).  SPs #6, #7, and #8 in salary will be the spot starters.
  • Bullpen.  The six pitchers with RP position designation with the highest salary will fill the 6 bullpen slots (in descending order of salary).
  • Open pitching roles - leftover SPs may be used to fill the bullpen or leftover RPs may be placed in the rotation or spot roles.
  • Fielders - the player with the top salary at a position will play that position in the starting lineup.  Of the remaining hitters, the one with the top salary will be the DH.
  • Bench - the remaining batters with the five highest salaries will be placed, in descending order of salary, on the bench.  This will be done without regard to position.
  • Taxi squad.  All unplaced players at a salary of 250 or below will be put in the minors.  Any leftover players will be put on the taxi squad.  If there are too many minor leaguers, the ones with the highest salaries will go to the taxi squad (or randomly, if all salaries are equal).
  • Batting order - a random draw will produce the batting order.

Note: Pitching designations will use the player's published position, which may not necessarily be how they will be used in the new season.

2012 Clarification: In order to preserve competitive balance on Opening Day, BWB reserves the right to place pitchers as expected to perform in the current season.

13.6 Inactive Owners - Regular Season

Added 4/4/18


It happens - people's lives and schedules change, their interest in BWB wanes, or for some other reason they are no longer actively managing their team.  Typically (though not always), they don't return for the next season and in many cases we don't hear from them again.  BWB has always at times behind the scenes made some minor changes - but in the interest of maintaining the semblance of a competitive team, BWB will step in a bit more actively and earlier.  A team that is adrift for weeks or a whole season is frustrating for other members of that league since that team becomes an easy win when others might be needing it to at least have a chance to knock off some rivals.  It also artifically makes the win-loss record worse, which puts the team in a better position in the off season during the Redistribution Draft and at the start of the following season.  But it can also make the team very unattractive for future potential adopters if the team goes into orphan status.


Intervention by the BWB Office is not automatic or mandatory, but will be handled as deemed necessary and as fits available time constraints.  BWB does not expect to be actively managing these teams on a weekly basis, but will look for problems and corrections.


As a measure of activity, BWB will look at the "last connected" date when an owner signed in or connected to the website.


BWB may attempt to contact the owner to determine if he/she wants to continue management of the team and, if not, the team will become an orphan and may be adopted by someone else for the remainder of the season.


13.6.1 Lineups

If an owner's "last connected" date is two weeks or more before a weekly transaction/lineup deadline, BWB reserves the right to inspect that owner's teams in all leagues and look to potentially make some adjustments to the active roster - specifically focusing on changes due to injuries (players going on AND off the DL) and demotions/promotions.


As that period of inactivity increases beyond that initial 2-week marker, BWB may make some more substantial changes, looking at starting lineup/bench decisions and the pitching and bullpen rotations.

13.6.2 Transactions

If an owner's "last connected" date is four weeks or more before a weekly transaction/lineup deadline, the BWB office may step in to perform limited transactions to fix the roster.  Exception - if, at the 2-week mark, a team is just so messed up that it can't field a functioning lineup and pitching staff, then some of those corrective transactions may be done earlier.


< Previous : 12.0 Off Season Procedures

Top : BWB Rules Contents

Next: 14.0 Schedule and Deadlines >

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