What is the Restricted List in MLB?

Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins
Toronto Blue Jays v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

To say it’s been a rough season for the Minnesota Twins bullpen is a bit of an understatement. The unit was expected to bounce back, if for no other reason than the Law of Averages, but it appears the funk the team was in last season has carried over to this one.

Specifically, trade deadline acquisition Jorge Lopez has failed to live up to the hype he had when the Twins traded for him last year. Lopez was an All-Star reliever for the Baltimore Orioles but absolutely cratered after arriving in Minnesota.

With the Orioles, Lopez had a 1.68 ERA, which skyrocketed to a 4.37 ERA with the Twins. That has since ballooned to an unacceptable 5.00 ERA this season, including a handful of blown relief apperances that have cost the Twins dearly.

It’s not all on Lopez, as the Twins offense remains the biggest frustration until it’s not, but he has hardly done his part to protect leads that have been hard to come by.

Rather than DFA him or option him to Triple-A, the Twins placed Lopez on the Restricted List, which might not be a term that all baseball fans are familiar with.

MLB rules: What is the Restricted List?

The Restricted List is a sort of weird limbo where a player is technically still on the team but isn’t an active member of it. The purpose for placing a player on the Restricted List surrounds an unusual and unexcused absence from the team.

Here’s a brief list of reasons a player could be placed on the Restricted List:

  • Leave team without a valid reason
  • Is unavailable for non-baseball related reasons (legal trouble or a personal matter)
  • Announces intentions to retire but is still of an age or skill level where he could return

Once a player is placed on the Restricted List, his roster spot is made available for the team to fill with another player. The team also retains that player’s rights until further notice, and another team cannot swoop in and claim his rights like they would if he were DFA’d or placed on waivers.

However, if a team is interested in that player’s rights, a deal can be worked out where the team owing his rights is compensated.

Keep in mind that being placed on the restricted list is not a disciplinary action. That’s what the Disqualified List is for.

Can a player be removed from the Restricted List?


The player who was placed on the Restricted List can agree to come back to the team that originally had his rights when he was placed there. He can also return to a different team if a deal was already worked out.

Being placed on the restricted list shouldn’t be viewed as a way for a player to force his way out of a team, although it can be easily misinterpreted that way. Typically players placed on this list return to their original team and not immediately after a deal has been worked out sending them to a new one.