What does designated for assignment mean in MLB? What to know about Nick Ahmed

The Arizona Diamondbacks designated Nick Ahmed for assignment after Wednesday’s 12-5 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Ahmed, the longest-tenured player in franchise history — his debut with the Diamondbacks was on June 29, 2014 — was a two-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop. This season, he was hitting just .212 and had committed 8 errors in only 65 games.

What’s next for Ahmed and the Diamondbacks?

Here’s a look at the designated for assignment process and what it means for Ahmed and his MLB team.

What does designated for assignment (DFA) mean in baseball?

This is how the MLB.com glossary explains the process: “When a player’s contract is designated for assignment — often abbreviated “DFA” — that player is immediately removed from his club’s 40-man roster. Within seven days of the transaction (had been 10 days under the 2012-16 Collective Bargaining Agreement), the player can either be traded or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.”

What happens if a player is claimed off waivers by another MLB team?

Again, we refer to the glossary: “If the player is claimed off said waivers by another club, he is immediately added to that team’s 40-man roster, at which point he can be optioned to the Minor Leagues (if he has Minor League options remaining) or assigned to his new team’s 26-man roster. If the player clears waivers, he may be sent outright to the Minor Leagues or released. Players with more than three years of Major League service time or who have been previously outrighted may reject the outright assignment in favor of free agency. Clubs may utilize this option to clear a spot on the 40-man roster — typically with the intention of adding a newly acquired player (via trade or free agency), a Minor Leaguer or a player being activated from the 60-day injured list.”

Nick Ahmed #13 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates after hitting a three-run triple in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Aug. 16, 2023, in Denver, Colorado.

Nick Ahmed #13 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates after hitting a three-run triple in the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on Aug. 16, 2023, in Denver, Colorado.

What to know about Nick Ahmed’s DFA?

The Diamondbacks’ decision to designate Ahmed for assignment is fairly routine when a team is looking to remove an underachieving veteran player from the 40-man roster. These types of players are not part of the franchise’s future plans, so they would not be candidates to option to the minor leagues. Also, since the trading deadline passed in August, using waivers is the only option available for a player to move to another team.

As Arizona Republic Diamondbacks insider Nick Piecoro reported, Ahmed was not the same player, offensively or defensively, since diving for a ball during an exhibition in July 2020 while preparing for the start of the pandemic-shortened season. Since the team was likely to give top prospect Jordan Lawlar a shot at the starting shortstop job next year, cutting ties with Ahmed was not that much of a surprise.

How much do the Diamondbacks owe Nick Ahmed?

Ahmed was playing on the final season of a four-year, $32.5 million contract. He was making $10.375 million this season, so the club still owes him about $1.4 million, per mlbtraderumors.com.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: What does DFA mean in baseball? What’s next for Nick Ahmed, DBacks?

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