The Colorado Rockies announced on Friday that they had claimed right-handed pitcher Dinelson Lamet off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. (Fellow righty Ashton Goudeau was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.) Lamet’s addition to the Rockies caps off an unusual week of transactions involving him, the most notable of which occurred on Monday, when he was sent to Milwaukee as part of the four-player return in the Josh Hader trade.
Just how did Lamet go from being viewed by the Brewers as a player worth trading for to being subjected to the waiver wire in a matter of days — and before he ever suited up with Milwaukee? It has less to do with anything he did, and more to do with the rules governing service time and optional assignments.
The short version goes like this. Any player with at least five years of big-league service time can reject an optional assignment. Lamet, by virtue of having more than five years of service time, was within his rights to reject that assignment. The Brewers had a numbers crunch on their roster — remember, teams can carry a maximum of 13 pitchers now — and so he ended up being the odd man out.
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The amusing wrinkle — though perhaps not for the Brewers — is that they would have been able to send down Lamet had the trade accrued earlier in the year.
Indeed, Lamet entered the season needing 42 more days to clear the five-year mark. The Padres were free to option him as they desired, something they did on a couple of occasions. They brought him back to the majors on July 26 and after that point, he accrued enough service time to clear five years and gain this power.
The Brewers, for their part, were hoping Lamet would clear waivers and remain with the organization. Instead, he’ll attempt to salvage his season (and, in a sense, his career) as a member of the Rockies organization.
For those wondering, the Rockies will play both the Padres and the Brewers in September, giving Lamet a chance to say hello to both his old teammates and those he never got a chance to meet.