The Official Constitution of the League to be Named Later

Preamble

We, the People of The League To Be Named Later, (being unable to think of a better name), in order to create the perfect Rotisserie League, promote camaraderie and good feelings between National League Baseball Fans in Cincinnati, Columbus, and beyond, to drive home Justice, kiss domestic Tranquility goodbye, and to secure the blessings of roto-bliss to ourselves and to those we’ve left on base, do hereby ordain and establish this Constitution of The League To Be Named Later, so that in the future, if we have any questions about the rules, we can, in the words of Casey Stengel, just look it up.

Article 1. Object

To assemble a lineup of 23 National League baseball players whose statistics (specifically including any NL tie-breaking playoff games), compiled and measured by the methods described in these rules, exceed those of all other teams in the LTBNL.

Article 2. Teams

The LTBNL shall be composed of 12 teams composed solely of National League players.

Article 3. Roster

A team's active roster consists of the following players: Four outfielders, two catchers, one first baseman, one second baseman, one shortstop, one third baseman, one infielder (who may play 1B, 2B, 3B, or SS), one utility player (who may play any non-pitching position), one super-utility player (who may play any position, including pitcher), and ten pitchers.


Article 4. The Auction Draft

1. A player auction shall be conducted during the weekend immediately prior to Opening Day of the major league baseball season, or at another time agreed upon by majority vote of the League's teams. Each team must acquire 23 players at a total cost not to exceed $260.  The team that finished last in the previous season shall nominate the first player for acquisition; thereafter, players may be nominated in any order. The team bidding first opens with a minimum salary bid of $1 for any eligible player, and the bidding proceeds around the room at minimum increments of $1 until only one bidder is left. That team acquires the player for that amount and announces the roster position the player will fill. The process is repeated, with successive team owners introducing players to be bid upon, until every team has a squad of 25 (23, beginning in 2013) players by requisite position.

2. Players eligible at more than one position may be shifted during the course of the draft.

3. No team may make a bid for a player it cannot afford. For example, a team with $3 left and two openings on its roster is limited to a maximum bid of $2 for one player.

4. No team may bid for a player who qualifies only at a position that the team has already filled.

5. Players who are on a National League team’s disabled list are eligible to be drafted. If selected, they may be reserved and replaced upon completion of the Reserve Draft.

6. The responsibility of planning and hosting the annual Auction Draft shall fall squarely upon the shoulders of the team that finished last in the previous season’s standings.

Article 5. Position Eligibility

1. A player may be assigned to any position at which he appeared in 20 or more games in the preceding season. If a player did not appear in 20 games at a single position, he may be drafted only at the position at which he appeared most frequently. In the case of the IF position, a player may be drafted at the position if his total appearances in the preceding season totaled 20 games between 1B, 2B, 3B and SS.

2. Rule of Reason Exception: If it is generally agreed by a majority of team owners at the Auction Draft that it is known that a player’s National League team intends to use the player during the forthcoming season at a position for which he is not otherwise eligible, based upon widely circulated and generally known reports from the Grapefruit or Cactus Leagues, then that player may be assigned to the appropriate position based upon the Rule of Reason.

3. The 20 games/most games measure is used to determine the position(s) at which a player may be placed during the Auction Draft. After Opening Day, a player becomes eligible for assignment to any position at which he has appeared at least once. (However, a player eligible at a position based upon the 20 games/most games measure from the preceding season remains eligible at that position for the balance of the current season).

4. The utility player spot(s) may be filled by players who qualify at any non-pitching position. The super-utility spot may be filled by any player.

Article 6. The Reserve Draft

1. After the conclusion of the Auction Draft, at a time to be mutally agreed upon, owners successively draft up to 9 additional players in 9 separate rounds of selection. Players acquired in this fashion shall comprise a team’s reserve roster. 

2. Any baseball player is eligible for the Reserve Draft, with the following exception: No player on the roster or in the minor league organization of an American League team may be selected.

3. In the Reserve Draft, owners are not required to select players by position. They may select all pitchers, all position players, or a mix.

4. The order of selection for each of the 9 rounds is determined by the order of finish in the previous season. The 5th place team shall select first, proceeding in descending order to the 12th place team, followed by the 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st place teams.

5. Salaries shall be assigned to players selected in the Reserve Draft based upon the round in which they were selected. A player chosen in the first round shall be assigned a salary of $9; a player selected in the second round shall be assigned a salary of $8, and so on, down to a $1 salary for a 9th round pick. 

Article 7. The Reserve Roster

A team’s Reserve Roster shall consist of those players acquired through the Reserve Draft, through trades, through demotions from the active roster, or through waiver claims. Any transaction that increases the size of the Reserve Roster beyond 10 players must be accompanied by a concomitant transaction that simultaneously returns the roster to its maximum of 9 players.

Article 8. Fees

1. The LTBNL has a schedule of fees covering all player personnel moves. No money passes directly from team to team. No bets are made on the outcome of any game. All fees are payable into the prize pool and are subsequently distributed, net of league expenses, to the prize winners as set forth in this Constitution.

2. Basic Fees: Each team shall pay into the prize pool a sum equal to ten percent of the amount not exceeding $260 it spends to acquire its 23-man roster during the Auction Draft. 

3. League Expenses: The League Office shall assess a fee to each team at the beginning of the season to cover any and all LTBNL administrative expenses, including but not limited to the stats service, photocopying, etc.

4. A team shall be assessed:

  • $1 for each player it trades to another team;
  • $1 for each player it activates from its Reserve Roster;
  • $1 for each player it demotes to its Reserve Roster
  • $1 for each player claimed on waivers
  • $5 for each "extra" player it adds to its active roster during the September Roster Expansion period
  • $5 for each free agent purchased with its Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB).
5. There is no fee for waiving a player, releasing a player, or for moving an active player from one position to another.

Article 9. Player Salaries

The salary of a player is determined by the time and means of his acquisition and does not change unless the player becomes a free agent by means of release or is signed to a guaranteed long-term contract.

Article 10. Prize Money

All fees shall be promptly collected by the League Office, which is empowered to subject owners to public humiliation and assess fines as needed to insure that payments are made to the League in a timely fashion. The prize pool, consisting of all fees collected less league expenses, shall be divided as follows:
  • 50% to the Champion;
  • 25% to the second place team;
  • 15% to the third place team; and
  • 10% to the fourth place team.
Article 11. Standings

1. The following ten criteria are used to determine team performance:
  • Composite Batting Average
  • Total Home Runs
  • Total Runs Batted In
  • Total Stolen Bases
  • Total Runs Scored
  • Composite Earned Run Average
  • Total Wins
  • Total Saves
  • Composite WHIP Ratio (H + BB)/IP
  • Total Strikeouts

2. Teams are ranked from first to last in each of the ten categories and given points for each place. For example, in our 12-team league, the first-place team in a category receives 12 points, the second-place team receives 11 points, and so on down to 1 point for last place.

3. Pitchers’ offensive stats are not counted. Likewise, the pitching stats of position players are not counted.

4. In cases of ties in an individual category, the tied teams are assigned points by totaling points for the rankings at issue and dividing the total by the number of teams tied.

5. In the event two or more teams are tied for a place in the standings with identical point totals at the conclusion of the season, final places in the standings are determined by comparing placement of teams in individual categories. Respective performances are calculated and a point is given to each team for bettering the other. Should one team total more points than the other, that team is declared the winner of the tie. Should the point totals still be equal, the tie is broken by comparing the tied teams' totals in runs scored, the object of the game on the field being to score more runs than the opposition. If additional tie-breakers are needed, the team ranker higher in Wins shall be declared the winner. This process shall continue, using the other categories as a tie-breaker, in the following order: Runs, Wins, RBI, ERA, WHIP, BA, HR, SO, Sv, SB.

6. The IP Requirement: A team must pitch a total of 950 innings in order to be ranked ahead of any other team in ERA and WHIP.

7. The AB Requirement: A team must have 4,000 at-bats in order to be ranked ahead of any other team in batting average.

Article 12: Stats

Statistics and standings shall be tabulated and issued on a daily basis by an official statistics service to be determined by the League owners. All administrative expenses relating to stat-keeping shall be paid from the fees collected by the League Office prior to the distribution of the prize pool.

Article 13: Transaction Deadlines

1. Transactions are permitted daily, and the daily transaction deadline for trades and moves between active and reserve rosters is the time of the first pitch in the first game played by a National League team on a given day. Any transaction occurring prior to the time of the first pitch will be considered effective that day. Any transaction occurring after the time of the first pitch will take effect at the next day’s transaction deadline.

2. Free Agent acquisitions are permitted daily during the regular season up to and including August 31. The deadline for a Free Agent acquisition on any given day is 12:00 Noon, Eastern Time.

Article 14: Trades

1. From the completion of the Reserve Draft until August 31st, LTBNL teams are free to make trades of any kind without limit, so long as the in-season salary cap is complied with, and the active rosters of both teams involved in a trade reflect the required position distribution upon completion of the teams’ transactions. During the season, with the following exceptions, trades may be made on a daily basis, and take effect at the next transaction deadline. No trades are permitted from September 1st through the end of the NL season. No trades are permitted between the date for submission of frozen rosters and the completion of the Auction Draft. Trades made during the off-season are not subject to the position distribution requirement.

2. Trades do not affect the salaries or contract status of players.

3. Each team involved in a trade is assessed a fee of $1 for each player traded away.

4. Teams' positions in the Reserve Draft may be freely traded, so long as each team involved in the trade retains a total of 9 Reserve picks.

5. Trades involving cash, players to be named later, side agreements or “future considerations” are strictly and expressly prohibited and shall be struck down by the PICFL.

6. Nothwithstanding the above, FAAB dollars may be freely traded.

7. Teams involved in a trade must immediately notify the League Office of the trade and of any additional roster moves required to place the involved teams in compliance with the player position eligibility requirements set forth in these rules. No trade shall take effect until all involved teams have active rosters that are in compliance with the player position eligibility requirements. The League Office may reject or decline to implement any trade that does not meet these requirements.

Article 15: Movement Between Active Roster and Reserve Roster

1. An owner may demote from the active roster to the reserve roster, or promote a player in the reverse direction, at any time and for any reason, and the team may do so on a daily basis. Transactions of this type are effective at the next daily transaction deadline.

2. However, no player may be demoted without being replaced on the active roster by a player who fulfills the position eligibility requirement for that position. A team must, at all times, maintain an active roster that complies with the player position requirements set forth in these rules. Whatever transactions are made during the course of a day, a team must, by that day’s transaction deadline, have an active roster in full compliance with the player position requirements of these rules.

3. A player acquired by trade from another team’s active roster is considered active with the acquiring team, unless the acquiring team chooses to demote him. Similarly, a player acquired in a trade from another team’s reserve roster is considered to be reserved by the acquiring team, unless the acquiring team chooses to promote him.

Article 16: Signing Free Agents

1. Active National League Players not on any LTBNL team’s active or reserve rosters at the conclusion of the reserve draft become free agents. During the course of the season, the pool of free agents may also include minor league players not on any LTBNL team’s reserve roster who are promoted to an active NL roster; players traded from the American League, and waived players who are not claimed. Beginning with the first day after the completion of the Reserve Draft, and continuing through the season until the last day of August, such free agents may be signed, without limit, in the following manner:

2. Each team shall have, for the purpose of acquiring free agents during the course of the year, a supplementary budget of $100, known as its Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB).

3. The minimum bid shall be $1. The maximum bid shall be the amount remaining in a team’s FAAB.

4. A free agent so selected is awarded to the highest bidder. If more than one team bids the same amount on a player, and if that amount is the highest bid, the player is awarded to the team that was ranked lower in the standings at the conclusion of the previous statistics period (i.e., the previous day).

5. The salary of a free agent signed in this manner is his acquisition price. His contract status is that of a first-year player (i.e., he is an “A” player).

6. For each free agent that it signs, a team must at the same time waive or release a player from its active or reserve roster. EXCEPTION: If a team has an empty roster spot, it may sign a free agent without waiving or releasing a player. An empty roster spot is assigned, for the purposes of the salary cap, a salary of $1.

7. If a free agent signed for a salary of $25 or more is not protected on the subsequent Roster Freeze Day, then the owner of his contract at that time must pay into the prize pool a buyout equal to his total salary.

8. The Inter-League Trade Compensation Rule: In the event that a player on an LTBNL team’s active or reserve roster is traded to the American League, the LTBNL team may claim, as compensation, an addition to its FAAB equal to the salary of the player traded to the American League. A team claiming compensation for a traded player does so by notifying the League Office. When compensation is awarded for a traded player, the traded player is automatically deemed released from the team's roster.

 

9. Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 16.1, free agent bidding shall be permitted on September 1, provided it can be determined that the pool of eligible free agents in the stat provider's database that day does not include any players added to their NL team's active roster as part of MLB's expanded rosters.

Article 17: Waivers

1. Players are placed on waivers when they cannot cannot be accommodated on a team’s active or reserve roster, because of space and/or positional limitations.

2. The waiver period commences on the day following the day a player is placed on waivers, and continues for one full week. At the conclusion of that week, if the player is unclaimed, he goes into the free agent pool, and may be acquired by a team only as outlined in Article 16, Signing Free Agents.

3. Waiver claims are honored according to the inverse order of the standings at the conclusion of the preceding period's play (i.e., the previous day's play).

4. A team may reclaim a player it has waived only if all other teams in the League decline to claim him.

5. The fee for acquiring a player on waivers is $1. The salary of a player acquired on waivers shall be $10 or his current salary, whichever is greater, and his contract status shall remain the same.

6. A team may acquire on waivers no more than one player in a given period (i.e., day), but there is no limit to the number of players a team may acquire on waivers during the season.

7. Only a player currently on an active 25-man NL roster (i.e., not on a disabled list) may be claimed on waivers.

8. A player on a guaranteed long-term contract may not be placed on waivers, even in the final year of his contract. The penalty for violation of this rule is $50.

(Note: Following some mild controversy, the LTBNL voted, on 03/31/12 to clarify Rule 17.8 as follows: This rule is to be strictly enforced. During the MLB season, a player signed to a guaranteed long-term contract may not be waived or released under any circumstances. There is no "buyout" available during the MLB season as there is during the offseason, as set forth in Art. 19.9).

9. A properly waived player may be claimed by a team in accordance with this section at any time until the expiration of the waiver period, even if after August 31.

Article 18: September Roster Expansion

If it chooses, a team may expand its roster for the pennant drive by calling up additional players after September 1 from its Reserve List. A team may call up as many players as it wishes, except that at no time may the number of players on its active roster exceed 34. The fee for expanding the roster in September is $5 per added player.

Article 19: The Option Year and Guaranteed Long-Term Contracts

1. A player who has been under contract at the same salary during two consecutive seasons and whose service has been uninterrupted (that is, he has not been waived or released, although he may have been traded) must, prior to the freezing of rosters in his third season, be released, signed at the same salary for his option year, or signed to a guaranteed long-term contract.

2. If released, the player returns to the free agent pool and becomes available at the next Auction Draft.

3. If signed at the same salary for an option year, the player must be released back into the free agent pool at the end of that season.

4. If signed to a guaranteed long-term contract, the player’s salary in each year covered by the new contract (which commences with the option year) shall be the sum of his current salary plus $5 for each additional year beyond the option year. In addition, a signing bonus, equal to ten percent of one-half the total value of the long term contract, but not less than $1 shall also be paid into the prize pool.

5. In determining a player’s status, “season” is understood to be a full season or any fraction thereof.

6. A team may sign a player to only one long-term contract, at the end of which he becomes a free agent eligible for the next Auction Draft.

7. Option-year and long-term contracts are entirely transferable, both in rights and obligations; the trade of a player in no way affects his contract status.

8. If, during the course of a long-term contract, a player is traded to the American League, his contract is rendered null and void, and the team that loses the player’s services may release the player and be under no further financial obligation. Further, an LTBNL team shall not be required to pay a buyout penalty with respect to a player who is on the roster of an AL team on Freeze Day, for whatever reason.

9. In all other cases, specifically including sudden loss of effectiveness, a team must honor the terms of a long-term contract, as follows: A player with such a contract may be released back into the free agent pool (that is, not protected on a team’s freeze list prior to Auction Draft Day), but a team that chooses to do so must pay into the prize pool, above all other fees, a sum equal to the remaining value of the contract. (Note: On 03/31/12, the LTBNL voted to enforce, strictly, the provisions of Art. 17.8. During the MLB season, a player subject to a long-term contract may not be waived or released under any circumstances.)

Article 20: Roster Protection

1. A team may retain, from one season to the next, no more than 15 players from its combined active and reserve rosters. All players not retained are considered free agents and are eligible for selection on the next Auction Draft Day.

2. The names of the players being retained must be submitted to the League Office by Midnight on Roster Freeze Day, a day to be determined in the discretion of the League Office, but usually the Tuesday prior to Auction Draft Day. Specific notice must also be made at that time of any guaranteed long-term contract signings and reserve list renewals, together with the placement of any frozen players on the reserve roster.

3. The cumulative salaries of players protected on Roster Freeze Day are deducted from a team’s $260 expenditure limit, and the balance is available for acquisition of the remaining players needed to complete the team’s 23-man active roster.

4. However, salaries of players frozen on Roster Freeze Day who are not on 25-man NL rosters on Auction Draft Day do not count against the $260 limit. Frozen players not on 25-man NL rosters count against the limit of 9 players on Draft Day reserve rosters, and the salaries they carry must be paid into the LTBNL treasury on Draft Day. In other words, a frozen player who is demoted to the minor leagues by his NL team prior to the Auction Draft may be moved by his LTBNL team from the active to reserve roster prior to the Auction Draft. Alternatively, an LTBNL team may release such a player to the free agent pool. If an LTBNL team chooses to move such a player from its active to reserve roster, it forfeits the corresponding Reserve Draft pick, pays the player’s salary into the prize pool, but reclaims the salary for purposes of calculating the $260 limit.

5. In addition to the 15 players that a team may protect from its previous season’s roster of active and reserve players, a team may also protect an additional 3 players on its reserve roster, provided such players have official rookie status and have never been active on an LTBNL team’s active roster. Rookie status is defined as follows: A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a major league club or clubs during the period of 25-player limit.

6. Players frozen may include players who have spent the entire previous season on a reserve roster, typically because they played only in the minor leagues. Even so, such players who are subsequently frozen are deemed to be in the second year of their contract with their LTBNL team.

7. Assignment of frozen players to a reserve roster position is at the owner’s discretion. The LTBNL team forfeits the reserve draft pick corresponding to the reserve position to which the frozen player was assigned. For example, an owner may assign a reserve renewal player to the last reserve position, and forfeit its $1 pick, or to the 8th position, and forfeit its $2 pick, and so on.

8. The League Office shall promptly notify all LTBNL teams of each team’s Freeze List, including player salaries, contract status, and amount available to spend on Auction Draft Day.

9. Failure to give notice of a guaranteed long-term contract for a player in his option year will result in his being continued for one season at his prior year’s salary and then released into the free agent pool. Failure to give notice of a reserve list renewal will result in the player’s becoming available to all other teams in the subsequent reserve draft. Failure to give notice of the reserve position that a frozen player is to be placed in will result in that player being placed in the lowest open position, with the corresponding reserve draft pick being forfeited.

10. The "Arnie Rule": The failure of an LTBNL team to submit its Freeze List to the League Office by the deadline set by the League Office shall result in that team not being permitted to retain any frozen players for that season.

Article 21: The In-Season Salary Cap

1. From Auction Draft Day until the end of the National League season, no LTBNL team’s cumulative salary, including both active and reserve rosters, shall exceed $350. 

2. In the event that a team is found to be in violation of the In-Season Salary Cap, the League Office shall reverse any and all transactions that caused the team to exceed the Cap, retroactive to the day the violation first occurred.

3. A team found to be in violation of the In-Season Salary Cap shall be fined $50, and the fine shall be payable to the prize pool.

Article 22: Governance

The LTBNL shall be governed by a Committee of the Whole consisting of all team owners. The Committee of the Whole may designate as many League Officials as from time to time it deems appropriate, including but not limited to, a Permanent Interim Commissioner for Life (PICFL). The Committee of the Whole may also, at its discretion, annually designate an Executive Committee composed of three team owners in good standing. The Executive Committee shall have the authority to interpret these rules and to handle all necessary and routine LTBNL business and to adjudicate disputes. Any decision, ruling or interpretation of the Executive Committee is subject to veto by the Committee of the Whole. Any rule changes shall be approved by the Committee of the Whole prior to the annual Auction Draft, by majority vote.

Article 23: Yoo-Hoo

To consecrate the bond of friendship that unites all LTBNL owners in their pursuit of the pennant, to symbolize the eternal verities and values of the Greatest Game for Baseball Fans Since Baseball, and to soak the head of the LTBNL Champion with a sticky brown substance before colleagues and friends duly assembled, the Yoo-Hoo Ceremony is hereby ordained as the culminating event of the LTBNL season. Each season, at the awards ceremony, the owner of the championship team shall have a bottle of Yoo-Hoo poured over his or her head by the preceding year’s champion. The Yoo-Hoo ceremony shall be performed with the dignity and solemnity appropriate to the occasion. The LTBNL Champion shall also be awarded and shall retain for one year the coveted Cup To Be Named Later, if Underwood ever finds it, together with such other and further hardware, symbolic of victory, as the LTBNL shall choose to purchase and award from time to time.

 

 

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