Nobody outside of baseball knows about Burch Smith.
Heck, there are very few people in baseball who know who about Burch Smith.
He is one of many pitchers undergoing the famed Tommy John elbow procedure that usually involves a 12-18 month recovery. However, by being on the 25-man opening day roster of the Tampa Bay Rays, Smith will earn just over $500,000 for 2015 whereas he would have made slightly more than $80,000 had he been healthy and pitching in the minors.
All thanks to a loophole.
MLB teams have two official rosters. The first is what most fans are familiar with, the 25-man roster. This consists of players on the Major League roster or on the Major League disabled list.
The second official roster is the 40-man roster. This consists of all the players on the big league club (and disabled list) and up to 15 more players from the minors. Smith was on the 40-man roster but not the 25-man roster before he got hurt.
A loophole in the 40-man roster allows teams to carry more than 40 players. If a player on the 25-man Major League roster is placed on the 60-day disabled list (typically reserved for the most serious injuries), he no longer counts against the limit of the 40-man roster.
After Smith’s injury, the Rays wanted to promote a minor leaguer who was not on the 40-man roster. To do that, they needed to open up a spot on the roster. Instead of releasing another player, they decided to promote the injured Smith to the 25-man Major League roster and then place him on the 60-day disabled list.
So as Smith recovers and hopefully makes his way back to the Major Leagues, he can rest a little easier knowing that he is a tad more financially secure today than he was a month ago.
Stand-up move by the Rays.
[H/T: Yahoo Finance]