25/40 Man Roster and Options Primer?

Ok, I realized in trying to explain something to the wife about why Wood is out of options, that there are things I sort of never really understood and didn't care to.  But now with everything on the 'net, why not learn more about the game I love?

Although I usually want to stick a rusty shank in Neyer (j/k!), he is correct in starting his article by saying "General managers don't know them, agents don't know them, players don't know them, writers don't know them . and fans don't know them."   At least this fan feels clueless.

I'm still a bit confused about the 25 / 40 man roster, the minors, options, and the logistics between them.  Here are some articles I tried reading...



So here are a couple questions I have and surprisingly, I feel like an noob's noob because I don't actually know how things work (hey, I can be a fan and ignorant of the inner workings can't I?  :P)  

Q1:  What stops a team from adding any minor league player to the 40 man roster at any time (before rosters are locked for the playoffs of course - forgot the date this happens)?

So let's say Evans is sent down to the minors and now the 40 man roster has an open spot.  Can they bring up ANY minor league player, regardless of AAA or AA or A as long as they give them a major league contract (I assume it is always the league minimum) in addition to the already paid minor league contract?   And they can be plucked from any level league? 

Q2:  When Howie was sent down last year, I assume it was because he had at least one option year left? 

If this is so, then in Wood's case, he can never be sent back down to 'work things out' since he is out of options, correct, but Howie must have at least had one option year left so it worked out?  Or is there some other transactional type rule that allows you to send the big boys down to get things worked out? 

Q3:  I know when a player is sent down, they have to spend at least 10 days down there - but if I read correctly, they can be called back before 20 days are up and it won't count against their option year if they spend less than 20 days total back in the minors?

I'm guessing this is in place mostly to allow a team to temporarily send a guy down but since he has to spend at least 10 days down there, you can never send a guy down twice in a season without it automatically using up an option year.  That said, why would a team ever want to send down a player for only say 12-14 days?   I'm guessing there is some strategic shuffling that this is used for or simply just a rule and is what it is sort of thing?

Q4:  Last question!  Related to Q2, what is stopping a team from putting a player out of options on the DL (I think it has to be the 60 day and not the 15 day?) and then in essence sending them to the minors to 'rehab'? 

I assume all the rehab assignments in the minors fall under 60-day DL rule so they can be sent down regardless of option years?  I realize you need a doctor to certify them as being 'injured' but that isn't hard to do...?  So also using Wood as an example, let's say he isn't working out.  Less than 2 months before the rosters are locked for the playoffs, can they put him on the 60 day DL (hey, he has a nagging injury!), he gets sent down to rehab, someone else comes up, and it still protects Wood until the start of next season while giving them time in the offseason and ST to keep working on things?


Thanks in advance! 

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