I figured it was worth bringing this to the top again. (Tom).
A common suggestion by some visitors to this blog, as well as some around the web and those in the media, has been that the Blue Jays trade one of Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion in order to acquire some pitching talent. This has become especially prevalent as both of the sluggers are entering the final year of their contracts with the Jays and the perception is that the club will be unable, or unwilling, to re-sign both. What many fail to realize, however, is that the team can not simply trade either of the players, as over the course of the 2015 season they both passed important thresholds in their MLB service time that prohibits them from being moved without their consent. Thanks to this milestone, the pair both are in possession of a form of no trade clause known colloquially as their 10/5 rights, which will allow them to veto any trade. With these rights in place, neither can "just be traded" anywhere, rather they will need to consent to being moved, just like a player who has signed a contract with a no-trade written into the language.
From here on the post will rely on the text of the MLB 2012-2016 Basic Agreement (CBA), the full text of which can be found at http://mlb.mlb.com/pa/pdf/cba_english.pdf. The document itself is extremely dense and written mostly in what can best be described in legalese, but if you can take the time to parse it, it offers some interesting insight into how MLB operates.
The Basis of 10/5 Rights
Article XIX Section A. Subection (1) of the MLB CBA states;
The contract of a Player with ten or more years of Major League service, the last five of which have been with one Club, shall not be assignable to another Major League Club without the Player’s written consent...
The first sentence of this subsection establishes the basis of 10/5 rights. In non-legalese, it says that no player with more than 10 years of MLB service, the last 5 years of which are with the same team, has earned the right to veto any assignment of his contract to another team. When a player is traded acquired by another team in any fashion, their contract is considered to be assigned to that team. This process of contract assignment is how player transactions operate in MLB. A player with a no-trade clause or 10/5 rights has been given the ability to veto assignment to another club.
How Is Service Calculated?
Article XXI Section A. Subsection (1) of the MLB CBA states;
One full day of Major League service will be credited for each day of the championship season a Player is on a Major League Club’s Active List. A total of 172 days of Major League credited service will constitute one full year of credited service. A Player may not be credited with more than one year of credited service, 172 days, in one championship season.
Every season a player spends on a club's 40 man roster and active list, including time spent on the disabled list, a player gains one season of service time. If a player is not on the roster for 172 days worth of time during a season they are able to accumulate fractions of a season of time. These seasons are what count towards the service calculations for 10/5 rights.
When Did Bautista and Encarnacion Pass These Milestones?
Jose Bautista currently has 10 years 165 days of Major League service time, the last 7 full years of which are with the Blue Jays. Bautista passed 10 years of MLB service time during the first week of the 2015 season.
Encarnacion has 10 years 85 days of service time, having passed the 10 year mark in mid June and having accrued his last 6 seasons of service time as a member of the Blue Jays. Even though Edwin was claimed by Oakland on waivers after the 2010 season before being non-tendered and re-signing in Toronto, the phrasing of section XIX (a) (1) relies on service days being accrued. Since Edwin did not accrue any service days in Oakland, he likely would have been considered to have crossed the 10/5 threshold in June, on the 87th day of the season. Even if MLB does not consider this to be the case, with the conclusion of the 2015 season, Edwin has accrued his last five seasons of service in Toronto (2011-15) and, upon the conclusion of last season, has, beyond a shadow of a doubt gained his 10/5 rights.
Give Me a Short Version!
Edwin and Jose have 10/5 rights. They've played 10 years in the Majors, the last five of which (at minimum) were as members of the Toronto Blue Jays. Since they both have passed this minimum, they have a no-trade clause, but this one was given to them by their union negotiating a service time bonus instead of their agent negotiating one in their contract. They can't be traded to any other team without their consent, just like any player with a full no-trade clause.