Player to be named later

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A "player to be named later" is a concept, most often associated with Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball (MLB) trades, whereby the terms of a trade are not finalized until a later date, most often following the conclusion of the season.


The player to be named later (PTBNL) is generally used to postpone a trade's final conditions or terms.

This is often done for several reasons. First, the team receiving the PTBNL might not be certain which position they want to fill, so this type of deal gives them more time to figure it out. Second, this type of arrangement gives the team receiving the PTBNL more time to evaluate the available talent on the other team. Also, when a trade takes place during August, a player must clear waivers before he can be traded; the PTBNL concept allows the player's original team to make an attempt to have him clear waivers then finalize the deal, or (if the player cannot clear waivers) wait until the end of the season to trade him.

When a PTBNL transaction occurs, the negotiating teams usually agree on a list of five to ten players that the PTBNL will ultimately be chosen from.

The deal must close within six months of the conclusion of the rest of the trade. If the teams can't agree on who the player will be, then they will agree on a price to be paid instead of a player. It is possible that a player could end up being traded for himself; this has happened four times (see below).

The PTBNL is generally a minor league player or a journeyman major leaguer; very few PTBNLs are of known star quality at the time of trade. However, some minor league PTBNLs have turned out to be productive in the majors: such players include Michael Brantley, Jeremy Bonderman, Scott Podsednik, Coco Crisp, Moisés Alou, Jason Schmidt, and David Ortiz.

Notable PTBNLs

Players traded for themselves

Four players in MLB history were traded for a PTBNL, then subsequently traded back to their original teams, thus being players that were traded for themselves:

Dave Winfield and the 1994 strike

Dave Winfield, a Baseball Hall of Famer, near the end of his career, was included in a PTBNL trade complicated by the 1994 strike.

While a member of the Minnesota Twins, Winfield was traded on August 31, 1994 to the Cleveland Indians for a PTBNL. Under the terms and conditions of the trade, if Winfield appeared in 16 or more games with the Indians, the Twins would receive a Class AA-level PTBNL, but if he played between one and 15 games the PTBNL would be Class A-level.

However, the strike was taking place at the time of the trade, and the season was eventually cancelled with no further games played. To settle the trade, Cleveland paid Minnesota a token sum of $100, and the Indians' general manager took the Twins' general manager out to dinner and picked up the dinner tab (official sources list the transaction as Winfield having been sold by the Twins to the Indians).[5]

In popular culture

In the movie Bull Durham, Kevin Costner's well-traveled Crash Davis introduces himself to his new manager as "I’m the player to be named later." [6]

In other sports

In the National Hockey League, future considerations work in a similar fashion to PTBNLs, except that, because the NHL allows teams to trade draft picks, but does not allow teams to trade players or draft picks for cash, draft picks can be traded instead of cash.[citation needed]

See also


  1. Derfner, Jeremy (August 3, 2000). "What Is a Player To Be Named Later?". Slate. Retrieved January 26, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Kroner, Steve (April 9, 2006). "20TH ANNIVERSARY: Brad Gulden / The original The original Humm-baby / Craig's fond label for scrub caught on". Retrieved February 7, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Tiger-Cub Trade Even!". Toledo Blade. October 24, 1987. p. 16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Keegan, Tom (September 11, 1994). "Owners try on global thinking cap". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 7, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Kevin Costner (Crash Davis) (1988). Bull Durham (Film). USA: MGM.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links