Players who are on the disabled list -- including the Minor League one -- cannot be outrighted off the 40-man roster. That left the Pirates with no option but to release Crotta when the club needed to open a spot for Ryan Ludwick.
Now that Crotta has been released, he must go through unconditional release waivers. If he goes unclaimed, Crotta will be a free agent. If a team claims Crotta, the right-hander has the option of signing with that club or rejecting the claim and signing elsewhere.
General manager Neal Huntington said that the Pirates are optimistic that after this whole process is complete, Crotta will choose to re-sign with Pittsburgh.
"It was purely, hopefully, a paperwork move," Huntington said. "We like him. We still think the world of him. We just got into a roster crunch around the Trade Deadline and made a very difficult business decision. We hope to get Michael back helping the Pirates win games at the Major League level."
Crotta has had two stints on the DL this season. He appeared in 15 games with the Pirates before being sidelined with right elbow inflammation in mid-May. Crotta returned in late June and joined the Triple-A Indianapolis bullpen until getting hurt again three weeks later.