One key element of the current collective bargaining talks is whether there will be any change to the number of players who can be carried on a roster. Negotiations are entering their final phases with the current agreement set to expire on the first of December.
There has reportedly already been consideration of going from 25 to 26 players on the active roster. (Here’s our story from two weeks back; the reporting came via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.) And that concept is still under discussion even as the time nears for the league and the MLB player’s association to wrap up talks, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
There’s little question that the 26th man would be a boon to the player’s union, though MLBTR contributor Ryan Spilborghs has argued that it would be beneficial for teams as well. Balancing the cost of thirty new MLB salaries, sources tell Rosenthal, could come in part from new limitations on the size of the active roster in September.
Currently, of course, organizations can utilize anyone on their 40-man roster during the month of September, as Spilborghs also recently discussed. The new rule under consideration might limit clubs to 28 players for any given game during the final full month of the season, with additional provisions allowing that group to be modified — but not every single day.
It’s easy to see the merit in paring back the strange rule that significantly changes the game beginning on September 1. There likely wouldn’t be much of an impact on the transactional world, and it’s hard to imagine any fans taking issue. Adding a 26th man for the full season, though, might shake things up a bit. It would potentially reduce the exposure of players to serious injury, make it easier for clubs to employ specialized players at the major league level, and make the Rule 5 draft a more feasible means of snaring young talent.