AUG. 5: The league announced that it will go to 28-man rosters and, if clubs choose, five-man taxi squads for the regular season and playoffs beginning Thursday. Teams will be able to carry 29 players for doubleheaders.
AUG. 4: While the initial plan for the shortened 2020 season was for rosters to begin at 30 players, drop to 28 after 15 days and drop to 26 two weeks later, it appears that plan will change. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that rosters will drop to 28 players as scheduled on Thursday, but they’ll remain at that level through the end of the regular season and through the postseason. The three-man taxi squad that teams have been allotted will also be expanded to five players. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted earlier today that some potential alterations to roster reduction were being discussed.
The implementation of 28-man rosters for the balance of the season comes in a direct response to the number of injuries that have popped up throughout the league and the Covid-19 outbreaks within the Marlins and Cardinals organizations. The hope is that carrying a pair of extra players over the standard 26-man rosters can help to reduce strain on players — pitchers in particular — after an abbreviated three-week ramp-up period during Summer Camp. There’s no indication that the change will carry over beyond the 2020 season.
Larger rosters will leave managers with more flexibility and reduce the need to put extra stress on pitchers, though the extra relievers being carried by each club won’t do any favors in terms of limiting game times, as MLB has sought to do in recent years. That’s far from a pressing concern at this point, however, as all involved with the league are prioritizing player health and simply being able to get through a 60-game regular-season schedule before playing an expanded 16-team playoff format.
A good idea that hopefully makes it easier for every team to manage through the weirdness of this season. Personally I would have voted for keeping it at 30 this year.
With the taxi squad going from 3 to 5, at least they’ll be traveling (in theory) with the same number of players…
Yet, because those five extras are traveling and working out with the team, they are just as likely to be subjected to a team outbreak of covid. Keeping the extras with the secondary seems a wiser option. With teams only playing in their geographic region, it does not take a full day of travel to call up a replacement.
They are just as likely to be subjected to a team outbreak, BUT they don’t get service time or full major league pay. The union really should have a problem with the taxi squad situation.
It’s about avoiding the necessity of those players traveling separately if they are needed. Either a separate plane trip, bus trip, or whatever. Secondary teams can have breakouts also. Teams need to put themselves in a traveling bubble. Don’t let anyone in or out. But that’s not what’s happening.
Houston to Seattle is a pretty long trip as is Boston to Miami.
I agree given the outbreaks that have already happened thus far this season the teams should be operating their own “bubbles” where players and staff are essentially in a bubble. It should be just like the NBA only with travel… which seeing as the planes are private charters would still essentially keep the ‘bubble’ in tact anyway. I guess the biggest issue with this in practice would be that players wouldn’t want to do that because it would mean they couldn’t live at home (for home games) and thus would mean being away from their families. But if the main goal really was to ensure the season stayed on track — that would be the best route to take. unfortunately because players are living at home with their families (during home-stands) it won’t happen.
NBA? You mean the guys complaining about food and claiming racism? I think you mean NHL which had no issues and is a multicultural league unlike NBA
The NHL is the least multicultural of any professional sport unless you consider NASCAR a sport. That’s a weird take.
I agree with bigjon. Keep it at 30.
Except you need to limit pitchers. By not doing so, you continue to reward throwers instead of pitchers. The length of the game in my view is directly related to the number of walks. If pitchers were forced to relearn the craft that goes with the name, the pace of play would improve. Back in the 70s for example, how many 95 – 100 mph pitchers did each team have? Some of this is related to how pitchers train today but so is the spike in injuries in addition to wildness. Just my take.
You mean the four finger salute doesn’t fix that issue?
The single biggest thing MLB could do to speed up the game is to end the practice of batters stepping out of the box. When a batter asks for time, the default answer should be “no”. If he steps out, the pitcher fires one down the middle for a strike. That and the Jeteresque holding up one hand calling time while the game is delayed.
Agreed. That, and constant bullpen switches for platoon advantages against players that won’t be removed from the lineup, and corresponding defensive realignments/warm up pitches, etc. Most relief pitchers take a lot more time between pitches, as well. Then some batters seem to take more time between getting set against pitchers they are uncomfortable against. I miss watching Greg Maddux mow down 3 hitters on 7 pitches with 3 weak ground balls to second while taking about 3 seconds between each pitch. Each batter should get 1 timeout per game at the plate. It’s occasionally fun watching 10-12 pitch battles, but if a 5-7 pitch at bat is taking almost 3 minutes, that seems really fixable. The ultimate problem is there is no real penalty for anything. Start fining players, and things will speed up in a hurry.
With so many players getting injured, especially pitchers … I would have to agree with you on the choice of the 30 player roster. It gives EACH team more flexibility in resting players more until they get in game shape.
Agreed, my thoughts exactly. 30 seems like a more logical choice given all the factors in play.
I think this is only fair with the recent injuries and Covid drama. I think they finally got something right….let’s just hope we can get the season completed.
I’m for anything that lets us keep some semblance of baseball in 2020.
The best approach to this season is to just not care about winning. Get a look at as many players as possible. Too much injury risk.
This has always felt like more of a tournament than a season to me.
Covid injuries? LOL
Agreed – outside of a handful of true contenders this is a great year for teams to plan for the future. Get experience for the young players. Try to get a high draft pick. It’s a write-off of a year for a lot of teams.
In addition to CursedRangers, it’s also a pretty good season to experiment for future season length changes, as has been discussed in the past.
I never liked cutting rosters back to 26 for September, when prospects can be called up without burning an option if they stick on the roster. That was Manfred’s price for expanding to 30 for the first two weeks. His trade off for expanding rosters to 26 was to insist on only 28 man rosters in September.
I think this year is the start of a new structure in MLB. I don’t think they will have Minor Leagues like they use to.
i feel like if guys like Bubic, Patino, and others succeed then we see that. it changes the perception about the need for so many levels. as much as i like the system as it is, if you can properly delevlop proepcts with less teams then that’s a smart business decision.
Manfred’s “one baseball” plan is for MLB to control the minor leagues and who gets franchises, with the offices out of New York in MLB’s offices where they do the marketing, licensing, etc. Eventually, he will reduce them to three levels of affiliated teams, more geographically friendly to themselves and their major league clubs.
Really short sided as minor league teams build fan affiliations in areas where there are no local MLB teams. That’s something the independent leagues can’t offer. How much value does the Long Island Ducks for example bring to MLB as compared to MLB merchandise that is sold at affiliated minor league games (during normal circumstances). Although I was already a Sox fan, I went to the West Haven Yankee AA games and may still have my Yankee 28 ounce little league some place that I got at Bat Day. I went with relatives, some of which are now Yankee fans because of those bats or caps.
maybe a stupid question, but does the taxi squad practice with the team, or are they just nearby the team? i feel like this isnt much of a change. personally i like it if the players on the active roster and taxi squad are distanced, but if not i think it defeats the purpose to some degree.
Quote from: https://www.mlb.com/news/mlb-roster-transaction-rules-for-2020-season
“Each team will be permitted a three-player Taxi Squad for every road trip, giving them immediate options to replace an injured or COVID-19 infected player. The players will come from the 60-man Player Pool, but the goal of bringing them on the trip is to avoid putting a player on a commercial flight if an injury occurs.
A three-player Taxi Squad — which every team is expected to carry on all road trips — must feature at least one catcher, while the other two players can be either pitchers or position players. One executive said he expects most teams to carry a pitcher, a utility player and a catcher, though some could opt to bring two pitchers and a catcher.
These three players will be permitted to work out with the team on the road, while the catcher will also be allowed to serve as a bullpen catcher. At the end of the road trip, Taxi Squad players will return to the team’s Alternate Training Site, though the catcher will be permitted to stay with the team as a bullpen catcher for home games.
Taxi Squad players will not be paid MLB salary or accrue service time, but they will receive the Major League allowance of $108.50 per day along with their Minor League salary.”
Of course they do, other wise how can you plug them in when needed?
Ducky Buckin Fent
In my limited experience of continuing to work in the Covid Times – or whatever – I’ve definitely found the ability to be flexible is huge.
I like the fact that MLB is willing to revisit their earlier plan.
For me, this is a very good sign that some lucky fan base is going to celebrate a World Series win this Autumn.
This sickness consumes rigidity and an adherence to “but that’s how we’ve always done it” stuff.
Semper Gumby, man
MLB is clueless. This will end badly.
How does this help the teams who have COVID outbreaks? When the games get cancelled for a week it doesn’t matter how many players are on the roster.
It was both foolish & greedy of the owner’s to EVER think they could cut it down to 26 during this COVID19 season. I don’t know why their bean counters think 28 is enough.
Did they at least agree on 7in for doubleheaders?
The Cards & Marlins outbreaks mean the Central & Eastern divisions are going to see quite a few such days.
The schedule is too taxing for ML arms & yet Manfred still got is “every pitcher has to face at least 3 batters” speedup rule in place. If that rule is that important for the future of MLB then it’s worth at least another spot in the bullpen. That should be the case even if America should reduce new daily cases to under 1000 for the nation.
I don’t know if it was stupid behavior on the parts of Cards & Marlins that led to their outbreaks or simply poor ventilationation systems. It was stupid of MLB not to do some quality assurance of these systems and every facility in accordance with KBO’s standards. That should’ve been done back in June so there would be time to upgrade them by end of July. A team failing to meet those standards would have to host their home games at a facility that does. That’s a pretty good incentive to get a greedy owner to get up to standard before the season starts.
CPS faces a similar dilemma & has chosen MLB stupidity. Instead of mandating standards for schools to re-open & leave it to each school to meet those standards by Sept, they’ve chosen to keep ALL schools closed until Nov 6th.
Who wants to bet more than 1/2 of all students fail to do their homework assignments under remote learning?
This punishes the newer, charter schools that typically perform much better than the rest of CPS. It also allows custodians & others at the schools to just sit back & let CPS do all the work rather than figure out how they can get their schools up to standard by themselves. Who wants to bet the Nov 6th date gets further pushed out?
Is it really that hard to add a bleaching agent to a low cost air purifier you can buy online? I sure hope this CPS decision isn’t based on a liberal paradigm that because
a handful of students at each school can’t endure breathing bleach filled air, the school can’t re-open. COVID19 requires thinking about what’s best for the majority over the hardships of an indvidual.
“Is it really that hard to add a bleaching agent to a low cost air purifier you can buy online? I sure hope this CPS decision isn’t based on a liberal paradigm that because a handful of students at each school can’t endure breathing bleach filled air, the school can’t re-open.”
One of the craziest things I’ve ever read or absolutely pitch perfect satire…? I’m not sure which.
wild bill tetley
Potential to see this become the norm after this year. Players Union will agree to more jobs. This could also become a negotiation tactic for owners as they can claim to paying more higher wages with expanded rosters by agreeing to a bump in luxury tax threshold.
Yeahup, what you said ^^^
You need to bake two more weeks into the regular season to make up for all the damn outbreaks.
Which of all these rule and structural changes do you think will stick? They had talked about expanding rosters to 26 but limiting the number of pitchers. Is the DK in the NL a done deal? Will the extra innings rules stick?