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.