You know how this has worked in the past: a player who is not exactly in the team’s plans at the moment, but who cannot be sent down — say, a veteran or a Rule 5 draftee — may suddenly find himself “injured” and placed on the DL. This happens even if he’s not injured, as it allows the club to call up a reliever or something. Major League Baseball has, generally, turned a blind eye to that.
Now, however, the minimum stay on the disabled list has been reduced from 15 days to 10 days. This creates an even greater incentive to stash an uninjured player on the DL in the name of roster flexibility. Say a fifth starter who may have his next start skipped due to a day off. As he “convalesces,” the club gets an extra reliever or something.
Not so fast, reports MacPherson:
No official word has come down, but Red Sox manager John Farrell said his understanding is that Major League Baseball plans to crack down on the so-called “phantom DL” and require increased documentation for injuries requiring DL stints. That would make it more difficult for teams to manipulate roster rules by abusing the disabled list.
MacPherson talks about how a team like Boston, with a lot of veterans who do not have options, could theoretically abuse the new shorter DL. Farrell talks about MLB signaling to him that they will investigate DL stints more thoroughly to make sure they’re not bogus.
I’m sure everyone will adjust. And probably a lot faster than it takes all of us to stop calling it the 15-day DL.
The Red Sox, who won the AL East last season with a 93-69 record, have under-performed so far this season, entering Wednesday’s action with just two more wins than losses at 23-21. The club hasn’t had a winning streak of more than two games since April 15-18. As a result, manager John Farrell may be on the hot seat, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported on Tuesday.
Beyond the mediocre record, Rosenthal cites two incidents that happened this season that caused Farrell’s stock to drop. The first was the brouhaha with the Orioles when Manny Machado slid into Dustin Pedroia at second base, causing Pedroia to suffer an injury. When reliever Matt Barnes intentionally threw a fastball at Machado, Pedroia was seen telling Machado, “It wasn’t me. It’s them.” The word “them,” of course, would ostensibly be referring to Barnes and Farrell.
The second incident happened last week when pitcher Drew Pomeranz challenged Farrell in the dugout after being removed with a pitch count of 97. Rosenthal suggests that some of Farrell’s players aren’t on the same page as the skipper.
Rosenthal also mentions that Farrell didn’t have the entire backing of the Red Sox clubhouse in 2013, when the club won the World Series. So the issues this year may not be unique; they may be part of a larger trend.
The biggest impediment in making a managerial change for the Red Sox is having a good candidate. After letting Torey Lovullo leave after last season to manage the Diamondbacks, the team’s two most likely interim candidates would be bench coach Gary DiSarcina and third base coach Brian Butterfield. DiSarcina has one year of managing experience above Single-A (Triple-A Pawtucket in 2013). Butterfield hasn’t managed in 15 years.