Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal spoke with Red Sox manager John Farrell and got some interesting dish: MLB may very well crack down on phantom disabled list visits.
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.