Report: Baseball to change the expanded roster rules for next year

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I hate the expanded rosters in September. They can make for some ugly baseball — witness 11 pitchers and 25 total players being used in last night’s Giants-Diamondbacks game — and they can, however subtly, impact playoff races as teams in games involving contenders can do all manner of unorthodox crap, what with 15 extra bodies loitering around the dugout.

But that may soon be over, reports Scott Miller of CBS Sports.com:

Expanded late-season rosters have been a growing topic of discussion among members of Commissioner Bud Selig’s special committee for on-field issues. And there is increasing momentum to change the rules by next season, multiple industry sources have told CBSSports.com.

Teams would still be free to expand rosters during the final month of the season but would be subject to roster limitations on a nightly basis. Within this, clubs would have to designate which players are eligible before each game.

Miller says the idea would be to expand rosters to only 30 while requiring teams to designate 25 players as eligible each night.

This would (a) still allow teams to get look-sees at interesting minor leaguers; but (b) would not allow anyone to do what Bruce Bochy did last night and turn a September game into a spring training game.

Me likey. Me likey lots.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.