Ken Rosenthal reports that Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are talking about going from a 25-man to a 26-man roster during from April-August, and limiting the September roster to 28 players. Currently, clubs can use the entire 40-man roster in any game after rosters expand in September.
The move would address the concerns many around the game have about teams using far too many players in September, bringing games to a grinding halt and altering the competitive landscape during home stretch of the playoffs. Which, to be fair, hasn’t been proven to be responsible for costing anyone a specific playoff slot. It does create some uncomfortable optics, however, as some clubs use September as audition time while others are going with, more or less their full-season 25-man complement. It annoys people.
The addition of the 26th man is a tradeoff to the union as, in light of the September reduction, 12 fewer players per club would be eligible to accrue service time in September. Now one more will be able to accrue it all year. Given that most teams don’t actually call up 15 dudes when the rosters open up, however, it’s not as unfair a tradeoff as you might think.
A downside to all of this: that 26th man is almost certainly going to be used by teams to add a 14th reliever, encouraging more pitching changes and making games drag even more. But hey, I’m all for the employment of lefty specialists. What else are they going to do? Marketing? They have no skills other than getting lefties out and giving odd quotes. Lefties are almost unemployable in the real world.