Getty Images

The Angels used an AL record 12 pitchers yesterday

13 Comments

It’s easy to overstate how big a deal expanded rosters in September are. In the past some have argued, with a straight face, that allowing teams to have as many as 40 dudes in the dugout in the season’s final month is a threat to competitive balance and integrity. Theoretically I suppose that’s true, but it’s not like anyone can point to a situation in the past in which a team has unduly suffered or benefitted from expanded rosters, missed the playoffs or anything like that. People just like to complain about the perceived unfairness of it all.

But even if they don’t actually work any identifiable injustices, expanded rosters can be annoying, aesthetically speaking. The least exciting thing that can happen in a baseball game is a pitching change and when you dump a half dozen or more extra relievers into already overstuffed bullpens, you encourage managers to use ’em all. Like Mike Scioscia did yesterday.

The Angels used an American League record 12 pitchers in their 11-inning win against the Athletics. The major league record is 13 pitchers, set by the Colorado Rockies in 2015, but that was in a 16-inning game. Here three Angels pitchers didn’t even record an out. The game lasted four hours and thirty-eight minutes. Woof.

I get why rosters expand in September. The minor league season ends those guys have no place to go. Clubs get a chance to look at new faces in a big league setting with (usually) low stakes. But it does create a boring and sometimes tedious product. It seems to me that it’d be much better if, instead of expanding rosters and allowing all members of the 40-man to play in any given game, teams were able to designate 15 players to call up during expanded roster time, but still require teams to use only 25 guys in a given game. Before games and after games you can designate your 25 and, in September only, switch those people in and out on a day-to-day basis as you see fit, irrespective of the usual disabled list/option/callup rules.

Or we can just continue to let managers run a dozen dudes out there for a nice five-hour day at the ballpark. Either way.

MLBPA proposes 114-game season, playoff expansion to MLB

LG Patterson/MLB via Getty Images
1 Comment

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Major League Baseball Players Association has submitted a proposal to the league concerning the 2020 season. The proposal includes a 114-game season with an end date on October 31, playoff expansion for two years, the right for players to opt out of the season, and a potential deferral of 2020 salaries if the postseason were to be canceled.

Passan clarifies that among the players who choose to opt out, only those that are considered “high risk” would still receive their salaries. The others would simply receive service time. The union also proposed that the players receive a non-refundable $100 million sum advance during what would essentially be Spring Training 2.

If the regular season were to begin in early July, as has often been mentioned as the target, that would give the league four months to cram in 114 games. There would have to be occasional double-headers, or the players would have to be okay with few off-days. Nothing has been mentioned about division realignment or a geographically-oriented schedule, but those could potentially ease some of the burden.

Last week, the owners made their proposal to the union, suggesting a “sliding scale” salary structure. The union did not like that suggestion. Players were very vocal about it, including on social media as Max Scherzer — one of eight players on the union’s executive subcommittee — made a public statement. The owners will soon respond to the union’s proposal. They almost certainly won’t be happy with many of the details, but the two sides can perhaps find a starting point and bridge the gap. As the calendar turns to June, time is running out for the two sides to hammer out an agreement on what a 2020 season will look like.