Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reports that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are close to agreeing to expand active rosters to 26 players for the start of the 2020 regular season. This is in exchange for a commitment to discuss larger economic issues after Opening Day, which is later this month.
Additionally, September rosters would be lowered from 40 players to 28 players, beginning in 2020. This is done in part to help speed along the pace of September games, which tended to drag on because teams had many more relief pitching options and thus could afford to make plenty of pitching changes. Additionally, teams not in the playoff picture tended to play their young, inexperienced players even if the game technically mattered because it was being played with a team that was in the playoff hunt. As a result, certain teams that got lucky with their September schedules essentially got free wins down the stretch.
The union wants to discuss larger economic issues as the free agent market stagnated in recent years. While Bryce Harper and Manny Machado eventually got their money, A) it took them a lot longer than usual to actually reach an agreement, and B) lesser-skilled free agents are still on the market or settled for lesser contracts than they might have had to even just a few years ago. There are myriad reasons for free agency becoming what it is today and the union is hoping to address those reasons ahead of December 2021, when the collective bargaining agreement expires. The union is also aware of service time manipulation, so that may be another topic brought up.
The Padres turned out in remarkable fashion on Saturday, following up on Friday’s 6-3 win with a decisive 19-run effort to take the series from the Blue Jays. Rookie right-hander Cal Quantrill spun six strong innings, holding Toronto to three runs and striking out nine of 22 batters, but it was the Padres’ offense that really sealed the deal.
Of the 19 runs they put up, seven landed for home runs — establishing a franchise-best record for most home runs amassed during a single game.
Wil Myers and Ian Kinsler went back-to-back for the first two homers, each coming off of an Edwin Jackson pitch in the second inning. Myers’ 351-foot blast was his eighth of the season, while Kinsler’s 382-footer marked his sixth so far this spring. Two innings later, in the fourth, Jackson once again set the table for Austin Hedges, who promptly went yard with the first grand slam of his five-year career in the majors and boosted the Padres to a six-run advantage.
The home runs came for the Blue Jays, too — Lourdes Gurriel Jr. plucked one from a bouquet of sliders in the second, while Justin Smoak collected his ninth homer on a first-pitch fastball in the fourth — but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep pace with the Padres. In the sixth, Hunter Renfroe took his turn against Derek Law and punched a two-run shot out to center field. He returned in the eighth for a second helping, sandwiching another 376-foot home run in between a solo homer from Eric Hosmer and a two-RBI knock from Myers, too.
By the time the dust settled, the Padres had gathered 19 runs on 20 hits. They finished the game just one run shy of tying their single-game record for runs scored, a feat no Padres’ lineup has replicated since their 20-7 rout of the Expos on May 19, 2001.