One of the odder parts of the general agreement between MLB and the MLBPA governing the truncated 2020 baseball season was revealed earlier this afternoon: rosters are expected to expand to 29 players for the first month of the season once games begin. Rosters will go back to 26 players after the first month of the season or so, Bob Nightengale of USA Today says.
This makes sense given that (a) even with a mini, second sprint training ramp-up, pitchers are going to be out of their normal routine; and (b) the schedule, however it shakes out, is likely to be compacted in order to fit in as many games as possible. There will be doubleheaders and fewer days off and things. Managers are going to want more arms.
What kind of baseball we’ll see with these sorts of expanded rosters and all the other attendant weirdness is an open question.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.