Expanding Rosters is a Good Move for Baseball
Maybe the powers that be in Major League Baseball are not totally tone deaf....
Word leaked out on Tuesday MLB and its Players Association are on the same page and will agree to some roster adjustments beginning in 2020.
The move would increase regular season roster size by a player to 26. It also would allow for 2 more players to be added after September.
Though like everything else--there are good and bad parts of this deal as MLB continues its obsession with trying to speed up games.
The move to add one player to the roster for most of the season comes with a catch---it will be a position player. Pitching staffs will be capped at 13 for most of the season, 14 after September 1st.
Adding a position player isn't a bad thing. Many teams have already gone with 13 pitchers on the standard 25 man roster, limiting their bench to essentially 3 players. The strategy has led to a run of "Multi-Position" players, guys who can play pretty much anywhere on the field.
The move does come with a downside.
Many teams, particularly those out of the chase for a pennant, currently bring up a lot of their Minor League players with Major League potential. Often they are young kids getting their taste of the big leagues a little early.
The new rules would eliminate that.
Commissioner Rob Manfred still hasn't ruled out some other tweaks--none of which the MLBPA is a fan of.
The worst of those ideas: A 3-batter minimum for pitchers. I've already expressed how bad an idea this is last week. It's absolutely moronic and the MLBPA I"m pretty sure would never stand for it.
Another: Universal Pitch Clocks. Again, the MLBPA did not agree to this but Manfred still hasn't ruled it out. It's a rule that yeah, might shave a few seconds here and there off the game--but not enough to make fans suddenly happier about a faster pace of play.
The league seems obsessed with the length of games and it seems to be throwing ideas against a wall to see what sticks.
Games in 2018 were roughly 13 minutes longer than they were in 1998. The average game was 3 hours long as opposed to 2 hours 47 minutes some 20 years ago.
I can't argue that isn't noticeable. But you can chalk that up to a multitude of factors not all having to do with the use of pitchers. Having batters step out of the box right before a pitch multiple times doesn't help. Between innings promotional events add to game times. Commercial breaks too. Use of replay certainly doesn't help the time as those delays can drag on seemingly forever at times.
The point here is this: Baseball is going to make changes. I get it. There are certain things now being done which drag out the games to roughly the length of an NFL game. The action in baseball is not nearly as fast as football---but it shouldn't be.
Making changes for the sake of making changes is dumb---roster expansion isn't. I like the idea of teams having more positional players--but it also adds the possibility of more pinch hitting options too.
Who knows if any of this will make an difference or change a thing...but hey, it makes for good conversation, doesn't it?