In the recent Major League Baseball general managers meeting, evening the inherent inequities in September roster sizes was discussed.
As it is today, MLB clubs can activate as many as 15 additional players during the final month – the difference between the 25-man and 40-man rosters. Some organizations, specifically many of those competing in minor league playoffs, wait until later in the month to make some or all of their moves.
The result is that opposing teams in key post-season-deciding games during September may have considerably differing number of players available.
MLB vice president Joe Torre is among those who believe an equal number of players should be set for each game. Clubs could decide each day which players are active and which are not.
Teams could call up as many players as today, it appears, though the quantity active on any given day would be limited.
“Each team should have equal number of players available every day,” Torre told the Associated Press. “I just think you play the whole season with one set of rules and the most important time of the year, especially for clubs that are in a pennant race, I just don’t think it’s fair for it to be done (with a) different number of roster people.”
While players’ union approval would be required, officials have expressed a willingness to consider the idea.
While active player limits like 28 and 30 were discussed, it should be kept in mind that depending on how the rule is implemented, clubs may be able to inactivate four of their five current rotation members on any given day. That could effectively increase available players within the 25 base by four.
To help put this in St. Louis Cardinals perspective, the club had nine extra players this September, for a total of 34 active. In recent years, their total ranged from as low as eight to as many as 13 additions.
With Triple-A Memphis missing the post-season for the second consecutive year, there was no need to consider delaying call-ups past the traditional Labor Day end of season. In fact, minor injuries in St. Louis meant a couple of the nine 2012 additions arrived in late August, remaining through the end of the Cardinals’ regular schedule.
The 2012 group included one major leaguer coming off the disabled list – Lance Berkman, three pitchers (Shelby Miller, Victor Marte and Sam Freeman), two catchers (Bryan Anderson and Steven Hill), a pair of infielders (Pete Kozma and Ryan Jackson) and one outfielder (Adron Chambers). Of the nine, Kozma, Freeman and Miller saw the most meaningful action.
However, the 34 total was a bit inflated. It included injured and unavailable players such as Rafael Furcal. Since the 25-man limit is meaningless in September, the Cardinals had no need to put the shortstop on the disabled list.
September DL usage/non-usage may not change if the rules are altered, but a player like Furcal could simply be listed among the inactive each day along with any call-ups not needed.
What do you think of the MLB proposal?