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A 26 man roster is an improvement, but is MLB making a mistake not keeping 28?

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#1 DocBauer

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:19 PM

The world of sports has changed over the years. As a result, leagues have adapted roster sizes to allow for more active players, reserve players, taxi squads, etc. Baseball, always slow to adapt, finally increased roster size to 26 in 2020. A small change a small improvement, but a smart and necessary one. With covid, the plan originally for a 30 man roster, followed by a downgrade to 28 before finally settling to the proposed 26 man limit. For once, MLB was out front with adaptation and realized the 28 man roster made sense for the compact season.

So now, with an expected full schedule for 2021, the 26 man roster is in play. But is that a mistake of short-sightedness?

As a fan, I want my team to have a deep and stacked roster. I want more good players available. But beyond that, the 28 man roster actually WORKED in 2020. Further, we've heard concerns about pitchers working an entire season following a season with limited innings pitched. There has been some talk about teams going with a 6 man rotation. Is this an over-reaction without merit? Or are there legs to this arguement?

Should MLB adapt yet again post 2020 and return to the 28 man roster? Or even 27? A 28 man roster could, potentially, allow for a straight 14/14 pitcher/player roster. A 27 man roster, potentially again, could allow for a 13/13 split with the 27th man going to either spot.

Is MLB making a mistake with the 26 man roster?
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#2 notoriousgod71

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:33 PM

I would rather they go back to 25. It was a perfect number but unfortunately MLB forgot how to properly manage pitching staffs so even a roster of 30 isn't enough.

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#3 jkcarew

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 08:45 PM

If you are one that is concerned with the ugly strikeout numbers (more K’s than hits for the first time in history...3 years running now), the ever-growing length of games, and the alarming deceleration in frequency of balls in play and baserunners...then SMALLER rosters are the answer, not larger. All larger rosters will do is encourage more specialization with regard to how pitchers are used to neutralize hitting, further accelerating the trend toward power as the one and only viable offensive strategy.

 

Would the quality of play in the NBA be (even) better if each team had an active roster of 18 and could replace offensive specialists with defensive specialists at every change of possession? Would it be a better game or better entertainment? Hyperbole a bit, but seems kinda something similar to direction MLB is wandering.

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#4 tony&rodney

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 09:10 PM

25.

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#5 Shaitan

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Posted 03 March 2021 - 09:22 PM

I'm good with 25-27. But I think more off-days and a 154 game schedule would solve more of the games issues.

 

Simply put, they aren't going to use prospects on the bench. More roster slots means more RP. It might help some service time issues and even preserve some careers but it won't improve the underlying quality.

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#6 prouster

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 07:55 AM

I could get behind a 28-30 player roster if there were, say, 3-5 healthy scratches per night. Even with the three batter minimum I think managers would be tempted to circle through their bullpen if they had nine relievers to pick from.
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#7 4twinsJA

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 08:22 AM

28 for first couple months of season, then back to 26. Would allow pitchers and position players more rest early in season. Agree, probably won't mean more prospects get opportunity early in year. 

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#8 Channing1964

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 08:46 AM

everything is gonna change drastically if there ever is another CBA.

#9 LA VIkes Fan

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 10:04 AM

Is the 26 man roster permanent or it is just a stop gap for this year because the pitchers won't be throwing as many issues after last year's short season? I guess the next CBA will tell us but I'm curious if anyone knows the deal here. I'm ok with a 26 man roster as long as the pitching staff is limited to 13 and we keep in the rule that pitchers must pitch to 3 hitters or finish an inning. The over specialization of relief pitching is one of the main culprits in making the game less interesting in my humble opinion. Us baseball nerds might like the strategy component but the general public is just not warming up to the constant pitching changes and 3 to 3.5 hour games that the constant BP changes cause. So to me the key isn't the roster size, it's pitching limitations. 


#10 nicksaviking

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 03:51 PM

I would be up for it if it was mainly used to give some players more regular rest to keep the roster healthy.

 

I would not be up for it if it was mainly used to cycle through more pitching changes.

 

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#11 Darius

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 07:20 PM

They way I see it, as things are structured, larger rosters only gives an advantage to large market clubs.

They’d be willing to pay players that may be a marginal bullpen guy or utility guy. Small market teams will use AAAA guys, at best, from their system (most small market teams use a fair amount of those guys on their roster already). Over the course of a 162 season, deeper teams will simply outlast the others. We already see that. It would only get slightly worse.

There are enough issues with parity in the MLB as it is. They need to come up with something that helps smaller markets be competitive, aside from a one year blip, or a semi- prolonged run of mediocrity (see the Twins playoff losing streak).

Look at the NBA right now. Rating are plummeting. Nobody cares, unless you happen to be a fan of a super team (Which, let’s be honest, nobody is really an NBA fan). That league is a complete joke. KFAN just did a bit on the number of teams that rank as the worst winning percentage of any pro sport - the T-Wolves are the worst, and the other 9 of 10 (estimation) are other NBA franchises. The same teams win year after year. Awful business model. They’re running that league into the ground.

It’s already hard enough being a Twins’ fan knowing, realistically, that they have no shot at a World Series.

#12 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 08:13 PM

I'm fine with 26, actually prefer it to 28... with the stipulation that there is a 13 pitcher cap (not in place this season) and the call up/down rules are less lenient to playing AAAA ping pong with players (hopefully coming in the upcoming CBA).

 

So, since neither one of those things exist this season... I guess I don't care? I'm just not happy with MLB's unresponsiveness to modern "advancement" of the game that has largely been a detriment to the spectating experience. Pitching specialists and watching five pitchers a game per team is just one of many things that make the sport less fun to watch.

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#13 jkcarew

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 09:00 PM

 

I'm fine with 26, actually prefer it to 28... with the stipulation that there is a 13 pitcher cap (not in place this season) and the call up/down rules are less lenient to playing AAAA ping pong with players (hopefully coming in the upcoming CBA).

Good point. National League teams now carry 24, 25, 26 pitcher on the 40-man. (My lord, how did we get here?) American League not much better. And you can bet every team will make a point of churning the bottom halves year-to-year to make sure they have plenty with options remaining. Options are currently more valued on the bottom of the 40-man than is mlb experience, if not ability. But who cares if they have one mlb quality pitch, because they’ll never be asked to pitch more than one inning, if that, in a competitive game given that this game can be played to maintain 8, 9, (10 coming soon) relievers on the active roster. The current optioning rules are absolutely being gamed and are definitely part of the problem.

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#14 Jacksson

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 09:13 PM

28 man roster

Increase the 40 man roster to 45

Universal DH in All MLB

Same existing playoff structure


#15 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 09:50 PM

 

Good point. National League teams now carry 24, 25, 26 pitcher on the 40-man. (My lord, how did we get here?) American League not much better. And you can bet every team will make a point of churning the bottom halves year-to-year to make sure they have plenty with options remaining. Options are currently more valued on the bottom of the 40-man than is mlb experience, if not ability. But who cares if they have one mlb quality pitch, because they’ll never be asked to pitch more than one inning, if that, in a competitive game given that this game can be played to maintain 8, 9, (10 coming soon) relievers on the active roster. The current optioning rules are absolutely being gamed and are definitely part of the problem.

I don't fault teams for doing it, as it's within the rules and gives an advantage over a long, grueling 162 game season.

 

But also, just change the damned rules. If loopholes are found and exploited, close them. MLB has been terrifically awful at adapting to the changes in the game that have made the sport a worse spectating experience over the past 10-15 years.

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#16 Rosterman

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Posted 04 March 2021 - 11:39 PM

I remember waaaay back when they had expanded rosters to start the season. It was 1966 and roster were set at 28 until May 15th. The Twins traded Russ Nixon to the Red Sox for second baseman Chuck Schilling. Schilling never got in one game, and was sent to the minors, but just retired instead.

 

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#17 DocBauer

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 01:02 AM

Dropping in to make a couple comments.

Thank you for comments/opinions thus far. I was honestly afraid this was a post 2020/still relevant 2021 thought and pending CBA idea that might get swiped under the couch with the exuberance of ST.

I disagree that roster size does anything to lengthen games. Baseball has been on a 3hr clip for years now. Ironically, the same time table as an NFL game. Whether you like it or not, limited bullpen subsition can only keep the game more interesting.

Full league acceptance of the DH, which seems inevitable, should provide more offense, more excitement, more game drama, but lend the roster to have more flexibility. (Sorry for purists, but it is natural progression).

I disagree that high market teams will have an advantage, though I appreciate the sentiment. An expanded roster might, instead, allow for a smaller market team to play "old school" ball and build a roster of platoons or have a bench that drives other teams nuts.

Look, I grew up with 200 IP SP and 20-25HR being a benchmark. But that's not the reality any longer. I also grew up in a time where if you didn't have an NFL RB who could churn out a 1,000 yard season plus you were toast.

But sports have changed. MLB is SLOW to adapt and change. We know this. And maybe a reviluttionist way of thinking with a 25 man roster is the way to go. Maybe not. But I think this arguement is worth having and I appreciate each and every opinion presented.

I just tossed out a few more thoughts to reflect on.
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#18 Dodecahedron

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 11:29 AM

More roster spots would only further the divide between good teams and bad teams.

 

A Terry Ryan-style team would add a couple of AAA guys to the roster.

A Steinbrenner-style team would add proven performers close to their primes.

 

 


#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 01:23 PM

I disagree that roster size does anything to lengthen games. Baseball has been on a 3hr clip for years now. Ironically, the same time table as an NFL game. Whether you like it or not, limited bullpen subsition can only keep the game more interesting.

I don't know how much roster size influences game length but games continue to get longer almost every year. Game length isn't stagnant and hasn't been for some time.

The average game length in 2010 was 15 minutes shorter than 2019.

https://www.baseball.../MLB/misc.shtml

#20 lecroy24fan

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Posted 05 March 2021 - 07:32 PM

 

Is the 26 man roster permanent or it is just a stop gap for this year because the pitchers won't be throwing as many issues after last year's short season? I guess the next CBA will tell us but I'm curious if anyone knows the deal here. I'm ok with a 26 man roster as long as the pitching staff is limited to 13 and we keep in the rule that pitchers must pitch to 3 hitters or finish an inning. The over specialization of relief pitching is one of the main culprits in making the game less interesting in my humble opinion. Us baseball nerds might like the strategy component but the general public is just not warming up to the constant pitching changes and 3 to 3.5 hour games that the constant BP changes cause. So to me the key isn't the roster size, it's pitching limitations. 

 

They had already established that rosters would be 26 until Spetember when you could go to 28 starting with 2020 before the pandemic. Unfortunatley after making a 13 pitcher max, they've now decided not to limit it.