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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Miller: Baseball moving toward streamlining bloated September rosters

Bud Selig’s blue-ribbon committee has yet another innovation to solve one of baseball’s many problems. This time, the managers will have to count!

The most common scenario under discussion is to expand September rosters to 30, with each club’s 25-man roster on Aug. 31 being locked in throughout September.

In other words, each team would use that 25-man roster as a base throughout September, and then have the ability to add five minor-leaguers (out of however many are recalled) to its active roster for each game during the season’s final month.

The point of using the Aug. 31 rosters as a base? Simple: Each club would be required to keep its five-man rotation eligible every day in September, rather than de-activating the four starters not pitching on a particular night in order to add four more relievers.

Greg Franklin Posted: September 05, 2012 at 03:15 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: minor leagues, rosters, rules

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   1. Craig in MN Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:23 PM (#4227462)

The point of using the Aug. 31 rosters as a base? Simple: Each club would be required to keep its five-man rotation eligible every day in September, rather than de-activating the four starters not pitching on a particular night in order to add four more relievers.


How is that different? Under the proposal they can add 5 players anyway, who's to say they can't just add 4 more relievers and one position player? Are rosters more "bloated" than 30 men that often anyway? I'm more concerned that managers might think they've got a 16 man pitching staff and make extra pitching changes with abandon.

My preferred change, if any is to be made, is to let them use anyone on the 40 man roster, but just make teams pick a 25 man roster for each game before gametime. That keeps the idea of a 25 man roster for a game as meaning something, and still lets them bench 4 starters and add 4 guys that are useful. If other players are banged up or need a rest, they can bench them too.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:26 PM (#4227468)
What if one of your starters is on the DL on August 31 and another has options left or something like that. Just activate them on September 1 and you've broken this stupid system.
   3. JJ1986 Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4227475)
If keeping the starters from being deactivated is the problem, then just set the daily roster limit at ([what otherwise would have been the roster limit]-4). So 26 in this case. It's not hard.
   4. ColonelTom Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:32 PM (#4227478)
Good idea.

Tuesday's Giants/D'Backs game was excruciating. Bruce Bochy used 25 players, including 11 pitchers, in an 11-inning, 8-6 loss. Six of those pitchers threw 10 or fewer pitches; four threw more warmup tosses on the mound than actual pitches. The game took 4 hours and 19 minutes.

The other version of this rule I've seen discussed would maintain a 40-man overall limit but require the manager to designate 25 active players for each game. I'm guessing the 30-man roster rule discussed above would be a lot less administrative hassle.
   5. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:33 PM (#4227479)
My preferred change, if any is to be made, is to let them use anyone on the 40 man roster, but just make teams pick a 25 man roster for each game before gametime. That keeps the idea of a 25 man roster for a game as meaning something, and still lets them bench 4 starters and add 4 guys that are useful. If other players are banged up or need a rest, they can bench them too.
I first heard this idea--though it surely did not originate with him--from Michael Kay. It seems like a good idea, and I'd support it, but I'm a little wary of any idea loudly advocated by Kay.
   6. DA Baracus is a "bloodthirsty fan of Atlanta." Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:35 PM (#4227486)
"How do you prepare your guys for 17 pitchers?" Mattingly, who then was Los Angeles' hitting coach, asked.


By putting 20 hitters on your roster to mess with them?

"One of the things, game to game, is the competitive balance," says Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who is a member of Selig's special committee. "One team expands its roster to 37 and is playing against a team that maybe expanded its roster to 31.


Nobody stopped you from adding 6 more guys Mike, unless A) your farm team(s) are in the playoffs and you want your players to play in them instead or B) they don't have that much talent worth calling up in September.
   7. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:37 PM (#4227489)
Yeah, the soccer method of simply naming who your available substitutes are on the lineup card seems to be an easy fix. Give each team 12 substitutes (11 in DH games) and be done with it.

Or just leave it alone. I doubt the world will stop spinning on its axis.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:39 PM (#4227494)
i wonder how much doug melvin influenced this item? melvin has long been on record of not liking the september callup rules
   9. Best Regards, President of Comfort Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4227505)
I first heard this idea--though it surely did not originate with him--from Michael Kay. It seems like a good idea, and I'd support it, but I'm a little wary of any idea loudly advocated by Kay.
If it makes you feel any better, he's just repeating Joe Girardi's idea. That doesn't make you feel better? Okay.

25 man roster, named the day of the game, the starting pitcher in the last four games has to be on the roster. All 40 men can be on the bench or in the bullpen during the game. That's what I'd like.
   10. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4227506)
f it makes you feel any better, he's just repeating Joe Girardi's idea.
Well, does Joe have a binder to show how he came to this conclusion? That might change my thinking...
   11. JJ1986 Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:52 PM (#4227512)
the starting pitcher in the last four games has to be on the roster.


This is pretty easy to cheat too. Have another pitcher throw a pitch (or a batter or an inning) and then bring your actual starter in.
   12. Bob Tufts Posted: September 05, 2012 at 04:53 PM (#4227518)
So there is a negative attitude towards using players deemed qualified to play in the majors at the same time there is a positive push to let Adam Greenberg get another MLB at bat? (Although I heard that Greenberg had chosen the Gap Band's "Say Oops Upside Your Head" as his intro song if he was able to come to the plate.)

There is no problem. Stop the Rube Goldberg antics!



   13. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:11 PM (#4227542)
Lame. I like seeing all the random guys in september.
   14. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4227547)
This seems like a solution in search of a problem.


EDIT: I've long been on record against excessive bullpens and pitching changes, but this seems like a monumentally stupid way to address it. The problem isn't bloated rosters in September, but dumb management all year long.
   15. Steve Treder Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4227557)
Bruce Bochy used 25 players, including 11 pitchers, in an 11-inning, 8-6 loss. Six of those pitchers threw 10 or fewer pitches; four threw more warmup tosses on the mound than actual pitches. The game took 4 hours and 19 minutes.

Cuban baseball is like that. I couldn't figure out what the roster limit is, but every team I saw was carrying at least 15 pitchers, and deploying damn near all of them. LOTS of pitching changes.

I loved just about everything about Cuban baseball. This part, not so much.
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:20 PM (#4227559)
Lame. I like seeing all the random guys in september.


Yep.

This seems like a solution in search of a problem.


Yep.
   17. Greg K Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:22 PM (#4227564)
Is it just me or has there been a ton of complaining about the 40 man rosters this year?

I swear I've never heard anyone have a problem with it, but I must have read at least 3 or 4 articles on it in the past week, and several announcers have mentioned in-game that it is a problem. Does this happen every September, or is this new?
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4227571)
I swear I've never heard anyone have a problem with it, but I must have read at least 3 or 4 articles on it in the past week, and several announcers have mentioned in-game that it is a problem. Does this happen every September, or is this new?


Not new, just more. More teams in the post season, means more teams can be eliminated by a player who wouldn't be on the 25 man roster, meaning a lot of self righteous attitudes about the game. These are also probably traditionalists who don't like the post season format, and are getting their ducks lined up to complain about the post season format.
   19. KT's Pot Arb Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:46 PM (#4227592)
I loved just about everything about Cuban baseball.


Confirmed communist.
   20. Esmailyn Gonzalez Sr. Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4227595)
When is St. Louis going to call up Minor League Guy?
Or should we just add 5 guys named Minor League Guy and be done with it?
   21. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:53 PM (#4227599)
Games like the one between the White Sox and Tigers last Saturday are the kind that keep casual fans from becoming more interested in the sport. Robin Ventura had to get into his pen early on because Francisco Liriano racked up like 200 pitches and 11 walks through four innings. The game was still within reach at that point because the Tigers can't hit with RISP, but that led to Ventura playing all sorts of match-ups the rest of the way, presumably because he had lots of new arms at his disposal.

The most excruciating example was the 5th inning, which saw Liriano yanked after giving up a lead-off triple. Ventura used THREE pitchers for THREE batters and the Tigers still plated that run.

I watched the whole thing since I had nothing to do until heading out for the night, but I got so sick of seeing Robin Ventura head out to the mound that I was thankful I hadn't picked that night to try and sway anyone closer to baseball.
   22. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: September 05, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4227609)
Does this happen every September, or is this new?

If it's new, they people complaining have picked a strange thing to complain about. The quote from Scioscia above is saying the same thing that the article posted here last week was saying. Both are saying that the expanded rosters are unfair because some team has 5 more players than the other team. But that's just stupid (as has been pointed out above). There's nothing inherently unfair about the callups and there's no reason why both teams can't have 40 players.
   23. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: September 05, 2012 at 07:29 PM (#4227694)
After September 1st, teams should be allowed to put anybody they want on their roster. Anybody. Major-leaguers, minor-leaguers, rookie-leaguers, retired players, guys who don't even play baseball, women, eight-year-old kids, dead people, housepets.

Before every game, teams will spin an enormous wheel at home plate and pick that day's 25-player roster.

I'd watch.
   24. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: September 05, 2012 at 08:38 PM (#4227725)
Tuesday's Giants/D'Backs game was excruciating. Bruce Bochy used 25 players, including 11 pitchers, in an 11-inning, 8-6 loss. Six of those pitchers threw 10 or fewer pitches; four threw more warmup tosses on the mound than actual pitches. The game took 4 hours and 19 minutes.


This, this, this. We're getting into goofy territory.
   25. FrankM Posted: September 05, 2012 at 08:54 PM (#4227733)
This is pretty easy to cheat too. Have another pitcher throw a pitch (or a batter or an inning) and then bring your actual starter in.

Well, you could make the rule that any pitcher who works more than 2 innings in any single game during the last 4 has to stay on the roster.

Not that I'm advocating this; I think the idea is stupid and they should leave things as they are.
   26. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 05, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4227745)
My preferred change, if any is to be made, is to let them use anyone on the 40 man roster, but just make teams pick a 25 man roster for each game before gametime.

A fair amount of the playing time for the call-ups comes in blowouts or late in games with safe leads. You can't predict those, unless you're playing the Cubs, so managers would just designate their Top 25 until they had clinched a playoff spot or were out of the race, losing the chance to evaluate the call-ups. Don't see the need for a change.
   27. S.F. Giangst Posted: September 05, 2012 at 10:22 PM (#4227787)
This is indeed a very stupid idea in search of a problem. The primary idea of expanded rosters and deeper benches and bullpens is to conduct player development and evaluation. Forcing a team to scratch players (might as well use the hockey terms here) before the game only works against that principle. A team and its manager often don't know when the opportunity to try younger players will happen until the game is already underway.

If you're down eight runs at the point in the game where your thumpers have already batted twice, you might as well just punt the game and put your kids into the lineup and get them some experience. WP says the best you're likely to do if you leave them in is lose by slightly less. Conversely if you're up a ton as you move to the later innings, getting the older players off the field should make for better baseball the remainder of the season if you can get them some rest; and the kids you've called up are more or less fungible vs. the bench players you'd be carrying on the 25 man roster.

If two also-ran teams are playing in September, this is exactly the time they need to evaluate young players to reduce the chances of being a perpetual debacle (glances at Kansas City...)

If two contending teams are playing in September, they should have every possible weapon at their disposal especially fresh, young legs as pinch runners if a game goes extra innings.

And in the instance of contender versus also-ran, especially in the latter's park, keep in mind that casual fans might be less likely to buy tickets if they feel that another team's stars might be scratched. A Rockies fan isn't going to be as interested in seeing them host the Giants and make a game day purchase if Posey, Sandoval and random-third-regular-with-lingerin-minor-injury are likely to all be scratches. Nothing against Sanchez, Arias and Joe-cup-of-Coffee, mind you, but if it's getaway day and the Giants have already taken two games while the Dodgers have split, Bochy might scratch all three ahead of a travel day, and even play the call-ups.

It's the latter scenario that bothers most; it invites managers to calculate which games they can maybe afford to lose and set up their scratches accordingly.

Extra players sitting on the bench and eligible to play aren't hurting anybody (except maybe the backs of the guys who have to move the extra equipment bags.) It ain't broke...

The sole amendment that should be made to rosters would again take a page from hockey. Allow teams to have an eligible roster of 28 players, and inactivate 3 players before the game. This would probably be yesterday's starter, tomorrow's starter and one other starter in most cases. But it would be a great way to eliminate the ridiculous aspects of the 15-day disabled list being used for a player with a physical issue that will resolve in 3 to 5 days. For example, a guy who gets hit on his hand -- no fracture but can't grip a bat -- gets to rest without his team either playing with a short bench for a week or being stuck with Johnny Scrub AAAA-player for half a month.
   28. cardsfanboy Posted: September 05, 2012 at 10:24 PM (#4227790)
The sole amendment that should be made to rosters would again take a page from hockey. Allow teams to have an eligible roster of 28 players, and inactivate 3 players before the game. This would probably be yesterday's starter, tomorrow's starter and one other starter in most cases. But it would be a great way to eliminate the ridiculous aspects of the 15-day disabled list being used for a player with a physical issue that will resolve in 3 to 5 days. For example, a guy who gets hit on his hand -- no fracture but can't grip a bat -- gets to rest without his team either playing with a short bench for a week or being stuck with Johnny Scrub AAAA-player for half a month.


I fully support this idea (I've been touting this for some time)
   29. Craig in MN Posted: September 06, 2012 at 12:07 AM (#4227873)
A fair amount of the playing time for the call-ups comes in blowouts or late in games with safe leads. You can't predict those, unless you're playing the Cubs, so managers would just designate their Top 25 until they had clinched a playoff spot or were out of the race, losing the chance to evaluate the call-ups. Don't see the need for a change.


Not really. They'd designate 21 of their top 25, and bench 4 starters. With the 4 extra roster spots, they'd add an extra catcher, an extra infielder, and extra outfielder and an extra reliever. Odds are good they've got a reliever who pitched a lot recently and they want to rest, or a guy nursing a sore hamstring, or something like that, so they'd be able to mix in another player or two many days and still be putting out their best team with their best chance to win. If there are guys they really want to evaluate and can't squeeze them on the roster after doing that, they can always deactivate other players....like their (otherwise) utility infielder, (otherwise) 4th OF, or (otherwise) worst reliever that would be on the 25 man roster if they were limited to that. That might not be give them the absolute best roster to win a game, but it gives them potentially an (effectively) 32 man roster.....25 guys, plus 4 guys to replace the starters who aren't starting and 3 guys to evaluate in place of 3 scrubs that you don't feel the need to really rely on anyway.

I don't see an overwhelming need to change anything either, but I do think it makes sense to just say 25 is the number, and it wouldn't cut into any teams reasonable ability to evaluate players if they want to.
   30. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: September 06, 2012 at 01:25 AM (#4227907)
If it's new, they people complaining have picked a strange thing to complain about. The quote from Scioscia above is saying the same thing that the article posted here last week was saying. Both are saying that the expanded rosters are unfair because some team has 5 more players than the other team. But that's just stupid (as has been pointed out above). There's nothing inherently unfair about the callups and there's no reason why both teams can't have 40 players.
And it isn't unfair anyway, because the 32nd through 37th guys on the 40-man roster aren't going to be doing any significant contributing anyway.
   31. bobm Posted: September 06, 2012 at 01:51 AM (#4227918)
Reducing the crappiness of umpiring and expanding the use of instant replay in a rational manner would seem to be bigger, more pressing problems than September call-up inequities IMO
   32. Karl from NY Posted: September 06, 2012 at 03:51 PM (#4228539)
Extra players sitting on the bench and eligible to play aren't hurting anybody (except maybe the backs of the guys who have to move the extra equipment bags.) It ain't broke...

These arguments are all fine, for position players. The problem trying to get fixed here is the pile of extra pitchers. It's correct to carry eight extra scrub pitchers and use them, since the platoon advantage for a single at-bat is usually more value than the talent differential between your 4th and 12th relievers. And that influences and determines close games, not just garbage time in blowouts. If you want to let extra kid hitters play without degenerating the game into a parade of pitchers, you're going to need some roster rules to handle that.
   33. villageidiom Posted: September 08, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4230330)
I've been advocating for years that they should not expand rosters at all for September; rather, they should expand them for April. You get fewer shenanigans in the stretch drive, and more hot-playing rookies getting a cup of coffee after spring training. Starters are handling lighter workloads in April anyway, so you might as well let the roster size match it then, rather than wait until they're able to pitch deeper into games to expand the roster.
   34. bookbook Posted: September 08, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4230342)
Just limit pitching changes to two per inning, 5 per 9 innings maximum (resetting in the 10th). It's not onerous in any way, and sets some kind of upper bound on the most annoying shenanigans. (or go with the old nuclear plan I was most fond of: implant the key to the pitching change "football" in the heart of he bench coach. You can change pitchers for 1 batter to gain that 10-ops advantage if you really want to, but you've gotta kill your friend to do it.)
   35. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: September 08, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4230389)
I've been advocating for years that they should not expand rosters at all for September; rather, they should expand them for April.


IIRC, this is what they used to do. Rob Neyer or someone wrote about this in a column a few years back.

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