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Tuesday, April 26, 2022

MLB teams will be allowed to carry 14 pitchers for four more weeks

Next Monday, May 2 will still see active roster limits reduce from 28 to 26 players, but Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed Tuesday to allow teams to carry one extra pitcher for nearly all of May.

The standing rule is that, at least until September, teams can carry a maximum of 13 pitchers on the 26-man active roster. That’s been in place since the 2020 season, but has yet to be realized. The pitcher limit was relaxed for two seasons under agreed-upon COVID-19 protocols. This year, the pitcher limit was relaxed for the first three and a half weeks after the lockout-truncated spring training didn’t give pitchers enough time to build up arm strength.

MLB announced Tuesday that the limit will be 14 pitchers from May 2 through May 29, then the regular rules will apply starting May 30.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 12:04 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: roster limits

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   1. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 26, 2022 at 01:33 PM (#6073783)
I get the reasoning behind it, but it's hard not to pair this story with the one above it that notes the relationship with days of rest for relief pitchers and decreased offense.
   2. Tom Nawrocki Posted: April 26, 2022 at 02:20 PM (#6073795)
Are there going to be that many teams carrying 14 pitchers? That leaves you with 12 position players, so with the universal DH, you've got only a three-man bench.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 03:27 PM (#6073811)
Booo!
   4. . Posted: April 26, 2022 at 04:06 PM (#6073825)
They just can't do anything right.
   5. The Honorable Ardo Posted: April 26, 2022 at 04:09 PM (#6073826)
Tom, watch and see. I'm laying a (strictly friendly) wager that more than half of MLB teams will carry 14 pitchers and 12 non-pitchers.
   6. Buck Coats Posted: April 26, 2022 at 04:51 PM (#6073847)
I'll lay a (strictly friendly) wager that they'll extend this rule again when May ends. I'm frankly skeptical that they'll shorten the rosters in a week.
   7. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 05:52 PM (#6073858)
can someone explain how these two sides reached this agreement with apparently no much pushback?

One would think half the teams in MLB would benefit from the extra pitcher and half of them wouldn't. That's just how a natural distribution of talent should work. There's no way 20 teams will get an advantage from this. More like 14 or 15.

And how did it work for the union? Surely there's no reason for position players to vote for this is there? '

Or is this one of those things where Manfred just implements it unilaterally in his best interest of baseball power and the union just sort of shrugged?
   8. Jay Seaver Posted: April 26, 2022 at 06:01 PM (#6073860)
One would think half the teams in MLB would benefit from the extra pitcher and half of them wouldn't. That's just how a natural distribution of talent should work.


Why should we assume the talent distribution is roughly 50/50? It seems entirely possible that, after a few years of seeing how well a Rays-style bullpen works, teams would have gone for them more and it's entirely possible that it's easier (relatively speaking) to turn raw talent into a guy who throws 97 for 25 pitches and then rests two days than into a starter or a hitter. Or, at least, it's the most predictable way to get something out of a prospect.
   9. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 06:10 PM (#6073863)
Because the 16th best no 14 pitcher in MLB is by definition going to be below the average of no. 14 pitchers.
   10. Brian C Posted: April 26, 2022 at 06:54 PM (#6073868)
Because the 16th best no 14 pitcher in MLB is by definition going to be below the average of no. 14 pitchers.

Sure, but '14th pitcher vs. 14th pitcher' isn't a real matchup. Teams would support this as long as they thought they themselves would (or even 'might') get more value from a 14th pitcher vs. an extra bench player, which is something that could be theoretically true for every team simultaneously.

   11. Jay Seaver Posted: April 26, 2022 at 06:58 PM (#6073870)
Yeah, but that doesn't necessarily mean that an 8-person bullpen and 4-person bench is going to be better for that team than a 9-person bullpen and 3-person bench. Adequate position players willing to take a bench role may be harder to find than guys who can throw 95 for an inning, and when you've got a philosophy/strategy of smothering the opponent's offense with non-stop fresh arms, you plan to build that as best you can, even if you don't have the best.
   12. KronicFatigue Posted: April 26, 2022 at 07:30 PM (#6073873)
I think I'm with Sunday on this. If teams were allowed to choose for themselves, it's quite possible that all of them would choose 9/3. But Sunday is pointing out that half the teams should probably be in a position where their opponents gain more from that extra reliever than they do.

Though I suppose a team could have a below replacement level "14th pitcher" and a below replacement level "4th bench player". But by the same token, some teams will have positives in both those positions as well.

I don't think it breaks exactly 50/50, but yes, there absolutely should be a decent number of teams who would benefit from screwing the rest of the league, even if that means screwing themselves a bit.
   13. Brian C Posted: April 26, 2022 at 07:43 PM (#6073876)
I think I'm with Sunday on this. If teams were allowed to choose for themselves, it's quite possible that all of them would choose 9/3. But Sunday is pointing out that half the teams should probably be in a position where their opponents gain more from that extra reliever than they do.

No, that doesn't make sense. The only relevant consideration for a team is whether their 14th pitcher gives them more value than their 13th position player. The average value of the 14th pitcher across the league has nothing to do with it - that's pure abstraction. Even if your 14th pitcher is the worst 14th pitcher in the league, you're still better off rostering him if he gives you more value than the extra bench guy would.

In practice, teams may prefer one over the other at roughly equal numbers, depending on their resources. But even still, they'd probably want to preserve the flexibility in case injuries, trades, etc., change their roster and maybe it works out differently; it's not like they're required to carry an extra pitcher.

   14. KronicFatigue Posted: April 26, 2022 at 07:54 PM (#6073881)
What if the rule was "your best hitter can't strike out". Every team would benefit from that rule. But some teams' best hitters would benefit less from that rule than other teams. Some teams best hitters are so bad that it doesn't even provide much value. It would behoove those teams to do something worse for themselves (their best hitter can in fact strike out) b/c it hurts other teams more.

   15. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 08:24 PM (#6073887)
...which is something that could be theoretically true for every team simultaneously.


the only thing that matters is whether that additional pitcher would help that team vs. the league in general. Regardless of whether the marginal 14th pitcher was better in terms of WAR or wotever vs the 13th positional player, it doesnt matter.

So say the 14th pitcher was 0.3 WAR guy and the 13th positional guy was a o.2. So hey lets get the pitcher he's better. But that's not relevant because the list of teams and their increase would be

13th team 0.4 gain
14th team 0.3
15th team 0.3
----league average gain 0.25-----
16th team 0.2
17th team 0.18

Only half the teams could possibly gain vs the league. And that's the only comparison that's relevant. In theory only half the teams should want this. But I guess like 5 more teams could delude themselves into thinking that they were better off and vote for it. Much like you're deluding yourself.
   16. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 08:28 PM (#6073888)
Even if your 14th pitcher is the worst 14th pitcher in the league, you're still better off rostering him if he gives you more value than the extra bench guy would.


No it doesnt.

Lets say you're expected WAR from all your player is: 25 WAR.

ANd adding pitcher no. 14 vs position player no 13 gain you 0.5

So now you're expected WAR is 25.5.

You're insisting that this is better for you. Its NOT if 15 other teams gained more WAR than you did. Geezus.
   17. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 08:32 PM (#6073890)
The only relevant consideration for a team is whether their 14th pitcher gives them more value than their 13th position player.


What if the league offers teams the option to add one more player to their team?

"Well gee we got some guy in triple AAA he's not really good. But he's actually projects to 0.4 WAR this season.
"That's great we add him we can't help but get better.

So you vote to add one marginal guy.

Every other team in the league did the same thing but all of their marginal guys were way better than your marginal guy. You finish worse than you would have if you hadnt added the player.

This is so obvious.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 26, 2022 at 08:41 PM (#6073894)
You realize that literally no team thinks anything about this other than “more arms in our pen is good because yay more options” right?
   19. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 08:51 PM (#6073901)
I mean I do. But my first question was how exactly was this decision made?

Did teams really take a vote on it? Cause if the guys doing advance analytics for like PIT or CIN or some team might be saying "Whoa, wait a second. Do we really want this?"

Or was it some sort of phone call from Manfred like "Hey Bob, I'm gonna let them have the extra pitcher for another month. You're not gonna object are you?" "You're not gonna cut our shared revenue stream are you?" "Oh no Bob." "Sure go ahead."

Because it just doesnt make sense logically to me that you could achieve a consensus on an issue like that without some push back.
   20. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 26, 2022 at 09:12 PM (#6073904)
The only relevant consideration for a team is whether their 14th pitcher gives them more value than their 13th position player.
I think it’s more complex than that, or at least not just a question of WAR. If your other 13 pitchers are good enough, there shouldn’t be much need for #14, even if he’s pretty good, too. There might be a difficult to quantify benefit of lessening the load even further on the other 13, or not if other pitchers benefit from more regular work, but much of the use for #14 might be somewhat forced. Depending on the position player roster, there could be other needs (defensive replacement, pinch runner) that are marginal but might actually be more valuable than redistributing half a point of WAR from pitchers #9-13 to #14.
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 26, 2022 at 09:21 PM (#6073907)
Because it just doesnt make sense logically to me that you could achieve a consensus on an issue like that without some push back.
From the MLBPA perspective, more players will get MLB service time when the pitcher limits are changed during the season, so there’s no reason for them to object to extending the 14 pitchers until May 30, then giving the last pitching slot to position players for the remainder of the season.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 26, 2022 at 09:39 PM (#6073910)
Because it just doesnt make sense logically to me that you could achieve a consensus on an issue like that without some push back.
Who would possibly push back? Absolutely no one is thinking about this in terms of relative competitive advantage. There are two frames of thought: 1) Fear of injuries, and 2) We want more relievers on our team, period.
   23. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 09:44 PM (#6073912)
well I Presume the union is 50-50 position/pitchers? doesnt this favor pitchers?
   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 09:49 PM (#6073914)
Absolutely no one is thinking about this in terms of relative competitive advantage. There are two frames of thought: 1) Fear of injuries, and 2) We want more relievers on our team, period.

Probably correct, but that's dumb on their part. Relative advantage is all that matters in sports. The average team always wins 81 games. Your absolute talent means nothing.
   25. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 26, 2022 at 09:49 PM (#6073915)
Given current roster makeup, the union has to be about 87% pitchers by now.
   26. Brian C Posted: April 26, 2022 at 09:57 PM (#6073917)
I mean I do. But my first question was how exactly was this decision made?

Did teams really take a vote on it? Cause if the guys doing advance analytics for like PIT or CIN or some team might be saying "Whoa, wait a second. Do we really want this?"

Or was it some sort of phone call from Manfred like "Hey Bob, I'm gonna let them have the extra pitcher for another month. You're not gonna object are you?" "You're not gonna cut our shared revenue stream are you?" "Oh no Bob." "Sure go ahead."

Because it just doesnt make sense logically to me that you could achieve a consensus on an issue like that without some push back.

It's not like you can quantify the competitive advantage in advance anyway, or really even in hindsight. Who was the 14th pitcher that wouldn't have been on the team otherwise? Teams don't exactly announce this, and teams make multiple roster moves a week these days anyway. So even if they announced the extra guy in advance, there would be no way to know how subsequent moves would have played out differently under different rules. A guy gets hurt or has a couple of good games and all of the sudden someone else is the 14th guy in the FO's thinking, and who knows? "Hey, we can keep an extra pitcher now - let's make that waiver claim we weren't planning to make but will help us now."

This is why I said in my original post - 14th pitcher vs 14th pitcher just isn't a real matchup. It's so abstract that trying to quantify it is meaningless, and no team does or should ever make decisions like this - how could they possibly get the granularity in the data for all 30 teams to make a prediction beforehand that would be worth a damn? It would be functionally impossible even without taking possible waiver claims, trades, etc. into account.

What you're saying just doesn't make any sense at all in any credibly plausible terms. All teams care about is whether they think it might possibly help them out. And especially since they have the option to use that roster spot for either a bench player or a pitcher, why would they ever turn that down? Rosters aren't set - they can use the new rules to their advantage after the rules are changed!
   27. sunday silence (again) Posted: April 26, 2022 at 10:20 PM (#6073933)
...especially since they have the option to use that roster spot for either a bench player or a pitcher, why would they ever turn that down?


The fact that's an option doesnt make your argument any better. The only issue is whether this issue helps you more than at least 15 other teams. Or whether having the option helps 15 other teams more than you.

The existence of an option doesnt change the analysis. Its still based on whether this rule helps you more than the average team. Thats all that matters.

But yeah I get what you're saying that this is all hard to quantify but some teams would certainly be more helped than others.
   28. Brian C Posted: April 26, 2022 at 10:40 PM (#6073939)
but some teams would certainly be more helped than others.

I actually think that this isn't so certain - that whatever help/hurt it ends up providing ends up being so marginal that it would be difficult to see much of an effect at all, even if granted total omniscience. Realistically, no one really has 26th guys that will move the needle much - almost by definition, these are guys who spend most of their time riding the bench and see almost all of their actual game action in low-leverage situations.
   29. The Duke Posted: April 27, 2022 at 12:05 AM (#6073957)
I wish they would just implement the rule that the starting pitcher has to record 27 outs before he can be removed - that should get the bats going
   30. The Honorable Ardo Posted: April 27, 2022 at 12:21 AM (#6073960)
The relationship between pitchers and position players is actually quite complex.

In the 1970s/early 1980s, teams were reluctant to carry extra pitchers because the opponent had a half-dozen pinch hitters available for every game situation and you could almost always secure the platoon advantage on offense.

In the 2020s, teams are reluctant to carry extra position players because, out of eight or nine relievers, the opponent can bring in the one best suited to exploit the batter's weak spots.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: April 27, 2022 at 12:38 AM (#6073961)
In the 2020s, teams are reluctant to carry extra position players because, out of eight or nine relievers, the opponent can bring in the one best suited to exploit the batter's weak spots.


The three-batter rule should work against that, but it doesn't seem to have.
   32. Rob_Wood Posted: April 27, 2022 at 12:50 AM (#6073964)
Yes, it's more of a double-delta issue. If you follow Sunday's perspective, a team "should" compare their value delta between their 14th best pitcher and 12th best position player vs. the league average delta (or median or whatever). But as pointed out above, teams don't really think like that.
   33. BDC Posted: April 27, 2022 at 08:16 AM (#6073971)
My offhand impression would be that once you are getting down to the 390th through 420th-best professional pitchers, their quality isn't greatly different from 330 through 390, or for that matter from 420 through 660+. And not only very slight, but never static – these pitchers are constantly developing and trying new stuff and getting hurt and recovering, etc. So the teams, as people have noted here, think only in terms of the tactical flexibility of accumulating more and more of them.
   34. Buck Coats Posted: May 26, 2022 at 03:43 PM (#6078547)
Hey, what a surprise - "According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Major League Baseball will allow teams to carry 14 pitchers through June 19."
   35. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 26, 2022 at 03:50 PM (#6078551)

What if the league offers teams the option to add one more player to their team?

"Well gee we got some guy in triple AAA he's not really good. But he's actually projects to 0.4 WAR this season.
"That's great we add him we can't help but get better.

So you vote to add one marginal guy.

Every other team in the league did the same thing but all of their marginal guys were way better than your marginal guy. You finish worse than you would have if you hadnt added the player.


This is a well-known phenomenon in economics known as the "Tragedy of the Clemons"
   36. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 26, 2022 at 04:52 PM (#6078559)
In the 2020s, teams are reluctant to carry extra position players

I don't think it's a reluctance to carry additional position players, but rather -- as BDC notes in [33] -- a universally compulsive desire to accumulate MOAR PITCHERZ!!11!11!!
   37. Cris E Posted: May 26, 2022 at 05:37 PM (#6078562)
Pitchers do get injured at an alarming rate, well above that of the position players, so it's not an irrational craving. I guess that only matters when they're not hurt bad enough to hit the DL, but that seems to be coming up fairly often too.
   38. Bret Sabermatrician Posted: May 28, 2022 at 07:40 AM (#6078786)
Yet we'll still get multiple position players pitching.
   39. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: May 28, 2022 at 02:01 PM (#6078813)
You realize that literally no team thinks anything about this other than “more arms in our pen is good because yay more options” right?

My sentiments exactly.

   40. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 28, 2022 at 03:28 PM (#6078829)
Yet we'll still get multiple position players pitching.


I know thats the ###### weirdest thing of all.

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