Should MLB Rosters be Expanded to 26?
Tuesday February 7th, 2012
Sam Evans: With all the changes that MLB made this offseason in the new CBA, they have proven that preserving the history of the game is not important as some think. We are entering a new era of baseball, and we shouldn’t have to stick to the old rules. One of the old rules is the requirement that a major league roster can be no larger than 25 men. This rule was first firmly instituted in 1968 and hasn’t changed ever since. Now, in an era in which relievers rarely throw more than an inning, it’s time for baseball to change this rule.
The Argument Against Expansion of MLB Rosters:
The most common argument against any changes that MLB institutes is that it will negatively affect the records and history of baseball. MLB has never had a twenty-six man roster, so why should they change the past? Another issue some people have with the expansion is the time of the game. With another player to substitute, there would most likely be more pitching changes, due to the number of pitchers/substitute hitters on the roster.
Expanding the rosters of MLB teams wouldn’t help the American League as much as it would the National League. An extra bench player would see significant at-bats in the NL. But in the AL, he’d be lucky to get any form of consistent playing time.
The best argument against expansion is the development of young players. Let’s say the Cardinals call up Shelby Miller as their twenty-sixth man in June. The Cardinals then keep Miller on the roster, because they know he can turn in an occasional dominant inning out of the pen. The reality is that they would then be hurting his growth as a pitcher, because his innings count would be way down. In the end, a Miller type player would take longer to reach his potential because of the one year where he was put into limited action at too early of an age. My point is, that with one extra man on the roster, teams will have one more spot where they can promote players that aren’t ready for the majors and need consistent playing time.
The Argument For Expansion of MLB Rosters
The main reason for expanding rosters is that 162 games is a really long season. Players shouldn’t be forced to play injured due to roster inflexibilities. Also, it gives managers the chance to give more players days off. With one extra player on the roster, we will see the best quality of baseball that the world has to offer. In the National League, we will see managers that are less afraid to pinch-hit a player, in order to save him for later on in the game.
There are many ways to fix these roster problems. The most obvious is just to add one player to the amount of players each team is allowed to carry on their roster. The biggest issue with this is that most teams would give that spot to a reliever, leading to more pitchers who were on each team for a specific role. This would cause more pitching changes, making the games even longer, which I don’t think anyone wants.
My proposed solution would have the National League rosters set at 26 (the AL doesn’t need the extra bench player) and all teams would have a limit of seven bullpen pitchers. This would make the National League teams play closer to the same level as their American League brothers, instead of using the DH.
This hasn’t exactly been one of the most discussed subjects in baseball. However, MLB did take the initiative to change the rosters in the new CBA. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement, finalized this winter, allows teams to carry 26 men for doubleheaders. With an extra man on the roster, teams will no longer be out of pitchers after doubleheaders. In a CBA full of bad decisions, it appears that MLB got this one right.
While having 25 men on the roster isn’t exactly destroying the game, with 26 men Major League rosters, we would see a higher quality of baseball. This is the right decision for baseball to make, and they should get it done immediately.
**Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter***
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Posted on February 7, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged 25 man roster, baseball, bud selig, cba, mlb, mlb commissioner, roster expansion, shelby miller, st louis cardinals. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.