2020 will be seeing plenty of changes to our national pastime.
As we turn the calendar to September and what will be the final month of Colorado Rockies baseball in 2019, a few changes will be coming to baseball, including something that we saw for the final time on Saturday, at least for the Rockies this season.
Since the Rockies will obviously not be seeing the postseason in 2019 (they enter September with the 2nd worst record in the National League) and September roster expansion happening today, the Rockies will never have a game with a 25-man roster again.
Next season, Major League Baseball will increase the maximum roster size to 26 players (and a minimum of 25 players), which is up from a maximum of 25 players and a minimum of 24. For nearly the entirety of MLB’s history, the roster limit has been 25.
The only exceptions to the 25-man roster limit since 1920 have been the first few months of the 1978 season and the entirety of 1986 through 1990 seasons, when the limit was 24 as a cost-cutting measure for rising player salaries in both instances and instances of shortened spring trainings due to labor disputes when teams were allowed to carry extra players for the few weeks following the disputes.
Also, since 2012, for double-headers, teams have been able to expand their roster to 26-players. That will also increase in 2020 to 27 players.
One thing that you will see this month is, perhaps, over a dozen players added to the Rockies roster as a part of September call-ups and the minor league season ending. However, this will also be a thing of the past after this season. For 2020, in September, rosters will only expand to 28 players.
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Related to the roster, another change that is happening is that a specific amount (not yet determined) of maximum pitchers allowed will be made. The exception is two-way players (defined as 20 innings pitched and 20 MLB games as a DH or position player with at least three plate appearances per game in the 2019 season or in 2020).
Players that are not “two-way players” therefore must be designated as a “position player” or a “pitcher.” Therefore, position players will not be allowed to pitch in a game unless the game has a six run or more differential (regardless of whether the position player’s team is winning or losing) when the enters the game as a pitcher or if the game is in extra innings.
Pitchers must also face at least three batters or to the end of the half inning, with an exception for an “incapacitating injury or illness.”
There are a few other logistical things that will, or potentially will, change next season. Commissioner Rob Manfred has the right to reduce commercial breaks from an even two minutes (as they currently are, whether the game is nationally televised or not) to 1:55 next year.
Additionally, a few years ago the then-named disabled list minimum time was dropped from 15 days to 10 days. However, in 2020, the now-named injured list will be returning to the former minimum length of 15 days.
Also, only for pitchers, the minimum time in the minor leagues after being optioned for them goes from 10 to 15 days, with an exception of being recalled for replacing an injured player.
So, gone are the days of the 25-man roster and many other things in the near future. Only time will tell us how well all of these changes will work.