09 September 2016

Cup of jO's: Three Ideas about Roster Changes

Although it is an exciting time to be watching baseball, there is little at the moment for my interests to really connect to in the writing department.  The club has to play well and have a little luck shine down on them.  Yes, I can rail on Buck's use of the bench and what not, but these items are pretty baked into whatever winds up happening.  Therefore, I am taking a hard right to introduce three ideas about rosters.

Idea #1: Hold the Rule 5 draft on August 10th

The reasoning for this is three fold: (1) it creates another big buzz day in baseball for fans to pay attention, (2) it gives clubs who were unable to find needed pieces at the trade deadline another chance to fill in utility roles, relief options, etc., and (3) it gives accomplished AAA players a trial run at the MLB level, especially for teams out of the hunt.

The rules would remain largely the same, except that the date is moved up.  This means an MLB club must keep the player on its active roster from August 10th through the end of the next season.  This move would also likely created a scurry of transactions in the first ten days of August that would enable more player movement for teams to capitalize on.

At the very least, it would be exciting.

Idea #2: Adopt a Loan System similar to European Soccer

The idea I would have for this would be a draft every May 1st.  Players on their last option and not on the active roster on April 15th are available for a season long loan.  To acquire a player on loan, the receiving team has to cover salary for that player and offer without restrictions a Rule 5 eligible player.  The loaned player can be returned at any time, but not traded.  Service time does not count on a loan, but the player is paid an MLB scale.  The Rule 5 player handed over remains with the other club.

This would do a few things.  For one, it would encourage teams not to stash away a player who is ready to play MLB ball.  Second, it would provide teams with players issues a temporary solution.  Third, the loaned player gets paid and acquires MLB experience.  Finally, it creates another exciting day for MLB.

Idea #3: Eliminate expanded rosters

Throughout the history of MLB, rosters have expanded for mainly one reason: to get a look at players.  Back in the day, reports coming from the minors were spotty and spring training looks did not really apply well to what a guy would do with real MLB competition.  Having an expanded roster to begin and/or end the season made sense.  Now, expanded rosters have come to mean something else.  It now helps extend the bullpen, create more handed mismatches, or to provide a club with late inning replacements.  All of this changes the game in ways that really are not what we likely are interested in the game being.

The issue with looks has become largely a thing of the past.  Scouting and communication has improved greatly.  Instructs and the Arizona Fall League gives teams better views of players.  The expanded roster rule simply does not provide the utility it one did, so I have a hard time validating it moving forward.

Anyway, those are my ideas.  Thoughts?


Pip said...

Love the rule 5 idea. The rule five draft is one of my favorite things about baseball because it checks off my favorite boxes: The underdog getting a chance, the team getting a cheap gamble, fans seeing a new and unexpected face( have YOU seen Joey's commercial? I have, and I live in Texas…)
And the prospect of getting a worthwhile player( which, btw, Jason Garcia is not)
I dislike the loan system idea. I root for Orioles, not guys from the Royals-for example- who'll return to the Royals in March.

Anonymous said...

I think expanded rosters serve another purpose as well. It allows managers to give extra rest to everyday players who may be battling and playing through tough injuries. Of course this will have a varying effect depending on whether a team is definitely in or battling to make the playoffs in September. However, I think in the playoffs you want teams to resemble, as closely as they can, the optimum product they can put on the field. This makes for more exciting playoff baseball with the best players as refreshed as they can be at the end of the long season. Hopefully it prevents to some extent clubs needing to sit players or play starters at 70% health during the postseason.

A second purpose is simply getting your top minor league players experience at the MLB level. Even if they don't play regularly, they can observe the routines of their MLB counterparts. They can see how much faster the game is at the MLB level. They can see how the best MLB players go about preparing for games. The they can come back to the minors the next year with the knowledge of what they may need to do to help take their game to to the next level and prepare for how the games is played at the MLB level.