Winter Meetings

A's Billy Beane conflicted over proposed rule changes to MLB rosters

A's Billy Beane conflicted over proposed rule changes to MLB rosters

The 26th roster spot in MLB recently was added for doubleheaders, but an impending rule change heading into 2020 will alter it even more.

A's vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane is torn about the looming rule change. He's a fan of flexibility, but also appreciates the break it could get for the players.

"The season is long and it's grueling for a player," Beane told reporters at Winter Meetings last week. "I like that we -- out of the off days that we get, I thought that was great, I think it actually helped us a lot and I don't think we stress the athletes as much -- I think the 26th man would be part of that as well -- so I like that."

"But again, I would prefer that you're not limited to the position, you know? I like flexibility and any rule that limits our flexibility, I'm not as much in favor of."

The 40-man active roster for September (or September call-ups, as the cool kids call it) likely also will be eliminated. From Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season, all clubs must carry 28 players.

That could be part of the lack of flexibility part Beane doesn't like.

Another part of the impending rule change will be the number of pitchers a club can carry on the active roster, which will be capped in 2020. Major League Baseball has yet to announce what that number will be.

The teams must designate each player as either a pitcher or a position player prior to each player's first day in the big leagues that season, which cannot be changed for the remainder of the year.

There will also be a change in the minimum number of days a player will need to remain in the minor leagues after being optioned from the big league club. This will increase from 10 to 15.

As of Opening Day this season, roster sizes through Aug. 31 will increase from 25 to 26. The minimum number of players on the roster will increase from 24 to 25, and roster sizes for doubleheaders will increase from 26 to 27.

You still with me?

[RELATED: Beane doesn't like proposed three-batter minimum rule]

Furthermore, there are a few position player scenarios in which they will not be allowed to pitch (via MLB):

• They are designated as a "Two-Way Player." A player can only qualify for this designation if he accrues at least 20 Major League innings pitched and at least 20 Major League games started as a position player or designated hitter (with at least three plate appearances in each of those games) in the current or prior season.
• A game goes into extra innings.
• A player's team is losing or winning by more than six runs when he enters as a pitcher.

This could help speed up the game slightly which, as we know, is something commissioner Rob Manfred is a fan of. It will be interesting to see how the impending changes affect the A's in 2020, no matter what Beane thinks of the rule.

Why A's Billy Beane doesn't like proposed three-batter minimum rule

Why A's Billy Beane doesn't like proposed three-batter minimum rule

In an effort to speed up the game, or in this case, reduce the number of pitching changes in hopes of cutting down the average time per game, MLB plans to institute the three-batter minimum rule change for the 2020 season.

Although not yet made official, the revision will be a requirement for pitchers to face "either a minimum of three batters or to the end of a half-inning," according to MLB.com.

A's vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane is not exactly on board. 

"I'm not a particular fan of that rule if they put it in, but I think -- anything when we start moving flexibility -- I just don't think it's a good idea period, but that's just my personal feelings," Beane said at the Winter Meetings last week. 

Will this affect anything? Well yes and no. If it were to go in MLB's favor, a few minutes would be shaved off a game. 

As MLB.com's Mike Petriello pointed out, the increase in relievers computes to an increase in pitching changes -- which makes sense these days -- those relievers are getting valued as the years go by.

Game-by-game, the changes don't appear to make a difference, but collectively it could make a dent. But just as the intentional walk rule was implemented, it might not make a considerable overall change.

The A's, along with every other MLB team, values depth in their pitching staff for those case-by-case scenarios which are why they staff as many relievers as they do. Beane likes the idea of having his options open and using those options as the team sees fit.

The A's recently re-signed lefty Jake Diekman to a two-year contract, which has him set to come out of the bullpen for a while as well as continuing the dominant talents of Yusmeiro Petit and Liam Hendriks.

The team said farewell to Blake Treinen who, while he remained in talks with the A's, decided to head to the Dodgers in free agency. The 2018 All-Star didn't put up even close to the numbers last season as he did in the year prior, so the goodbyes were not that difficult.

Oakland remains on the hunt for more bullpen arms.

Perhaps this new rule could impact a pitcher who might dominate in a part of his splits -- which could create something as serious as costing jobs for pitchers. But not all of them are worried about it.

"I don't mind it because I get lefties and righties out pretty evenly," Chicago White Sox reliever Evan Marshall told NBC Sports California. "It's going to affect righties that get torched by lefties and lefties that get torched by righties." 

[RELATED: Why A's fans will love prospect Buddy Reed]

Former MLB reliever Brad Ziegler sees the impact it could make on the game, however.

"I think it will speed up the game," Ziegler told NBC Sports California. "It's definitely going to hurt some players' value, though."

MLB rumors: Angels pursuing Madison Bumgarner during free agency

MLB rumors: Angels pursuing Madison Bumgarner during free agency

The Angels' search for an ace continues.

The Halos missed out on Southern California native Gerrit Cole, who couldn't turn down a reported record nine-year, $324 million contract from the Yankees. And Stephen Strasburg, who hails from San Diego, returned to the Nationals on a seven-year, $245 million deal. 

So, who will the Angels turn to now? They reportedly have their eyes on longtime Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. 

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reported Wednesday night that the Angels are pursuing MadBum, among other pitchers as well. 

Bumgarner reportedly is being courted by several teams -- including the Dodgers --  but NBC Sports Bay Area's Alex Pavlovic reported Wednesday that the Giants still are in talks with the left-hander's camp. If Bumgarner does sign with the Angels, however, it not only would spell the era of an era in San Francisco, it would be bad news for the A's. 

[RELATED: Report: D-backs discussed offering MadBum $70M contract]

While Cole no longer is in the AL West, star third baseman Anthony Rendon reportedly agreed to a seven-year, $245 million contract to join the Angels after years of starring on the Nationals. The Angels now feature a lineup of Mike Trout, Rendon, Shohei Ohtani and some guy named Albert Pujols. 

Add an ace like Bumgarner could be the cherry on top for the Angels. It also would be another hurdle for the A's to clear in their path to winning the AL West.