Report: Active rosters to expand to 26 players in 2020
Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reports that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are close to agreeing to expand active rosters to 26 players for the start of the 2020 regular season. This is in exchange for a commitment to discuss larger economic issues after Opening Day, which is later this month.
Additionally, September rosters would be lowered from 40 players to 28 players, beginning in 2020. This is done in part to help speed along the pace of September games, which tended to drag on because teams had many more relief pitching options and thus could afford to make plenty of pitching changes. Additionally, teams not in the playoff picture tended to play their young, inexperienced players even if the game technically mattered because it was being played with a team that was in the playoff hunt. As a result, certain teams that got lucky with their September schedules essentially got free wins down the stretch.
The union wants to discuss larger economic issues as the free agent market stagnated in recent years. While Bryce Harper and Manny Machado eventually got their money, A) it took them a lot longer than usual to actually reach an agreement, and B) lesser-skilled free agents are still on the market or settled for lesser contracts than they might have had to even just a few years ago. There are myriad reasons for free agency becoming what it is today and the union is hoping to address those reasons ahead of December 2021, when the collective bargaining agreement expires. The union is also aware of service time manipulation, so that may be another topic brought up.