Members of the Chicago Cubs bench look on from the dugout during the eighth inning of their 11-5 loss to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Teams have been permitted to recall as many players as they like after September 1 and keep them all active for every game. If a special MLB committee has its way, that could change in 2013.
It's been a fact of major-league baseball life for decades; teams compete with 25-man rosters until August 31, then are permitted to call up as many players as they choose from their 40-man rosters to compete during the month of September. Most teams don't call up all 15 players, but the disparities between the sizes of team rosters has become a growing concern among some baseball people.
Scott Miller of CBS Sports reports that Commissioner Bud Selig's "special committee for on-field issues" is considering changing September roster rules, possibly as soon as 2013:
The most common scenario under discussion is to expand September rosters to 30, with each club's 25-man roster on Aug. 31 being locked in throughout September.
In other words, each team would use that 25-man roster as a base throughout September, and then have the ability to add five minor-leaguers (out of however many are recalled) to its active roster for each game during the season's final month.
The idea behind this, apparently, would be to prevent teams from simply deactivating all its starting pitchers who aren't pitching on any given day and replacing them with relief pitchers. Doing this would be an attempt to continue the pre-September 1 equal roster sizes, so teams all have a level playing field. But:
One thing the committee must address is injuries -- or, "injuries." What happens when a club wants to adjust its 25-man Aug. 31 roster on Sept. 15 because of an injury -- real or imagined -- to a starting pitcher? Must that pitcher sit the rest of the month? Must he miss at least one start before he is deemed eligible to be re-activated?
What about a club looking to shut down young pitching, as the Nationals did last year with Jordan Zimmermann on Aug. 28, and likely will to this year with Stephen Strasburg on Sept. 12? What kind of roster adjustment would that club be allowed to make when the new rules go into effect?
So, it might not be as easy as it looks at first glance. But this special committee appears determined to put something in place for next season. Stay tuned.