MLB and the players union announced a series of changes today for this season and next, as well as plans to discuss a renegotiation and extension of their labor agreement, which was to expire after the 2021 season.
For this season, the biggest difference will be the establishment of July 31 as the lone trade deadline, eliminating August waiver deals. Players feel, as Rays player rep Matt Duffy said, this will encourage teams to decide early they are in the race and make additions.
The changes will be more dramatic and impactful for 2020.
They include expanding regular-season rosters to 26 but capping September rosters at 28, eliminating the bulk of September callups, requiring pitchers (barring injury) to face a minimum three batters or to finish an inning and capping the number of pitchers that can be carried on the roster — though that number (speculated at 13) is not yet set and is subject to input from a joint committee requiring that pitchers placed on the injured list (the new name for the DL) or optioned to the minors stay for a minimum of 15 days rather than 10.
The Rays are among teams that take advantage of having relievers with remaining options so they can shuttle in a fresh bullpen arm when needed.