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MLB is considering adding a 26th roster spot, but at a cost

Friday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes CBA negotiations on roster size, the MVP awards, and whether Chris Sale should be traded.

World Series - Cleveland Indians v Chicago Cubs - Game Four Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

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MLB’s rosters are currently set to 25. There is also a 40-man roster that allows some players to be both protected and held in reserve, able to be swapped up as necessary for the most part, but the active day-to-day roster that can be used within games themselves is 25. That could change during the new collective bargaining agreement negotiations. There is currently a push for a 26th roster spot, but as with all negotiations, this change won’t come for free. In exchange for adding 30 more full-time salaries throughout the league, MLB wants September rosters limited.

Teams would no longer be able to carry their entire 40-man roster on the major league roster — with major league salaries — in September. Instead, the rosters would be down to 28, and while those players could be swapped out, it wouldn’t be a daily occurrence, according to Ken Rosenthal’s report. Obviously, the MLB Players' Union didn’t want to give up the expanded rosters for nothing, since it allows for more players to get paid, and in some cases, even creates new union members as rookies make their bigleague debuts. The allure of 30 full-time jobs over the first five months of the season is strong, though, so don’t be surprised if this goes through.

Would bullpens expand with the 26th spot? Or would teams enjoy having the extra bench bat, making it easier for platoons and resting their regulars? Probably a bit of column A and a bit of column B, really, since there are two different leagues with different rules and some of it might depend very much on what is sitting there in Triple-A waiting to come up and help. It would make it easier for, say, the Red Sox to give Pablo Sandoval a chance to rebound, and for someone like the Orioles to compensate for their weak rotation by adding another reliever. An NL team could carry an extra hitter and be more aggressive about pinch-hitting, and some teams might just want a designated pinch-runner who will play in more games than they’ll log plate appearances.

Or everyone will add a reliever and games will get even longer. Whichever.