Major League Baseball owners are set to vote on a proposal to send to the Major League Baseball Players Association in less than one hour from the time that I began typing this article. Bob Nightengale of USA Today has a lot of details that are included in the proposal, including a “revenue sharing with the players that would give the players ‘at least’ 48% this season”. But perhaps the biggest, though not nearly the most important thing noted, is a bit of new information that says the official rosters would go from 26 players up to 30 players, with a 20-man taxi squad available that would consist “mostly of an organization’s top minor league players being available all season”.

This is important to two reasons. The first is the signal that the owners are basically telling us that there’s no plan to have a minor league season this year. They aren’t saying it explicitly, but they’re saying it with this proposal. It’s not surprising, as at least for a few weeks now we’ve seem to understand just how little sense it would make for 50 different reasons to have a minor league baseball season played.

But the other important thing here is that while we knew there was likely to be some sort of taxi squad or practice squad for the big league teams to be able to go to if and when someone is injured/takes paternity leave etc., we now know the number of players that roster will be.

What we don’t know is if those extra 20-players are made up of the remaining 40-man roster guys not on the 30-man roster or not. I’ve venture to guess that yes, all of the 40-man roster will be required to be on that “50-man” group in one way or the other – the players association of course is going to negotiate for them before anyone else. On Sunday in the May Mailbag I addressed which additional 10 minor league players – five pitchers and five position players – I’d add to a “taxi squad” if it were expanded enough to have 10 spots of non-40-man players.

Another big part of the taxi squad group is about service time and about pay. What will those guys be paid if they never get into the big leagues this season? If these guys are also only getting “pro rated pay” based on the time they spend on the roster, even guys on the 40-man currently are only going to get $20-41,000 this year if they are never called up (1st year 40-man players make less than 2nd and 3rd year 40-man players). But if you are a guy NOT on the 40-man roster and get placed here – if you just get normal “minor league pay” that’s pro-rated, you’re looking at asking a guy to risk the health for something like $1800 a month. Perhaps that’s spelled out in the proposal and the details just aren’t leaked out yet – but it’s something that needs to be discussed if it’s not.

Even if their service time only accounts for minor league service time, do they get the full year of service time? This could be a big factor for some guys, even if maybe it doesn’t feel like a big deal right this second.

It’s going to be a real interesting few days as the proposal gets handed to the players to look over. It seems that the belief in the media right now is that the players aren’t exactly thrilled about the idea of being asked to take less money than was already agreed upon in late March. The owners are seeking to pay even less now, while it’s the players and their families that are taking on all of the health risks associated with this situation.

And while you’re here, I’m just going to point you over to Redleg Nation where earlier this morning I wrote about a potential of giving the players options of opting out of the 2020 season even if the players association does choose to play this season. It’s a complicated situation as some players (not to mention some of those in their immediate family) have medical conditions that put them at a much higher risk of serious complications or death if they were to contract COVID-19.

Player options for 2020 – but not the kind you are thinking

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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11 Responses

  1. MK

    Wonder if a RuleV guy like Mark Peyton satisfies the requirement to be Reds property permanently if he remains on Taxi squad all year never or partially activated.

    • Doug Gray

      As far as I understand it, Payton must still remain on the active roster all season. That would mean the 30-man.

  2. Norwood Nate

    Similar to the Peyton question, would guys like Schebler, Sims, Reed who are out of options need to be added to the 30-man squad or DFA’d? And if DFA’d, to where? Likewise, if they were to clear waivers could they be on the taxi squad, and would they have to be added back to the 40-man to be called up? Lots of questions still, but at least it’s something to think on in the mean time…

  3. Stock

    If Schebler/Sims/Reed don’t make the 30 man they would be DFA’d.

    My 30 are the obvious 8 hitters and 10 pitchers +

    two of VanMeter/Schebler/Jankowski (I personally waive Jankowski)

    Reed/Sims and
    3 of Antone/Mahle/Shafer/Bowman (I think Antone is #31) I could also see keeping Antone if allowed to carry 16 pitchers.

    • Norwood Nate

      I would assume you are correct that they would have to remain on the active roster. It makes sense that way. But can they be on the taxi squad if they are DFA’d and unclaimed? I guess that was more the meat of the question I was wondering.

      • Stock

        If no one claimed them and they would almost assuredly sign with a team that agreed to put them on their taxi squad, be it the Reds of another team.

      • Norwood Nate

        You’re right. That would be best for them, and they would seek whatever opportunity that may allow them to play. I would think some team like Detroit or Baltimore would take advantage of someone experienced and cheap like Schebler, especially with expanded rosters.
        I expect the Reds would have to make tough choices to make with Schebler and Peyton. Having a DH available would make it easier to sit a poor defensive outfielder like Castellanos. Schebler would be a nice fit for time there if it wasn’t for Aquino (who is a better defender and has more upside on offense). I like Schebler, but it’s hard to see his value on this roster with so many quality OF options, even with things being expanded.
        Either way, thanks for the discussion. Let’s hope there’s actual baseball to discuss in the next couple of months. Cheers

  4. ShaggyRN

    In this proposal could the additional players that are not on the active 26-30 players for a given day could potentially play a simulated game against the other teams non active players

  5. MK

    I think Sims, Romano, Reed and Peyton have a tough time making the 26 man but could be the 4 to take it to 30.

  6. IMHO

    Lot’s of dreams being shattered. What happens to the other players? Do they get released? Are they told to put their lives on hold – don’t get a job – keep working out – just keep waiting? You’re not good enough to go on the expanded roster – but “we’ll get to you…one day…maybe”

    For some this may have been their last chance – perhaps their last time to play ball and now it’s taken away.

  7. James K

    Could they change the 40-player roster to a 50-player roster for this season?