Following the latest round of positive COVID-19 tests, Major League Baseball will set a firm roster size for the remainder of the 2020 MLB season and postseason.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the league will implement 28-man rosters beginning on Thursday and keep them in place for the rest of the year.
Union telling players that roster size will reduce to from 30 and 28 on Thursday and remain at that level for the rest of the season and postseason, source tells The Athletic. Taxi squad will be expanded from three players to five players for remainder of the season.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 4, 2020
Originally set to reduce to 26 players, rosters will be held at 28 in an attempt to lessen the pain of a team-wide outbreak. This comes following the outbreaks in the St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, and Miami Marlins franchises that caused dozens of games to be postponed and several more across the league to be altered.
The season opened with rosters set at 30 players with a plan to reduce the size to 28 on Thursday and 26 on Aug. 20. The hope was that the league could get a majority of injuries and positive tests out of the way with expanded rosters before trimming the squads down once such ailments were out of the way.
The decision to reduce rosters to 28 means the league feels confident they don’t need 30-man rosters anymore, which is an optimistic sign. Oppositely, however, the decision to not reduce rosters to 26 this early in the season is concerning, but ultimately a result of an agreement between the league and the MLBPA.
It is worth noting that the league is also adding two taxi squad players, bringing the total to five. While not on the active roster, taxi squad players travel with the team and can be promoted to the active roster at a moment’s notice. This is especially important if teams need to summon a handful of players while on a road trip.