Two topics are emerging as the most important of the annual MLB GM meetings: limiting September callups and an expansion of instant replay.
You wouldn’t think that the number of September callups in uniform would be a big deal, but the topic is important both for MLB GMs looking to evaluate talent and MiLB GMs who may be in the midst of a pennant race and don’t want to give up a hot hitter at the end of the season. The issue became a bigger on thanks to ousted Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine (who else?): he basically pulled his entire starting team and inserted a lineup of September callups and bench players against the New York Yankees while the Yanks were in the middle of a heated pennant race. (Yes, the Yankees won.) Now, there’s always been some debate about the impact of September callups, particularly in games where one team is in contention and the other is not.
One solution, says MLB executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre, is to limit the number of players actually in uniform. Right now rosters can be expanded from 25 to 40, but a proposal out there would institute a specific number of players available. From AP:
“Each team should have equal number of players available every day,” Torre said. “I just think you play the whole season with one set of rules and the most important time of the year, especially for clubs that are in a pennant race, I just don’t think it’s fair for it to be done (with a) different number of roster people.”
Also emerging as a hot topic: the expansion of instant replay. MLB did some testing with expanded instant replay at the New York City ballparks; those tests are now being evaluated and discussed. At one point there was talk of a limited expansion, but apparently the tests went well enough to warrant talk of a significant expansion of instant replay. It’s true that instant-replay technology has significantly improved in the past few years — anyone who watches college football knows instant replay can be instituted in an expedient fashion — so it’s no surprise MLB GMs are thinking bigger instead of smaller.
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