The 2020 26th Man
As most of you know, MLB is planning to implement a few rules changes in 2020, one of which is the addition of a 26th man (who cannot be a pitcher) to the active list rosters Opening Day through August 31st.
Because all MLB clubs carry 13 pitchers (usually five starters and eight relievers) during the regular season, clubs have been limited to a four-man bench (National League) or a three-man bench (American League where there is a DH), and there just isn't room on the roster to carry a speclialist or a player with a limited role or function until rosters expand in September.
But back in the day it was typical for clubs to carry only ten or eleven pitchers, so a six or seven-man bench was common, and some of the players on the bench could have a very specific role or specialty that we don't see as much today (at least not until rosters expand in September).
In deciding who might make a good 2020 26th man, it's possible that we could see a throwback to the old days of roster construction.
Here are the three types of bench guys we might now see for a full season with the implementation of the 26th man rule:
1. TYPE 1: Ace pinch hitter.
This type has to be able to hit "cold" off the bench and be able to handle high velocity FB and high-spin breaking balls from the best relievers in the game (both lefty & righty). Ideally this player can play defense, too (at least passably), but it isn't necessary. Mainly he just needs to get a big hit in a game situation when his club most needs one.
This type generally would have more value on a National League club (where there is no DH), but he could be a fit on an American League team that features a defense-first player (most-likely a SS or a catcher) with limited offensive skills in the lineup.
EXAMPLES: Tommy LaStella circa 2018, but also guys like Lenny Harris, Manny Mota, Smoky Burgess, Jerry Lynch, and Moose McCormick from bygone eras.
2. TYPE 2: Pinch-runner who can steal bases pretty much at will.
Like the type 1 player, it is helpful if this player can also play defense (usually OF), but his main job is to pinch-run and steal a base (maybe two) in a game situatiion where a run is needed to tie or win a game.
This is the type of player clubs will often add in September (when rosters expand) or in the Wild Card game (when only one starting pitcher is needed), but now it can be for the entire season.
EXAMPLES: Terrance Gore (acquired by the Cubs in 2018) and Quintin Berry (acquired by the Cubs in 2015).
3. TYPE 3: #3 catcher.
Like the pinch-running specialist, a third catcher is the type of player who is added when rosters expand in September, but now a third catcher can be available for the entire season. This type of player can be a plus if a club's top two catchers are both good hitters (as is the case with the Cubs right now) and the manager wants to be able to use the #2 catcher as a pinch-hitter without a second thought whenever necessary.
It is a bonus if the #3 catcher can play other positions as well, but it isn'r absolutely necessary. Ideally the third catcher would also be the "emergency" pitcher in a blow-out or in extra innings after all of the available relievers have been used.
tim815 16 hours 18 min ago (view)
The decision on the amount comes later.
bradsbeard 19 hours 13 min ago (view)
At the point when the team makes the initial contract tender, do they have to offer a specific salary, and if so is that the same number the team takes into arbitration? Or does the specific number the teams files at for arbitration happen at a later date?
Arizona Phil 22 hours 1 min ago (view)
jdrnym: A player who is signed to a contract that does not include a minor league split salary is paid his full MLB salary while optioned or after being outrighted to a minor league club.
So if a player goes to arbitration and is awarded (let's say) a $2.5M salary by the arb panel, the contract will not include a minor league split salary or performance bonuses, and if the player is sent to the minors he is paid the full $2.5M while in the minors.
Hagsag 23 hours 13 min ago (view)
Maybe Trump can give them a loan.
crunch 23 hours 14 min ago (view)
it's not exactly looking good when the cubs brass is complaining about "losing 100m in revenue" when a huge chunk of that seems to include Hotel Zachary. it looks like the entire "entertainment complex" is the cubs as far as the Ricketts are concerned...and the team might have to suffer a bit because they couldn't fully realize profits last year. they've publically stated that the big incoming tax credits from the city they're going to realize for stadium work won't help the cubs payroll.
jdrnym 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
If a player doesn't have a split salary in his contract, how much is he making when in the minors (or how is that salary determined)?
crunch 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
we want kyle schwarber to not be mark trumbo so badly...
either way, the NL having or not having the DH needs to be figured out pretty quickly for a lot of off-season sanity.
crunch 2 days 18 hours ago (view)
minor league hitting coordinator chris valaika moves up assistant hitting instructor for the big league team.
looks like a.iapoce's job is safe.
Cubster 2 days 21 hours ago (view)
Jed Hoyer gets a new 5 yr contract that runs through 2025 season.
Cubster 2 days 22 hours ago (view)
BA's list of 19 prospects who impressed at Instructs. One Cub:
Chase Strumpf, 2B, Cubs
Jackstraw 3 days 17 hours ago (view)
Waiting for Ryan Pace to be available. He should be a week from tomorrow.
crunch 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
i haven't even heard a rumor...which is interesting since "virtual" winter meetings start in a couple weeks.
surprised dan kantrovitz hasn't been named "interim GM" or something...which makes me wonder how wide of a net they're casting to fill the position. he was snagged from the A's and was an assistant GM there (and director of scouting for STL).
Cubster 3 days 18 hours ago (view)
As Jed is promoted to President of Baseball Ops, then when will be expect a formal announcement of who the "official" GM is?
crunch 3 days 19 hours ago (view)
there are currently 0 signed...so it's an untapped market ripe for picking the best of the best.
well, bill 'spaceman' lee is probably out there pitching for a low-level Cuban team being paid in weed or something similar.
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 days 1 hour ago (view)
1970s pitchers are a market inefficiency
Arizona Phil 4 days 12 hours ago (view)
The "Big Three" Cubs first-time Rule 5 Draft-eligibles post-2021 will be RHSP Riley Thompson, 1B-LF Alfonso Rivas, and LHSP Jack Patterson (at least as far as things stand right now), so they will need to be scrutinized as much as possible during the course of the 2021 season (including at MLB Spring Training); That's why those three (in particular) need to get an NRI.