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.
crunch 3 hours 50 sec ago (view)
the indians waited too long to get trevor bauer away from influencing clevenger as a professional and human being...
there's a reason bauer has been sold "below cost" by 2 teams now.
also, do they even care that carlos carrasco is coming back from a boatload of chemo and has decided to participate in this season when he could have just taken his $$ and gone home for a year?
crunch 6 hours 42 min ago (view)
thursday stl/det double header postponed.
cards have played 5 games and might not play a 6th until the weekend...maybe.
some other teams will be 20+ games played at that point.
Eric S 7 hours 24 min ago (view)
Dietrich ends up with the Rangers on a minor league deal and sent to their alternate training site.
Cubster 8 hours 6 min ago (view)
No new Cardinals tested negative on Sunday. They need two days in a row of neg. testing to get the OK to resume the season. Today's tests are not back.
crunch 9 hours 33 min ago (view)
STL is going to go 1/2 month without playing a game...more at this point are possible.
they've played 5 games. some teams have played 16-17 games.
Childersb3 9 hours 58 min ago (view)
Why isn't Ryan Jensen at South Bend these days?
Regardless of if he gets called up. He should be there if he's healthy and able
crunch 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
"Zach Plesac (CLE) was sent home by the Indians and will be quarantined for 72 hours going out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night."
Eric S 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
Cubs have reset the rotation ahead of the series against the Indians: Lester, Hendricks, Darvish, Chatwood and Mills
Mills and Hendricks no longer back to back which makes sense given their similar styles
Mornington Crescent 1 day 7 hours ago (view)
They actually did a Strat-O-Matic simulation of the 1981 all star game at Municipal Stadium in Cleveland when the game was cancelled due to the strike, complete with scoreboard display. Bob Feller did the ceremonial first dice roll.
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
Derek Dietrich getting released and opening up a slot on the Cubs MLB Club Player Pool roster (which was full prior to Dietrich getting released) would allow Mark Zagunis to opt back into the season (if he so chooses) and return to the Club Player Pool, if being on the Restricted List was going to prevent him from being a first-time minor league 6YFA post-2020.
Arizona Phil 1 day 9 hours ago (view)
The path for Dietrich to the Cubs MLB Active List roster was always based on a potential injury to Rizzo, Kipnis, Schwarber, or Heyward, so I can see why Dietrich would request his release - IF - he has a for sure MLB gig with another club waiting for him, but otherwise no.
Eric S 1 day 11 hours ago (view)
Cubs released Derek Dietrich from his minor league contract - at Dietrich's request - so he can pursue other MLB opportunities. Wouldn't be surprised if he hooks on with the Braves as 2B Ozzie Albies was put on the IL last week with a wrist injury that may take considerable time to heal. In any event, the Cubs player pool back to 59 of a possible 60 players.
Cubster 1 day 13 hours ago (view)
Phillip Evans suffered a broken jaw and a concussion in his ugly collision with Gregory Polanco Per Jon Heyman.
Cubster 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
Pirates-Cardinals series also cancelled. Maybe they can play the games on Stratomatic with dice or All-Star baseball with spinners?
This was the Pirates only trip to StL but they do have a mid Sept series vs StL in PIT.
at least the Cardinals can't whine about losing home attendance revenue (but they do lose in Park advertising revs).
Jackstraw 1 day 17 hours ago (view)
So much for his offseason workouts with Kimbrel.