There’s enough of a sample size now to be able to fairly assess that while the MLB rule changes have largely helped, they are not without some drawbacks.
Sports agent Scott Boras, unsurprisingly, has thoughts on some of those downsides.
The pitch clock has been the most talked-about and controversial change. It has gone a long way in cutting unnecessary time-wasting out of the game, but it’s also resulted in an uptick in guys fatiguing.
Pitchers are speaking out about the injury concerns of having to throw so hard so quickly over and over. The pitch clock isn’t going away though, so something has to give. Boras said on “Baseball Isn’t Boring” that expanded rosters are the answer.
“We need 27-, 28-man rosters because we’ve got to protect the starting pitchers. Pitch clock is gassing a lot of these guys, it’s very difficult now to get through five innings,” Boras said. “I think we’ve definitely got to extend the number of pitchers we have on the Major League teams. We’re going to see a whole host of guys with 65, 75 appearances out of the bullpen, we’ve got to cut that back.
“We need to have that 14-man pitching staff, maybe 15, that would allow for clubs to … keep your starters’ innings down, and also have a bullpen where you keep your number of appearances by your bullpen down.”
Boras also floated the idea of changing the pitch clock rule for starters so that after three innings they get 20 seconds no matter what.
Ultimately though, his eye is on bigger rosters.
“We can increase the health of our pitching at the big league level, increase the quality of our game, allow managers to not extend quality relievers, and we can stop position players from throwing so many innings, which makes the game look ridiculous,” Boras said. “Those are the kinds of things that we can adjust.”
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that Boras has a business interest in expanded rosters. Expanded rosters mean more guys getting Major League deals and, as an agent, Boras would obviously be interested in that.
His point remains, though. From a quality of play standpoint, it’s better if teams don’t have to overuse pitchers and trot out guys who are gassed. There is definitely the possibility of overcorrecting, but adding one or two rosters spots could offer some benefits.