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At the GM meetings replay, expanded September rosters, pitcher headgear on the agenda

Nov 8, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

Indian Wells

We’ve been handling the transaction developments from the GM meetings — Walt Weiss’ hiring, the Jason Bay thing, etc. — in individual posts, but there are a couple of catchall items being discussed by the baseball brass at Indian Wells.

Replay is one.  We’ve long known that some expansion is coming, likely to fair/foul calls and to trapped balls. But Joe Torre says that maybe more is being discussed:

“[Bud Selig] was talking about really basically fair-foul, trap plays. But we’re looking into more than that,” said Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations. Torre did not detail what types of calls a broader expansion might include.

Seems like, if baseball is going to go incremental with it, the next logical step would be outs on the basepaths. Tags at second on steals, perhaps, if they wish to avoid reviewing plays with mutliple baserunners in motion. Force outs at first base. That’s just my speculation, of course.  Also:

GMs also discussed altering the longtime rule allowing active rosters to expand from 25 to 40 from Sept. 1 through the rest of the regular season. Some teams have been reluctant to use the larger limit late in the season. They have cited not wanting to disrupt minor league teams in their playoffs, and those decisions have led to big league games in which teams have differing numbers of available players.

One solution mentioned earlier this year, and mentioned by Torre yesterday, was having set expanded roster numbers in September. Rather than allowing teams to differ, with some having the same old 25 and others having up to 40 guys in the dugout, you can expand up to say 28 or 30 available per game, firm, and use any number of minor leaguers to fill those extra spots on a day-by-day basis.

Finally, there was talk about head protection for pitchers, ranging from helmets to Kevlar-lined caps.  These are preliminary discussions, however, and a full report on the feasibility and utility of such measures is due to be given teams at the Winter Meetings next month.

  1. echech88 - Nov 8, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Put me down as someone who would go crazy if they make plays at first and second base reviewable. One of the few times where I might agree with Selig and his insisting that it not be plays that impact the pace of a game.

    Plays at the plate, fair/foul and trap catches seems like enough for me.

    In my opinion the NFL is already bordering on too much replay. MLB should look to where football was 3 or so years ago with replay instead of where it is now.

    • alang3131982 - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      I dont buy the pace of play argument. How often do managers argue when there is a close play at a bag? How often do they argue longer than it would take for a quick video replay? All the time.

      Second, there’s a solid chance a play at first is more important than a play at home. What if there was a close play at first with the tying run in the bottom of the ninth about to score? How can you pick in choose arbitrarily what matters in a game of baseball?

      the goal should be to get every call right as quickly as possible. Replay is the only way to ensure that.

  2. mdpickles - Nov 8, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    I’m all for expanded replay. However, who indicates a replay is a tough question. Should there be an ump in a replay booth buzzing down to overturn a call or give the manager the discretion to challenge it? With technology being what it is today, use the available communication resources to keep the pace of the game flowing.

    Head protection will never happen.

    • hep3 - Nov 8, 2012 at 1:27 PM

      Headgear never seemed to bother John Olerud in the field. For pitchers it would probably help to even wear those fiberglass skull cap liners that players used to bat in the 50s and 60s before helmets were required. An unobtrusive liner inside a pitcher’s cap may deter a tragedy. Seems worth it.

    • bigharold - Nov 8, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      Pickles, I’m with you on the replay ump in the booth to keep the pace of the game going and leaving it up to a Managers challenge but the head gear thing I think you underestimate MLB’s willingness to do the right thing.

      I think they will institute it it’s just a question of whether it’ll be this year or not. It won’t protect pitchers in every circumstance but no point in having to see another pitcher go down in a heap after taking a ball off the head.

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