So it seems that, if the season is going to restart (and that currently sits in the hands of the negotiating table….which doesn’t have hands, but I think you get the point) that there is going to be some sort of expanded rosters for each game and a taxi squad, if you will, of players that can be “called up” in case of injury or ineffectiveness. Taxi squads are things that we’ve heard about in other sports and, in a minor way, we see as the extra man in a double-header. However, baseball’s never had taxi squads for a season and I’m not really sure how this is going to work.
Now, truly, I don’t know how other sports handle this, but it seems to be that this taxi squad for baseball runs the risk of being very rusty whenever called upon. Depending on the makeup of the rosters, it could be difficult to play intrasquad games or even “JV” games against the other team’s taxi squad whenever they were in town.
Obviously there will be drills, exercises, and the like for the players, but most of these guys are going to need game experience not only to keep sharp, but to actually develop their skills a little more. While I don’t think Dylan Carlson is going to have to worry about this, as the actual expanded rosters should keep him on the big league side of things, if he was in it wouldn’t you want him getting four at bats a night like he would in the minor leagues? That’s not going to happen. What would the expectations be for these guys once they are put on the regular roster?
More importantly, I would think, would be how pitchers would respond. Now, it could be we’ll see regular roster churn and a pitcher, especially a reliever, won’t be sitting very long. But what if a pitcher is out of circulation for close to a month? A starter would need to stretch back out, wouldn’t they? Perhaps that’s why you have a guy like Austin Gomber pitching 2-3 innings regularly out of the bullpen with an eye on moving him to the rotation if there is a need and replacing his bullpen innings with a guy off the taxi squad.
Again, I’m not at all sure how these things usually work. I am also not sure exactly how much game action these guys need. However, given that players tend to go on a rehab assignment–in real games–before returning from a lengthy IL stint, it makes me feel like there’s got to be something to regular playing.
I look forward to seeing how this will work (and how Mike Shildt will use the extra players at his disposal). Assuming the game returns, of course.