Seattle Mariners Spring Training Preview: Expand 25 Man Rosters

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All week, we have been breaking down our 2015 Seattle Mariners Spring Training Preview. We have already taken a look at the infield, the starting rotation and the bullpen.

Before we finish up tomorrow with the outfield, I wanted to take a quick minute to talk about something that I think Major League Baseball may end looking at in the near future.

Since 1968, Major League Baseball teams have been allowed a 25-man active roster until September 1st, when teams are allowed to add up to their entire 40-man roster if they would like.

Managers have argued over the years that the September call-ups is unfair, as some teams come to play with 30 players each night in September while others show up with 36 or more, giving a competitive advantage to the team that has more players active.

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While that could create issues, that’s not what I’m focusing on.

My focus is on the 25-man roster, which I argue should expand to anywhere between 27-30.

This is not without precedence. From 1958 to 1967, teams were allowed to start the season with a 28-man active roster.

This accomplishes several things. Let’s use the 2015 Seattle Mariners as an example. Due to the perceived depth of this club heading into Spring Training, with a 28-man active roster, the Mariners would be allowed to carry an 8-man bullpen – as Lloyd McClendon likes – while still maintaining depth on the bench.

We’ve discussed who we believe will end up on the 25-man roster this season:

C- Mike Zunino and Jesus Sucre
1B- Logan Morrison
2B- Robinson Cano
SS- Brad Miller
3B- Kyle Seager
OF- Dustin Ackley, Justin Ruggiano, Seth Smith, Austin Jackson
DH- Nelson Cruz
Util- Willie Bloomquist, Rickie Weeks

SP- Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker
Bullpen- Fernando Rodney, Danny Farquhar, Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, David Rollins, Dominic Leone, Yoervis Medina

Now, with a 28-man roster, the Seattle Mariners could choose three of the following: Chris Taylor, James Jones, Stefen Romero, Jesus Montero, D.J. Peterson, Carson Smith, Roenis Elias, Erasmo Ramirez.

Now besides additional options and depth at the big league level, this also accomplishes keeping minor league options available on some players.

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Roenis Elias seems to be the odd man out of the rotation this year for if no other reason, he has options left. Erasmo Ramirez on the other hand, if he doesn’t make the club, he will have to clear waivers before the team can send him to Triple-A Tacoma to start the year.

If the rosters were at 28, Ramirez could be stashed in the bullpen, used as long relief and ready to start if and when injury strikes the rotation.

James Jones, who was very valuable at times to the Mariners in 2014, mostly because of his speed, could start the season in Seattle, saving one of his options, if needed, for later down the road.

With a new commissioner, there will be several changes in store for the game over the next decade as Rob Manfred looks to make his mark on the game.

And while he is debating things like, smaller strike zones, pitch clocks and batter minimums on relief pitchers, it is also possible that he could consider moves like expanding the 25-man roster on a permanent basis.

Just a thought.

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