MLB

Teams, clubs can't agree on callups

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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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Those expanded late-season rosters that make no sense to virtually everyone in baseball?

They won’t necessarily be eliminated anytime soon.

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While a number of executives and on-field personnel want to impose limits on the expanded rosters, the issue is not close to a resolution, according to major-league sources.

Representatives of the players and clubs, unable to reach agreement on a new rule in last year’s collective-bargaining talks, have yet to revive their discussions, sources said.

The stalemate stems from the desire of the players’ union to require clubs to make a minimum number of players active for each game in September — and the resistance of some clubs to agree to such a minimum, sources said.

Teams currently use a 25-man roster for the first five months of the regular season and postseason, but are permitted to carry every member of their 40-man roster from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season.

Inequities arise between clubs that promote different numbers of players — say, 35 for one team and 28 for another. Teams using larger rosters operate with deeper benches and bullpens, creating greater flexibility in late-inning matchups.

Baseball, in last year’s labor discussions, proposed limiting the number of players who would be active for games in September, sources said. The union, which also endorses fairer competition, made a counter-proposal suggesting a minimum and maximum number of players who would be active for each game.

From there, the talks failed to progress, sources said.

Baseball officials do not view the union’s position as unreasonable — September callups receive a pro-rated portion of the major-league minimum salary and major-league service time, and the union wants to protect their interests.

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The problem, sources said, is that clubs take a wide-ranging approach to September callups. Some like to promote a large number of prospects. Others prefer to summon a smaller group, and oppose being required to carry a certain number.

Baseball, unlike the NFL, does not currently allow teams to carry taxi squads. But that likely would change under a new rule, and teams could activate a set number of players in September — perhaps five — beyond its standard 25.

The players and owners must negotiate any adjustment to the collective-bargaining agreement. Mid-term negotiations are not uncommon, and the possibility exists that the two sides could revisit the roster question this offseason.

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