There are various and sundry changes coming to MLB as a result of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with revisions to draft pick compensation for signing/losing a free agent, international bonus caps, and new luxury tax details.
One of the changes that I think is fairly significant, however, and which hasn’t been talked about much is the 15 day disabled list being replaced by a 10 day disabled list. This is the first change to major league disabled lists since 1990, when MLB eliminated 21 and 30 day disabled lists, and added the 60 day d.l.
At first blush, changing the d.l. from 15 to 10 days may not seem like a big deal — its just a few fewer days, and most players who land on the 15 day d.l. spend more than 15 days on it. However, I think this will result in more teams being proactive in using the disabled list for players who are going to miss a relatively short stint of time.
What we’ve seen up to this point is a starting pitcher who is slated to miss a start, or a significant position player who is expected to be out a week, being kept on the active roster, as teams feel the extra roster spot for that period of time isn’t worth losing several games of activity from a player. With a 10 day d.l., if Yu Darvish has to miss a start due to a stiff neck, or if Shin-Soo Choo is having back issues, they are more likely to be de-activated, since they’ll be able to be brought back more quickly.
There was talk that MLB might go to a 26 man regular season roster, with an expanded (but less than 40 man) September roster. That didn’t come to pass, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the 10 day d.l. is being used as a sort of compromise on that issue, since it should allow for more roster flexibility and fewer occasions where players unavailable due to physical ailments are taking an active roster spot.