MLB News: Limit On Minor League Options Won’t Begin Until Rosters Revert To 26 Players

The universal designated hitter and expanded postseason were the two most noteworthy changes introduced in the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA), but there was also another rule that will have an effect on the team building process.

As part of the new rules, teams are only able to option a player back to the Minor Leagues five times per season for three years. Previously, teams could shuffle a player between the Majors and Minor League level with no limit as long as it was within a player’s three option years.

MLB will also allow teams to carry two extra players on their roster for the first month of the season in an effort to reduce the workload on pitchers who are not fully built up yet due to the shortened Spring Training.

However, while expanded rosters are in effect for the first month of the 2022 regular season, the limit on Minor League options will not be enforced until teams are back down to 26 active players, according to Alden Gonzalez of ESPN:

For the Los Angeles Dodgers, the rule changes affect their depth pitchers, such as Mitch White, Garrett Cleavinger, Justin Bruihl, Victor Gonzalez, Darien Nunez, Evan Phillips, Andre Jackson and Michael Grove.

While all of them should pitch at the Major League level, the Dodgers have shuffled pitchers between their club and Triple-A Oklahoma City often over the past few seasons to make sure they constantly have fresh arms on the roster.

It also places much more emphasis on the need to have an emergency starter or two in the bullpen as there is less of a benefit to calling up a pitcher for a spot start now. The Dodgers have multiple players who could fill that role, including Andrew Heaney, Tyler Anderson, David Price and White.

MLB cancels Major League portion of Rule 5 Draft

The Rule 5 Draft is an institution that has existed in MLB for quite some time and provides many players on the fringes of rosters with an opportunity to showcase their talents on another team.

However, due to the MLB lockout of recent months, the Major League portion of the 2021 Rule 5 Draft that was supposed to be held last December was forcibly delayed. Its future was unclear throughout the offseason but more clarity recently came as the Major League portion was canceled.

Many under-achieving teams use the Rule 5 Draft as a means to get players on cost-controlled contracts and because the draft will not take place, some of the bottom-feeding teams will be missing out on talent and some players will lose their opportunity to play in the Major Leagues.

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