McDonald: MLB Needs To Change The Disabled List Rules

Someone needs to tell the Mets that this isn’t a game of Survivor. The last man standing will not win a prize.

Although there was joy in Metville last night with a 11-2 win over the Pirates, the Amazin’s suffered another loss on the field with Juan Lagares getting scratched before the game with issues due to his thumb.

“He hit in the cages and took a little break. Right before batting practice he came in and said, ‘I don’t think I can play tonight,’” said manager Terry Collins. “Between the time he hit and when he kind of cooled down a little bit his hand got real sore and he couldn’t close his hand.”

The same old story is being played again. The doctors will examine Lagares tomorrow and see if the disabled list is in order.

The real problem for the Mets and frankly MLB in general is the 15-day disabled list. Because teams don’t want to lose players for two weeks, they tend to play short. With Michael Conforto and Neil Walker out for the wrist and back respectively, the Mets essentially played with a 22-man roster and a bench that consisted of Alejandro De Aza and Kevin Plawecki.

The Mets are very lucky they won by such a wide margin, because Collins may have been crippled with what he could do with such a short bench. He couldn’t make the moves he wanted to win games, nor if this game went into extra innings could the Mets field a proper team.

He could have been forced to use the starting pitchers as pinch hitters or even in the field if something went the wrong way.

Sure they could have forced Walker or Conforto into action, but then they could have run the risk of injury.

Major League Baseball needs to look into this, because it’s not just the Mets who have this dilemma, but every team. With the Collective Bargaining Agreement up for renewal, it’s time now for the league to make smarter decision when it comes to injuries.

First, they should institute a seven day disabled list. They have this in the minors and should bring it up to the big leagues. This will allow teams to not play short and put players with nagging injuries on the shelf immediately so they can get healthy. They already have this for concussions, so why not expand it to every injury.

Besides that, MLB should expand the roster to 28 players with teams only dressing 25 for a game, kind of like the way they do in hockey.  This way, they can make moves game to game and create fresher teams. Every game teams will deactivate yesterday’s and tomorrow’s starting pitcher and fill those roles with either bullpen or bench help. It will also allow a team like the Mets to deactivate a Neil Walker while he gets his back checked out and play another infielder.

These extra players are probably going to be low paying jobs anyway, so owners will go for it and the Players’ Association will be adding 90 new jobs, so to them it’s a win.

For competitive reasons, MLB needs this. Unlike other sports, these nagging injuries generally put players on the shelf for a few days.

Commissioner Rob Manfred should look into this when the negotiations start.

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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