The 2020 Major League Baseball season will bring with it a change that will revise the injured list structure. According to MLB Network's Jon Heyman, next season, MLB pitchers will have a 15-day injured list stint. The reasoning, as Heyman notes, is to prevent MLB teams from manipulating their rosters. Position players will still have a 10-day IL.
The new minimum number of days (15) for a pitcher to spend on the injured list is a return to the standard IL length. MLB changed it to 10 days before the 2017 season. Last January, it was reported that MLB was considering switching back to the 15-day minimum, with the hope of combating reliever manipulation, while also reviving offense. As of Friday, the rule change has not officially been announced.
The switch to 10 days had allowed teams to have more leeway when it came to planning out roster shuffling, specifically in order to manipulate the club's rotation to their advantage. For example, having only a ten day minimum for pitchers meant that they would usually miss just one start, and in the meantime, a club would turn to using more relief pitchers and/or openers. The change back to 15 days should make it much more difficult, if not impossible, for teams to work around the required minimum IL time.
In March, MLB announced a new set of rule changes for the 2019 and 2020 seasons as part of the league and the MLBPA's agreement. Two of the changes set to be enacted during the 2020 season are the expansion of active rosters from 25 to 26 players and the rule requiring relievers to pitch to at least three batters unless the conclusion of the half-inning comes first.
MLB's current collective bargaining agreement expires Dec. 1, 2021.