In response to recent COVID-19 clusters on the Marlins and Cardinals, MLB and the players association (MLBPA) announced on Wednesday that clubs will be permitted to maintain 28-player rosters for the remainder of the 2020 season. That includes the playoffs. As well, a 29th player will be permitted for each doubleheader, and the taxi squads -- a one-off roster wrinkle for 2020 that gives teams an emergency roster supplement -- have been expanded from three to five players.
Standard MLB rules allow for 26-player active rosters, which was to be the new structure for the 2020 season, expanded from the old 25-player limit. However, the uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus pandemic prompted MLB and the MLBPA to adopt more flexible rules for 2020.
Originally, teams were to be at a 30-player limit for the start of the 2020 season and then shrink to 28 on Thursday. Then the rules called for teams to be down to the standard 26-player limit by Aug. 20 and to stay at that level through the postseason. In essence, that final step down has been eliminated, and teams will be at 28 players on the active roster for the remainder of the 2020 season.
The idea is to allow teams more flexibility to respond to any future COVID-19 outbreaks within the roster and avoid major schedule disruptions. A perhaps more important step toward being able to adhere to the compressed 60-game schedule is that MLB and the MLBPA on Thursday also reportedly agreed to a suite of stricter safety protocols for players and team personnel.