Major Changes Coming to MLB for Trade Deadline, Rosters
The Phillies took full advantage of the "September call-up" rule last season, and also made some moves during the month of August to add players to their active roster. This year, however, the Phillies will not be able to do either to the extent they did last season. Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have agreed to a number of changes for the 2019 baseball season that will mean teams will have to do business much differently this season.
The first major rule change, the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline will become the trade deadline, period. That means there will be no more August trades through the waiver process. So for the 2018 Phillies, they would not have been able to acquire first baseman Justin Bour, pitcher Luis Avilan and outfielder Jose Bautista.
The 2008 Phillies notably acquired key reliever Scott Eyre and bench bat Matt Stairs in August deals. Both players helped the Phillies win the World Series. Neither would have been eligible to be traded in August under the new rules.
The move could make the July 31 trade deadline even more active, as teams try to set their roster for the postseason.
Additionally, the "September call-ups" will be greatly diminished. Teams may expand the roster in September to just 28 players, instead of having every player on a team's 40-man roster eligible. The Phillies in 2018 at one point had all 40 players active. That means 12 there will be fewer active players for the Phillies in September, 2019.
Additionally, major league rosters will expand to 26 players in 2020. The Phillies, who have moved to a 13-man bullpen, will now have the option for a second back-up infielder and second back-up outfielder, lessening the burden on some roster spots and the need for reserve players to play all over the diamond.
Finally, a $1 million bonus will be attached to the home run derby. Hopefully this means more players will be willing to participate.