Don Mattingly Wants The September Roster Expansion Changed

Miami Marlins manager and former Yankee’s star first baseman Don Mattingly is not a fan of the rule allowing rosters to expand in September, and wants to see it changed to preserve what he refers to as competitive balance. This is despite the fact that Mattingly, who was a September call-up in 1982, is rated as the best in the Yankees’ franchise history according to The YES Network. Unswayed by his own personal experience with the rule, Mattingly has called for some sort of limit that would make games like the one he just managed against the Phillies the type of thing that does not happen again.

According to ESPN, the Marlins and Phillies played a game in which no pitcher recorded more than six outs. This is only the fourth time in baseball history that has happened in a nine inning game. Although 15 pitchers were used, none made a plate appearance, which is the first time since 1900 that a pitcher didn’t go to the plate, aside from games using the DH. Mattingly believes this kind of game happens because when rosters expand, the style of game that is played the rest of the season changes due to having more bodies available.

“If you’re in the hunt and you’ve got a chance, you don’t want to get to any situation and be like, ‘Well, I could use a pinch-runner here,’ and not be able to do it. As long as you’re eligible to use 40, if you’re in the hunt, there’s no reason to have them here. But we’re trying to prepare for 16 pitchers. And really, if you had four or five lefties in your bullpen, you could match up and bring in a new guy every time they bring up a [left-handed hitter]. You just can’t do that during the first five months of your season.”


The rule allows for teams to have an expanded roster, which can accommodate 40 players. There is still an active roster which only carries 25 players that are eligible for each game. The additional 15 players act as a taxi squad of sorts. Having readily available arms and bats that can move on and off the active roster daily, managers can use their personnel differently. Mattingly believes that isn’t fair.

According to the Miami Herald, Mattingly isn’t completely against roster expansion, but thinks that capping it at somewhere between three and five new slots is the way to go, as it would maintain a more “normal style” of play. As ESPN reported, in the past, the Player’s Association does not want a change to the roster expansion rule as it gives players, who are paid MLB wages for the time they spend on the roster, more service time.