At the beginning of the pandemic shortened 2020 season, the active roster was expanded to 30 players to accommodate many reasons (short ramp up time, a highly contagious virus, etc. etc.), but the goal was to have it shrink a couple of times every few weeks to get to the original (and also new) 26-man roster size.
Apparently, that is no longer the case.
Union telling players that roster size will reduce to from 30 and 28 on Thursday and remain at that level for the rest of the season and postseason, source tells The Athletic. Taxi squad will be expanded from three players to five players for remainder of the season.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 4, 2020
At noon on Thursday, the Reds and every other Major League Baseball team with 30 active players, will need to trim their roster by two to 28. However, the roster size will stay at 28 through the rest of the season. Originally, the plan was to cut it down by two more in another two weeks.
Also included in this is an expansion of the three man taxi squad by two players. So, essentially, the players a team decides to cut could just move over to the taxi squad and still be ready and available at a moments notice.
The purpose and actual use of the taxi squad isn’t entirely clear to me. The Reds were in Cincinnati when they had to place Mike Moustakas on the COVID injury list, and they already had to activate Anthony DeSclafani when Joey Votto went on it, so the move was readymade.
The Cardinals and Marlins ran into huge outbreaks on their teams, causing the games to be postponed or cancelled, rather than having the team dip into the extra players (either the taxi squad or the additional 30 players at the alternate training site). When the outbreak proves to be as big as the Marlins and Cardinals have had (10+ players and staff) then it probably doesn’t make a ton of sense to dip into additional players and run the risk of getting them sick, too.
But, I just don’t think the idea has been used the way it was originally envisioned.
Regardless, rosters are due to shrink in just a few days.