White Sox wouldn’t be affected by disabled list changes

If Major League Baseball had a heart, it would’ve been in the right place when it reduced the minimum stay on the disabled list from 15 days to 10 two years ago. The idea was to make it easier to give banged-up players time to heal minor injuries without losing an unnecessary work week.

It might’ve accomplished that much, but it also gave rise to DL manipulation in the favor of more effective pitchers. The Dodgers started it by using the DL as a garage for an overcrowded rotation, then giving the open roster spot to a reliever instead. The Rays took it a step further with bullpenning, which took an emergency measure and turned it into a go-to strategy.

Offense has taken a major hit as a result, so MLB is trying to put the horse back in the barn. In the days before SoxFest, the league proposed restoring the minimum stay on the DL to 15 days, along with increasing the minimum amount of days a player must stay in the minors after an option, also from 10 to 15.

Changing this rule before the new collective bargaining agreement requires union approval, at least for the 2019 season. Rob Manfred has the option to unilaterally impose it with one year’s notice, but hasn’t yet gone that route with other measures. Given the ornery relations between players and management, it doesn’t seem likely to pass without a significant concession from the league’s side. A lot of players might be able to get their first cups of coffee when a roster has revolving doors.

Should a switch take place, it shouldn’t matter to the White Sox. They haven’t had many DL stints last fewer than 15 days whether by luck or design.

Only three injuries took advantage of the reduction in duration last year:

  • Yoan Moncada needed just 10 days to recover from a hamstring injury, May 6-15.
  • Matt Davidson hit the DL retroactively for back spasms, only counting for eight days, May 28-June 4.
  • Welington Castillo spent 11 days on the disabled list due to a shoulder injury,

And they only had a couple more the year before:

  • Michael Ynoa was sidelined 13 days for a hip issue from June 3-15.
  • Avisail Garcia spent just 14 days on the DL for a sore thumb that bothered him at the end of July. He came back and hit .423 over the 19 games he played in August.
  • Moncada, Reynaldo Lopez and Nicky Delmonico all came off the DL in more than 10 days but fewer than 15 after roster expanded in September.

None of these use cases of the disabled list violate the spirit of the reduction. Castillo’s was the only one that was suspicious for its convenience, because it allowed the Sox to carry Omar Narvaez and Kevan Smith into September without having to demote one of them. They both played well while Castillo was suspended and deserved such a reward, so it passes the Kantian smell test.

More crucial to the point: Only two of the eight players to spend fewer than 15 days on the DL were pitchers, and only one was a reliever. Ynoa isn’t the kind of guy you game a system with, and besides, he ended up going 15 days between pitching appearances anyway.

A reduction in the minimum DL stay also shouldn’t alter the Sox’ future plans. Don Cooper said last week that a five-man rotation is still Job One:

“I want the starters to stay in the game as long as they can stay out there and take the bulk of the work, because I think in my mind, I saw us win a world championship that way,” Cooper said. “Nowadays with the special starting pitcher and the second time around numbers or the third time around numbers and all that stuff — and I pay attention to all of it — and certainly with the sabermetrics and all of that — I pay attention to that as well — with all that being said, the starter’s job description, as long as I’m here, is not going to change.”

The Sox are about to enter their 14th season since that world championship with only one postseason appearance since, so it’d be nice if this argument could update its bona fides. It’s also hard to say he’s wrong as it pertains to the task at hand, which right now involves building sustainably successful pitchers more than it does squeezing out every marginal win.

Should the needs change, then perhaps Cooper’s mindset will be counterproductive. Then again, perhaps an older way of thinking might be appropriate if MLB restores an older set of rules.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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I had to look up Kantian and I learned something new today.

As Cirensica

Jim does that….good stuff.


Following the trend of the best public analysts leaving to work for teams, Russell Carleton aka pizzacutter is leaving BP for the Mets https://www.sny.tv/mets/news/get-to-know-russell-carleton-mets-newest-front-office-hire/303379894


We haven’t had a new Manny Machado thread for like 4 days now Jim…..


Do you know something us mere mortals don’t?

Josh Nelson

It’s not Manny, but the Padres are meeting with Bryce Harper today.

The latest on Padres pursuit of Machado:


It would be rather amusing if Harper and Machado wound up signing with the Padres and White Sox, teams that combined to lose 196 games last year.

Josh Nelson

Just a 5.5 hour drive (Or hour long flight) from Las Vegas.

As Cirensica

The Padres do have bright future considering the farm system (thanks not in small part to Ricj Han). A lot better weather too.


What else are we supposed to be talking about?


The Knicks apparently just dealt Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, so a European superteam may be emerging in Texas.


#Knicks trade Porzingis plus Hardaway Jr./Lee to clear way to sign 2 free agents. That can only mean 1 thing — the Knicks are the mystery team signing Harper and Machado.

— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 31, 2019


The idea of pulling the Padres in with the reported low offer seems to lend some credence to the idea the leak was from Lozano’s group. Though it doesn’t totally sound like Manny wants to meet with them so ?‍♂️.


If I was him I would at least meet with them to see if that can get Rick Hahn to up his amount at all, I think they were even willing to fly out to Miami for him.


Yeah I would too. We’ll see how it all shakes out. I still feel good about the Sox chances to sign him.


Really enjoyed the unfiltered Josh on the 108 podcast. Made me appreciate what you and Jim do even more.

When’s Zack Collins coming on the Podcast?