The 26th Man Limits Needlessly Limits the Mets
In 2012, Major League Baseball enacted the 26th Man Rule to help teams deal with their pitching issues created by doubleheaders. The rule states that if a team has a doubleheader they can call-up a player from their 40 man roster to be available to play in both ends of the doubleheader if the doubleheader was scheduled at least 48 hours in advance. In the event that the doubleheader was not scheduled at least 48 hours in advance, a team can call-up a player from the minor leagues, but that player would only be available in the second game of the doubleheader.
Now, since this is the Mets only trip to Pittsburgh, there were only two possible dates to schedule the doubleheader. The first was today, June 7th, and the second was Wednesday, June 8th. Considering the fact that the first game of a doubleheader is going to start at 4:05 P.M. today, it was practically impossible for the teams to schedule this doubleheader 48 hours in advance. Basically, both the Mets and the Pirates were prevented from having a 26th man on their roster for both ends of the doubleheader because the schedule only has the Mets going to Pittsburgh one time this season. In essence, Major League Baseball has created a rule that is not in conformity with its schedule.
Accordingly, the Mets are going to have to pitch Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom today and try to figure out what they are going to do over the weekend. It’s likely that they are going to have to start Logan Verrett this weekend because they are not going to want to start Matz or deGrom on three days rest. The Mets could avoid this situation by having Verrett start today. It’s feasible, especially considering that Verrett last pitched on June 1st. He’s well rested, and if he’s going to have to make a start, why not make it now? The reason is that because this is a doubleheader, the Mets are going to need each and every single one of their bullpen pieces.
Alternatively, the Mets could call-up a starter from AAA to make the spot start in the second game. However, this situation isn’t feasible for a number of reasons. First, the likely starter, Sean Gilmartin, last pitched on June 3rd meaning he would have to make a start on short rest and after a cross-country flight. The Mets could go with Gabriel Ynoa in the second game since it is his turn in the rotation. However, the Mets may not want Ynoa to make his major league debut after a cross country flight, and they may not want to complicate their AAA rotation thereby pushing a young pitcher past the point they realistically should pitch. Finally, the Mets might not feel Ynoa is ready to pitch in the big leagues yet.
Realistically, the Mets don’t have a viable pitching option. Accordingly, the Mets are going to go the position player route. It’s not a bad decision either. You don’t want Yoenis Cespedes playing both games on a sore hip. Juan Lagares isn’t available to hit today with a torn ligament in his thumb. As much as the Mets may need another pitcher, they also need another position player. Accordingly, Eric Campbell is going to be that guy. Campbell will be available to play first, second, third, left, right, or pinch hit. Knowing Terry Collins, he just might have Campbell do all of the above in the second game since there is going to be a lefty starting in the second game of the doubleheader.
However, he’s not going to be able to do any of that in the first game as he’s unavailable to be used. Apparently, Major League Baseball believes you only need a 26th man on the roster when you have time to plan out how you are going to use your roster and not when you are pressed into making quick decisions. The 26th Man limitations are without merit, and they need to be removed immediately.