Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New wild-card format increases usual September chaos, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon says

TORONTO

September is always a special time in baseball.

But it's also a strange time, when the rules are changed regarding roster size. And even odder this year, with teams, such as the Rays, competing for a new second wild-card berth and facing a different playoff format.

Cast Rays manager Joe Maddon as curious to see how it all works out.

The issue of roster expansion is an annual debate. After playing five months with a 25-man limit, teams go into the most important four weeks able to use up to 40 players.

As much emphasis as the Rays put on flexibility and versatility to maximize a 25-man roster, and as good a job as they do managing it, allowing other teams to use more players is a disadvantage.

Maddon said it can work both ways.

As a contender, he likes having the extra players around — they had 31 active Saturday — primarily to provide rest for the frontliners, and for some specific duties, such as pinch-running.

But he doesn't like managing against non-contenders that have and will use a bunch of extra players — often young and unpredictable — to create different matchups, with pinch-hitters and relievers, that otherwise would never have to be accounted for.

"They can make it very difficult on you," he said.

The solution, in Maddon's opinion and others, is to specify a set number of players — 28, 29, 30 — who can be active for each game.

He doesn't know yet what to think about the ramifications of the expanded playoffs. But he seems sure the addition of the second wild card, and the increased premium on winning the division (as the wild cards meet in a one-game play-in), will create additional issues, some unexpected. For example, teams might be more open to making trades in September, even though the acquired players won't be eligible for the postseason.

"It's different," he said.

But, bottom line, it should be even more intriguing to watch, with more teams involved and more games mattering. And, Maddon said, possibly even more exciting than last season's Game 162 dramatics.

"There's no telling how this is going to play out," he said. "Going through this whole process this year, it's going to present a lot of different caveats that weren't even thought about, or were thought about a little bit and now become more prominent. … It's going to be interesting, more so than it's ever been."

New wild-card format increases usual September chaos, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon says 09/01/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 1, 2012 5:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. State baseball: Unbeaten Calvary Christian makes it 29 straight wins, reaches final

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian is one game from season-long perfection. And its first state championship.

     Calvary Christian players celebrate their win after the FHSAA class 4A semi-final against American Heritage on Friday May 26, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary defeated American Heritage 7 to 1. Calvary takes on Pensacola Catholic in the championship tomorrow night, at Hammond Stadium.
  2. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.
  3. Rays journal: Rookie Daniel Robertson takes pride in sparkling defense

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Rookie INF Daniel Robertson has earned raves for his defensive play at both second base and shortstop, making a highlight play almost every game he starts, including one in the fifth inning Friday.

    Robertson
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    DH/LF Corey Dickerson has gotten more attention, but 1B Logan Morrison has had a tremendous first two months. His fourth-inning homer Friday was his team-leading 13th, one shy of his total for 107 games last season, and gave him 34 RBIs.

  5. Rowdies anxious to get back on track

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — Having already played four matches in less than two weeks' time, the Rowdies have to turn around again on short rest to host Saint Louis FC today.

    And they're actually glad about it.