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Taxi squad

Since "who's on it" will carry through season, thought I'd start a thread for it...

I'll start with this directly from the rules:

"A Club is permitted to carry up to five additional Taxi Squad players on all road trips with the Major League team. If the Club elects to carry five additional players, at least one must be a player whose position prior to the season is catcher"

So only HAVE to have a C if carrying full five guys.  Seems logical to always have one anyway, but if a team had 3 C's on their Active roster, could see them going without.  But might just always want one to Catch the Taxi squad P's bullpens.

This sounds like a dumb question, but I am not entirely clear on the mechanics/ of what the taxi squad is fundamentally FOR... i.e.  exactly how they might get utilized.

My logic is that MLB doesn't want players from the Minors flying all over the country ON SHORT NOTICE every time a team wants to roll up a RP after an extra inning game, send down a spot start SP, OR even to sub for an injured player?  Every callup to MLB often involves a domino effect of 2-3 other moves (guy down from MLB, guy moving up a level to backfill the guy who just went up, etc).  I'm assuming that THIS is the risk that MLB is trying to clamp down on?

It seems like this is true EVEN in teams home cities, because per rules:  "Upon the conclusion of each road trip, players on the Taxi Squad will return to the Alternate Training Site."  I read this as:  The taxi squad remains nearby (in S.D.) at an Alt site for the same reasons/utilization as road games.  Only thing changing is no travel per diem?

BUT it seems ridiculous to have the taxi squad guys there as only 1 game fill-ins, with the "typical" recall of minors guy & the domino replacement effect leading to all those guys travelling around anyway?

So example:  A Padre position player tests positive for Covid OR gets injured in the 1st game of a 10 game road trip.  They replace that guy with a taxi squad player for the 2nd game.  But what then?  If they can just recall whoever they want for the 3rd game on, what's the point of having the taxi squad at all?  Not limiting player travel; just delaying it one day.   Is Taxi squad SOLELY  just having guys "on hand" as 1 game fill ins b/c of frequent Covid testing??  Is there an "isolation" time for a true recall/promotion b/c he was playing on a team of 25 different guys?

 

Follow on thought:  Seems like the "lesson" learned last year was that taxi squad was used WAY less than anticipated (did Padres even use it once last year?), because even 1 or 2 cases of Covid usually causes the entire game to be postponed; and that's where the use would have happened?

It seems logical for teams for safety sake to plan / flow their "true" callups (it's Gore's time, etc) by calling them up first to the home city "Alt site" simply so they're not around the entire team until they test negative before entering the new clubhouse?

As I recall the taxi squad last season was not stocked with anyone significant ... and that was when there was no minor league season (any real value needs in 2021 to be playing for call-up readiness not vegetating in hotel rooms on the road or sitting at some alternate site also vegetating).

With all the health and safety measures enhanced over last year ... and ... expect for some early hiccups last year went well overall ... not sure there will be much use of a taxi squad so some question as to how it is staffed (maybe only a catcher).

I guess what I'm getting at is:  what are some specific situations where the Taxi squad would actually be utilized & for how long?

Last year when "we" all knew a lot less & were only a few months into Covid-19, I THINK the intent of the taxi squad was for guys to be able to step in quickly when there was a positive test.  BUT:  After handling a few situations badly early on (playing games vs postponing), it became clear that games needed to be postponed when positive cases popped up.   It seems like this took away a lot of the need for the taxi squad in the first place.  If you rigidly cancel games every time there is 1 positive case, what would be the point of the TS?

But last year there was no Minors, so no players moving around like normal.  I feel like what they're really trying to do is limit all the Minors player travel that happens with "routine" callups.  But that the focus might be on more "normal" situations like injury, doubleheaders, after extra innings games, etc than specifically players testing + for Covid...  maybe "flow" the normal (would have happened in a 'normal' season) callups through only home city?

The big thing to keep in mind is that ONLY players at the Alternate Site are eligible to be on the Taxi squad (and/or even be "normally" recalled or selected??).  So my understanding is the guys who were specifically optioned to AA San Antonio (Espinoza, Humphreys, Lawson) will go to the Minors ST, NOT the Alt site, and are NOT eligible for Taxi squad or recall.  As FENN said, this is true at least up until Minors seasons start.

Seems pretty obvious the youngest prospects that were in ST (Hassell, Mears, Justin Lange & Jagger Haynes who never appeared in a game) will go straight to Minors camp.  Seems likely Gore to Alt site.  Most interesting will be Abrams; Minors camp makes more sense, but he showed he could hold his own, so it could be the Alt site.  Pads "only" have 2 road trips allowing the Taxi Squad of 5 guys to join the Pads before the Minors seasons start.  I would expect Gore to be on at least 1 of those Taxi Squads.  Could see them wanting Abrams to have that experience too.  Remember Taxi can be added to 40-man temporarily without going through normal options/waivers, so can be out of options vets like Pedro Florimon, etc.

Once Minors season starts, the logical solution would be to have the Taxi Squad just stay with the MLB team home & away until MLB decides it's no longer neccy (maybe All Star Break?).   Seems ludicrous to have an "alternate site" for just 5 guys only during homestands?  But it seems like MLB would have to allow teams to make changes (during homestands) TO their Taxi squads by exchanging with players @ AAA so can rotate players (strict testing in/out) to actually be playing in games.

Finally, because Alt site in April does NOT have games, it will be light on SP's.  Heavy on RP's & C's to catch them all.  AND once the Minors starts, guys at Alt site don't just automatically "become" AAA.  Most will be, but I think many of the AAA SP's will be building up in games in Minors camp:  Brett Kennedy, Lake Bachar, Jesse Scholtens, Jerry Keel....   So when the Minors teams form, SP's at AAA/AA are stretched out & ready to go.  Guessing Gore goes to AA San Antonio... to keep Mr. P happy 🙂

Think that may be the route the league goes on alternate site and taxi squad ... at least in April. After April almost everyone goes to their league and keep in mind AZL is running and a home for “extra” players.

It should be interesting on the handling of the taxi squad .... and the “need” to have them available ASAP (maybe the same day as the game needed) but not being exposed to the ML roster beforehand for COVID reasons.

I guess getting players from Peoria to SD could be quick and then have them travel with the team on road trips. Would work for April. When the minor league seasons begin ... and IF they go with the full taxi squad of 5 ... pulling them off the AAA roster for road trips then returning them back (while making offsetting moves up and down the system) just does not seem practical.

Maybe they have a rotating taxi squad that gets housed in Peoria working out ... stocking that group with players being moved in and out of the minor league affiliates so everyone gets game work in the minors and gets isolated before being used as the taxi squad with the ML club. Just guessing that during the regular minor league season, the call-up could come from anywhere in the system (if tested clear).

The league will make this up as it goes along based on facts on the ground.

could we see some combination of the IL players activated and on the taxi squad while the deactivate players staying around on the taxi squad for the road trip.

If all four are just activated ... optioned: Campusano; Marcano; Crismatt; Hill? ... no DFA for now.

Logical for guys just optioned down to be on the taxi squad, since normal 10 days till return rules don't apply.

But I doubt a guy still on IL but "close" can be on taxi squad; implies you're just parking them there until convenient.  Think it's gotta be 5 healthy ready to play the next day if neccy guys

First guess:  Gore, Hill, Campusano/Rivas, Marcano, O'Grady