MIAMI -- When Major League rosters expand to 40 players at the start of September, it does more than just help teams bring in added depth, according to Mets manager Terry Collins.
It changes the dynamic of the final month of the season, as well.
"It does change the game," Collins said. "It changes the way it's played, not only teams like us, but teams that are in contention."
The Mets skipper admitted he liked that the roster expansion gives teams chances to reward some Minor Leaguers for great seasons, but the move from 25 players to up to 40 changes strategy, especially because some teams call up more Minor Leaguers than others.
Collins also recalls in the early 90s when he was coaching in Pittsburgh and the Pirates were in the hunt for the pennant, and they traveled to St. Louis for a series in September.
"They didn't have a left-handed reliever all summer and then they had three of them in September," Collins said of the Cardinals. "It's a whole different game. When you've been fighting four or five months, that sixth month sometimes can be real different."
While Collins would like to see changes to the rules that limit the September callups, he isn't sure what alternative option he would offer, whether it would be to limit the roster to 30 players instead of 40, or to do like they do in Japan, where they have 28 players on the roster and three active scratches each night -- usually starting pitchers.
"I'd like to see some changes," Collins said. "I don't know how to do it ... but still it's just a different game in September. I thought [former Cardinals manager] Tony [La Russa] last year in the month of September used his callups to absolute perfection. He used them absolutely perfectly, and it's tough to defend them when you don't have [as many]. Some teams bring a lot, some teams don't bring as many in."