With just three days to go before Opening Day, labor and management settled on multiplying each day on the active roster this year by 1.3 so that the shortened season will not hurt players needing to accumulate service time toward free agency.
The result came in the third negotiating session between the Japan Pro Baseball Players Association and Nippon Professional Baseball. The season, shortened from 143 games to 120, will take place over a span of 151 days instead of 190.
The active rosters will also be expanded from 29 to 31, to allow players more rest in order to stave off COVID-19, which will also allow one or two more players each day to accumulate days toward the 145 needed to count as one year toward free agency.
Full international free agency requires nine years, while players who turned pro after leaving a Japanese high school can file for domestic free agency after seven, while those who go from junior high or high school to the pros need eight years to move to another NPB club under their own power.
One additional imported player can be carried on the active rosters this year, although the prohibition against having four pitchers or four position players will remain.