In case you haven’t already seen, the MLB has announced a few new rule changes for this year and the next coming years. Most of which are actually pretty good!
Here’s a quick list of all the proposed changes.
Pitchers will be required to face a minimum of three batters in a game beginning in 2020.
There will be a single July 31 trade deadline, starting this season, with teams prohibited from making any type of trade after that date.
Mound visits will be reduced from six to five during games beginning this year, and perhaps reduced to four visits in 2020.
There will be an All-Star election day starting this summer where fans can determine the starting players in the All-Star Game with 24-hour voting.
The Home Run Derby will now pay $1 million to the winning player.
Commercial breaks during innings will be shortened by 20 seconds to 2 minutes.
Position players will be prohibited from pitching in games that don’t go into extra innings, unless a team is ahead or behind by at least eight runs.
Committees will be appointed by the Commissioner’s office and the union to formally discuss the game’s economic concerns. They will study ways to make the free-agent market more active. They will discuss eliminating the incentive for teams from purposely losing to gain top draft picks. They will explore efforts to prevent teams from manipulating service time that delays their top prospects from being called up to the major leagues.
And finally, beginning in 2020, all teams will have a 28-man roster in the final month of September, after having a 26-man roster the first five months of the season.
The 3 batter minimum is a pretty significant change, and will improve upon my personal biggest gripe int he game. No longer will a manager be trotting out to the mound after literally every batter, an issue that gets exponentially worse when rosters expand. Thankfully that’s also getting improved as rosters will now no longer be effectively unlimited in September, but rather limited to a modest 28 players per dugout. I’m sure clubhouse attendants are dancing in the streets as we speak. MLB will also be limiting the total number of visits from 6 to 5 with potential further cuts in the coming seasons.
I’m also very shocked to see they will be limiting commercial breaks to 2 mins, cutting away all that precious advertisement revenue. Better time those bathroom breaks a little better!
In some sad news, position players will now be prohibited from pitching in games that don’t go into extra innings, unless a team is ahead or behind by 8 runs. I’m not really sure how often this very specified scenario happened. My guess is this was something the union asked for likely due to concerns a position player would blow out their arm throwing 68 mph fastballs. We will still see some blow out mop-ups by the backup outfielder, and Chris Davis can still strike out the side in the 17th inning, but the position player pitching watch will be on low temp.
One of the bigger changes will be the elimination of the annoying and confusing waiver-wire trades. From now on, no trades will be allowed after the July 31st deadline. This change is likely done to try to force a bubble’s teams hands and hopefully spur more exciting trade news that the league loves so much. I bet a bunch of writers will be happy to never try to explain the waiver trade rules again.
The league is now bribing people to show up for the Home Run Derby, which will probably not work anyways, and all the All-Star elections crap will be filtered down to one particular day with 24-hour voting. No more incessant reminders to “Vote early, vote often, you can only vote 5 times per day per email!”
Finally we get to what I believe to be some of the most interesting news. The league will be forming committees in conjunction with the union to investigate why no one’s signing anyone until February, and why players aren’t reaching expected salaries. They will also be looking into the incredibly stupid service time games that teams play to lock up promising young players to league minimums, while also claiming that older players are too old to be of value. I am shocked to see the league is willing to discuss these issues, however I’m wondering if the union didn’t make it very clear these were their top two issues that could cause a work stoppage and this is the first attempt to head that off at the pass. I am very interested to see what the outcome of these two committees are, if any, or if the league is willing to put forth a true good face effort here.
So what say you? Are you excited for the changes? Outraged? Are you just happy to see a new article with my name on it?