NEW YORK – Major changes to baseball’s rulebook could be in the offing as Major League Baseball and its players association engaged in talks about rules proposals that would equate to an overhaul.
Among the proposals to be considered, per multiple reports, are a universal designated hitter — currently only American League teams employ a DH, with National League teams adapting to that lineup configuration when visiting an AL ballpark — a 20-second pitch clock and expanding rosters to 26. Not currently on the docket: banning infield shifts, a notion that became popular during the 2018 postseason.
However, the negotiation reportedly includes forcing relief pitchers to face a minimum of three batters. It is customary under present rules for managers to use a relief pitcher for one out, even if that at-bat requires just one pitch.
Owners meetings are scheduled for this week and spring training begins next week.The sides currently are not scheduled to return to the table this month, with two years remaining on the collective bargaining agreement.
ESPN first reported one proposal includes a study to lower the pitching mound. Also on the list of rules under consideration is moving away from multiple trade deadlines — currently there is a non-waiver deadline in July, plus the waivers-required date a month later.Consideration also would be given to low-budget teams that are successful being granted additional draft pick compensation as incentive to keep a winning product on the field.
MLBPA also proposed granting players the incentive of additional service, permitting players to hit free agency earlier. The proposal is viewed as a countermeasure to what the union argues is manipulation of service time to keep top prospects under team control.
–Field Level Media