MLB Rule Changes Coming Soon to a Ballpark Near You

Photo credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Remember the proposed MLB rule changes that were being discussed between the league and Players Association?

Details are being hammered out on the implementation of some of those ideas.

Writes ESPN’s Jeff Passan:

“A single trade deadline, an All-Star Game election day and a million-dollar bonus for the Home Run Derby winner will be implemented in 2019 — while a three-batter minimum for pitchers and roster expansion will happen in 2020 — as part of a deal between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.”

Passan also says that nothing is “codified” on a universal Designated Hitter rule or any changes regarding the shift, which will “be on the table as talks between MLB and the union continue.”

Starting with the 2019 changes, the single trade deadline makes sense to me, because I think you’re adding excitement and raising the stakes a bit by going with one window instead of doing a waiver and non-waiver deadline. That deadline will be July 31st, and I think this helps place more emphasis on preseason free agency vs. kicking the can down the road and acquiring players mid-season. More needs to happen upfront, vs. just falling back on August moves.

The All Star Game election and Derby bonus make a ton of sense to me as a way to market stars, similar to how the NBA approaches their game.

As for the three-batter minimum in 2020, I think most fans seem to agree that this is a good idea to speed up the game and cut down on the incessant pitching changes that bog down the back-half of games. I don’t think you’re killing off nuance and strategy entirely, you’re just shifting the focus a bit and asking managers to look further down the lineup. This rule prevents another Wade Miley scenario, where he pitched to a single batter in game five of the most recent NLCS.

Roster expansion is fine, though I think most teams would just add another lefty reliever if possible.

Here’s what Passan says about that:

“…regular-season rosters will expand from 25 to 26 players while September rosters will contract to a maximum of 28 from the current 40. A committee between the sides that will study the game is expected to make recommendations on the maximum number of pitchers allowed on the rosters. In negotiations, the league proposed 13 during the first five months of the season and 14 in September.”

These are positive forward steps.

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  • Big dom March 14, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    I think I speak for us all when I say, what does the Cuz think of all this?

    • Jeremy Giambi March 14, 2019 at 1:33 pm

      He thinks you’re a fat load.

  • Cole March 14, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    What’s wrong with pitching to a single batter? If a lefty is at the plate and is being followed in the lineup by numerous righties it would just be good strategy to bring in a lefty specialist and immediately take out that pitcher for a right handed pitcher. Do we really need to implement a rule that completely circumvents baseball wisdom just to appease millennials and yuppies like kinker who have gnat sized attention spans?

    • JG March 14, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      I agree. Games should be 4 hours.

      • Tr March 14, 2019 at 1:05 pm

        Uneducated response… Average game time last year was just over 3 hrs. In addition, length of games are barely higher than in previous decades. The game is the same, people’s attention span is what has changed

        • Americas Past Time baybayyyy March 14, 2019 at 1:11 pm

          People crying about the length of baseball games are the ones not watching them. Do what I do, crack open a 36 pack, enjoy the central air, and pound out your girlfriend at some point during the game

          • Sheena Parveen March 14, 2019 at 1:34 pm

            Or go into a corner and pound on yourself… you’re used to doing.

        • ... March 15, 2019 at 9:38 am

          Not true. Average game time in 1975 was 2 hours, 25 minutes. It’s been climbing ever since.

      • cole March 14, 2019 at 1:09 pm

        How many games go four hours? The average length of a nine inning game last year was 3 hours and 58 seconds. If you can’t sit through a three hour baseball game then you’re probably not a baseball fan.

    • Alpha March 14, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      ok grandpa.

      Here’s what I would implement and i am 48yrs old.

      – DH in both leagues.
      – Shift requires 4 infielders and 3 outfielders only, however you can put them anywhere in each piece of the fiel.
      – No more manager pitching visits even to remove a player. Just make it electronic.
      – Remove the homeplate human umpire. Completely unnecessary.
      – Allow nicknames on back of Unis full time.
      – pitch clock is 8 seconds.
      – Intentional Walk does not need to actually be pitched.
      – You get one reply per game. That’s it.

      • Realist March 14, 2019 at 1:17 pm

        They already changed the intentional walk thing. They don’t pitch it anymore.

      • Steve Mason Elite Unemployed NHL Goalie March 14, 2019 at 1:50 pm

        The DH is bullshit. Either have your pitchers learn to bat or your managers learn to manage. The AL is garbage.

        The nicknames on jersey thing is just so juvenile and stupid.

        The pitch clock is good, the rest is just ridiculous.

        And I’m 39.

        • Wow March 14, 2019 at 2:13 pm

          Reading your boring opinions and juvenile obsession with Kyle and his posts from years ago – I figured you were a 23 year old living at home.

          Who knew?

  • Matt March 14, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Will Ohtani count as a pitcher against the limit? If he can’t pitch due to injury but can still bat will they have to somehow change his designation so they can carry an extra pitcher??

  • Thick Ropes Cuz March 14, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Wish there was a limit on BWanks stories per day

  • How about March 14, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    Not allowing pitchers coming in from bullpen warm up pitches except for injury. That’s what slows down the game on pitching changes.

  • Charlie Needs A Manual March 14, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    MLB can’t even get the fn DH rule in the NL but they want all of this other crap.
    Manfred is a weak minded individual.
    He should resign immediately.

  • So Taguchi - Phillies Legend March 14, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Ban the DH. The DH is baseball without half of the strategy. Its utterly moronic that people want it in the NL.

    • Steve Mason Elite Unemployed NHL Goalie March 14, 2019 at 1:51 pm


    • Cole March 14, 2019 at 5:18 pm


    • ... March 15, 2019 at 9:40 am

      The DH should either be in both leagues or neither league. As it stands now, it’s an unfair advantage to the AL.

  • Josh Innis March 14, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Reading this reminds me that Missanelli looks like a Sally Jesse Raphael clone.

    • Stern Comes again March 14, 2019 at 1:58 pm

      F the skull

  • Baseball's Problems March 14, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Its the Playoffs and those Sunday Night games on ESPN…that drag out the length…
    Those games are terrible…30-45 seconds of commentery after every pitch…

    seriously–baseball has 2 huge problems…
    the games best player, is on a shit team—and plays at 1030 at night…and 70 percent of kids in this country cant watch…
    Shifts…Specialists…and hitter friendly ball parks have taken 90 percent of my interest away (the other 10 is probably because the Phils havent been competitive the last 6 years, but even then found myself catching between 75-85 percent of the games in entirety, but im a purist.

    They literally took baseball—the one game that was man on man–and was the ultimate thinking mans game, and made it almost unbearable to watch.

    on a side note:

    I also believe the DH In the NL Is stupid, but I also know with 100 confidence it is coming, it will extend careers, and get players longer contracts to finish out thier careers. Plus the long ball sells tickets.

    But yes–there is no managing, game calling, or thinking in the game anymore.

    Cause defenses basically have every advantage and no situation is new anymore, believe it or not.

  • Honest Gabe #19, and that's no Bull March 14, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    There goes my whole strategy. Back to the old drawing board.

  • Alpha March 14, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Ok the nickname thing is totally stupid, but I stand by everything else

    • Jussi Smolett March 14, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      YEah sure… you’re the idiot who didn’t even know about the intentional walk rule.
      Get back in your hole sometimes fan.

  • Bob March 14, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    It’s not the length of games that’s killing tv ratings. It’s the lack of explosive power hitters. The level of play is way down. Today’s hitters are small and weak.

  • Al jolson March 14, 2019 at 3:17 pm

    Oh mammy

  • Chia Kinker March 14, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Baseball needs more steroids and corked bats.
    Where is Sammy Sosa when you need him?

    • Sammy Sosa March 14, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      Bleaching my skin.

  • ALPHA March 14, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    I think they should eliminate outfielders or have games where 2 balls are in plays at all times.
    Just like Soccer.

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