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Rule Changes Coming to the MLB?

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays-Press Conference Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Ken Rosenthal, in The Athletic, has a story on potential MLB rule changes. Subscription required, but it is well worth it.

Let’s talk about them for a moment or two:

Requirement for pitchers to face a minimum of three batters

I’ll admit, I hate rule changes that limit strategy. I think managers pull relievers too quickly, but I hate the idea of taking the choice away from them. It seems like a rule that’s built to drive LOOGYs out of baseball.

I think that managers should let relievers pitch more than an inning. I hate when relievers are taken out of games when they are pitching well. I think, if a guy does a great job in his first inning of relief, why not leave him out there for another inning.

I hate that managers cycle through 5, 6, 7 relievers in a game. I don’t see the point in using everyone and then not having anyone rested the next day.

But, I’m not for taking the choice away from the managers.

And I don’t understand how the 3 batter minimum will work if the pitcher gets the last out of the inning. He has to come back for the first two batters of the next inning. I don’t think that’s a bad thing but it will be a big change in how some pitchers have been used. And I don’t understand how that would work in the NL if the pitcher is due to hit.

Get rid of the incentives for teams to tank.

This is a proposal from the player’s association.

This is something that, I think, baseball has to do. I think it is bad business to tell fans ‘hey we aren’t trying’. Sure, rebuilding is going to happen, but I don’t see why teams can’t rebuilt, but stay competitive at the same time.

And, I don’t think tanking works when you have several teams doing it. This year we might have 5-6 teams all tanking at the same time.

I think some of the teams are doing it just to make money. Cut payroll as much as humanly possible and make money just off of their TV share, their share from MLB.com and they don’t care that attendance will fall.

I think that’s bad for growing the game. I think you want moms and dads taking their kids to games and let them cheer and have hope. Not have them cheering against their team.

I don’t understand why a rebuild and trying to be competitive can’t happen at the same time. Take the Jays. Why can’t the team work like that ‘hey we have Vlad Jr., (and some other good young players), let’s try to make the team decent and hope things break well, while bringing up the young guys.

Their is no reason the Jays shouldn’t be in on Bryce Harper. Sign him, have him and Vlad back-to-back in the lineup and sell the fans on ‘this will be fun’. And it isn’t like signing Harper is going to hurt us in the future.

It think the real reason for the Jays (and several other teams) aren’t in on Harper is to drive salaries down. The fewer teams in on him, the less chance of a biding war.

Anyway, I think they need to find a way to stop the incentive to tank.

Get rid of service time manipulation.

Another thing the players want. And I think fans should want that too.

It is hard to believe that we, as fans, have gone along with this. We really should be insisting that the best players be in the majors. Baseball is meant to be entertainment. We would have been far more entertained if Vlad had been up last year. This April would be so much better if we could watch Vlad play for the month. TV ratings would be better. Attendance would be better. Vlad is someone people would pay to watch.

But it won’t happen because baseball has made it more important to manipulate service time than to serve the fans. That’s just wrong.

Bring the DH to the NL.

Another thing the Players would like, mostly because there would be more of the better paying jobs out there.

Personally, I’m fine with the NL being different. I think it doesn’t hurt to have one league for fans who like the DH and one league for fans that don’t.

I like the DH, but I do like that, in the NL, teams need to have a decent bench. In the NL bench players will play a lot more and play in important spots in the game.

In the AL.....bench players play less and often they don’t come into games unless the game is already over. AL teams can have crappy benches. The Jays have had a few seasons with crappy benches in the recent past.

And, in the AL, teams don’t want to bring up good prospects to be bench players because they would rather have them play everyday in the minors and not rot on the bench in the majors. Whereas, in the NL, bench guys are going to be used, bringing up a prospect is easier.

I do like the DH, but.....I can see the point of people who like the NL game, and I’d just as soon not change things.

Ken says that the NL might adopt the DH for this coming season. I find that hard to believe. I don’t think there is time for teams to be ready for that.


Ken also tells us that, if there isn’t an agreement with the Players, Rob Manfred could bring in some more changes:

  • A 20 second pitch clock.
  • Reducing mound visits from 6 to 5.
  • And testing putting a runner on second, when games are tied after 10 innings, in spring training games and the All-Star game. I hope this doesn’t become something they do in regular season games.

And in the future:

  • Expanding rosters to 26 players. Oh boy, room for another reliever in the pen.
  • Reducing September rosters to 28.
  • Going back to the 15-day DL, after having a 10-day DL the last few years.

What rule changes would you like to see and what rule changes would piss you off?