Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced a series of changes that will be implemented in 2019 and 2020.
MLB, MLBPA ANNOUNCE ON-FIELD AGREEMENT
— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) March 14, 2019
Here are the major changes that will begin in the 2019 season.
- All inning breaks down to 2 minutes
- $1 million bonus for winning the Home Run Derby
- Reduced mound visits, 5 per game
- No more waiver trade deadline, July 31 trade deadline remains
- New “Election Day” voting for All-Star Game
And the changes that will begin in 2020.
- Opening Day to August 31 rosters increased from 25 to 26 players
- September rosters decreased from 40 to 28
- Pitchers must face three batters minimum
- Limitations on position players pitching in games
- Players on injured list for 15 days instead of 10
- Minimum option time for pitchers increased to 15 days
Most importantly, though, the two sides seem to be working towards a new CBA. The current deal expires in 2021.
The long-awaited MLB/MLBPA deal is done, sources tell ESPN, and includes a single trade deadline, an All-Star Game Election Day, expanded rosters in 2020 and, most important, a pledge to start bargaining over fundamental economic issues. News @ESPN: https://t.co/b7yvvVdxMd
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 14, 2019
Anyway, the biggest change to the game is that pitchers will now be required to face at least three batters, or finish an inning. That means you can say goodbye to the traditional left-handed relief specialists starting in 2020.
The new three-batter minimum is something that Cubs manager Joe Maddon is strongly against.
Joe Maddon reiterated his stance on the 3 batter minimum. He doesn’t like it. Says anything that impacts strategy is a non-starter for him.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 14, 2019
Chicago #Cubs manager Joe Maddon also is against the idea of three-batter minimum for pitchers: :"Strategy should not be impacted by rules.''
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) March 14, 2019
Ughhhh, Joe, you just have to change your strategy now. It’s not like you completely lost full control of trying to maximize matchups late in games with different relievers.
Anyway, Theo Epstein is all for the changes.
Theo Epstein, on rule changes: "I don't feel like this is the end, but it's a good faith attempt by all the parties involved to try to improve the nature of the play on the field, sort of nudge it in the direction of more action and a better brand of baseball for the fans."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) March 14, 2019
Here’s the thing, though, are the new changes going to bring in more fans to watch MLB? Sure, the new rules might lead to more offense and the pace of play will pick up and that could bring in some fans, but these really aren’t the biggest problems facing the league’s disconnect with fans.
It’s pretty simple. You want to grow your sport and bring in a bigger audience?
Get rid of the dumb blackout restrictions on MLBTV, so that fans can, you know, actually have easier access to watching more games.