A Summary of All the Upcoming Rule Changes
Throughout the offseason the MLB Commissioner and league officials have been involved in discussions with the Players Association regarding rule changes. There has been heavy speculation and discussion as to what changes could possibly be made. Rumors may have been swirling, but now that an agreement has been made clarity has come for what new rules are coming to the game of baseball.
Changes that begin immediately this season.
The League has formed an agreement for multiple rule changes. All of the rule changes seem to be centered around two main. The first goal is to improve pace of play, and the second is to improve social media presence and player marketing throughout the season. With several rule changes, it may be hard to keep up with, but here is a summary of the rule changes taking place beginning this season.
Shortening the breaks between innings is one way that they intend to shorten the length of games and move the flow of action along more quickly. Regional broadcasts will have breaks shortened from 2:05 to just 2:00 minutes. National Broadcasts will be shortened from 2:25 to 2:00 minutes. This may not do much in the way of shortening the overall length of broadcasts, it means we can get to action by as much as 25 seconds faster.
Last season MLB placed a limit on the number of mound visits that can be made during a game. This was the big attempt last year to improve the pace of play. This year, the rule was amended lowering the allowed visits from six to five. All of former rules for mound visits will still apply.
This may be the rule that affects the Cardinals Front Office approach the most. There will now be a single Trade deadline of July 31st. This small, but significant change means no more trades via waiver following the trade deadline. Players can still be placed and claimed from outright waivers as normal, just not by trade following the deadline.
The Cardinals didn’t make any trades after the deadline last season, however during the 2017 season they did make a couple. One such trade that some fans may remember that sent Eliezer Alverez to Philly for Juan Nicasio. The other trade made sent Mike Leake to the Mariners. While this type of move is a rarity it is not something that was out of the question for St. Louis to do, that is until now.
All Star Voting-
I discussed this in an article I posted earlier this week. If you have not had a chance to check it out, here is a summary of the suggested changes.
Fan voting will still happen online during the early part of the season. The purpose will be to determine the top three finalists at each position. This will be known as the “primary round.” Each team will have one player at each position nominated for the primary ballot, and fans can then vote for who their favorite is. The top three finalists across each league will be placed on the final ballot.
The final ballot will be presented online for fans to vote during the “MLB All-Star Election Day.” The idea is that for one day, fans will promote, vote, and elect their favorite candidates onto the All Star starting roster. Incentives (bonuses) will be paid to the top vote getters, as well as whichever team is victorious in the All Star Game.
The MLB will also start a player at 2nd base in extra innings during the All-Star game.
Home Run Derby-
In an attempt to draw the sport’s biggest stars and most competitive players to the event, they are raising the prize money for the Home Run derby. The winner will now take home a total of one million dollars. The total of all prize money will be worth 2.5 million dollars and will be spread among the top finalists.
Recently players have declined to participate for various reasons including rest and fear of over doing it, thus risking fatigue and injury during the event. Last years winner, Bryce Harper, may not be interested in the 1 million now that he has landed a 330 million dollar contract with the Phillies.
Changes coming after the 2019 season
Three Batter Minimum-
Beginning next year each pitcher will have to face a minimum of three batters prior to being replaced. The exceptions to this rule are the end of a half inning, and injury/ illness. As part of this change the Players Association agreed not to protest this change. This is probably a move agreed upon to help secure other agreements during future negotiations.
Injured List and Pitchers Options-
The Injured List will be extended from a 10 day to a 15-day minimum stint for all pitchers. This looks to still be open for discussion, but for now they also have agreed that the minimum days for optional assignments will also increase from 10 to 15 days.
According to former rules, a player can be optioned to the minor leagues up to three times. If a player is optioned, they must remain in the minors for at least 10 days. Exceptions are if they are the 26th man during a double header, or if they are replacing someone who has been placed on the Disabled List (IL). After 20 days in the Minors, the player then loses one of their options.
Currently, the Cardinals have three pitchers who are out of options. John Gant, Chasen Shreve, and Mike Mayers all must make the 25-man roster on opening day or be placed on waivers. These players would then have to clear waivers in order to stay with the Cardinals organization, however it is likely that another team would claim them.
Active Roster Changes-
The League plans to expand the active roster from a 25 to a 26 man. The minimum will increase from 24 to 25, and along with this change double headers will allow a roster of 27 players. At this time, they have yet to determine, but will be determining a limit to the number of pitchers allowed on the roster.
The rule also outlines the changes for pitching appearances during the Post Season. Position Players cannot appear as a pitcher in a post season game unless:
-They are a two-way player. This means that they made 20 Major league position starts, and 20 innings pitched
– The team is either winning or losing by six runs
– The game goes into extra innings.
Finally, they will also do away with the 40 man roster limits beginning on September 1st until the end of each championship. During this time each club will carry 28 players on their active roster.