Possible MLB rule changes may have little effect on Pirates

Florence Fletcher
February 8, 2019

Major League Baseball and its union have had substantive discussions in recent days over a series of proposals, among the most drastic proposed changes in years, that could bring significant rule changes to the sport in 2019 and beyond, according to two sources familiar with those talks. A 20-second pitch clock would be great for making the game move a lot faster.

Spring training begins for pitchers and catchers next week and Opening Day is 50 days away, but Major League Baseball and the players association are considering jamming in significant rules changes for the regular season. A batter-minimum for pitchers also could speed up the game by eliminating a few pitching changes and trips to the mound in the later innings.

The union hopes that an earlier trade deadline, and only one deadline as opposed to the July 31 non-waiver deadline and the August 31 deadline in which players must first clear waivers, would motivate teams to be more aggressive in free agency and emphasize the first half of the season.

Major rule changes could be coming to Major League Baseball as soon as the upcoming season.

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Top baseball officials have criticized the union publicly in the past for not showing a willingness to come to the bargaining table, even as top union officials have criticized some owners over a perceived lack of competitiveness.

A three-batter minimum would be created to reduce the number of game interruptions with mound visits and pitching changes, particularly later in a game. However, the three-batter minimum and 12-pitcher maximum would make left-handed specialists in the bullpen harder to keep on the roster. A lowering of a team's draft position for failing to reach a specified win total in a certain number of seasons is believed to be part of the union's plan.

Of all the proposed changes, the universal DH arguably would be the most significant to the game on the field.

National League pitchers might want to hold onto their bats for a little longer.

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