Proposed MLB rule changes.

By: Dr. Spock

Apparently, Manfred proposed a new rule that would require every pictcher to face at least 3 batters before he can be replaced.  The players countered with a proposal to force the DH rule on the National League.

I don't like either proposal.  NL needs to keep its tradition.  How would the 3 batter rule even be enoforeced?  What would stop a reliever from coming in and facing one batter, then claim he's getting blisters or felt a twinge and needs to come out.

From CBS Sports:

"A hallmark of Rob Manfred's tenure as MLB commissioner has been structural tweaks designed to improve pace of play and shorten game times. To date, these initiatives have not made a great deal of difference, and a declining level of action on the field -- rising strikeout rates are the leading culprits -- remains a concern moving forward. 

Manfred isn't done though. Here's this scoop from The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal

As part of a Jan. 14 proposal to the players' union on pace of play, baseball suggested a rule requiring pitchers to face a minimum of three batters, sources told The Athletic.

As Rosenthal also reports, the players countered by proposing, among other measures, universal adoption of the designated hitter as soon as the upcoming season. For all the details, you'll want to give Rosenthal's piece a full read

The DH in the National League will probably happen eventually, but seeing such a drastic shift in time for the 2019 season seems unlikely. As for MLB's idea, it's probably more realistic in the near-term. In part, that's because Manfred has the power to institute pace-of-play measures on his own. 

On the surface, that's what this is. Most managers these days have at their disposal a lefty or two who specialize in facing one batter at a time -- usually the opposition's most menacing left-handed hitter. This, of course, isn't especially entertaining for fans, who get to watch two relievers warm up in quick succession. Mandating that each pitcher face at least three batters would strike a blow against this practice. It could also serve to cut down on "bullpen bloat" that's led to 13-man pitching staffs becoming the norm. That, in turn, would allow for larger benches and, presumably, better pinch-hitters. 

It might also work against that rising strikeout rate. Such a rule would mean teams would probably seek out relievers capable of working longer. Maybe they wouldn't throw quite as hard and wouldn't feature quite so many of those devastating breaking pitchers that make life hell for same-side hitters. Those are probably longer-term effects though. More potent benches plus fewer fire-breathers in the bullpen could also mean more late-inning drama. 

It's an idea that makes some sense on a variety of levels. However, Manfred may have to do it by fiat, as the players probably aren't in the most cooperative of moods given the curiously slow free-agent market."

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