TODAY: There has been “significant progress” between the league and the MLBPA about these potential rule changes, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes (subscription required). Since these changes have garnered support on both sides, they are seen as “win-win” developments that can be handled in the shorter-term, as opposed to a larger re-opening of the Collective Bargaining Agreement as a whole. In regards to the much more complicated matter of discussing financial issues, MLB and the players’ union are “proceeding with the understanding they would discuss broader economic concepts sometime after Opening Day,” Rosenthal writes.
WEDNESDAY: Major League Baseball has brought the MLB Players Association a new package proposal of potential rules changes, ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan reports.
The sides have been going back and forth on potential tweaks over recent months, all while trading barbs on a variety of matters. There are indications, per Passan, that this latest effort represents a compromise vision that could lead to an eventual deal.
MLB’s new proposal features a willingness to push back the implementation of a pitch clock until after the current CBA expires, per the report. Commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to implement the clock unilaterally but is evidently willing to utilize it as a bargaining chip. It remains to be seen whether the players will make concessions in other areas to oppose such an unpopular but financially neutral rule change.
Other aspects of the proffered approach are at least as notable. Passan says the league would like to implement:
- single trade deadline of July 31st
- three-batter minimum per pitcher (by 2020)
- 26-man roster (by 2020) and 28-man September roster (with 13 and 14-pitcher limits)
- 15-day injured list and 15-day minimum optional assignment
- further limitations on mound visits, position-player pitching, and time between innings
The proposal also contemplates joint studies on more extensive rule changes. Some of the more exotic concepts are due for real-world testing in the Atlantic League. Per J.J. Cooper of Baseball America, the indy ball outfit is slated to function as a laboratory for robot umps and a moved-back mound. The agreement covers other areas as well. Of particular note, Trackman is coming to the Atlantic League.