Major League Baseball is working to implement another change to the rules governing injured list placements, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link). Teams will now operate under separate rules for hitters and pitchers.
Hitters will continue to have a ten-day minimum injury-list placement. That’s a continuation of the change made in 2016, which dropped the number of days from the preexisting fifteen.
Pitchers, however, will go back to the prior 15-day placement if the rule is finalized. That will raise the bar for placing hurlers on the IL but help to tamp down some of the rather obvious abuses of the system that had cropped up.
It’s not yet clear precisely how some other roster rules will change. There has been prior indication that MLB would look into increasing the length of the minimum time an optioned player must stay down before being summoned back to the big leagues.
The overall goal here, clearly, is to avoid some of the roster hijinks that are used to churn through arms. While there are legitimate health and performance reasons to cycle pitchers, there’s also a point at which there can be a harm to the on-field product as well as to individual players.
Any changes of this nature will need to be done in coordination with the MLB Players Association. Other major rule changes that were agreed upon previously are already set to go into effect for the 2020 season.