MLB reportedly discussing massive rule changes, including universal DH and three-batter pitcher minimum

Alex Reimer
February 06, 2019 - 10:45 am

MLB and its player union are reportedly discussing some major rule changes that would significantly alter the game. It’s about time somebody thought of an idea grander than the pitch clock.

In the midst of another tepid offseason –– more than 100 players, including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, remain unsigned –– there is an apparent urgency to discuss some outside-the-box proposals. The players are proposing an universal designated hitters and the owners want there to be a three-batter minimum for pitchers, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. In addition, the possibility of moving the trade deadline before the All-Star Break, implementing a 20-second pitch clock and permanently expanding rosters to 26 players have been discussed.

The most controversial measure is the idea of a three-batter minimum, which would effectively eliminate the need for specialist relievers. But it would presumably help expedite games and quell the record number of strikeouts. The union did not strongly oppose the idea, Passan says, but wants the proposal to be considered for 2020 instead of this upcoming season. (While this measure would wipe out some bullpen jobs, it would also potentially hinder the newfound "Opener" philosophy, protecting starting pitcher salaries.) 

The universal DH has been a discussion point for years and would generate more offense in the National League. It also could create additional landing spots for veteran free agents struggling to find jobs, including Adam Jones, Carlos Gonzalez and Lucas Duda.

While it’s unlikely these rules will take effect immediately, the fact they’re even being discussed is a positive sign. Baseball needs to resuscitate itself. These changes would be a sizable step in the right direction. 

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