Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have negotiated a series of rule changes that will go into effect over the next two seasons. Subject to ratification by all 30 clubs, the changes will affect everything from reliever roles to roster size to the way trades are conducted to the way All-Star rosters are constructed.
Though the changes will reduce the amount of down time in games by limiting pitching changes, mound visits and the amount of time between innings, the two sides have agreed that a pitch clock will not be added during the course of the current Basic Agreement, which runs through 2021. However, MLB and the MLBPA have agreed to meet and discuss a broader renegotiation and extension of the Basic Agreement.
Here is a rundown of the new rules and when they go into effect:
CHANGES EFFECTIVE IN 2019
Inning breaks: Subject to discussions with broadcast partners, inning breaks will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00 in local games and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. The Commissioner’s Office retains the right to further reduce the breaks to 1:55 in local and national games for the start of the 2020 season.
Trade Deadline: The waiver trade period will be eliminated. The July 31 Trade Deadline will be the only deadline. Players may still be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31, but trades will no longer be permitted after that date.
All-Star Game: Fan voting will be conducted in two rounds — a “primary round” that mirrors the All-Star voting of old, followed in late June or early July by an “Election Day” in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each league during the primaries will be voted on by fans in a prescribed time period to determine the All-Star starters.
As far as the game itself is concerned, the 10th inning — and all subsequent innings — of All-Star Games that go into extra innings will begin with a runner on second base.
Home Run Derby: Total player prize money for the Home Run Derby will be increased to $2.5 million. The winner of the Home Run Derby will receive $1 million.
Mound visits: The maximum number of mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five per game. MLB had instituted an initial mound-visit limitation prior to the 2018 season.
Additionally, MLB and the MLBPA will form a joint committee to study other potential rule change