If commissioner Rob Manfred gets his way, the rules under which the Baltimore Orioles and the rest of MLB play might soon be vastly different. And in saying that, I mean…there are rules that get tweaked (which happens every year), and then there’s what Manfred wants to do. Make no mistake, if he gets his way the game will never be the same.
As originally reported by The Athletic, Manfred and the player’s union are discussing the following changes: Universal Designated Hitter (eliminating the need for pitchers to hit in the National League), three-batter minimum for all pitchers, 20-second pitch clock, trade deadline prior to the all-star game, expansion of rosters to 26 men, and a provision for two-sport players to sign major league deals Let that sink in for a moment.
Not all of these ideas are bad in my view. I’m indifferent to the trade deadline concept and two-sport players being able to sign big league deals. However I think allowing 26 men on the roster is a good idea. It doesn’t change things a heck of a lot, but it allows teams some additional support.
I’ve been very clear on the DH over time – for those who have read me over the years. I think that the rules on both leagues should in fact be uniform. And thus I think the DH should go away entirely. I’ve never liked it. Certainly the player’s union is going to be in favor of it because more high-salaries DH jobs will open up and help extend guys’ careers. But it gets us further and further away from what the game always has been and should be.
Manfred has wanted a pitch clock for some time. Now what would focus on the pace of play would be forcing teams to leave relievers in for at least three hitters. But again, I’m not a fan of that. Managers matching up in later innings is part of the game. It always has been, and it always will be. Are we really considering removing that from the sport?
End of the day, baseball evolves just like everything else. I just hope it doesn’t happen too quickly. Again, pitchers are a part of that day.’a lineup. Why shouldn’t they hit also? So to Rob Manfred and the rest of the league, I would simply say to be careful.