Major League Baseball and the Player Association have come together to make some changes in the rules of the game for the next couple of baseball seasons. The new rules cover all aspects of the game and still must be approved the all 30 professional baseball teams.
In an increasing effort to shorten the length of the game, the break between innings will be reduced to two minutes each. Beginning next season, the Baseball Commissioner’s office will have the option to reduce the break to just one minute 55 seconds.
The deadlines involving the trade process have been trimmed to include only the July 31 deadline for trading players. The waiver trade period has been eliminated; however players may still be placed on waivers and claimed after the deadline date.
In 2018 MLB initiated a limit on the number of times a manager or pitching coach may visit the mound in any game to six times. Beginning this season, that number has been decreased to only five visits per game per team.
In the 2020 season…
…there will be some major changes to the roster with the number of players increasing from 25 to 26 players with 25 of them active players. On dates when a doubleheader is played, the roster number may increase to an additional player. Previously the roster increased to 40 players beginning September 1 after the minor league season had concluded. Beginning September 1, 2020; the roster will increase by only two players to 28.
Yet to be determined; but beginning next season, there will be a limit to the number of pitchers a team is allowed to carry. To help ensure the proper number of pitchers are on any given team, teams will have to designate whether a player is a position player or a pitcher. A player may be designated a two way player if he has met the minimum for innings pitched; a position player may also pitch in extra innings or if the score is separated by at least six runs.
Over recent years, the game of baseball has seen “specialists” when it comes to pitchers facing batters. Beginning next season a pitcher must face at least three batters unless the end of the half inning has been reached. The only exceptions will be in the case of an injury of illness.
In 2017 MLB reduced the minimum number of days a player must be on the disabled list from 15 days to 10 days; beginning in 2020 that number will again be increased to 15 days. The same ruling will take effect for pitchers designated for assignment in the minors after an injury.
The All Star Game
The voting process for the All Star game players has been divided into two rounds with the top three vote getters from each league at every position wlll move on to a second round of voting. The winners of the fan vote will be deemed the All Star game starters.
In the All Star game itself, if a game goes into extra innings, the inning will begin with a runner at second base. Any player who has already left the game will be allowed to return to the game, but only as a runner.
Part of the All Star break festivities is the annual Home Run Derby contest. The biggest change to the Derby is the prize money; the overall prize money will be $2.5 million with the winner receiving $1 million; up from $125,000 last year. All Star players will also see an increase in the money they receive for the game.