Let’s Talk About a Bunch of Proposed Changes to Baseball

You’re all a great resource, and I love a good poll. I just polled you on Tuesday! In light of how this offseason has gone, I asked whether you’d prefer an MLB-style offseason, or an NBA-style offseason. Sure, the timing of the poll might’ve somewhat biased the results, but, anyway, thousands of you have voted, and two-thirds of you say you’d prefer an NBA-esque feeding frenzy. Yeah, things would die down almost as quickly as they picked up, but that must be a hell of a high, when all the action happens at once. Baseball could never contend with that.

Now I’m back to poll again, because once more I want to solicit your opinions. MLB and the MLBPA have been talking, and as you can read in this article from Jeff Passan, the two sides have exchanged several proposed changes to the game’s competitive and economic structure. Nothing has actually been agreed to yet, and most of the proposals will remain on paper, but for now, we all get to consider a bunch of ideas. You might find some of them agreeable. You might find some of them disagreeable. That’s why I want to collect information.

As far as I can tell, Passan highlighted ten different proposals. You’ll find them below. Some of them are more vague than others, but we can make do with what we have. For each proposal, I’ll offer a brief explanation. And then there are two polls. The first simply asks whether you approve or disapprove of the proposal, as you understand it. The second asks how much you actually care. Are you very passionate, or is it a struggle to so much as muster an opinion? I look forward to the results from running these in tandem. I’ll probably revisit the data later this week.

Off we go! Thanks in advance for your collective participation.

1) Three-batter minimum

Under this proposal, pitchers would have to face at least three batters in an appearance, unless they get injured, or end the inning. The idea is to try to reduce mid-inning pitching changes, because, from a pace-of-game standpoint, they suck.

2) 20-second pitch clock

Under this proposal, pitchers would have to throw their next pitch within 20 seconds of receiving the baseball. You know about what this one would look like. The sides have discussed whether the clock would be turned off when there are runners on base.

3) Universal DH

Under this proposal, the designated hitter would spread to the National League. That would mean the end of pitchers hitting, and the end of pitchers getting hurt while hitting.

4) Draft incentives for winning

Under this proposal, which is not yet well-defined, low-revenue teams would get better draft picks or bonus pools for having successful seasons. They’ve also discussed penalizing teams in the draft for having consecutive unsuccessful seasons.

5) Potential extra service time

Under this proposal, players could earn “bonus” service-time credit for good performance, playoff appearances, or award recognition. The idea would be to do something to counter obvious service-time manipulation. Ronald Acuna, for example, would presumably get extra service for having gone to the playoffs and won the NL Rookie of the Year, allowing him to reach free agency a year sooner.

6) Two-sport-athlete exception

Under this proposal, teams could offer major-league contracts to two-way players they select in the draft. Teams had previously been prohibited from offering major-league contracts to drafted players, but the idea would be to incentivize talented athletes to stick with baseball.

7) Single trade deadline

Under this proposal, there would be a firm trade deadline in earlier July, before the All-Star break. That would be a deadline for all trades, eliminating the August waiver period.

8) 26-man rosters

Under this proposal, rosters would expand from 25 to 26 players. Along with that, though, September rosters would be limited to 28 players, and non-September rosters could feature a maximum of 12 pitchers.

9) Mound-height study

Under this proposal, the league would see about studying what might happen if they lowered the mound. The idea would be to combat the ever-increasing strikeout rates. (The mound was last lowered between 1968 and 1969.)

10) Extra-innings adjustment

Under this proposal, tied spring-training games would end after ten innings. Additionally, the league would use spring training and the All-Star Game to test the idea of beginning tenth innings with a runner on second base.

Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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Brian Reinhartmember
5 years ago

I love the idea of one end-all trade deadline, but don’t quite understand why the proposal is to make it earlier. Is this to increase the number of teams which are buying and competing?

5 years ago
Reply to  Brian Reinhart

According to Passan’s article: “An earlier trade deadline could force teams to emphasize the first half, which might force them to focus more in the offseason on acquiring players via free agency to improve the likelihood of that rather than allowing them to strike well past the 100-game mark.”


OddBall Herrera
5 years ago
Reply to  seattlecougar

That’s just a dumb argument. This is going to make the on field product worse for more of the season, as rebuilding teams will drop out earlier and some fringe teams will be forced to sell earlier than they might’ve.

5 years ago
Reply to  Brian Reinhart

Before the All-Star game is pretty dumb – so players included in the mid-season classic can be traded to the other league and have to switch all-star rosters? Just keep it at 7/31, no trades after that date.

5 years ago
Reply to  DD

I didn’t see a specific date mentioned, just “earlier”.

Pirates Hurdles
5 years ago
Reply to  Brian Reinhart

Agree with single deadline but it should be later like 8/15 or something

5 years ago

Disagree, I think one of the most annoying things about baseball is that playoff teams can end up looking completely different from the regular season version via some late-season trade. Like I guess the 7/31 standard deadline isn’t terribly late, but it’s really annoying when the Astros can acquire a Verlander or the Indians can acquire a Josh Donaldson at a point in the season where the regular season games are almost meaningless

5 years ago
Reply to  Brian Reinhart

The NBA moved to a pre-ASG deadline and the results have been increased trade activity. Whether it is causation or just correlation will be interesting to watch in future years.

5 years ago
Reply to  daveperek

The NBA All Star game is also 2/3 of the way through the season. Roughly 55 games played in 82 game season

5 years ago
Reply to  gcarter

The number is actually a smidge higher in the NBA- it’s really between 57-60 games. Given 82 game season- it’s in some cases closer to 3/4 of the way thru the season… When the break is over- teams have only 7 weeks left to go in the season.

I think the big reason why the deadline would move prior to the all star game is to prevent situations like what happened last year with Machado. Which is why the NBA actually moved their deadline pre-break as well….

5 years ago
Reply to  stever20

And what was the negative event with Machado? Did his trade rumors really have a negative effect on the game?

5 years ago
Reply to  daveperek

That may be, but the NFL moved their trade deadline back and now teams actually make trades.