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.