MLB and MLBPA exchange potentially significant roster and rule change proposals


According to reports by Ken Rosenthal (The Athletic) and others (Jeff Passan ESPN, Joel Sherman Twitter Thread), Major League Baseball provided the MLBPA with a list of proposed rule changes on January 14th that they would like to potentially implement, perhaps as son as this upcoming season. The MLBPA has countered on Friday with proposals of their own which address some of their concerns regarding recent trends in baseball but also with the League's own proposal. Unlike many exchanges between these two sides, the discussions have apparently not been very contentious, and both seem willing to negotiate and come to an agreement. Of course, that could all change at the drop of a hat.

With that caveat in place, some of the big ticket items under consideration are:

  • The adoption of the DH rule by the National League
  • Expanding roster to 26, and limiting September rosters to 28 player
  • A requirement that pitchers face at least three batters per inning before being removed
  • A reduction to a single trade deadline rather the current waiver and non-waiver deadlines
  • Clubs who lose 90+ games in consecutive seasons losing draft position and IFA money

The DH coming to the NL has long been under consideration, and appears to be gaining momentum.

Here are a list of some of other potential changes being discussed:

  • 20 second pitch clock
  • Reducing allowed mound visits from 6 to 3
  • Changing the 10-Day DL back to 15-Day
  • Moving the waiting period to recall a player from a Minor League option from 10 to 15 days
  • Rookies that receive Top 3 votes in ROY, CY and MVP are credited with a full season of service time whether they reached the minimum required total of days on roster
  • Revenue sharing being more closing tied to a team's record as a way to dissuade teams from tanking
  • MLBPA seems open to allowing players, dugouts, etc to be mic'ed up during games
  • Studies on lowering the mound
  • Allowing two-sport athletes to sign MLB deals

All of these items (and more) are on the table, and it is possible some could be adopted (in modified or current form) before the 2019 season, although more drastic changes may get pushed to 2020, or not adopted at all. I find it hard to believe they would add the DH in 2019 for instance, given teams have been constructing rosters without it in mind, that is unless the League informed all clubs at the beginning of the offseason that such a rule could be implemented.

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    Michael any gut feel which of these is likely to be the most significant change for 2019?

  • In reply to Tyson Wirth:

    I think:

    Rosters to 26/28 could get implemented
    DL and the option waiting period moved back to 15 days
    MLB deals for two-sport guys
    Reducing mound visits from 6 to 5 (with less in later seasons)
    Mic'ing players
    Maybe some of the service time changes

    are most likely for 2019
    The rest seem like they would take more time to hammer out details and let teams/players/agents prepare for, but versions of all or most seem reasonable for 2020.

  • All of those big ticket items need to be eased in , if added. Big chances should be incremental and grandfathered.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I could see the 26/28 man roster happening without need to ease it in. Same with trade deadline. Others, yeah, probably takes a year or two.

  • Lower the mound, again? Why not just put the ball on a tee? Maybe Heyward would be able to ground out to the SS for a change...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I'm honestly more in favor of moving the mound back than lowering it. I want a study on that.

    Guys throw harder today than ever before. It isn't going to go away. Forcing relievers to face 3 batters rather than 1 won't change it. It is one of the main reasons strikeouts are up (there are other factors too obviously).

    For a long time an average FB was ~90 mph. Now it is 93. Hitters have less time on average. Would 60 ft and 9 inches make 93 play more like 90?

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    There are less limitations on the physical ability of the arm and body to throw harder than there are mental processing speed to determine whether to swing at a pitch.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    This is interesting. While moving the mound back would give the batter more time to evaluate the pitch, it would also allow for more break on pitches with movement. I mean, Dillon Maples is already having trouble getting it in the strike zone! A study would be interesting.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Yep. That's why I think that study is necessary.

  • I suppose I could live with the DH in the NL, but I'd still hate to see it become reality...

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Me too!

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I think the original idea of the DH was instituted to try to prolong the careers of some of the bigger hitters (this was even stated today on mlb network) and it was shown that this did not go as planned and even the DH stats of today show rather paltry production from those now in the game.
    Why not choose before each game whether or not it can be used? Let some kid pick a number out of a hat or spin a wheel or some other goofy way? At least you would get more fan involvement and the kid gets his pic up on the Jumbotron.....

  • I really don't care for the mic'ing of players and coaches. It's a distraction, especially for ESPN commentators who get so involved with BSing over someone's golf score that they forget the game they're supposed to be calling.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I don't think it would alter broadcasts that much. it would be more for promos and advertising, etc. Would enhance highlights and replays, that sort of thing. They wouldn't be able to do "live" mics during broadcasts for fear of what players would say in heat of moment.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Me too! Leadoff man show and an interview after the game(brief). Done!

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    It is definitely time to have the same rules between the 2 leagues. If that means DH in the NL, then I am for it. 15 teams currently are able to construct their roster in a different manner competing for the same free-agent talent. I definitely, as I am sure many of you are the same, enjoy the NL-style but I recognize it is inevitable and I believe it would be good for the sport to have the same rules across the two leagues, which opens up the ability to re-organize the divisions and expand.

  • I would not want the mound lowered & not want the expanded rosters in September limited to just 2. Its how to get face time for the MiLeaguers up in the show. I’ve always looked forward to September callups as part of the long baseball season. I say don’t mess with the trade/waiver rules either. I don’t care if a pitcher comes in to face just 1 batter & pulled. It’s all part of the strategy to manage a game, bullpen, pinch hitting, double switching etc...

    I don’t mind if they would implement a tie rule after 3-5 extra innings &/or putting a guy on 2nd starting with the 11th inning. Give the game the 10th inning to solve the game normally, then try something else if still tied.

    I wish they would/could go to a laser/robo/cyber strike zone of some sort. A pitch to one hitter at the knees over the edge should be the same for all the hitters at their knee over the edge. A pitch outside the zone should never be a called strike & a pitch in the zone should never be a ball.

    Just my opinions on a few things until I can read more of the proposals. :o)

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I can live with the DH in NL as well. I could also deal w/eliminating it altogether, too. Whatever it is, it should be the same for NL as it is for AL.

  • In reply to Milk Stout:

    I am surprised that neither side mentioned anything about the poor (no, horrendous) balls-and-strikes counts.

  • I know there is a lot of strong opinions on thenDH, but for me it would be the end of Camelot, or the game I fell in love with as a boy. I withstood it in the AL as my favorite team and league played the real original version. A DH in every game played thou makes me sick.

    I know this is extreme but if the DH is acceptable why not have your best 9 hit and best 8 play defense, of course in the constructs of a 25/26 man roster. Almost like football where the offense and defense is completely separate. If the goal is getting more offense why are we settling for 600 OPS guys hitting just because they have a slick glove?

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    I like your take... but watch out, the commish may like your idea of an offense & defense teams in baseball... Ha ha!

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    I simply do not understand why somebody felt the need to bastardize the game in the AL The idea that both leagues need to standardized is good, but deep six the DH and play nine or nine as the game was meant to be.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Well, I'm no fan of the DH, but I don't know how you can "bastardize" a set of rules for a kids game that is entirely made up, anyway. I imagine people complained loudly when pitchers were limited to 4 balls and "only" three strikes.

  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    Hey, instead of lowering / moving the mound, give the hitters four strikes!
    Then again, one, two, three, four strikes you're out at the old ball game doesn't really work.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Think it might help Happ cut down on the Ks?

  • In reply to Cliff1969:


  • In reply to Cliff1969:

    I suppose that's true, but it's a shame. It's what happens when heads set on improvement get in a hurry to make changes. Times change, but some things are better left alone.

  • In reply to bleedblue:

    Pitchers last season batted .115 with a .144 on-base average and .149 slugging percentage in 4,524 at-bats.

    Enough with automatic out pitchers.Enough of quintana(who can't bunt to save his life) or hendricks coming up wih 2 on 2 outs and a weak automatic out ab.

    It's 2019 not 1919 it's time bring the dh to the nl.I doubt it happens this year

    and you guys should see schwarbers comment about the possible dh in the nl classic!!

  • In reply to bolla:

    Schwarber has a CAREER (plenty of sample size) batting average around .230. Aren't Designated Hitters supposed to be GOOD hitters? Instead, the Cubs will be sending up Happ, Schwarber, Bote and Descalso (all sub .240 hitters) up to the plate. I'd say that the DH would really hurt the Cubs this year IMO.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    His #'s strictly as a DH are good.

    Schwarber as a DH 304/365/661 5 hr's 15 rbi's

  • In reply to bolla:

    Sample size ?

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    In reply to INSaluki:

    Why are you judging your evaluation of a hitter to BA. Schwarber is not a great BA guy, but that doesn't mean he is a bad hitter. For instance, his OBP (far more valuable for a hitter than BA) is .340. Not HOF worthy but certainly not bad.

    I am not saying that Schwarber is necessarily a good/bad hitter but to point out that BA isn't a very good singular way to judge hitting ability.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Have pitchers take more batting practice. They were all good hitters at one point in their career.

  • In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    Except they are spending all of their time/effort trying to become better pitchers. Do you want them to skip some of their pitching development to be better hitters? I don't think they do.

  • In reply to John57:

    Why not? Don't you want players to develop all their skills. Should hitter not work on fielding and other fundamentals?

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    In reply to WaitUntilNextYear:

    They were not, necessarily, ever good hitters. Possibly even in HS. The skill set for a pitcher is very different than that for a hitter. This isn't to say that they are mutually exclusive but I think it is faulty to assume that pitchers were, at one point in their careers, good hitters. They are likely good athletes, but you can be an elite athlete and still struggle at an athletic contest in which you are not particularly adept.

    To me it would be similar to saying FG kickers should be able to throw pinpoint passes on fake field goals. Afterall, they were "good passers at one point in their career."

  • The only comment I will make is:

    Be careful in what you wish for, you may get it.

  • In reply to Tom U:

    Ha ha!

  • Good the DH only benefits the cubs. Theo has proven that his specialty in general is finding hitters I don't care that the offense got cold in the 2nd half this guy is a proven evaluator when it comes to positional players. The team can move Schwarber to DH despite him improvements defensively or even be creative and get more offense 1st players.

  • Are we not allowed to comment on how joe ricketts bigoted emails are currently an embarrassment to the cubs? or just keep it baseball?

    serious question just asking

  • In reply to bolla:

    Honestly? I don't really have the time to monitor the comment section right now and delete stuff that may cross the line. So I would prefer you didn't. We have a no politics rule here and I have a hard time determining how we would keep politics out of a discussion regarding this topic. That is the main reason I didn't write an article about it.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Ok gotcha

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    The discussion at The Athletic devolved into political bickering rather quickly. Your decision is wise...

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I know there are some topics related to the team this offseason that have not been covered on Cubs Den, for instance the potential Marquee deal involving Sinclair Broadcasting, among others.

    On one hand I would like Cubs Den to have as complete of coverage as possible, but there are some things so intrinsically tied to politics that I do not feel comfortable presenting because I don't feel I could do them justice while keeping them divorced from politics.

    Cubs Den is not as unique as it once was, and is in a different position today than we were in previous years. We have fewer writers available that can devote the time to some of the more complex issues happening off the field at the Major League level, and then monitor the comments that follow. There are many good Cubs blogs and outlets now that pump out quality content. Many are run by good people that I respect, some by people who got their start here. Many are are attempting to derive a part of their living from their writing. That was not the case five years ago, or even a couple years ago.

    I keep Cubs Den going because I still feel that we can provide some content, especially in regards to the Minor Leagues, that just doesn't receive as much attention elsewhere while still doing justice to Major League coverage (even if it is not as comprehensive as it once was). But at least as of right now, there are simply some stories that are not going to get touched on here.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Michael, thank you for keeping Cubs Den going. I certainly appreciate it and although I look elsewhere now and then this is THE place for me to learn and comment. I hope it continues and I appreciate all the effort you and the others put into it.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    Thank you, Jonathan

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    I like everything about Cubs Den and the writers. I got onto the site a few years ago before John died and have been addicted to it ever since. I like that it is just baseball and would rather keep it that way. I enjoy the minor league information because I can't usually get that anywhere else. I will reiterate what others have said over and over again, but it can't be said enough. Thank you Michael and all the other writers. You do an excellent job. If you want to talk politics, go to other sites.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yea that's why I'll leave it alone.

  • In reply to bolla:

    And THIS post should be removed IMMEDIATELY. If I got bumped for bringing up how Albert Amora ridiculously flipped off the President of the United States, you should not be allowed to insinuate he or his cronies.

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    In reply to bolla:

    I'd rather not get into that. Baseball is my ESCAPE from all the political bickering taking place. It is not that I have no opinion on the matter. But I'd rather just talk baseball and cite facts than debate political beliefs.

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    I would like to see automated strike/ball calls and limit the time for replay review to 60 sec. If someone can't tell by then then let the call stand. Also, for mic'd players, hockey interviews players between periods so why not interview players in the dugout? They have a lot more time than hockey players, especially if they aren't scheduled to hit.

  • In reply to Jonathan Friedman:

    I actually hope the mics aren't for interview purposes. I hope it is more for capturing camaraderie and interaction between players, coaches and umps.

  • In reply to Michael Ernst:

    Hear! Hear! ESPN already mics the managers for a brief interview during the game.

  • The DH in the NL is inevitable, I don't love it but might as well get it over with. The three batter thing is asinine and rewarding teams in the draft for winning is insane. The rest of it is mostly fine. This idea though that baseball wants to achieve parity by having a bunch of 70-80 wins teams is worrisome. If you can't win 85 you might as well lose 100 and get better later. Mediocrity is way worse than bad baseball.

  • In reply to TC154:

    It's not the league that wants to force parity for the most part. The MLBPA wants ways to force more teams to spend money every year.

  • I REALLY like the idea of, at least investigating, moving the mound BACK. I bet just a few inches would make a big difference !! Great idea.

  • Why would MLB want to change the DL stint back to 15 from 10?

    In 2018, it was changed FROM 15 TO 10 so it's only been one year.
    What was wrong with it? Seems like I remember several useful 10 day stints for players that were a little banged up, but not bad enough to miss 2 weeks or more than one start.

    What's not to like about the 10 day DL stint?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DropThePuck:

    It was 2017 that it changed to 10 day DL, I believe. And basically the Dodgers ruined it for everyone (okay, I concede, they weren't the only team doing this). Manipulating their rosters by using the 10 day DL, teams have been able to carry more than 25 players thru the entire season. Changing it back to a longer DL and expanding rosters to 26 or more (I'm thinking 28 would be good with an "active" rsoter like the NFL of 25) would ensure teams aren't taking advantage of the 10-day DL to manipulate their rotations/bullpen.

  • Just sunk in this is the last season the cubs will be on wgn. That's a lifetime staple for chicago cubs on channel 9.

    I never really thought about how the cubs tv network will affect this until today.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Honestly for me at least good riddance many aren't aware of this but the Chicago Tribune essentially screwed the cubs organization on the tv deal. They agreed to a channel friendly tv rights deal based upon their ownership of WGN and based on the fact they were soon selling the team. TV deals are one of the biggest revenue drivers for professional sports organizations so this deal should bring in huge revenue for the team. Why the team is so cash strapped given that they have 1. an upcoming lucrative tv deal, 2. $60 million coming off books next year, and 3. $100+ million off the books in 2 years is baffling to me. I respect what Tom Ricketts has accomplished here but I'll be a bit disappointed if he actually cash strapped the franchise in what's a pivotal offseason it shows me an owner that puts business 1st. That's his right to put business 1st but that would hurt my overall impression of ownership. That said I'm still in denial and think a big move is coming.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    Yup I agree , I’ve been thoroughly disappointed in the cubs budget constraints rhetoric this offseason. Contention windows are sacred they won’t last forever & this cub team still has question marks but ricketts has also spent a lot on payroll & Wrigley renovations so I can’t complain either.

  • In reply to kkhiavi:

    I honestly believe he put his $ elsewhere. I took Theo on his word when, after a 2nd place finish and quick wildcard exit, he said he would no longer evaluate players on potential but instead on actual production. As a result, I had hoped that they might move some of the players that I have mentioned ad nauseam (Happ, Schwarber, etc). Instead the only move they made is still a head scratcher in moving the best pinch hitter in baseball and replacing him with yet another .240 hitter.

    I'm not saying the Cubs won't make the playoffs this year. Heck, they might even have a shot to win the division. But when you struggle as badly as they did towards the end of the year and then do nothing in the off season, putting all the proverbial eggs in the hope basket, I just don't believe that was part of Theo's plan. I think it was what he was allowed to do.

    If this team struggles AGAIN this year, I firmly believe the Cubs WILL go after someone next year as the window is almost shut and we'll be back to the old days of mediocrity. And THAT is exactly why I am emotional about this team and impassioned that they be aggressive in winning (again) now.

  • In reply to INSaluki:

    The problem with that is arenado is close to signing an extension according to the rockies owner.He said they are on the crescendo, besides him you have rendon(don't need),goldschmidt(cards will most likely extend/don't need) bogearts,gregerious and jose abreu(don't need).The position players on the market outside bogearts or gregerious aren't needs.

    I know it goes against logic but I'm still holding out a glimmer of hope harper will be a cub until he signs elsewhere, I think there's a shot.Especially if he takes a short term contract that goes until the new cba is negotiated which I'm sure mlbpa will insist be more player friendly and eliminate that cbt.

  • In reply to bolla:

    I am totally ready, credit card in hand, for Cubs Net.
    All Cubs, all the time would mean there's always something good on TV.

    Hopefully, they've got a whole bunch of old games on tape that they can show in their entirety. I love watching that stuff.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    I am looking forward to the new network but it’s still kind of sad.

  • In reply to bolla:

    Better watch out what you wish for. Look at the Dodgers. More than half the people in Dodger land can't get their games because of their huge deal they got.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    DirecTV tends to carry everything as long as you're willing to pay up.

  • In reply to hoffpauir6:

    Yes, that's what I use. Or you can stream the games for a little less money.

  • In reply to 2016 Cubs:

    I remember reading the cubs will not do what the dodgers did with their tv deal and blackout a bulk of their fanbase.

  • No nl DH, looking forward to more automatic outs in the line up wasting ab's

  • In reply to bolla:

    Yeah the DL in the NL for 2019 seemed rather quick. Most teams have their roster close to set and the NL teams did not expect to have the DH.

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    I am really leery of the whole draft modification thing. First of all, full disclosure, I really don't have a problem with teams "tanking." There are risks of losing fan interest/support. And if a team is willing to take that risk they might--and might not--be rewarded.

    What I am most worried about is that there might be a team that is just plain bad. What if they are not "tanking" but simply suffer from incompetent management? As a life-long Cubs fan that doesn't require much of a stretch of the imagination.

    Dropping them in the draft would really hurt their "competitive balance."

    Then again, I am not particularly in favor of the amateur draft anyway. I would like for teams to be able to sign whomever they like. "But wouldn't the Yankees and Red Sox simply sign all the good amateur players?" And then watch them have to develop players, absorb their high bonus demands, develop them, risk the injuries all too common for young pitching prospects especially, and then see those players taken from them in the "Rule 5 Draft" (which I VERY MUCH support) for a fiscal pittance.

    Would the players want to leave or would they want to stay and win WS? Possibly. But, in general, most minor league players, I believe, would rather play in the majors than squander their lives in the minors of a good MLB team. I think that market would correct itself quickly.

  • In reply to Joel Mayer:

    Tanking has no place in professional sports. Fans and sponsors pay good money to see a good product.Trying to lose goes against everything in sports. There should never be an incentive to lose,

  • Well said and very much like your stance. Politics has infiltrated too many areas of life. Just baseball please! Thanks for doing what you are doing!

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