Big changes are coming to Major League Baseball in 2019.
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association today jointly announced a series of rule changes that will go into effect over the next two seasons.
These rules are likely connected to each other.
While commissioner Rob Manfred has staunchly dismissed suggestions that a significant portion of the league is no longer attempting to win, players and Union officials have decried widespread tanking/rebuilding efforts that have created decreasing levels of parity and discouraged teams from venturing into free agency amid record MLB revenues. Position players will be allowed to pitch only in extra innings or when their team is ahead or behind by more than seven runs.
While the majority of the rules governing roster management won't take effect until the 2020 season, a number of changes governing other aspects of the game take effect in 2019. A team can carry a maximum of 13 pitchers on its 26-man roster.
- Inning breaks will drop to two minutes for local (currently 2:05) and national (currently 2:25) broadcasts and mound visits will be reduced from six to five. The August waiver trades will be eliminated. Players can still be put on waivers and claimed in August, but all trades must be done before the July 31 deadline. Most notably, all pitchers will be required to pitch to a three-batter minimum or though the end of a half-inning, with exceptions for injuries or "incapacitating illness".
What will be in place this summer are a single July 31 trade deadline, an All-Star election day and a Home Run Derby with the game's biggest stars (both sides hope) vying for a $1 million bonus.
With the continued success of MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network, MLB continues to find innovative ways for its fans to enjoy America's National Pastime and a truly global game. During the "primary round" each club will nominate one player per eligible position (including three outfielders) who will be voted on by fans.
The minimum stay on the Injured List will be increased from 10 to 15 days and the minimum assignment period of pitchers to the minor league will also increase from 10 to 15 days. In June or July, an "Election Day" will be held where the top three players in each position who got the most votes will be voted on again by fans to determine the All-Star starters. Teams will be allowed to carry 27 players during a doubleheader.
For pitchers, the minimum placement period on the injured list will increase from 10 to 15 days.
Baseball's heaviest hitters will have a good reason to participate in the Home Run Derby: Money.
The victor of the Home Run Derby will now receive $1 million and total prize pool money for the competition increases to $2.5 million.