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Article: Possible MLB Rule Changes: Universal DH? Roster size? Anti-tanking?

rob manfred
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#21 ashbury

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 09:01 AM

The union is being indirect, by focusing on draft picks. Their concern is, or should be, that tanking teams don't spend.

 

So address that instead. Minimum payroll has been discussed before - if a team chooses not to pay its players, at the end of the season the unmet minimum goes into a pool shared by the team's players, or by the league's players as a whole. You're a big league team, spend $100M on payroll either directly or at the end. I'm not sure of the unintended consequences (a free agent might sign with a bad team, in hopes of that year-end bonus distributed to the roster, and then gets mad when they do sign a big-ticket contract), but I can't think of any that are dire or that work uniformly against the players.

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#22 ashbury

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 09:12 AM

with the pitch clock, I'd like to see that the batter has to stay in the box. quit screwing around with all your accessories between every pitch.

I agree, every change in this vein needs to be even-handed. Players, pitcher and batter alike, do this intentionally, although not with the purpose of hurting the game for the fans. They do it to try to maximize their focus, and give the best performance possible. "The game at this level moves so fast and will eat you up if you let it"... "slow the game down"... this is what coaches tell their young players, and with great wisdom most likely. Three runs in and nobody out, and you don't even know how it happened... it's an 0-2 count and it seems like you just stepped up to the plate... adrenaline does funny things to your perceptions.

 

So, yes, speed it up, the dead time I mean - but make sure both sides feel it constrains them equally. "No strolling around on the mound between pitches... no adjusting your batting glove strap when all you did was look at a pitch outside... OK, 15 seconds, collect yourself... let's go." I think it can be done.

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#23 mikelink45

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 09:30 AM

The comments have been really good.I am fine with the DH rule and if the NL does not like it, I am fine, if in any game between the leagues the AL team can use the DH and the NL team doesn't.This silly game oftwo leagues, two rules, and then the playoffs and interleague games have this crazy compromise of home team rules is silly and annoying.

 

Yes to bigger rosters or else limit the number of pitchers so we can have bench players again. Maybe even some platooning.

 

I do not mind the three batter limit.My personal desire would be to limit each team to three relief pitchers per game so this would be a fine alternative.

 

As far as anti-tanking I guess I would have to know who is going to be a god that judges between bad teams and tanking teams.The Orioles ran out of players and they stink and will for a long time - are they tanking?The Twins sign no substantial FAs for years, fill the roster with one year marginal players, and lose for years - are they tanking or inept?  


#24 Mike Sixel

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 09:54 AM

Lots of great comments here, and I like that no one is being less than gracious to those they disagree with.

The adjusting the gloves thing has to stop.
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It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#25 strumdatjaguar

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 09:57 AM

Big Problem with No DH - When the good pitcher must bat early in a game to continue pitching, but buzzkills that inning with runners on base.

Biggest problems with the DH - reduces strategy, especially in later innings. And extends many innings when no runners are on base(causing games to be longer).  

 

Solution?The Strategic DH Rule-

1. Each team, prior to the game, DESIGNATES one bench player to be its DH.

2.The DH can beused in the ninth batter spot once during in the first 6 innings.  The batter in that spot (presumably the pitcher) will be allowed to remain in the game.

3.Nine at-bats after the DH has been used in those first 6 innings, or if the DH has not taken that at-bat within the first six innings - then the DH may be used in the 8th inning and beyond like any other bench player (in the field, as a pinch hitter/runner, etc.)

 

(Why no use in the 7th inning? In order to encourage managers to delay use of the DH until the optimal time offensively in the first 6 innings - it would be boring if analytics somehow encouraged managers to use the Strategic DH always at the first opportunity) -

 

This rule adds strategy to the game regarding when and how to use the DH. It reduces the number of rally-killing at-bats by pitchers It provides a place for the latein career Jim Thome types that fans would love to see bat once or twice in a game. Before you hate on this, think of how to tweak it.  It's all about reducing boring pitcher at-bats in early innings, while increasingmanagerial strategy (hopefully in an way that is analytics-proof).. 


#26 SomeGuy

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:05 AM

I don't like any of them.DH and expanding roster size to 26 are the most tolerable. 

 

Sacrificing strategy for pace of play doesn't do it for me.If the coach or catcher want to spend 15-30 seconds to plan the best course with the pitcher, let them.If the game is on the line and you think one pitcher against this one batter is the best chance to win then let them pitch to just the one batter.A lot of people get mad about a batter adjusting his gloves or walking around in between pitches but they are thinking about a lot more than their gloves, same goes for the pitcher.I don't like the idea of a mindless game where they are focused on beating the pitch clock instead of the batter.I doubt the minimal impact on pace these changes have would impact anyone's decision to watch the game or not anyway.

 

Limiting roster size to 28 in Sept is dumb too.Teams out of contention should be allowed to play prospects. 

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#27 Craig Arko

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:06 AM

DH/No DH: Just pick one and be consistent.

Expand roster: Absolutely.

Three hitters rule: This just seems silly, and an act of desperation.

Tanking: I thought the problem was cheating via PEDs; not people trying to lose.

 

Dear Baseball: Make the minor leagues more attractive to young talent instead of slave pens, and maybe you'll raise the calibre of the major league graduates. Fix those rules.

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#28 beckmt

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:07 AM

Maybe the sides can come up with a plan to make salary work for all teams.I just dislike the Miami main owner, who has done this in other sports, buy the team, make good money for 5 - 10 years and then sell at a huge profit (usually be threatening to sell to a buyer who would move the club to drive up the local price). This same thing is going to happen here in Tampa (where I winter), if they cannot resolve the stadium issue.Making owners spend money to a minimum floor will at least fix some of the issues as far as player salaries go, but the playing field must be close to level.


#29 gman

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:08 AM

If they want to improve the game, make fans sit down during the inning. I go to watch the game not to constantly have to look around fans in the aisle heading for the consession. I suspect those fans who complain about the pace of play don't watch the game much anyway.

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#30 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:23 AM

 

If Manfred and MLB were TRULY concerned about pace of play they would cut down the length between innings (especially national games), but they wont because thats where the ad revenue comes in. 

Time between innings isn't really a "pace of play" issue -- that would be game length. Although even there, studies have shown the game length is more influenced by the extra idle time between pitches (the real "pace of play" problem):

 

https://www.sbnation...iew/game-length

 

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#31 SF Twins Fan

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:41 AM

As other people have said if they expand the roster size to 26 then they have to limit the number of pitchers allowed. 13 pitcher and 13 hitters otherwise there will be more specialists, more pitching changes, less offense and longer games.
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#32 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:42 AM

 

Regarding he pace of the game, baseball needs to understand it is not a game of constant activity like football or basketball. It's just not the nature of the game. A 3-hour constest is not really that much longer then the length of football games. Also, on the court we have to spend 30 minutes to watch the last two minutes of the game. Others have they're issues of being spectator friendly too.

Just a thought, will increasing the roster tend to slow things down. That would likely solidify 13 pitchers, allowing more mound visits to change pitchers.To speed it up maybe discontinue walks and insert a 3-pitch max per batter. (Tongue firmly in cheek, maybe.)

 

Problem is, virtually every NFL game is right around 3 hours, even postseason. In baseball, 3 hours is just the average -- there's a lot more variation, and you wind up with quite a few 3:30+ games too. And even that average balloons in the postseason -- I recall there was maybe 1 game this past postseason that was below 3 hours.

 

Perhaps more importantly, the vast majority of baseball games are played in the evening (weekday evenings, no less). While the vast majority of football games are played on weekend afternoons.

 

Add in the daily baseball vs the weekly football, and it's clear that 3 hours isn't equivalent in those contexts.

 

Basketball games are only ~2 hours, so while they can drag at the end if they're close, they've got some wiggle room to do that. And I'm not a NBA fan, but I believe they made some rule changes in recent years to keep those situations under control a bit better. While MLB, to date, has done virtually nothing (no, the zero-pitch intentional walk didn't help).

 

You're right that increasing the roster could slow things down further, which would make it even more important to make some real pace of play / game length changes.

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#33 Mike Sixel

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:42 AM

As other people have said if they expand the roster size to 26 then they have to limit the number of pitchers allowed. 13 pitcher and 13 hitters otherwise there will be more specialists, more pitching changes, less offense and longer games.


This. For sure.

It's been a fun year so far, GO Twins. 


#34 nicksaviking

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:42 AM

The three batter minimum rule seems to be getting the most push-back, which I understand as it is the most impactful, even more so than the DH. I'd be really curious to see how it played out though. Will it make guys who can ONLY go one inning marginalized? The staple 2000's bullpen of six one inning relievers and one mop-up guy couldn't work any longer could it?

 

Seems to me that would force teams to start carrying more traditional starters in the pen. So even without thinking about options, it would seem like guys like Romero, Gonsalves and Mejia would need to be on the big club instead of guys like Busenitz, Moya and Curtis. 

 

Would these multi-inning BP roles for young relievers turn into a defacto waiting list for starting gigs instead of waiting things out in AAA?

 

Also, I'd have to think it would help extend the careers of aging starting pitchers. A Clay Buchholz or Ervin Santana may be a better fit than say Brad Boxberger. So aside from the decrease in strikeouts due to playing matchups, I'd think some of the guys who typically get strikeouts would be replaced by guys who don't.

 

If you have a BP made up of more guys than not that go multiple innings will teams go back to seven man bullpens? Or dare I speak it, six? With that 26th man could teams possibly go with a five or six man bench?

 

Also, it sure would make it more enticing to be a switch hitter again and it would decrease shifting. You'd still have shifting, but if you can't dictate righty/lefty matchups at will, it won't be happening every at bat.

 

I might also think this would actually help the traditional use of the starters. The good starters who don't have awful RH/LH splits won't be pulled for a LOOGY in the 5th, it will be more incumbent on the team to have it's best pitcher out there, not their best pitcher against a specific batter. 200 IP might become a realistic goal again and maybe we'll see another 300 win pitcher!

 

Plenty of questions with doing this though. Losing some strategy seems to be the biggest thing. I don't know though, current strategy would basically be shelved, but I think a more complex strategy would be developed. Would a team bait the other with a reliever to see if the other manager will use TWO of his bench players in the same inning? Do you save your best relievers for the highest pressure situation, or do you save him to face the big bench bat that you know the other manager is saving? 

 

Originally at the top of my post I said I was just playing Devi's Advocate, but then I ended up talking myself into really wanting to see how this would play out. I like trying new things, of course that's with the understanding that I'm not opposed to dropping the new thing if it doesn't work out.

 

 

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#35 Intramural Legend

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:47 AM

I love the idea of the three batter minimum!This seems like the only proposal that will have a meaningful impact on the pace of play!It is pretty much a given that the 7-9th innings will have multiple extra commercial breaks.

 

Also, my understanding is that the end of an inning will fulfill any requirements, so you can still use the loogy to get out of a jam...he just better succeed.I think the strategy stays in the game, it just changes.

 

Also, are there still may players that still adjust their gloves between pitches, or is this still battle scars from Nomar?It seems like he is still the poster child for slow play, but hasn't actually been part of the game for nearly a decade. 


#36 Puckett34

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:49 AM

Universal DH - Yes. I don't want to see pitchers bat. But the DH is all I've known and I like dingers vs double switches and pitchers weakly grounding out 85% of the time.

Pitch clock - Yes

Roster size - Absolutely. Gimme Tortuga. Limiting it to 28 in September seems silly though

3 Batter minimum-Could take it or leave it. 

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#37 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:49 AM

 

If they want to improve the game, make fans sit down during the inning. I go to watch the game not to constantly have to look around fans in the aisle heading for the consession. I suspect those fans who complain about the pace of play don't watch the game much anyway.

I wouldn't generalize too much, but I'd guess that people get up during an inning more often when they expect the game to run 3+ hours, as compared to a game they expect could run only 2+ hours.

 

Put another way: shorter games, with a quicker pace of play, would incentivize more fans to sit and watch the action. Not everyone, of course.

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#38 spycake

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:51 AM

 

The three batter minimum rule seems to be getting the most push-back, which I understand as it is the most impactful

 

 

I love the idea of the three batter minimum!This seems like the only proposal that will have a meaningful impact on the pace of play! 

 

While it might seem that way, it's not so. Pitching changes are not responsible for the bulk of slowdowns or increased game length. It's simply extra idle time between pitches that is adding up:

 

https://www.sbnation...iew/game-length

 

Edit to add: one can still be opposed to pitching changes and modern SP/RP usage, of course, on aesthetic grounds. But it's not really a primary driver of pace or game length issues.

Edited by spycake, 06 February 2019 - 11:00 AM.

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#39 biggentleben

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 10:56 AM

The two I'd talk on would be the DH. I'm very anti-DH, but I'd like to see one rule across the league. I do think you could see where Jerry Crasnik's influence in the MLBPA begins to show up here. Crasnik once proposed an option that would be interesting where he suggested the DH be tied to the starting pitcher. Once the starter goes out, the team either has to remove the reliever when the DH spot comes up in the lineup to retain the DH or let the reliever hit/use a pinch hitter.

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#40 ashbury

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Posted 06 February 2019 - 11:41 AM

Change the rule on foul balls so that it's four strikes and you're out. That would have sped up at least one game:

 

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. -- Arthur Conan Doyle




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