Universal DH, Draft Changes Not Coming To MLB In '19
Potential changes to MLB like a universal DH and lowered draft positions for teams failing to reach specified win totals will not be enacted this season. The MLBPA recently mentioned these as part of a wide series of possible changes, but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said they need to be part of much broader negotiations after Opening Day. “I’m always happy to get a responsive proposal from the union,” Manfred said. “I will say that not just the designated hitter but other things ... like alterations to the amateur draft, those are significant economic issues. They are different in kind than the type of playing rule changes that we have out there. We will engage on these issues, but they came with a much broader agenda than what we have out there.” MLB remains focused on pace-of-play changes for the ’19 season.
Manfred was not able yet to provide a firm projection on ’19 attendance, but he was hopeful for a bounce back after last year’s 4% drop. He did stress that offseason conversations around alleged tanking of teams has not been helpful to boosting ticket sales. “I do think that negative commentary surrounding the game that is not factually supported can have an impact on attendance, assertions about trying to win and the like,” he said. Manfred added he remains hopeful to see Bryce Harper and Manny Machado signed before the start of Spring Training. “Obviously we want our star players signed and ready to go when we start playing.”