MLB Needs Agreement On Pace Of Play Options By January To Implement For '18
Pace of play was "discussed to a large extent" at the MLB GM meetings, which concluded yesterday, though "no substantive decisions" were reached, according to Rick Hummel of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem noted proposals "have been exchanged with the players’ association regarding recommendations on how to speed up games," which averaged more than 3 hours during the '17 season. He said that such aspects as a "pitch clock, visits to the mound and broadcast breaks between innings were among the items discussed relative to pace of play." Halem said that by mid-January, there "likely would need to be an agreement not only with the players but with the umpires’ association to implement changes for next season." Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, a member of MLB's competition committee, said, "We're trying to continue to keep our fan base engaged" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 11/16). MLB owners have the "right for next season to unilaterally institute a 20-second pitch clock and limit a catcher to one mound visit per pitcher each inning," but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred "prefers to reach an agreement with the union in time for next season" (AP, 11/16). MLB Network’s Carlos Pena said, “As players, we always want to make sure that we at least check on what is happening." Pena: “We want to make sure that we’re involved in every decision that is made, even if that does not really affect us in any way, shape or form. It’s just that we are a part of this game. I understand that the market is the market, business is the business, but we are the product on the field and we have a huge say in what goes on” ("MLB Now," MLB Network, 11/15).
NEW POSTING AGREEMENT COMING: Halem said a new player posting agreement with the MLBPA and Nippon Professional Baseball is expected to be complete by early December. That would pave the way for the arrival of much-hyped Japanese star Shohei Ohtani to MLB (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).