This morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan broke the news of an agreement between MLB and the MLBPA regarding several rule changes with most set to be enacted for the 2020 season.
Many of these rule changes are fairly significant, and have a direct impact on how the game is played and managed. Most notably starting in 2020, pitchers will be required to face a minimum of three batters in a game. This drastically affects managers who choose to throw pitchers based on specific matchups (i.e Left-handed or Right-handed specialists). Additionally, mound visits will be reduced from six to five this upcoming year, and possibly reduced to four in 2020.
There are also a set of changes that will affect how front office personnel structure the team’s roster. Starting this upcoming season, there will be a single trade deadline, on July 31st. This condenses all the trades to be made before this deadline, in contrast to two different deadlines for non-waiver and waiver trades. Additionally, roster size during the regular season (first five months) will expand from 25 to 26, and during the last month of the season (September), all teams will have 28-man rosters.
Other rule changes pertain to the All-Star game and corresponding festivities during the summer. There will be a designated All-Star election day, where a 24-hour voting window will allow fans to determine each team’s starters.
It will be interesting to see how these rule changes will affect the way the game is played, and how teams structure themselves. While this is considered a tentative agreement between the MLB and MLBPA, it is a good sign as they approach the end of the current CBA.