Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic has the latest scoop on negotiations between the MLBPA and the league for the CBA, with Rob Manfred currently serving as MLB commissioner.
According to Rosenthal, MLB made a pitch to the MLBPA to change a rule regarding pitchers’ ability to be removed quickly from games by making it mandatory for a pitcher to face three batters before being replaced.
This would largely eliminate the role of the true lefty specialist, as teams rarely have three left-handed hitters in a row in their lineup, making it almost impossible to put in someone who can only get lefties out at a strong rate.
A reliever like Justin Wilson, who the Mets signed to a two-year, $10 million contract, gains value in this scenario given the fact that he has the ability to pitch well to hitters from both sides of the plate.
Rosenthal notes, though, that the MLBPA countered that proposal with one that was hoping to eliminate concerns of “competitive integrity and service time manipulation.” They also suggested that teams should move down in the draft order if they fail to be competitive for a certain number of years, thereby taking away the positives of tanking for teams struggling each season.
However, the biggest thing that might have been mentioned throughout the article was in regards to potentially adding a DH spot in the NL for the 2019 season, which the MLBPA is hoping to accomplish in their proposal to the league.
For the Mets, that would likely mean that Jeff McNeil or Todd Frazier would DH on a given day with Peter Alonso playing first base by the end of April most likely and one of Juan Lagares or Keon Broxton playing center field on more occasions as well.
It also would give the Mets flexibility to give rest to Robinson Cano and Jed Lowrie who are both in their mid-30’s and could certainly use rest. Yoenis Cespedes could potentially get an expedited return from his double-heel surgery in this scenario given the ability to not put him in the outfield right away. If Alonso were to flunk defensively, but produce at the plate, it would offer more flexibility in that sense as well.
Other rule changes that have been considered are a 20-second pitch clock, 26-man rosters and a reduction of September 40-man rosters to 28 players, and bringing back the 15-day DL to replace the 10-day DL currently in place.