According to a report from Jeff Passan of ESPN, the ongoing discussions between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have come to an end, with the two sides finally coming to an agreement yesterday.
Among the changes that are going to be added to baseball in 2019 are a single trade deadline that will eliminate the ability of teams to make trades in August, as well as an All-Star Game Election Day. They also agreed to expand rosters to 26 players starting in 2020 while the September rosters would shrink to 28.
Most importantly, Passan notes, they have agreed to a pledge to start bargaining over the fundamental economic issues facing baseball today.
The new deal is a significant step because it is allowing the two sides to begin discussing labor issues sooner rather than later, as the current Collective Bargaining Agreement doesn’t expire until December 2021. These discussions will center around a multitude of economic issues, such as the slow free agent market and the fact that teams are clearly cutting back on spending.
Passan followed up this report by adding that the winner of the Home Run Derby is going to receive $1 million, adding an extra incentive for contestants to put in full effort and making it a little more meaningful and exciting.
Passan added a third report, noting that along with roster expansion to 26, the three-batter minimum plan will also be implemented in 2020. This will affect the strategy of how managers use their bullpen, with every pitcher being required to pitch to at least three batters. This is in response to an increase in LOOGYs as well as openers, such as this past NLCS when Wade Miley of the Brewers started the game but pitched to only batter before being pulled.
Other changes of note:
- Inning breaks down to two minutes for local (previous 2:05) and national games (previously 2:25)
- Position players will be allowed to pitch only in extra innings or when their team is ahead or behind by more than seven runs
The deal is expected to be officially announced today, according to Passan.