There will be no pitch clock. There will be no in-between at bats timer either or whatever it was going to be called. Phew.
Via MLB’s press release this afternoon: “The Commissioner has decided to defer the implementation of a pitch timer and a between-batter timer in 2018 in order to provide players with an opportunity to speed up the game without the use of those timers.”
So, fix it yourselves, players, or maybe it will happen eventually, is the message, I guess.
Washington Nationals’ ace Max Scherzer, who was involved in the discussions about the potential changes to the pace of play rules this winter, told reporters, as quoted by The Washington Post’s Jorge Castillo earlier this month, that he didn’t think a pitch clock was the answer anyway.
“The pitch clock doesn’t seem to solve the problem, in my opinion. When I talk to minor leaguers, they talk about how you can just call time at any time and it can reset the clock. Or you can just step off and it resets the clock. So... the pitch clock is really not going to accomplish ... MLB’s overall, arching goal to speed up the game.”
After discussing potential changes with the MLB Players’ Association, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred decided against implementing those pace of play changes unilaterally.
“I am pleased that we were able to reach an understanding with the Players Association to take concrete steps to address pace of play with the cooperation of players,” Manfred said in today’s press release.
“My strong preference is to continue to have ongoing dialogue with players on this topic to find mutually acceptable solutions.”
“The Commissioner’s Office is, however, “... taking steps to expedite the replay review process and to deter sign-stealing through the use of electronic equipment.”
The changes that will be implemented for the start of the 2018 campaign include a new rule regarding mound visits.
“Mound visits without a pitching change shall be limited to six (6) per team, per nine innings,” according to the text of the new rules MLB released today.
“For any extra-innings played, each Club shall be entitled to one additional non-pitching change mound visit per inning.”
In defining a “mound visit,” MLB notes that it includes a manager or pitching coach going out to the mound without a pitching change, and also, “... a player leaving his position to confer with the pitcher,” and also includes times when there is, “... a pitcher leaving the mound to confer with another player.”
Not included in the definition of mound visits: Players visiting the mound to clean their spikes in rainy conditions; discussions that, “... occur between batters in the normal course of play and do not require either the position player(s) or the pitcher to relocate,” and visits to the mound to discuss potential injuries, or visits to the mound after a team has made an offensive substitution.
Also, discussions between pitchers and catchers when a “cross-up in signs” has occurred will not be defined as mound visits.
There are also changes to the start timer for innings breaks and pitching changes; the batter’s box rule, which was in effect in 2017, will remain in effect in 2018; and there are adjustments to the video replay rules as well. You can read about everything HERE or below...