Big changes are coming to Major League Baseball, and this season will be just the beginning.
MLB on Thursday announced a series of new rule changes that might end up having a pretty profound impact on the sport moving forward, including a rule that will put even more emphasis on the July 31 trade deadline and All-Star voting.
Here are the notable changes for the 2019 season:
Inning breaks: Inning breaks will be reduced from 2 minutes, 5 seconds to 2 minutes for local games and from 2:25 to 2 minutes in national games, “subject to discussions with broadcast partners.”
Trade deadline: As had been already reported, the August waiver trading period is gone. Players can still be put on waivers and claimed in August, but all trades must be done before the July 31 deadline.
All-Star Game: Another previously reported wrinkle, All-Star Game fan voting will now be done in two rounds. Per MLB, there will be a “‘primary round’ that mirrors the All-Star voting of old, followed in late June or early July by an ‘Election Day’ in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each league during the primaries will be voted on by fans in a prescribed time period to determine the All-Star starters.”
Home run derby: The winner now receives $1 million.
There also are even bigger changes coming for the 2020 season. The roster size will increase to 26, but the 40-man roster in September will be limited to 28. The injured list, previously known as the disabled list, will go back to having a minimum time of 15 days.
The biggest change, however, is that all pitchers will be required to face at least three batters, with the goal of eliminating the excessive use of relief specialists.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images