Major League Baseball & MLB Players Association Enjoying ‘Quieter’ Time
Dec 7, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; MLB commissioner Rob Manfred looks on during the presentation of the Allan H. Selling Award for philanthropic excellence during the 2022 MLB Winter Meetings at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball is currently in a key time in this year’s offseason cycle, with Winter Meetings set to get underway on Dec. 3 in Nashville.

With over 44,000 members of the baseball industry coming together for this massive event, a lot of heavy lifting is done by teams in their search to fill out their rosters. Agents and players will meet with teams, and so will front office executives when they meet with league officials to discuss matters pertaining to MLB.

After coming to an agreement to end the most recent MLB lockout, baseball has enjoyed a few successful years without pause. Rule changes that shifted a bit of traditional pace of play were enacted without a hitch, a largely impactful time.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has been at the forefront of some harsh criticism from fans and especially the MLBPA, but this upcoming year is the third of their current deal. The MLBPA has long battled for a bigger slice, and the tone around the relationship between them and MLB appears to be in a decent spot, per Evan Drellich of The Athletic:

“It is quieter,” Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark told The Athletic during the World Series. “The industry is seemingly in a different place. The experiences that we’ve had the last handful of years has us in a different place.”

With profits going up as a whole around MLB, so are the contracts of players, thus coinciding with the rise in the competitive balance tax in which teams can sign players before trigger payroll penalties.

MLB still holds the cards in terms of how they conduct the league, but the MLBPA is working towards gaining more of a foothold during each, laborious, negotiating period.

Proposed rule changes from Major League Baseball in 2024

The implementation of the pitch clock was a massive addition to MLB, and after a full season of data to gather from this past year, the league is adjusting it again. They proposed a reduction in the pitch clock from 20 seconds with runners on base, to 18 seconds.

The clock would remain at 15 seconds with nobody on base, and will undergo a review before any final changes are made.

A suggested change in the number of mound visits could be reduced from five to four, and a reduction in time between pitching changes could go from 2:15, to two minutes when the new pitching hits the outfield warning track.

Among other potential changes, adjustments to when and how a batter can call timeouts while mid-at-bat is on the table.

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