20-Second Clock and Limit on Mound Visits Rejected by MLBPA

  • 20-Second Clock and Limit on Mound Visits Rejected by MLBPA

20-Second Clock and Limit on Mound Visits Rejected by MLBPA

A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press the players' association has rejected Major League Baseball's proposal to institute 20-second pitch clocks and limits on mound visits, a move that dares management to unilaterally impose the changes created to speed pace of games.

Players and Major League Baseball have bargained over the matter since last summer, and the union told Major League Baseball on Thursday there was no consensus among its members for pace alterations.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, " Manfred said during the quarterly owners meetings in Florida in November. The average time of a 9-inning game in 2017 was 3 hours and 5 minutes, an all-time high.

While players agree that pace of game is a topic to be addressed, they've contended that games can be shortened through revisions in instant replay, stricter monitoring of the down time between innings and other remedies that don't require a clock, a source told ESPN. However, the players union has not been receptive to Manfred's ideas. That could lead to the Commissioner making changes without the approval of the players union. The slow free agent market this winter also has the players upset and less willing to respond favorably to Manfred's ideas. Barring any change in how the discussions have gone, it appears as if Major League Baseball will make the rule changes for 2018 without the union approving.

Given the slow market this winter, the players may feel as though they have to fight tooth and nail over every little thing from now until the collective-bargaining agreement is up in December 2021.

"Different players had different issues, and ultimately this wasn't something we supported", he said. The players do have some legitimate concerns about pitch clocks, but they also believe fans are against the move.

Baseball instituted a pitch clock during 2015 in the minors and the clock being proposed now by the commissioner would give 20 seconds between pitches in the majors, or two less than the average last season between pitches of 22 seconds.

Pitch clocks were introduced in double-A and triple-A in 2015. A second visit would result in the team being forced to change pitchers.

The one-year buffer matters in this case because in the most recent proposal there were some additions that brought things closer to the players' wishes.

Any rule changes require the approval of Major League Baseball owners. In this sense, it's easy to understand why the players don't want to go along with such a rule change right now.