Major League Baseball players, owners to start labor talks 2 years early

Major League Baseball players, owners to start labor talks 2 years early

However, there will be noticeable alterations to the game, starting on opening day this season, which is just two weeks away.

The July 31 trade deadline is officially the be-all and end-all of trade season. Players such as Adam Jones (via USA Today's Bob Nightengale), Matt Wieters (via MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch) and Brad Brach (via The Athletic's Patrick Mooney) are among the many who've been open about frustrating forays into the open market. The two sides have also agreed to eliminate the August 31 waiver deadline in 2019 and expand rosters to 26 in 2020. Twenty years ago, Major League Baseball pitchers notched 266 complete games; last year's total was an all-time low at 42 games.

Teams will be limited to five mound visits per game, down from six last season. This year, however, the Phillies will not be able to do either to the extent they did last season. Other executions that may be deployed to keep the ad dollars flowing under a shorter break structure include on-screen bugs, booth reads and special premiums.

For games televised locally, mid-inning breaks will be reduced from 2:05 to 2:00. Commissioner Rob Manfred reserves the right to cut breaks to 1:55 for local and national games in 2020. The allotted time between innings will not be very noticeable for local games, but it'll be decreased by 25 seconds for national games beginning in 2019.

MLB could have also put a pitch clock into effect, but that change has been tabled as part of the deal between the league and union. It will start with voting.

The selection process will now include fans being permitted to cast votes online, and the top three players at each position will then be included in a newly implemented All-Star "Election Day".

And there are several Major League Baseball rule changes to the payout structure for players in the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby to help incentivize the players.

It will culminate in an All-Star week that includes a Home Run Derby with $2.5 million in prize money, including $1 million for the victor, according to sources. Similarly, the minimum period that optioned pitchers must remain in the minors will increase from 10 to 15 days. Teams have taken far too many liberties the past couple of seasons with the 10-day DL in place.

For pitchers, the minimum placement period on the injured list will increase from 10 to 15 days.

The three-batter minimum, perhaps the most controversial measure expected to be implemented, was not formally agreed to by the union, but ESPN's Jeff Passan says the players do not plan to challenge it.

It does seem like the September roster decrease is a little pointless with the three batter rule for pitchers but that's its own debate. There will be no non-waiver deals after August 1, like the one that sent Justin Verlander to the Astros in 2017 and Andrew McCutchen to the Yankees last season.

Also coming in 2020, each team's pitching staff on an active roster will be capped at a number that will be decided on by a committee of Major League Baseball and the players' association.

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