MLBPA did not support three-batter minimum rule
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed to numerous changes that will take effect this season or next, but it sounds like the union was very reluctant on at least one of the new rules.
One major change that will be implemented beginning in 2020 is a three-batter minimum for relief pitchers, which is designed to prevent teams from making excessive pitching changes in the same inning. The only exception to the rule is if a pitcher comes on and finishes the remainder of the half-inning. On Thursday, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark made it clear the union was opposed to that change.
One surprising development that emerged from today’s MLB rule changes is that the three-batter minimum for relief pitchers in 2020 will be unilaterally implemented by the commissioner’s office. Clark’s terse response: “We did not agree to the three-batter minimum.”
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) March 14, 2019
While the MLBPA did not formally support the three-batter minimum, it agreed not to challenge the league’s plans to implement it beginning in 2020. 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.
Many baseball purists are heavily opposed to the three-batter minimum, but it should help speed games up and will add a new element of strategy for managers. Other developments have been received much more favorably, such as what MLB is doing with the Home Run Derby.