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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Rob Manfred says MLB could limit defensive shifts

Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball has introduced a host of rule changes in recent years, but commissioner Rob Manfred suggested a bigger one may be yet to come.

Appearing on Friday’s edition of “The Dan Patrick Show,” Manfred said that limiting defensive shifts is a frequent topic of conversation for the league’s competition committee.

“A lot of people feel that the extreme shifting that you’re talking about has changed the game in ways that are not positive and it remains a really hot topic in terms of conversation within that committee,” Manfred said, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The shift has been the subject of potential rule changes for a while. In fact, two years ago, there was some suggestion that there was momentum toward limiting them. That hasn’t happened yet, with MLB pursuing other minor rule changes, such as limiting pitching changes.

Teams have gotten very good at shifting and positioning to take away hits and limit offense. Left-handed pull hitters have been particularly vulnerable. It’s not clear what banning the shift would look like, and whether players would be limited to specific positions or simply given a range of areas they can play in. What’s clear is that the discussion is at least on the table.


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