MLB, union discussing pace of play
Major League Baseball is having conversations with the players association over possible rule changes designed to speed up the pace of play, and Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday he hopes to reach an agreement instead of implementing any measures unilaterally.
Manfred spoke at the conclusion of the owners’ quarterly meeting in Chicago. Also addressed were the Marlins’ impending ownership change and the suspension of umpire Joe West for his recent comments about Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre.
The average time of a nine- inning game this season is a record 3 hours, 5 minutes, up from three hours last year and 2:56 in 2015, Manfred’s first season as commissioner.
Management proposed making changes for this year, such as installing pitch clocks and limiting trips to the mound by catchers, but players association head Tony Clark said his side would not agree to the changes.
MLB can implement changes by itself with a one-year advance notice.
“We met with Tony Clark and a group of players last week,” Manfred said. “The tone of those conversations (has) been very positive.
“I remain confident that we will have changes for next year on the issue of pace that will be significant.”
Manfred declined to get into any specifics about possible changes or what the league might do if it is unable to reach a deal with the union.
“I think the best course for baseball — and by that I mean the clubs and the players — is for us to get an agreement,” he said.
A message was left Thursday seeking comment from the players association.
Regarding the sale of the Marlins, Manfred said MLB was presented with a financial structure by the Bruce Sherman-led group that would finalize a deal with current owner Jeffrey Loria.