MLB Weekly Digest March 18th Edition

Image Credit: CBS Sports

The previous week in MLB was about changes being announced for the next two seasons, an outfielder signs a minor-league deal, and a starting pitcher will be out at least one month.

Major League Baseball, MLBPA Announce Several Changes for 2019 and 2020 Seasons

There will be several changes coming to baseball for the 2019 and 2020 seasons as Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association made the announcement several days ago.

The changes for the 2019 season include a reduction of time for inning breaks, the number of mound visits decreasing, All-Star game voting, prize money increase for Home Run Derby winner and a single trade deadline.

The inning breaks will be reduced from two minutes and five seconds to two minutes in local games, and from two minutes and 25 seconds to two minutes in national games.

The number of mound visits will be reduced from six to five per team, per game.

The All-Star Game fan voting will happen in two rounds. Round one will be similar to the old system, which is followed by an “Election Day” in late June or July, in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each league will be voted on by fans to determine the All-Star Game starters.

During the All-Star Game, the 10th inning or any other inning after that will begin with a runner on second base.

The total prize money for the Home Run Derby will increase to $2.5 million, and the winner of the event will receive $1 million.

There will only be one trade deadline as the August waiver trade deadline will be eliminated for a single trade deadline on July 31. Players can still be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31, but not trades will be allowed.

The changes for the 2020 season include, team roster sizes will increase, the 40-man active roster in September will be taken away, a three-batter minimum for pitchers will occur and the minimum time a player spends on the injured list will increase.

The team roster sizes from Opening Day through Aug. 31 will increase from 25 to 26, with the minimum number of active players rising from 24 to 25 and roster size for doubleheaders will be from 26 to 27.

The 40-man active roster is gone. Teams will be allowed to carry 28 players on their active roster from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season.

Also, the number of pitchers teams can carry on their active roster will be limited to a specific amount, with the limit being decided by a joint committee in the future.

Teams will be required to designate each of their players as a pitcher or position player before each team’s first regular-season game and the designation can’t be changed.

Position players can’t pitch in games unless they’re designated as a “two-way player,” the game is in extra innings, or their team is losing or winning a game by more than six runs when they enter as a pitcher.

The minimum time a player can spend on the injured list will increase from 10 days to 15. The minimum assignment period of pitchers who are optioned to the minors will increase from 10 days to 15.

The three-batter minimum will apply to all pitchers as they must pitch to at least three batters or to the end of a half-inning, exceptions will be allowed for injury or illness.

The changes for the 2019 season are logical as the reduction for inning breaks, and mound visits will decrease the length of games.

The aspect of an Election Day for All-Star Game voting is a nice addition and giving the winner of the Home Run Derby $1 million might entice more players to participate in the event.

The most significant change for next season is the removal of the August waiver trade deadline. This will force teams to decide early if they will be a buyer or seller at the trade deadline.

The changes for the 2020 season are more drastic, as increasing the roster size will be a bonus for teams but limiting how many pitchers a team can carry isn’t fair.

The removal of the 40-man active roster in September will be excellent as games won’t drag on during that month.

The past several years when the roster expanded, teams would have several pitching changes during games as managers had more pitchers available in the bullpen.

The only negative part of eliminating the 40-man roster is clubs will need to carefully select which prospects they add to their roster in September.

The three-batter minimum for pitchers will eliminate the Loogy (lefty one-out guy). There are a handful of teams who had a lefty in their bullpen, and his sole job was to get left-handed batters out.

This will force teams to construct their bullpen to have pitchers who can get left and right-handed batters out consistently.

Cleveland Indians Sign Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to Minor League Deal

The Cleveland Indians have signed outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to a minor-league deal, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The deal includes an opt-out in early April if he’s not on the big-league roster, according to Nightengale.

Gonzalez will earn $2 million and an additional $1 million in incentives, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

The outfielder had a solid 2018 campaign with the Rockies as indicated by his .276 batting average and .796 OPS in 132 games with 32 doubles, 16 home runs, and 64 RBIs.

There’s a good chance Gonzalez will be with the Indians at some point within the first month of the season as the Indians don’t have a strong outfield group entering the 2019 season.

New York Yankees Starting Pitcher Luis Severino Out Until May with Shoulder Injury

The New York Yankees already knew that starting pitcher Luis Severino wasn’t going to make his Opening Day start and he’s going to be sidelined for much longer.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said a couple of days ago that Severino won’t be ready to pitch until May 1 at the earliest, per Bryan Hoch of

Severino is dealing with rotator cuff inflammation in his right shoulder, and it will take time for his shoulder to become fully healthy.

The Yankees will begin the season with Masahiro Tanaka as their Opening Day starter, and he’ll be followed by James Paxton and J.A. Happ.

The unknown for the Yankees is who will occupy the fourth and fifth slot in their rotation.

The loss of Severino is enormous to begin the season, but, hopefully, within a month, he might return to the rotation.

Author Profile

Chris Lacey
Chris is a 25-year old New Jersey native whose favorite sports team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. He previously attended Western New England College to study Sports Management. Chris has been following the Diamondbacks since he was 12. You can find him on Twitter [email protected]
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