Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have reached an agreement on a series of changes regarding roster construction, per both Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) and Jeff Passan of ESPN.
The new rule is part of a package of changes announced by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association on Thursday.
-Trade waivers will be eliminated, meaning no player can be traded after July 31 through the end of the regular season.
The pace-of-play tweaks are huge this year, but they're worth noting: Between inning breaks will decrease from 2:05 to 2:00 for local games and 2:25 to 2:00 in national games. Commissioner Rob Manfred reserves the right to cut breaks to 1:55 for local and national games in 2020.
Mound visits per team will be reduced from six to five.
-Fan voting for the All-Star Game will be divided into two rounds, with the top three vote-getters advancing for all positions except the outfield, for which six will move on.
All-Star bonus payments will be given to the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (top six for outfielders). While that's not earth-shattering money for some players, it's quite a bit for others, including people who could win it. Aaron Judge, for instance, will make $684,300 in 2019, so winning the derby is certainly in his best interest.
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- Each team will start the 10th inning with a runner on second in the All-Star Game and spring training games.
The active roster limit from Opening Day through August 31st and in Postseason games will increase from 25 to 26, and the minimum number of active players will increase from 24 to 25.
According to Passan, MLB plans to give $1 million to the victor of the Home Run Derby and $2.5 million in cash prizes for the event as a whole.
Major League Baseball and the Players Association will form a joint committee to consider other changes. What had been a 26th player for certain day-night doubleheaders through August 31 will become a 27th player in those situations. September rosters, meanwhile, will shrink from 40 to 28 (with a 14-pitcher maximum).
-All pitchers must face at least three batters or end a half-inning, unless injured. Exceptions include incapacitating injury or illness.
- Pitchers will have to serve a 15- rather than 10-day Injured List period as a way to try to further thwart roster manipulation. Pitchers who are sent to the minors must stay there 15 days instead of 10, the required stay previous year. That designation will remain in effect for the player, and can not change, for the remainder of the championship season and Postseason. First, the "Primary Round" will have the team nominate one player per eligible position.
The changes for the 2019 season won't be as drastic. A player qualifies as a two-way player only if he accrues at least 20 big-league innings and at least 20 big-league games started as a position player or designated hitter (with at least three plate appearances in each of those games) in either the current season or a prior big-league season.
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