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Major League Baseball announces rule changes involving pitcher usage, roster limits, inning breaks

14 March 2019

A single trade deadline, an All-Star Game election day and a million-dollar bonus for the Home Run Derby victor will be implemented in 2019 - and a three-batter minimum for pitchers and roster expansion will happen in 2020 - as part of a deal between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.

The Home Run Derby will have $2.5 million in prize money, with a cool million dollars going to the victor. Fans would vote online for All-Star starters, and the top three vote-getters will take part in a one-day election.

What will be in place this summer are a single July 31 trade deadline, an All-Star election day and a Home Run Derby with the game's biggest stars (both sides hope) vying for a $1 million bonus.

-The active roster limit will increase by one to 26 from opening day through August 31 and will drop from 40 to 28 through the end of the regular season.

As Passan details, the All-Star Game selection process will also be getting a facelift in 2019. In late June or early July, an "Election Day" will be held in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (including the top nine outfielders) will be voted on by fans during a prescribed time period to determine the All-Star Game starters. The victor of the Home Run Derby will receive $1 million.

Spurred by labor relations discord amid a second consecutive free-agent market that has left players disappointed, the mid-collective-bargaining-agreement negotiations represent a step forward between two sides that had squabbled privately and publicly. Major League Baseball is hoping, in particular, this will lead to creative social media campaigns that foster interest in the players and the game. Teams will be allowed to carry 27 players during a doubleheader.

Elimination of 40-man active roster limit in September. Teams must designate each of its players as either a pitcher or a position player prior to each player's first day on the active roster for a given season.

For the 2020 season, the league and association will introduce a three-batter minimum for pitchers, which will eliminate single matchup moves.

There will be a cap on the number of pitchers that teams are allowed to carry on the active roster, that will be determined by the joint committee.

-Unless changed by the committee, the injured list and option recall minimum period for pitchers will increase from 10 days to 15 in 2020, an effort to slow the use of relievers by teams who shuttle of pitchers between the majors and minors. While a compromise could be reached in distributing more money to the younger players whom the current system underpays, the complications of doing so warrant a long runway for discussions. The joint announcement only says the MLBPA "will not grieve or otherwise challenge" the rule change in 2020.

Arguably most importantly, the Major League Baseball and the PA will begin discussing labor issues far before the current collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021, according to the agreement.

The disabled list for pitchers has been increased from 10 to 15 days.

Major League Baseball announces rule changes involving pitcher usage, roster limits, inning breaks