Unlike many who have spoken out about baseball’s new rules, Joe Maddon isn’t as worried about a limit to mound visits making it easier to steal signs as much as he’s concerned about what it does to the Cubs’ game plan. He wants his catchers to be able to communicate a strategy to his pitchers -- but now they’ll be limited to six trips per game. “I get upset in the dugout for two reasons: missed signs, and when the catcher doesn’t go out and talk to the pitcher. When the catcher knows what the right thing to throw was -- and the pitcher keeps shaking him off and finally the catcher cedes and the ball is [hit] off the wall,” Maddon said earlier this week. “That hasn’t been discussed enough. That’s when I want the trip.” In an attempt to speed up games, Major League Baseball is limiting teams to six mound visits for the first nine innings of a game -- with a few exceptions. Infielders coming to the mound count as a visit, so Maddon is hoping to curb those interactions and prioritize the meetings between his pitcher and catcher. The Cubs believe they tend to produce unique game plans for their pitchers behind the expertise of catching coach Mike Borzello. New pitchers sometimes take time to adjust and need the mound visits for help, and the Cubs are breaking in two new starters this year in Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood. “A lot of this rule change has been built around this concept that people have been cheating through technology,” Maddon said. “That’s my least concern. My concern about the trip is that we can communicate exactly what we want to do in the moment. We scout heavily and have an absolute game plan before it begins. And we’re really good at following it, [but] sometimes the guy out there [pitcher] forgets.” While sign stealing may be last on Maddon's list of worries, it is still part of the equation and is the part that Cubs ace Jon Lester is most concerned about.
Joe Maddon goes deep on impact of limiting mound visits
ESPN | Feb 24