MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said today at the owners’ meetings that the league is not interested in considering certain union-proposed changes in advance of the 2019 season, as Ronald Blum of the AP reports. In particular, Manfred indicated he is not open to the introduction of the designated hitter to the National League.
It emerged recently that MLB and the MLB Players Association were exchanging proposals on a variety of significant potential rules changes. Some of those, including the introduction of a twenty-second pitch clock and a rule requiring any pitcher that enters a game to face at least three hitters, were set forth by the league.
Manfred indicated that he was pleased the union responded to the league’s proposals, a fact which some observers have pointed to as a positive step given the chilly (if not altogether frozen) negotiation atmosphere between the sides of late. Despite the less-testy signals, though, it seems the league isn’t inclined to budge on any substantive matters.
It’s not at all surprising to hear that MLB doesn’t wish to pursue an immediate implementation of the DH in the NL. With a good bit of the offseason movement already in the books, it’d be an odd time to make such a move. That’s all the more true of some of the other union-backed proposals involving draft incentives and service time, which surely would require extensive analysis and negotiation.