Cleveland Indians: Writers roundtable- Rule Changes

There are a lot of mixed opinions on the proposed rule changes. While a lot of them may not affect the Cleveland Indians directly, we’re voicing our thoughts.

If you haven’t been following this slow baseball offseason, you may have missed some of the proposed rule changes seen around baseball. These changes include a universal DH, a three-batter minimum for every pitcher, lowering the mound, moving the trade deadline to one date, some contract adjustments and a few more. Some of these rules are outlandish, while others could have a direct effect on the Cleveland Indians. Here are our thoughts.

Carson Ferrell

I’ve said for a while now that I’m all for the universal DH. We use it at every level of baseball except for the National League. In today’s world, it just doesn’t make much sense for two conferences to have different rules in a sport. I get that it may make games a tad bit longer. But honestly, I’m okay with that. If I go to the ballpark, I hope I’m there for over three hours.

As for the three-batter minimum for each pitcher, I have some thoughts. I don’t really know a lot of the specifics to this rule and I feel like there will be loopholes. If a pitcher comes in to face the final two hitters of an inning, does he have to come out in the next inning to face one more?

Don’t lower the mound. It’s dumb. It’s 2019 and this is the talk of an old baseball purist. Stop it.

Ronnie Tellalian

1. Three Batter Minimum for Pitcher) I hate seeing two or three pitching changes in an inning and the LOOGY is as cowerdly as the intentional walk, but I don’t like this rule. I don’t think it’s going to speed up that game all that much.

I should love this rule but I don’t. I think it’s a slippery slope when you start creating rules that state how many batters you can face in the game. What’s next, how many pitches a hitter can see in an at-bat? What’s to stop them from making a rule that says after 10 pitches a foul ball can be strike three?

2. One Trade Deadline) This is fantastic. The MLB trade deadline is meaningless with the waiver deadline one month later. It’s confusing for the average fan and it means that big deals are struck with 5 weeks left in the season.

One single July deadline would mean teams have to make big decisions earlier in the season and those players have a full half season to get used to their new environment heading into the playoffs.

3. Draft Advantages for Winning Teams) One the surface this rule seems like a bad idea, but when you look into the rules on this one I think it actually helps the competitive balance.

Small market teams that do well will get draft advantages. This means that teams like the Indians will be rewarded for doing well instead of being stuck with a single late round pick.

Teams that lose 90+ games in back to back seasons will be penalized. This increases the sense of urgency for poor teams to build more quickly. I think this rule if great.

4. Universal DH) It’s about time that we go to a universal DH. First, it doesn’t make sense to have different rules for different leagues. This isn’t 1920 where the leagues were actually separate entities. They are now essentially one league separated into conferences that are just called “leagues”.

Second, I hate watching pitchers hit. They either bunt or flail around like a newborn deer. This rule gets more guys in the lineup and allows hitters to hit and pitchers to pitch.

5. 20 Second Pitch Clock) Like the 3 batter rule, I don’t think this is going to speed up the game all that much. I like pitchers that just toe the rubber and get after it, but I don’t think this is going to change things all that much.

This is used in the Minor Leagues with the idea that pitchers will get used to working quickly and once they get to the Majors they will naturally work quickly. I think this is a fine way to move the game along, thus no need for a pitch clock.

6. Major League Contracts for Two-Sport Athletes) I don’t think this rule will be used that much. Kyler Murray’s situation is likely behind this proposal. Do we really come across this situation that often? I’m fine with the rule I suppose, no problem with it necessarily.

7. Roster Expansion and New Rules) I like this one. It expands the bench for the season and it stops the nonsense of teams trying to struggle to get every last meaningless hitter into games at the end of the year.

8. Lowering the Mound) This is nonsense. I almost don’t even want to dignify this rule with a response. Why don’t we just flatten the mound, let pitchers get a running start, and hitters can call their pitches?

Brandon Kring

The potential rules changes have many in an uproar but I actually think they could be good for the game. The two I like are the universal DH and pitchers facing a minimum of three batters.

The universal DH makes baseball purists cringe and I get that. However, name me more than a handful of pitchers who can rake and I’d be fine with it staying the way it is. At this point, most of the time when a pitcher walks up he’s either a sac bunt or an automatic out and that is just not exciting. Guys like Madison Bumgarner and Michael Lorenzen are so few and far between that, it doesn’t warrant leaving it how it is now.

The universal DH would also grant more roster flexibility and give guys days off in the field without taking a potent bat out of the lineup. I’m not sure if teams can let their pitcher bat if they choose with this rule but if they can, we could still see those pitchers who can hit at the plate.

Pitchers facing a three batters minimum I’m on the fence on. Some guys, like Oliver Perez in 2018, are specialists that are only brought in to face a certain handed hitter. On the other hand, this will make guys have to work on being more well-rounded pitchers. It will also eliminate the many multiple pitching changes within a single inning.

Overall these two potential rule changes seem like they will make the game better, no matter how many baseball purists think it will ruin the game.

Paul Roth

There are a number of different rule changes being discussed but there were three in particular that stood out to me: 20-second pitch clock, three batter minimum for pitchers and bringing a DH to the National League.

Two of these I loved and one of them I can’t even fully describe how much I hate, but I’ll try my best. Let’s start there first. The three batter minimum for pitchers. Wow. What a stupid stupid rule. I get that they want to speed the game up, sure. But now we’re going to essentially force teams to play a guy?

Look, I think it is pretty stupid to bring in a reliever just to face one batter (at least it is 90% of the time), but there are a number of different scenarios where this blows up in a teams’ face. Say you bring in a reliever to get the last out in a bases-loaded jam. Whack. Grand slam. And you have to stick with that? Next batter. Whack. Home run. And you STILL have to stick with that?

There are so many other ways to speed up the game that doesn’t force a team into playing certain players. For example is another rule they proposed, one that I like. The 20-second pitch clock. I can understand the backlash against it but also think about it. That’s 20 whole seconds.

It’s been being used in minor league baseball for a number of years now and hasn’t caused any kind of uproar because honestly, who needs more than 20 seconds?

There’s no reason a pitcher should be taking longer than that (in a nobody on base scenario) and it can help speed up the game (which is not an issue in my eyes but I digress).

Now finally, the rule I have been calling for since I was probably five years old (because even five-year-olds understand this should exist) is putting the DH in the National League. Major League Baseball. One entity. Two leagues within, just like in the NFL (AFC, NFC) or NBA (East, West). But one set of rules? Nope.

I get that Baseball has and always will be a quirky sport, it’s one of the highlights. But there is no reason to not have the same set of rules. People who are against putting the DH in the National League love to talk about how fun it is watching an awkward looking pitcher step into the batter’s box.

Well, the truth of it is that it’s nearly a guaranteed out that risks the pitcher’s health because they aren’t used to hitting and running the bases all the time. Not to even mention the fact that, if implemented, A PITCHER CAN STILL HIT. The rule doesn’t force a team to use a DH. Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner can still hit be allowed to hit if their manager so chooses.

All it does is gives teams the options to choose whether they want a DH to hit or not (and surprise, surprise: they’d choose the DH) so that guys like Adam Wainwright (Achilles tendon, 2015), Ryan Vogelsong (facial fracture, 2016), Max Scherzer (sprained thumb, 2015) and Chien-Ming Wang (torn Lisfranc ligament, 2008) don’t have to.

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