Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred recently proposed some new pace of play initiatives to the Players’ Union, which would include changes like implementing a 20-second pitch clock and limiting the number of times a catcher could visit the mound to talk to a pitcher per inning.
While Manfred does not need the union’s approval to put the rules in place for this season, he has made it clear that he would like both sides to agree on the matter. However, that doesn’t appear likely, as the players are said to be emphatically against the initiatives that were being proposed.
With under a month until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training and right around two months until Opening Day, the sides are running out of time to come to a mutual agreement on potential changes.
Manfred is set to meet with executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Tony Clark, on the matter.
Among the players that would be against adding a pitch clock is Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, as in a recent interview on the Petros and Money Show on AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio, he said he does not believe that will effectively speed up the game:
“I’m against it, to be honest with you. Because teams nowadays it’s just gets so caught up about guys throwing hard. And you see guys throwing 97-98 (mph) but they can’t even command the pitches. They can’t even command the fastballs, they have a lot of walks. They get two quick outs and then they walk two of guys. You don’t see guys nowadays command two quality pitches. The game has changed. I think they’re going to try to do all that stuff, but it’s still going to drag. If people can’t throw strikes consistently, the game is going to be long.”
Jansen is right in that forcing pitching to speed up their routine between pitches could lead to them walking more hitters, which would not improve pace of play.
Previous initiatives like eliminating the intentional walk have not been effective, as the average time of games has gone up in each of the last two seasons.