Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association formally announced a slew of changes set to take effect this season.
Most notably is MLB doing away with an August waiver trade deadline. The traditional trade deadline will remain intact at July 31. Teams will still have the option to place players on waivers (and they can be claimed) after that date, but they will no longer be eligible to be traded.
Also taking effect in 2019, inning breaks will be reduced from 2 minutes and 5 seconds to a flat two minutes for local games, and from 2:25 to 2:00 in national broadcasts.
Furthermore, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred reserves the right to reduce inning breaks to 1:55 for both local and national games for the 2020 season. Though, all suggested timings are subject to discussions with broadcast partners.
One year removed from MLB implementing restrictions on the number of mound visits allowed per game, those are being reduced from six to five.
Meanwhile, the annual MLB All-Star Game will now have voting conducted over two rounds. During the “Primary Round,” each team will nominate one player per eligible position (three outfielders), who will be voted on by fans.
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 set time period to determine All-Star Game starters.
All-Star Game bonus payments will be given to the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (top six for outfielders). Additionally, the prize money awarded to players on the winning All-Star team will be increased beginning with the 2019 All-Star Game.
Once speculated as a possibility for regular-season games, the All-Star Game will see a runner placed on second base at the start of each extra inning (re-entry substitutions allowed for runners).
For those participating in the Home Run Derby, player prize money was increased to $2.5 million. The winner of the Home Run Derby will receive $1 million.
Come the 2020 season, MLB will implement new rules for roster composition, and pitchers being required to face a minimum of three batters, among other changes.
As part of the agreement, MLB and the MLBPA will meet and discuss a renegotiation and extension of the collective bargaining agreement. It’s with that understanding, Manfred agreed to not implement a pitch timer for the remainder of the current agreement.
Additionally, MLB and the MLBPA will form a joint committee to study other potential changes.