MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has put an emphasis on improving pace of play in recent years, making changes such as eliminating the need to throw four pitches for an intentional walk and limiting managers to 30 seconds to decide if they want to challenge a play.
Manfred recently came up with a revised proposal that he presented to the Players’ Union in regards to the initiatives that he would like to put in place for the 2018 season. They included a 20-second pitch clock and limiting the number of times a catcher could visit the mound.
While Manfred does not need the approval of the union, as he has this ability to unilaterally implement his original proposal, his goal is still to come up with something that can be agreed upon by both sides.
It appears he may not able to do that, as according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Players’ Union is expected to reject Manfred’s proposal:
If baseball commissioner Rob Manfred follows through on his promise to introduce a pitch clock, it likely will be over the objections of major league players.
The players’ union is expected to reject Manfred’s revised proposal on new rules to improve the pace of play, sources told The Athletic on Thursday.
Manfred is expected to meet with MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on the matter next week. But from what is being reported, it seems like the players are unified on the matter, adamantly letting it be known that they are not in favor of a pitch clock and the other initiatives.
Some of the Players’ Union’s anger may also stem from the number of unsigned free agents with less than a month until pitchers and catcher report for Spring Training. There’s a sentiment it’s a result of the current collective bargaining agreement that put stricter penalties on teams that go over the luxury tax threshold.
While there may not be the danger of a strike looming, the two sides are running out of time to come to an agreement on rule changes with each day that passes.