Stand down, baseball traditionalists. At least one major rule change will not be coming to MLB this season.
Friday, USA Today reported that the earliest we may see the National League add a designated hitter is 2022, as MLB's current collective bargaining agreement runs through the 2021 season.
In fact, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred suggested Friday that any drastic rule changes will not come in 2019. Instead, the league is focusing on pace-of-play, such as adding a pitch clock, according to AP.
"Some of these items need to be part of broader discussions that certainly will continue after opening day, and I hope we can focus on some of the issues that need to get resolved quickly in the interim," Manfred said.
The MLB and the MLB Players Assocation discussed numerous potential rule changes in a meeting on Jan. 14. In addition to adding a universal designated hitter, other proposed rule changes include a 20-second pitch clock, a three-batter minimum for pitchers and a single trade deadline.
"Those are significant economic issues. They are different in kind than the type of playing-rule changes that that we have out there," Manfred said. "I think that there are pieces of their response on the on-field proposal that were very encouraging.
"I think what needs to be sorted out is how closely the two agendas are tied, in other words, the on-field stuff and the economic stuff."