Two weeks before pitcher and hunters report on spring training, Major League Baseball and Player Association stuck the dead hob with rumors of possible rules that could be implemented in 2019.
While fans are waiting for free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to signing their mega dealers, MLB and the Union have exchanged at least half a dozen proposals to change the way the big league game is played, according to reports from Ken Rosenthal, Jeff Passan, Joel Sherman and others.
Passan has the complete list of suggestions, but I will focus on the first two potential rules changes that would:
(1) limit mid-inning pitching changes by requiring relievers to meet at least three slag (or exit the entrance) and
(2) bring the DH to the National League.
From my perspective, change on these two fronts is too late. But I would humbly submit small tweaks to both proposals.
Mid-Inning Pitching Changes
I like the spirit of the proposed three-battery rule for relievers. But I also like the spirit of free substitution in baseball, and I understand the leaders' desire to gain the advantage of pelotons for their team.
So my suggestion would be to give leaders an unlimited substitution if they remove their starting pitcher in the middle of an inning. Any subsequent mid-inning pitching change would carry the following penalty:
• The reliever enters with a 1
Last season, there was little difference between the results of the record appearances that ended after the first pitch and those ending after a 1-0 count. That's when the count reaches 2-0 that butter begins to see a real benefit.
So for a manager considering a mid-inning pitching change to get the benefit of the peloton: How much confidence do you have that your reliever, fresh out of the pen pin and pushing into a big spot, can beat a strike to avoid putting a 2-0 trap?
The idea of escalating counter sanctions, such as 2-0, 3-0, for another or third mid-inning pitching change in the same inning is also possible, but I'll probably start with the proposal outlined above.
DH in NL
Some fans prefer NL rules, where the chickens hit, but even they must admit that pitcher is worse hiters than they used to be. In fact, jar has never been worse hit.
By 2018, pots accounted for 86.7 percent of the time they entered the plate, which was an all-time record of invalidity. In this case, I add outs prepared in connection with a sacrificial bundle to the totals. The yield does not count victims against pitcher is 85.6 percent, which is also an all-time record.
In the average NL lineup in 2018, the quality of the hitter, measured by OPS, improved stepwise from lineup spots 1 to 3. It dropped slightly from the lineup spot 3 to 4 and then broken down with each subsequent line-up step until the bottom out with 9 hitter.
In NL last year, the difference between the average 8 hitter and 9 hitter-typical jug is folded, but the sample also in many pinch-hitters were minus-170 OPS points. The step between 8 and 9 hiters in the US league was minus-44 OPS points.
This kind of imbalance between successive lineup spots introduces reflexive strategies such as sac bundling at pitchers and intentional trips to No. 8 hitters, which are anti-competitive by nature and inherently low in the entertainment value of viewers.
Bringing DH to NL is an easy means for this imbalance, but of course DH is a hot-button problem for some fans. Many anti-DHers would chafe at the notion of having players in the lineup not playing on the pitch. Therefore, I propose this compromise between the current rules for AL and NL:
• NL teams are not allowed to start the same player at DH in consecutive games.
Under this proposal, a "start" will be defined as a plate appearance. After a PA, a knife hitter can replace DH. This would prohibit or at least strongly discourage teams from inserting yesterday's starting jug at DH, only to squeeze him for the first time, he bats.
This modified DH rule would ensure that the dedicated full-time hitter never comes to NL while rewarding NL teams deep in beating talent. also gives NL leaders the flexibility to give partial rest days to their players, which would be beneficial in many cases, but especially on today's game after night play.
Kyle Glaser MLB Offseason Chat (1/31/18)
Everything is on the table, from MLB prospect issues to possible trading matches to JT Realmuto and the ongoing free agency of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado.
The Imperfect Machine
 As Bill James wrote nearly 20 years ago in his "New Historical Baseball Abstract", baseball is not a "perfect machine" impenetrable for changing tides. Instead of being treated as if it were "designed by the gods," baseball should be evaluated and tweaked to improve the fan experience and enhance the entertainment value.
MLB and the player association do just that and I recommend them for it.
From my perspective, limiting mid-inning pitching changes and bringing DH to NL would both be resounding wins for baseball, the imperfect but classic machine.