MLB announces rules changes including fewer mound visits, 3-batter minimum

Included among baseball's many new rules for 2019 and 2020 will be the elimination of the Aug. 31st waiver deadline

AP Included among baseball's many new rules for 2019 and 2020 will be the elimination of the Aug. 31st waiver deadline

That change will go into effect for the 2019 season, and beginning in 2020, the standard roster size will expand from 25 to 26 (with a 13-pitcher maximum).

Nevertheless, the agreement jointly announced by the sides Thursday promises dramatic alterations to the game when implemented in 2019 and '20. The agreement is subject to ratification by the 30 Clubs.

Time between innings will be cut from 2:05 to 2:00 for local games and 2:25 to 2:00 for national games.

In the case of mound visits, which were capped for the first time a year ago at six, this will continue to force decisions about the wisdom of early-game trips to the mound. The August waiver trades will be eliminated.

Players can be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31, but they cannot be traded after that date.

Additionally, MLB and the MLBPA will form a joint committee to study other potential changes.

All-Star Game: Another previously reported wrinkle, All-Star Game fan voting will now be done in two rounds. During the "primary round" each club will nominate one player per eligible position (including three outfielders) who will be voted on by fans. Further details on the new fan voting format will be announced in April.

All-Star bonus payments will be given to the top three vote getters at each position, including the top six outfielders.

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"The idea, first proposed by the union, is to protect the competitive integrity of the 162-game regular season, create more certainty for players and force teams to decide earlier whether they are buyers or sellers", Ken Rosenthal wrote in The Athletic.

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.

It will culminate in an All-Star week that includes a Home Run Derby with $2.5 million in prize money, including $1 million for the victor.

Baseball's heaviest hitters will have a good reason to participate in the Home Run Derby: Money.

The active roster limit from opening day until August 31 will increase from 25 players to 26. The current Major League Rules allowing for a 26th player for doubleheaders will be amended to allow for a 27th player. All clubs will be required to carry 28 players on the active roster as of September 1.

The number of pitchers on the active roster will be determined by a joint committee of Major League Baseball and the MLBPA. That designation will remain in effect for the player and can not change for the rest of the championship season and postseason. Although the union did not formally accede to the three-batter minimum per pitcher that MLB sought, it agreed not to challenge the league's plans to implement it in 2020.

For pitchers, the minimum placement period on the injured list will increase from 10 to 15 days.

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