MLB players reportedly reject pitch clock, mound limits

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred

Which means the change will be that which he proposed last season, which encompasses reduced mound visits and a 20-second pitch clock.

Then earlier this week, it looked like the players might just be rolling over on that issue and allowing Commissioner Manfred to put those rules into place regardless of their agreement.

Manfred said in November that he preferred that a negotiated agreement was reached with players, but if that can not be accomplished the league was going to implement the changes for the 2018 season.

The players know this, of course, so their decision to strongly oppose the idea is partially seen as a PR move.

By making Manfred use his power, the players believe fans will be furious with him, not them. Barring any change in how the discussions have gone, it appears as if Major League Baseball will make the rule changes for 2018 without the union approving. However, Manfred and the players are not seeing eye to eye on potential changes.

Major League Baseball and the union have held talks throughout the past year and met in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

"Different players had different issues, and ultimately this wasn't something we supported", he said.

It's also possible that this is more about the players sending a message to the commissioner. The clock now being proposed by the commissioner's office would allow for 20 seconds between offerings for big leaguers - or two seconds fewer than the average of 22 seconds between pitches in 2017.

Pitch clocks were introduced in double-A and triple-A in 2015.

Baseball instituted a pitch clock during 2015 in the minors and the clock being proposed now by the commissioner would give 20 seconds between pitches in the majors, or two less than the average last season between pitches of 22 seconds. In this sense, it's easy to understand why the players don't want to go along with such a rule change right now. Pitchers will adjust to the clock in the minors and get accustomed to pitching at that pace.

The one-year buffer matters in this case because in the most recent proposal there were some additions that brought things closer to the players' wishes.

However, Manfred doesn't appear willing to wait that long.

Whether that strategy, specifically hoping that fans will be so upset with the league's new rules they blame the league and the owners, pans out for them or not seems shaky at best. There is another owners meeting on February 1, at which point Manfred could push, without the approval of the players, to implement a pitch clock for the 2018 season.

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