Got some general MLB notes to pass along this Friday afternoon. Believe it or not, the league also has a bunch of official business to take care of each offseason. It ain’t all trades and free agent signings.
MLB unlikely to implement pitch clocks for 2015
After testing a 20-second pitch clock at Salt River Fields in the Arizona Fall League a few weeks ago, it is “highly unlikely” MLB will adopt the system for the 2015 season, according to Jon Morosi. Games with the pitch clock at Salt River averaged two hours and 39 minutes per 77 plate appearances (average number in an MLB game) this fall after averaging two hours and 52 minutes last year.
MLB tested several other pace of game rule changes in the AzFL — batters couldn’t step out of the box, no-pitch intentional walks, etc. — and those will be voted on next week at the quarterly owners meetings in Arizona. The owners will also look at requiring managers to call for instant replay more quickly. I never did like the idea of a pitch clock, but I’m all for MLB improving the pace of play. Games take way too long.
MLB, MLBPA discussing domestic violence policy
MLB and the MLBPA have been discussing parameters for a domestic above policy these last few months and will meet again this month, reports Morosi. The two side are likely to hammer out an agreement and formally announce new protocols before the start of Spring Training. It’s unclear what the discipline will look like at this point.
At the moment, domestic violence cases are handled through a jointly administered treatment program. In the wake of the Ray Rice case, the NFL’s policy calls for a six-game suspension without pay for first-time offenders. That’s the equivalent of 60 games in MLB. (First-time offenders get 80 games for PEDs.) It’s no surprise MLB and MLBPA want to get an agreement in place before the season. Shame it took something the Rice case to put the wheels in motion.
MLB, umpires’ union agree to new five-year contract
Baseball’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with the MLBPA won’t expire until after the 2016 season, but MLB’s agreement with the umpires expired this offseason. According to the Associated Press, MLB and the World Umpires Association agreed to a new five-year contract before their previous deal expired on December 31st.
No word on the terms or anything, but Jon Heyman had previous reported umpires were looking to be paid like “low-level players,” meaning $500,000 or so per season. Under the previous agreement, umps made up to $300,000 per year with a $357 per diem (!) depending on years of experience. I’m glad MLB and the umpires knocked this out. As much as we all complain about the umpires, replacement umps would have been a million times worse.