Major League Baseball will change rules to increase the speed of games next year with or without an agreement with the players’ association.
Management proposed last off-season to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap.
The union didn’t agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.
Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.
“My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can’t get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other,” baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said onThursday after a quarterly owners’ meeting.
Nine-inning games averaged a record three hours, five minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the post-season.