Tha Sports Junkies 101

MLB Commissioner Manfred Considers Rule Change for Substitute Pitchers

Rob Manfred Will McHale/via Flickr


Commissioner Rob Manfred discusses possible rule change to speed up Major League Baseball.


Over the past few years Major League Baseball and Commissioner Manfred has sought ways to speed up the game to draw more interest from fans. Major League Baseball has implemented significant pace-of-play rule changes that went into effect prior to the 2015 season.  Some of the rules include mandating that managers stay in the dugout during replay challenges, that hitters keep at least one foot in the batter’s box during at-bats, a prompt return to play after TV commercial breaks and timed pitching changes.  As we have seen none of these are things that have dramatically sped up the games.  Earlier this week Commissioner Rob Manfred discussed some more radical ideas to speed the game up.


“You will see a continuing evolution of our rules in order to speed the game,” Manfred said to the audience at Citi Field. “Things like visits to the mound, both catcher and manager visits. It’s always been astounding to me exactly what wisdom is imparted in those visits, with all due respect to the great managers.”

“We’ve actually talked about more fundamental changes,” Manfred said. “Pitching changes are a huge part of the length of the game — limiting the number or requiring a pitcher to pitch to at least two batters, something like that.”


Manfred suggested that the league is considering placing limits on the number of pitching changes a team could make in a game. Manfred believes this could help speed up the pace of play in games.

“I am in favor of something like that,” Manfred said. “We’ve [MLB] spent a ton of time on this issue in the last few months.

Manfred would go on to explain his thinking behind what many will think is a radical idea.


You know the problem with relief pitchers is that they’re so good. I’ve got nothing against relief pitchers, but they do two things to the game: The pitching changes themselves slow the game down, and our relief pitchers have become so dominant at the back end that they actually rob action out of the end of the game, the last few innings of the game. So relief pitchers is a topic that is under active consideration. We’re talking about that a lot internally.” Manfred was a guest Thursday on ESPN’s Mike & Mike.


So far the previous pace of play rules only shaved about 6 minutes off the total time of the game.  This is what is causing MLB to look into more drastic measures to make the game faster.  Commissioner Rob Manfred discussed a rise in pitches per game, which now is at its highest total in over 7 years.  Major League Baseball has also seen a 35% increase in replay reviews compared to last year.


“We’re going to put a package of issues on the table with the union,” Manfred said in May about offseason. “Speculating about which ones I like and don’t like is counterproductive to that process at this point. I think the best I can do for you at this point is to say I’m prepared to think about additional rule changes that are relevant to the issue of pace of play.”