The Atlanta Braves are World Series champions and now baseball is in the middle of its first work stoppage since the 1994-95 strike. MLB and the MLBPA were unable to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement prior to the Dec. 1 deadline, so the owners locked out the players, and the hot stove has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.
Throughout the offseason the CBS Sports MLB scribes will bring you a weekly roundtable breaking down pretty much anything. The latest news, a historical question, thoughts about the future of baseball, all sorts of stuff. Last week we handed out some holiday gifts. This week we’re going to propose a few rule changes.
What rule change do you want to see in the new CBA?
Dayn Perry: I’ll have to say the universal DH. I don’t enjoy watching pitchers hit because they are almost universally terrible at it, and no once-in-a-generation Bartolo Colon home run can make up for the pathetic remainder of the sub-genre. Almost every other level of organized baseball uses the DH, and civilization carries on. The 2020 season gave us a glimpse of what the universal DH would look and feel like, and the hand-wringing over the loss of tradition ceased pretty quickly. Pull off the band-aid and make the NL game more watchable.
R.J. Anderson: I agree with Dayn on the universal DH. For the sake of variety, I’ll say that I’d like to see bigger bases installed at the big-league level. That’s one of the few rules changes MLB made in the Atlantic League that seemed beloved by the players. Why? Because the players believed it reduced the chances of injury. As an added benefit: it should encourage teams to embrace the stolen base again. I’m a sucker for the running game — I find it to be one of the most exciting, fascinating parts of baseball — so I think both of those aspects are worth pursuing.
Matt Snyder: I’m on board with both the universal DH and the bigger bases and I’ll also keep the line moving with another addition to the list. Gimme the pitch clock. No one needs to sit there watching a pitcher stand on the rubber for upward of 30 seconds. It adds absolutely nothing but dead air to the game. Anyone who has been to the minors in recent seasons has seen it in action. It’s barely noticeable unless you are looking for it, but the pace is considerably better than in the majors, specifically in the playoffs — when we are looking for our biggest hook into a national audience. This might not be something the players want, but they can adjust. I’m on their side when it comes to the financial arguments, so I’ll point out that they can’t get everything they want.
Mike Axisa: The universal DH and pitch clock are no-brainers. Ditto trading draft picks. Can’t believe that isn’t allowed yet. For my answer, I’ll go with an 11-pitcher roster limit. Starting pitchers are the closest thing this game has to a main character and they are falling out of style because of openers and bullpen games. I fully understand and appreciate the opener and bullpen game strategies (they’re brilliant and they work), but they make for a poor viewing experience, and this is the entertainment business. I’d like to return starting pitchers to prominence and the easiest way to do that is limiting the number of relievers a team has available in any given game. We’d have to put in safeguards against teams shuttling fresh relievers in every day, but that’s doable. Basically, I’m in favor of a rule that makes starting pitchers A Thing again, and limits pitching changes (particularly mid-inning pitching changes).