MLB commissioner Rob Manfred blasted the MLB players’ association Tuesday for refusing to agree to “meaningful” rule changes in 2017 and said he would exercise his right to unilaterally implement new rules for 2018 if necessary.
The commissioner’s office had proposed a number of changes designed mostly to speed up the pace of play but made no headway with union chief Tony Clark and his charges.
Manfred then upped the ante Tuesday at Cactus League media day, acknowledging no major changes are forthcoming this season and blaming it on “lack of cooperation” from the union. While MLB needed the players’ cooperation to alter the rules this season, Manfred said the new collective bargaining agreement implemented over the winter allows MLB to make whatever changes it wants heading into 2018.
“We have, I think, a good relationship with the MLBPA; we were able to make a new basic agreement without any disruption,” Manfred said at a news conference. “We have a disagreement about the need to push forward on these issues. It’s a two-year process. Tony’s more than within his rights to say right now he doesn’t want to move ahead with those rule changes.
“We will continue the process and we’ll exercise the rights that we negotiated for and have under the basic agreement. Hopefully that process will lead to an agreement — I want an agreement on these issues. But I’m also not prepared to walk away on this topic just because Tony’s not ready to move forward now.”
Manfred expressed dismay that the union would not budge on even New Cheap Jerseys basic issues like limiting visits to the mound during innings. That is one of the key proposals the commissioner intends to keep on the radar and possibly install for the following season, along with a pitch clock, automatic intentional walks, and raising the strike zone.