Orioles' Chris Davis addresses MLB's new rules - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Orioles’ Chris Davis addresses MLB’s new rules

SARASOTA, Fla.—This week, Major League Baseball and the players association announced agreement on a series of rule changes for this year and next.

This year, the trading deadline will be July 31, and no trades with players who have passed through waivers will be permitted after that. Mound visits will be reduced from six to five.

Next year, roster size will increase from 25 to 26, and teams will carry 28 players after September 1 instead of up to 40.

Pitchers optioned to the minor leagues will have to stay 15 days instead of 10, and pitchers must face at least three batters.

Chris Davis is the Orioles’ player representative and discussed the new rules on Saturday morning.

Question– Were player representatives consulted about the new rules?

Answer- “Yes, over the last two or three years, we were in discussions, amongst ourselves, whether  it’s through email, text or just talking on the phone to get guys ideas, their feelings and thoughts on proposed changes — things that we liked, things that we didn’t like, things that we thought would be beneficial to the players, the fans…I felt like the players have done a really good job over the last couple of years, staying together, staying on the same page, keeping the dialogue between each other open.”

Q– Is there a rule that you’re especially in favor of and any that you don’t much like?

A- “I like the changes to the roster in September. I fee like there are a lot of times when you see a team that’s trying to win the division or maybe even fighting for a playoff spot play a team that’s completely out of it, and that’s when you run into seeing 13 pitchers in a game.


“I think it’s going to be better for the game. I think it’s going to be better for the players. I think it’s going to give guys an opportunity to compete on a more realistic stage in a more realistic situation, and I like the protection for players that are optioned. It’s a good deal. I’m pleased with it so far and anxious to see how the rest of this turn out.”

Q- One of those rules could really affect you, forcing a pitcher to face three batters. That could eliminate a left-hander coming into the game just to face you.

A- “I think it’s good. I think it’s going to force teams to be a little bit deeper. I don’t know how relievers feel. I don’t know how the pitchers feel obviously because I’m a position player. They can’t feel good to come in there and get one out, one guy and then your day is over with. It kind of handcuffs the rest of the guys in the bullpen. It makes it, to me, a lot longer game. I’m looking forward to that. I’m sure I’ll see my share of lefty specialists. I guess they’ll have to face more than just me.”

Q- At the All-Star Game last year players association president Tony Clark complained that there was no dialogue between the players and MLB.  In eight months, how did you get so far?

A- “A lot of work. I think a lot of the time, the issues that are really tough, the ones that are going to take a while to solve, are the ones that you least want to talk about, but I think the persistency of the union, kind of collectively getting together, presenting ideas to MLB and the owners. I think it was just a lot of hard work on the union’s part, on players’ part, to make sure that we’re on the same page, and continuing to communicate, to  be upfront and open with our desires and things we want to see change or stay the same. It’s funny because it seemed like we were so far and then out of nowhere, it’s like, OK, we’ve reached an agreement. It’s kind of the way it goes sometimes. I think both sides got to a point where you have to give up something to get something, and that’s what happened.”

Q- Are you relieved that there’s not going to be a pitch clock?

A- “I didn’t think a whole lot about that. I know they’ve been doing that in our games at spring training, but, honestly, I feel like it’s more for the pitchers than for the hitters. We’ve had to get our foot in the [batter’s] box for years now. We understand that the game is changing, evolving and that MLB would like to see a little bit quicker pace to games played. But at the end of the day, it’s baseball. You can’t change the root of the game. I’m interested to see how it plays out. I’m glad there’s not going to be one, though.”

Q- Do you think this agreement will make it easier to find common ground on the tough economic issues?

A- “I’m hopeful that we can get some clarity on those issues. I think that this is a good starting point for both sides. I think it’s a good sign that says we’re willing to work with each other and willing to go the extra step to get things done, so I’m hopeful.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. CalsPals

    March 16, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Tough economic issues, irony at its best…

  2. BirdsCaps

    March 16, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    The roster issues are for the most part not a big deal. The rule about sending a player down for 15 days is obviously an effort to keep teams from using so many pitchers, as is the stupid new 3 batter minimum. All of the rule changes are about more offense (much like the NFL’s ever changing s-show of new rules). However, we haven’t seen anything yet. The new rule changes that the Atlantic League is implementing (at the behest of MLB) will largely ruin the game an have me running to do something else with much of my summer (moving the mound back, no serious shifts, larger bases , HP Umpire using automated strike zone). The league wants to take strategy out of the game and not emphasize pure hitters. With bigger bases there will be more slightly more offense (and also more player safety e.g Machado running to 1st). The shift rules protect lunky, one-dimensional power hitters (looking at you Chris Davis) and promote a offense heavy dumbed down version of baseball. In a few years there will be a gold bonus ball thrown, that counts for 2 if you hit a hr (just like the HR derby). Now, of course I am a 25 yr old baseball nerd (who listens to bands like Steely Dan, Rush, and weird Prog rock groups which should earn me more nerd points) so I guess I am not the target demo for MLB. However, instead of targeting the lowest common denominator, let’s get rid of the DH, bring back running over the catcher, and take out slides. I don’t wanna explain to my kids or grand kids how baseball use to be played, which is what my dad had to do with football for me (thank god I got a glimpse of hardnosed football with the early 2000s ravens defenses). Never thought I’d say it, but can we bring back the good old days of Bud Selig!!!!!

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 16, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      BirdsCaps, thanks for your thoughts, but I like all of the rule changes.

      • BirdsCaps

        March 16, 2019 at 9:08 pm

        Hey Rich,
        I have an issue with a few things about the rule changes. As I noted above, all of the rule changes (the 3 batter rule and a most of the Atlantic League changes) generally reduce the importance of strategy and the power of the manager. The rules that help the hitter which include the 3 batter rule and the shift rule deemphasize complete hitters and really help promote the importance of the 3 true outcomes, which are emphasized by the metrics crowd. It is almost like the sabermatricians have preached upper cut swings and deemphasized complete hitting and now they feel they have to implement rules to keep the game interesting, instead of changing the approach to hitting that they endorse. Also, in Bill James’s Historical Baseball Abstract, he argues that baseball is special because the stats are forever relevant (e.g. Ted Williams’s .406 BA is a relevant stat today due to the stability in the game of baseball, unlike football where Unitas’s record’s are passed often due to the new passer-friendly rules). Even though the league has tinkered with the rules (lowering the mound in ’69), the rule changes mess with the integrity of the game’s stats and the mythology that has forever followed the game. Now I could live an expanded playoffs as it would keep the fans interested and increase demand for free agents as the current system of losing out has led to labor issues. Furthermore, it does not affect the play between the lines. Also, I can not think of too many rule changes (at least recent ones) that have made games better (except for obviously needed, safety related rules). Football is getting close to flag football (especially rules protecting the QB), 2-line passing reduced the grit in hockey (even though I didn’t really start watching the game until after the rule change was instituted) and the 3 pointer and no charge zone in basketball reduced passing and play in the paint, which I love.

  3. cedar

    March 16, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    Anyone else think the addition of a 26th player to the roster is a prelude to adding the DH to the National League?

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 16, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      Cedar, roster sizes have increased in every other sport, but stayed the same in baseball forever.

      The DH will probably come to the NL eventually, but it has nothing to do with the 26th man.

  4. BARay

    March 17, 2019 at 8:15 am

    I saw a write-up recently on 538 ( I think) that analyzes game length. They attribute the increased game times to batters hitting more foul tips and pitchers throwing more balls. The increased number of pitches accounted for most of the increase.

    • Rich Dubroff

      March 17, 2019 at 1:56 pm

      That is corredt, BARay, but much of that can’t be changed because it’s inherent in the game. That’s why games are much longer now, not because of commercial breaks. MLB is trying to regulate what it can and leave alone what it can’t.

  5. Mike Shay

    March 18, 2019 at 11:09 am

    I wish they would make a new rule giving Davis 6 strikes instead of 3

  6. cb

    March 18, 2019 at 2:22 pm

    I oppose every single one of those changes. In particular, bigger bases, pushing the mound back, and forcing relievers to pitch to three hitters. If they want more offense, why don’t they just switch to a softball and make the pitchers throw underhand. That ought to jack up the offense aqnd generate new “fans” of the game. Greed is going to kill this game just like it does most things. Count me out if these changes are made.

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