MLB players are bracing themselves for the implementation of a pitch clock and other speed-up measures as early as next season.
Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler told The Atlantic's Ken Rosenthal the players expect an agreement to eventually be reached between the players association and the commissioner's office on ways to pick up baseball's pace of play.
“I know there will be changes, that much is obvious,” Ziegler told Rosenthal on Monday. “I appreciate their willingness to continue to have a dialogue with us, instead of ramming things down our throats they know we don’t want.
“There are things we definitely want to preserve in the game, but we also understand that they are trying to grow the game, and we need to be willing to listen to their ideas. At the same time, we appreciate their willingness to listen to ours, too. There are things we all know are going to be implemented in the future, so why not go ahead and start the discussion now?”
Rosenthal noted that some of the issues around the pitch clock include the length of time between pitches and when the clock would be used (i.e., would it be for all pitches or only for those with no runners on base?).
Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred is in favor of a pitch clock as a means of speeding up the pace of play in the majors. Nine-inning games now take more than three hours to play on average, a record high. Manfred could implement a clock unilaterally, but, as Rosenthal noted, he appears more inclined to collectively bargain for the change.
Minor league players in Double-A and Triple-A leagues have played under a pitch clock since 2015. The clock's use expanded to the Single-A Florida State League in 2016.