New York Yankees News: What changes to expect as baseball starts, find out here

William Parlee
New York Yankees
Oct 16, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; An view of the a field logo before game three of the 2017 ALCS playoff baseball series between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees and baseball fans everywhere will see a baseball season this year like no other.   Some of the changes to expect were decided during the offseason, yet others were caused by the coronavirus and the truncated baseball season.

MLB has finalized plans as to what a baseball season will look like this year, and will present it to the owners of the 30 MLB teams today.  If the owners can agree, the plan will be passed on to the Players Association for their approval.  If all can agree to the plan, there will be baseball this season.

One thing is for sure; it will not look like anything we have seen before.  Certain aspects of the plan have been leaked out or discussed.  One is that MLB will look to get in 100 games, which would include an expanded postseason of playoffs.  Ken Rosenthal of The Atlantic has suggested that there would be a regular season of about 78 games.  Those games will be played in a geographic format that would have three basic divisions.

For example, the New York Yankees would play all their familiar AL rivals in the East, but they would also play the NL East teams.  There would be no cross-country travel, and the games would be slated to play in home parks. In a 78-game season, the Yankees would play their AL rivals East sides — the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, and Orioles — in four three-game series. They would then play the NL East sides— the Phillies, Braves, Nationals, and Marlins — in two three-game series.  There then would be an expanded postseason that may look more like the NBA than the MLB.

This is just the beginning of the expected changes.  Games will be played without fans in the stands, at least at the start.  Another big change that is controversial is that pitchers must face at least three batters.  This is for both starters and relievers.  This is not as severe as it appears as the rule also includes “or to the end of the inning.”  Another exception is if a pitcher is injured or becomes sick, which will negate the rule.

Another significant change is the universal DH, which was initially proposed for 2021, may now start this year.  This is a problem for the NL as they don’t have much time to prepare.  With the team realignment, this will be welcomed by the New York Yankees because they will be playing far more games this season against NL teams, and now will not have to be worried about pitchers being injured running the bases.

Some of the other rule changes that may occur include roster limits for the regular and postseason.  A two-way player designation. Position players will only be allowed to pitch in games that go into the eleventh inning or in games where the team is ahead or behind by six runs.  The 26th man will become the 27th man.  There will be a limit of 13 pitchers allowed on rosters, except for a 14th may be permitted during doubleheaders. There will be far more doubleheaders than we have seen before.  Doubleheaders may be only seven-inning games.

There will also be changes in the injuries list (IL). The old 10 day IL will become the 15 day IL like it was in 2017.  While most players will still be subject to the 10 day, pitchers and two-way players will have to adhere to the new rule. Additionally, pitchers who are optioned to the Minor Leagues now have to remain there for 15 days rather than 10. The option period for position players is still 10 days.  There will also be a challenge change to 20 seconds to decide to challenge a play instead of 30.  This will lessen time that managers will have to view replays.

Even though many of these changes have been previously announced, the shortened season and compromises that may have to be reached in the negotiations that will take place this week with both the owners and players, everything above is subject to change.  One thing is for sure, both players and owners are much more open-minded this year to change, just to get a baseball season started.  Most likely, the final plan will be approved by the week’s end, or possibly as early as Tuesday.