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MLB and MLBPA announce modifications of some rules for 2017 season

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Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association jointly announced modifications of some rules effective for the 2017 regular season.

  • As was announced last month, managers will signal to the home plate umpire that he wants to intentionally walk the current batter.
  • Managers now have 30 seconds to decide to challenge an umpire’s ruling and invoke replay review
  • When a manager has used up all of his available challenges, the crew chief can invoke replay review for non-home run calls starting in the eighth inning
  • Replay officials will be under a conditional two-minute guideline for review, though there is room for exceptions
  • Players are no longer allowed to make markers on the field (this was an issue last year in a game between the Mets and Dodgers)
  • An amendment to Rule 5.07 now formalizes the balk rule. Specifically, “A pitcher may not take a second step toward home plate with either foot or otherwise reset his pivot foot in his delivery of the pitch.  If there is at least one runner on base, then such an action will be called as a balk under Rule 6.02(a).  If the bases are unoccupied, then it will be considered an illegal pitch under Rule 6.02(b).” Think of this as the Carter Capps rule.
  • Rule 5.03 has also been amended. It “requires base coaches to position themselves behind the line of the coach’s box closest to home plate and the front line that runs parallel to the foul line prior to each pitch.  Once a ball is put in play, a base coach is allowed to leave the coach’s box to signal a player so long as the coach does not interfere with play.”

Nothing earth-shattering here. The intentional walk rule is obviously the biggest and most controversial change as we’ve seen in the last two weeks. Commissioner Rob Manfred has been quite focused on improving the pace of play. Certainly, making replay review wrap up quicker will help in that regard. Even better would be to do away with the challenge system entirely.

The field marker rule was mostly done to address an issue that came up last May after the Mets hosted the Dodgers at Citi Field. The Dodgers wanted to mark certain positions in the grass after determining positions with a rangefinder. The Mets did not allow it and later asked Major League Baseball for clarification.

The amendment to Rule 5.07 provides clarification for special cases like Capps, who’s now with the Padres:

Mets sign Vance Worley and Scott Copeland

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The Mets have signed pitchers Vance Worley and Scott Copeland minor league deals.

Worley had signed with the Reds in January but was cut by Cincinnati after failing to impress in spring training. That comes on the heels of a disastrous 2017 in which he pitched in 24 games for the Marlins, 12 as a starter, and posted an ugly 6.91 ERA, giving up 99 hits in 71.2 innings. He was much better in 2016 with the Orioles, in which he had a 3.53 ERA with a much lower hit rate in 31 relief appearances and four starts. As is so often the case, when a guy has some good year, as Worley has, he’ll get two or three or sometimes more chances to show he’s truly cooked. Worley will now try to make the most of it, most likely at Los Vegas.

Copeland with the Marlins last year too, though he spent all year at Triple-A. Copeland hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2015, when he posted a 6.46 ERA in 15.1 innings with the Blue Jays.

Viva organizational depth.