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Noah Syndergaard is no fan of a universal DH rule

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Yesterday, we learned that a universal DH was among the proposed ideas sent between the MLB and MLBPA. As the news has circulated, the famous DH-or-no-DH arguments have been had. Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard decided to jump in with his take:

Syndergaard has four career home runs, three of which came in 2016. The only other full-time pitchers with more home runs since the start of the 2015 season are Madison Bumgarner (11), Jake Arrieta (six), and Michael Lorenzen (six). Adam Wainwright is tied with Syndergaard at four in the last five years.

Syndergaard, in fact, hit two home runs in one game on May 11, 2016 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. Bumgarner hit two in one game on April 2, 2017 against the Diamondbacks. Before those two, the last pitcher to smack two dingers in a game was the D-Backs’ Micah Owings on August 18, 2007 against the Braves. A pitcher has homered twice in a game just eight times since 2000.

It is fun to watch a pitcher occasionally crank out a long ball or two. That being said, Bumgarner is considered to be the best-hitting pitcher and he owns a career .540 OPS. Last season, the worst OPS among qualified hitters was Chris Davis at .539.

MLB to crack down on sign stealing

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We’ve had a couple of notable incidents of sign stealing in Major League Baseball over the past couple of years. Most famously, the Red Sox were found to be using Apple Watches of all things to relay signs spied via video feed. Sports Illustrated reported yesterday that there have been other less-publicized and unpublicized incidents as well, mostly with in-house TV cameras — as opposed to network TV cameras — stationed in the outfield and trained on catchers, for the specific purpose of stealing signs.

As such, SI reports, Major League Baseball is cracking down beginning this year. Within the next couple weeks an already-drafted and circulated rule will take effect which will (a) ban in-house outfield cameras from foul pole to foul pole; (b) will limit live broadcasts available to teams to the team’s replay official only, and the replay official will be watched by a league official to keep them from relaying signs to the team; and (c) other TV monitors that are available to the clubs will be on an eight-second delay to prevent real-time sign stealing. There will likewise be limits on TV monitors showing the game feed in certain places like tunnels and clubhouses.

Penalties for violation of the rules will include the forfeiting of draft picks and/or international spending money. General managers will have to sign a document in which they swear they know of know sign-stealing schemes.

As was the case when the Apple Watch incident came up, there will not be any new rules regarding old fashioned sign stealing by runners on second base or what have you, as that is viewed as part of the game. Only the technology-aided sign stealing that has become more prominent in recent years — but which has, of course, existed in other forms for a very, very long time — is subject to the crackdown.

While gamesmanship of one form or another has always been part of baseball, the current wave of sign-stealing is seen as a pace-of-play issue just as much as a fairness issue. Because of the actual sign-stealing — and because of paranoia that any opponent could be stealing signs — clubs have gone to far more elaborate and constantly changing sign protocols. This requires mound meetings and pitchers coming off the rubber in order to re-start the increasingly complex series of signs from dugout to catcher and from catcher to pitcher.

Now, presumably, with these new rules coming online, teams will figure out a new way to cheat. It’s baseball, after all. It’s in their DNA.