Improved pace of play has been a priority for MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who is entering his third full season running the game. That the average contest lasted about four minutes longer in 2016 than 2015 undoubtedly irked Manfred. Unsurprisingly, some rule changes could be coming down the pipe that should shorten games.
The most commonly suggested tweak -- installing a pitch clock, similar to the one implemented throughout the minors -- does not appear to be on the table. Rather, the biggest alteration could be a reduction in mound visits, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post:
One proposal being discussed -- with "still a ways to go," a person in the loop cautioned -- is limiting mound visits at least by teammates, if not by coaches and managers as well.
Davidoff notes the players are concerned about "[disrupting] the pace to which they have become accustomed." As such, he draws a parallel to the complicated rules about when a hitter can leave the batter's box. Just what baseball needed -- more complex details.
Anyway, the goal is for the aforementioned change -- along with a few others that have not been reported -- to be in place by Opening Day. That gives both sides about, oh, two months to hammer out the details -- and actually less than that, presuming the players would want to use spring training to adjust to a new rulebook.
You could say, then, that the clock is ticking -- even if it won't be ticking between big-league pitches.