Changes to the way teams line up -- and are allowed to line up -- defensively could be coming to Major League Baseball. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has received "strong" backing from baseball's competition committee to try to "put something in place" to limit shifts, The Athletic's Jayson Stark reported Wednesday.
Manfred has encouraged the idea of limiting shifts to help stimulate offenseAt last month's owners meetings, the competition committee shared their support with Manfred on a potential anti-shift rule change, and Stark reported that the next step would be passing it through the players' union. Stark went so far as to say that some sort of shift rule could be in place "by opening day 2019."
"I think it's a layup to get approved by the players," a front-office source told Stark.
However, 54 of 62 players polled in June by USA Today were opposed to limits being placed on defensive shifts.
"I don't understand why we need to change the rules just because [hitters] won't make an adjustment," Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer told Stark.
In 2018, baseball saw strategizing take new form, like more unconventional defensive shifts and teams using the bullpenning strategy. So could the end really be nearing for the shift? Who knows. But it's safe to say that the conversation about this hot-button issue is far from over.