On Friday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred denied the chance of rule changes regarding the designated hitter position and the amateur draft happening in the 2019 season. Manfred weighed in on the universal designated hitter debate at an owners' meeting in Orlando, Florida, calling the proposal to expand the designated hitter to the National League right away in 2019 too complicated, according to the Associated Press.

MLB and MLBPA are reportedly discussing a series of potential rule changes centering around pace of play, roster size and roster construction. The most notable changes that jumped out to baseball fans were the union's proposal for a universal designated hitter and the league's proposal that all pitchers must face a minimum of three hitters per appearance.  Other proposals include:

  • A single trade deadline before the All-Star break
  • A 20-second pitch clock
  • The expansion of rosters to 26 men, with a 12-pitcher maximum
  • Draft advantages for winning teams and penalties for losing teams
  • A study to lower the mound
  • A rule that would allow two-sport amateurs to sign major league contracts

Manfred is still focused on rule change proposals centered around speeding up the game for the fans. He hinted that other rule change proposals like applying universal DH and tweaking the amateur draft will likely be tabled for the next collective bargaining agreement which expires at the end of the 2021 season. Manfred, however, said he remains open to major changes as part of an extension of the current deal.  Here's what Manfred told ESPN's Pedro Gomez:

I think we are at a point where we have a dialogue going with the players' association -- a dialogue that we've been looking to have -- and I'm hopeful that we will continue the process of change, in terms of inducing additional action in the game, improving the pace of game. But in terms of precise changes, it's just impossible for me to predict at this point in the process.

Pitchers and catchers report to spring training camp as early as Sunday. The MLB season gets underway on March 20 when the Mariners and Athletics meet at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.