League commissioner Rob Manfred made a groundbreaking revelation earlier today that the MLB will formally recognize a union of minor league players.
The move will allow minor league players to unionize with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA).
Manfred, in a press conference devoted to discussing new on-field rules for 2023, said that the Players Association has been notified of the decision.
“Major League Baseball will voluntarily recognize minor league players’ efforts to unionize with the MLB Players Association, commissioner Rob Manfred says. The rapid timeline for minor leaguers to join the MLBPA has now hastened. Huge news for the entire sport.” – Jeff Passan
This marks an important step in the league’s effort to recognize the rights and struggles of minor league players. Unionization and collective bargaining will also help improve the working conditions and pay of minor leaguers significantly.
The union is trying to reach common ground with the league on the structure of the bargaining unit. An agreement is expected to be in place by next week.
Fans have a tendency to take everything Rob Manfred and the league committee does with a pinch of salt. They have their reasons for skepticism, and it showed even today.
The MLBPA has also indicated that it intends to represent players in the Dominican Summer League, even though it’s based outside the U.S.
The unionization drive was launched on Aug. 28th, after obtaining signed authorization from over 5,000 minor league players. Prior to Manfred’s comments earlier today, the league hadn’t commented publicly on the matter.
MLB announces major rule changes for 2023
The league committee announced major changes today that will come into effect next season. These include the introduction of a pitch clock and a ban on defensive shifts.
Commissioner Manfred issued the following statement on the new rules:
“These steps are designed to improve the pace of play, increase action, and reduce injuries, all of which are goals that have overwhelming support among our fans.” – Rob Manfred (via Bob Nightengale)
In an effort to create a quicker pace of play, there will be a 30-second timer between the batters. Between pitches, there will be a 15-second timer with the bases empty and a 20-second timer with runners on base.
Concerning the shift, the defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield. At least two infielders must be present on either side of second base.
In addition to these two rules, the league also approved bigger bases to be implemented from 2023 onwards. Traditionally 15 inches square in size, the bases will expand to 18 inches square next year. The home plate will remain unchanged.