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Competition Committee & On-Field Changes

CONFIDENTIAL -  For MLBPA/Player Review Only

Updated: Sept. 9, 2022

We are reaching out to provide all Players with an update on the recently completed votes of the Competition Committee, which were held this afternoon via Zoom. The Committee voted on the following on-field rules proposals, which were made by the Commissioner’s Office: Pace of Game Regulations (including a Pitch Timer), Restrictions on Defensive Shifting, and the Use of Larger Bases.

  • On the “Pace of Game Regulations/Pitch Timer” Proposal: The proposal was passed by a vote of 7-4, with all four Players voting against.

  • On the “Restrictions on Defensive Shifting” Proposal: The proposal was passed by a vote of 7-4, with all four Players voting against.

  • On the “Use of Larger Bases” Proposal: The proposal was passed by a vote of 11-0, with all four Players voting in favor.

The on-field rules changes outlined in each of these proposals will be implemented beginning with the 2023 season. Summaries of these rules, and the full proposals can be reviewed by clicking the links below.

The Players Association released the following statement regarding the vote of the Competition Committee and the 2023 rules changes.

Players live the game – day in and day out. On-field rules and regulations impact their preparation, performance, and ultimately, the integrity of the game itself. Player leaders from across the league were engaged in on-field rules negotiations through the Competition Committee, and they provided specific and actionable feedback on the changes proposed by the Commissioner’s Office. Major League Baseball was unwilling to meaningfully address the areas of concern that Players raised, and as a result, Players on the Competition Committee voted unanimously against the implementation of the rules covering defensive shifts and the use of a pitch timer.

Media is certain to ask Players for their thoughts on the newly passed rules, and the process itself. Every Player should feel comfortable responding with their own opinion and experiences. During the negotiations, Players provided direct, meaningful feedback on the proposed rules, highlighted concerns regarding preparation and competition, and made recommendations on various adjustments to the proposals that would reduce the likelihood of negative outcomes. Ultimately, the Commissioner’s Office refused to meaningfully incorporate the Player feedback, and voted to advance their proposals unilaterally.

The below sections offer additional information regarding the formation of the Competition Committee, Composition of Members, and the Process of Rules Changes.  If you or your teammates have questions, concerns, or simply would like to discuss further, please reach out to your Player Rep, the MLBPA Special Assistant assigned to cover your Clubhouse, or Kevin Slowey.

During our recent CBA negotiations the parties agreed to form a “Competition Committee.”  This Committee is responsible for recommending and adopting new and/or amended playing and scoring rule changes. The types of rule changes and amendments that fall under the umbrella of the Competition Committee include pace of game regulations (e.g., pitch timer, inning break/pitching change timer), regulation of shifts, base size, and a potential electronic strike zone.
Competition Committee Members
The Competition Committee is composed of eleven members: six representatives from the Clubs; four MLBPA Player Reps; and one umpire. 

MLB Committee Members: John Stanton (SEA, Chair); Bill DeWitt, Jr. (STL); Greg Johnson (SF); Dick Monfort (COL); Tom Werner (BOS); Mark Shapiro (TOR)

Player Committee Members: Jack Flaherty (STL); Tyler Glasnow (TB); Whit Merrifield (KC); Austin Slater (SF) 

 Ian Happ (CHC) and Walker Buehler (LAD) will serve as Alternate Committee Members. 

Umpire Committee Member: Bill Miller 

Any member of the Competition Committee, or the Commissioner’s Office, may formally propose a rule change for consideration by the Committee. Following the proposal of a rule, the Committee has a 45-day window to meet, discuss and consult with Players, the Players Association, Clubs, and the Commissioner’s Office. No rule proposal can be submitted to a final vote unless and until a 45-day consultation period has been completed.  The purpose of this consultation period is to allow for information to be gathered and discussed by the Committee, and for the parties to make comments, voice concerns, and/or to advocate on behalf of amendments or adjustments to any proposed rule change.  (This 45-day consultation period can be extended by mutual agreement of MLB and the MLBPA.) 
Following the consultation period, the Competition Committee will vote on the final version(s) of the proposed rule changes, with a majority vote needed to pass any proposed rule(s).

*The Competition Committee is not authorized to institute in-season rule changes.  Any rule approved by the Competition Committee must be announced prior to the mandatory Spring Training reporting date for the season in which the rule will be going into effect.

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